There’s no denying that the holiday season is the hardest time of year to start a weight loss effort because of all the parties, food, cocktails, and lack of sleep. But, that’s exactly the reason to start now! The sooner you start to develop new, healthy habits in advance of Jan 1, the more likely you’ll be to succeed in the New Year!
I’ve teamed up with my friend and former “Biggest Loser” contestant Tara Costa to provide you with 12 weight loss tips to help you score healthy victories in the days leading up to Christmas and beyond.
Your Countdown to Weight Loss
12. Taper carbs starting at noon
Carbohydrate intake should always be monitored but an easy guideline is to curtail the carbs as the day wears on.
11. The 11 o’clock rule – eat and workout by 11 a.m.
If you haven’t had anything to eat or participated in any activity by 11 a.m., there’s a problem. Either you drank too much the night before, you’re having one of those lazy days that does nothing to enhance weight loss, or you’re starving yourself unnecessarily.
10. Watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a week
Instead of watching 28 hours of TV a week as the average American does, find ways to move more and watch less. Incorporate movement into your everyday life, even beyond exercise.
9. Eat approximately nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day
This doesn’t mean you need to eat nine different fruits and vegetables, though that would be great too. Keep in mind that one serving is equal to a small or medium piece of fruit, a half-cup of cooked vegetables or one cup of raw veggies.
8. Get eight hours of sleep each night
Research has proven that lack of sleep can contribute to a number of metabolic disturbances. Remember, cat-naps in the middle of the day do not qualify as quality sleep, so try to hit the sack in a timely fashion to get in the full eight hours.
7. Eat breakfast seven days a week
A cup of coffee does not count as a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. Get in some good carbs, protein, fruit and then add that caffeine.
6. Exercise six days a week and have one day of rest
Not ready to conquer this level yet? No problem. Start with one, two or three days a week, with the goal of working your way up to six. And don’t forget to make it fun, too.
5. Eat at least 5 oz. of protein a day
Protein is very satiating and balances out meals quite well – and it doesn’t always have to be animal-based. Vegetarian protein sources, like tofu, are great, as well.
4. Drink 4 glasses of water by 4 p.m.
Most people forget to drink water during the most active part of their day, so make 4 x 4 a habit. By doing this, you’ll avoid dehydration, headaches and nocturia (midnight bathroom trips), and it may help with weight loss too.
3. Weigh yourself at least three times a week
We don’t want you to be hyper-focused on the scale numbers, but research has proven that the earlier you identify weight gain trends, the easier it is to do something about them.
2. Exercise with a friend
Pooch or person, it doesn’t matter. Just get out and exercise with someone. You’ll feel more accountable to your partner and make him/her healthier in the process.
1. Have one splurge meal per week
Deprivation sucks, so don’t completely abstain from your favorite foods, no matter what they might be. Just be sure that one meal doesn’t turn into two, three or four.
Remember to celebrate your victories, no matter how small! It will make you feel stronger, and build more confidence, making your goal more attainable. Happy New Year to a New You!