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How to reverse holiday weight gain?

How to Reverse Holiday Weight Gain?

Gaining weight during the holidays is a fat, ugly myth!

A study showed that from late September to early March, the majority put on 0.5 kg in six months’ time. A year after the study began, all of the participants were weighed again. On average, they were each up about 0.5 kg from their initial weights. This clearly showed that the weight gain came after the holidays, when people didn’t lose that 0.5 kg.

People who were overweight or obese were more likely to gain 2.5 kg or more during the initial six-month season.

This is a good news/bad news story –>the good news is that most people are not gaining 2 to 3 kg during the holidays, but the bad news is that weight gained over the winter holidays isn’t being lost during the rest of the year.
Those small weight gains add up over the years, causing major medical problems.

It is true that fat gain really does require overeating over many days, weeks and months, but it’s the time spent exercising that really determines who gains more than 0.5 kg. Overweight people naturally have a harder time being physically active, since hefting a big body takes more effort. Therefore, the already-obese will likely be those who gain the most.

Let’s admit, everyone blows his or her calorie budget every now and then. But we can forget that old saying, ‘a moment on the lips, forever on the hips’ and get our eating habits back on track. Here’s how:

1.First, Relax
You need to eat 3,500 calories to gain 0.5 kg of body fat. One unplanned treat of some fries, a slice of cake, or even a heavy meal probably won’t make a major difference on the scale.
These are called ‘taking timeouts’, and we all take them. No one is ideal in their eating habits. What you have to learn is that you are giving yourself a permission to do this, and as soon as it’s over, you should go back to your normal eating plans. The goal is not to make a habit of it.

2.Don’t Give Up
Too many of us throw the diet away after a splurge because we feel defeated and stop doing it.
When you do overeat, don’t be self-deprecating. You overindulged for one day; go back on track again. Try to be more conscious of your portion sizes the next day.

3.Cut Back a Bit, But Not Too Much
Usually we try to make up for the extra calories by skipping meals the next day. That will leave you hungry. Instead, cut back a little throughout the day by having a series of small meals packed with fruits and vegetables. Their fiber will help you feel full.
Wait until you’re hungry. Then have a light breakfast such as berries and low-fat yogurt.

4.Skip the Scale
After a heavy dinner, you might weigh more. It is not because you gained body fat, but because of water retention from extra salt that was in the food you ate. So, don’t weigh yourself after a feast.
Weigh yourself usually on Fridays, when you’re likely to weigh your lowest, since we tend to overindulge more often on the weekends than on weekdays.

5.Stick to Your Normal Exercise Routine
Exercise is always a good idea. But don’t do a mega-workout to try to burn off all the calories you just ate.
If you overload and do more than your regular workout, you could strain a muscle or  hurt a joint. Then you won’t be able to exercise at all.

6.Track What You Eat
Always stay aware of what you’re eating by setting a goal for your daily calories, and writing down what you eat. You have to be conscious every time your hand goes from a plate to your mouth.

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist
Beirut, Lebanon

 

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Christelle Bedrossian