Holiday weight gain sticks to the hips, stomach, and thighs almost as well as those gooey, sugary holiday treats stick to the teeth. But melting away that excess weight can be a lot harder. The holidays are disruptive, and bring on cravings, a lack of sleep, and other factors that make it tough to take a realistic look at your routines.
Diet and regular exercise are, of course, the clear first places to start to shed from pounds, but they’re not always an effective solution. For improved weight loss success, consider our top six tips to get rid of the holiday weight.
If you're struggling with junk food cravings, then it can feel impossible to simply stick with healthy foods in the hopes that they’ll become the new normal. Cravings are hard to kick because they tend to take up a lot of our mental capacity. The mind craves food it can visualize and that looks appealing, and it begins to distract the brain from other tasks at hand. The good news is that, according to a study out of Australia, mental distractions can also help curb food cravings. Most food cravings only last between 10 to 60 minutes, so taking a walk, reading a book, or engaging in another activity that can occupy the brain for the same amount of time is often enough to kick cravings to the curb.
On the other hand, when cravings just won’t leave, give in—but institute a portion control rule. Instead of ordering a whole pizza or opening a big bag of chips, settle for one slice of pizza or a smaller snack bag. Similarly, if dining out and ordering a carb-heavy, calorie-laden meal, ask for a takeout container the moment the food is delivered to the table and section out a portion to put into the takeout container for later. That way, you're not denying yourself — cravings aren't some kind of moral failure, and you deserve to enjoy a treat when you want it! But by sticking to smaller portions, you can get the benefits of a hearty meal while minimizing waste and keeping portion sizes in check.
There’s truth to beauty sleep, but did you know that there’s also a link between sleep loss and food cravings? It’s true. According to a study published in SLEEP, a loss of sleep kickstarts and extends the levels of a chemical in the blood that associates eating—especially sweet, salty, or high-fat foods—with happiness. The brain creates a positive association between these cravings and happiness, making the body crave them even more. It’s a vicious cycle, but one that can be stopped by keeping a regular bedtime and ensuring the body gets around eight hours of rest each night.
Often, the fear of missing out (or FOMO) leads to a lot of yeses that should probably be nos. Depending on who’s birthday it is, what the ladies are celebrating or who just wants to take advantage of a cheap wine night at their favorite bar, get comfortable with saying no — or at least carefully considering everything consumed during a fun night out. Alcohol adds up, particularly when it comes to mixed drinks, red wines, and beer. Some celebrations may only come once per year, but there will always be something to celebrate, so choose wisely where to spend those calories. Likewise, when it comes to holidays, don’t give into chocolate cravings just because certain varieties only hit the store shelves during Valentine’s Day or Easter. It’s a great marketing opportunity for advertisers and manufacturers, sure, but it definitely won’t help with any post-holiday weight loss efforts.
It’s easy to follow into the comparison trap, particularly with social media and everyone still excited about their New Year’s resolutions. To stop from falling into that spiral of negativity, set a phone reminder to pop up every hour or so—as often as it’s needed—that offers a word of inspiration or self-love, such as “You are enough.” Every body is different, making any comparison wholly flawed from the get-go. Plus, negative thoughts will only serve as a roadblock to positive diet and fitness changes. Instead, practice positivity, consider taking up meditation for better control over mindset, and remember that while a body may not be in its best condition, it’s been there to help experience all the good times and the best memories, so show it a little grace. (Bonus: Self-love can also help to undercut stress, a major contributor to premature aging and wrinkles.)
Sometimes, it takes more than diet, exercise, discipline, and positivity to cut those few extra pounds. Knowing that goal hasn’t been quite reached or hitting a weight loss plateau can do a lot of harm to a perfectly fine success rate. Don’t let those last couple of pounds here and there take the weight loss train off its tracks. Instead, consider calling in backup for a little extra boost, with a customized body shaping treatment plan. During each treatment, heat produced using radio frequency energy targets fat cells below the skin’s surface. This causes the volume of fat cells to break down in the targeted area, while kickstarting collagen production for a smoother, firmer silhouette. To discover whether a radio frequency body shaping treatment plan might be right for you, locate a certified treatment provider near you.