3 ways to shed the holiday weight gain
A top New Year's resolution is to lose weight. Over the course of your lifetime, as the clock strikes January 1, hands up if you have said you want to lose weight 5, 10, 15, or 20 times as the new year starts? While it may be the case that you have gained a few pounds over the holidays, I believe that what many people believe is only weight gain is actually also increased inflammation. To check your inflammation score you can do this quiz. Ideally, you ate well through the holidays and January 1 is just another day, but it's common to be tempted by those holiday treats that have led to a bit of weight gain over the month of December.
If you have a bit of work to do there are some simple, but effective, things you can do to lose that holiday weight. And while these things may seem simple to you, it is the consistency in practice that some may find difficult. However, it is that consistency that will lead to the change you are looking for.
Spoiler alert: you may think that a focus on the scale will be your key to success, but you may want to rethink that strategy. In the end, these tips are ones you can use and hopefully commit to at any time of year. They are not based on a fad diet, nor are they "eat less and exercise more" or "only eat 1200 calories a day" kind of strategies. The suggestions below are also not merely to cut sugar and alcohol, although those are eating strategies that will most certainly support not only weight loss, but better health overall.
Tip 1: Swap out starchy carbs for Non-Starchy Vegetables
Swapping out starchy carbs like potatoes, rice, pasta and bread for non-starchy vegetables is an easy way to support fat loss and better health. It's ok to just have meat and vegetables for a meal! There are so many options for non-starchy vegetables that you can incorporate into your meal planning routine. Gone are the days where losing weight meant eating iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing (anyone remember those days from when they were younger?). Here are just a few non-starchy veggie ideas:
Tip 2: Prioritize protein and focus on building and maintaining lean muscle mass
By focusing on building and keeping lean muscle mass, you will have greater success with fat loss. If you eat adequate amounts of protein (at least 30 grams per meal), you will see many health benefits from feeling fuller longer, to eating less, to being able to go longer between meals. Eating adequate amounts of protein, especially for your first meal of the day, will help to reduce cravings and and the overall amount of calories you consume during the day.
Maybe this is the year we stop chasing weight loss so hard and start focusing on better overall health and building strength.
Tip 3: Intermittent Fasting with a 16-18 hour fasting window
Intermittent fasting is a great weight loss strategy but also helps to support cell turnover and gives you more energy. When we take a break from eating our bodies tap into sugar and excess fat for energy. To be effective, you don't need to fast every day of the week and as women, we should not fast every day. If you are just starting out with fasting, try for a 12 hour fast. Most of my health coaching clients who move to longer fasts talk about the 9:00 am "hungries". If you can move through that 9:00 am hour, and live into the discomfort of being a bit hungry for a while, you will likely find that once you get to 9:20 am those hungries go away.
If fat loss is on your January to do list, these strategies will help you to lose that holiday weight. They will also help to reduce inflammation, which if you have an autoimmune issue, is key to feeling better. Of course, the things we do beyond a focus on food like stress management, sleep and movement are also keys to weight loss. These three things will certainly get you started!