The Christmas and New Year holidays are really about spending time with friends and family and those you love, usually around a rich table with all sorts of delicacies. And of course diets are at the top of the list of resolutions we make for the new year. Unfortunately, few of us find the will and the right way to stick to the program we have chosen.
After weeks of justifying Christmas and New Year dietary ‘mistakes’, many are turning to various weight loss techniques that they hope will help them shed any extra holiday pounds. However, following a strict and very specific diet plan is not an easy task and not all diets work equally for everyone. Many people are looking for inspiration to help them get back in shape, so itrofi.gr gives you some important and easy tips to better achieve your goals, whether you plan to lose weight, increase your energy levels or simply shine with health in 2023.
With the arrival of the new year, the scale can quickly become our worst enemy. Sweets, alcohol and rich, caloric meals not only add extra pounds that we then struggle to lose, but also accumulate dangerous toxins in our body. Research shows that, on average, we put on one to three pounds over the holiday season, weight that can take months to lose.
We feel guilty and set unrealistic goals, trying to make big changes. Experts agree that an all-or-nothing attitude even when it comes to dieting overwhelms us, leaves us feeling deprived, and is a recipe for sure-fire failure. This is exactly why we advocate a more realistic approach, with small, achievable changes that don’t discourage us.
- Don’t feel guilty
First of all, don’t beat yourself up if you “sinned” nutritionally this holiday season. Remember that it’s what you eat on a daily basis that affects your long-term well-being.
- Think balance not deprivation
After the holiday binge, it can be all too easy to fall into the mindset of an extreme detox or diet, solutions that are almost always ineffective. Yo-yo dieting and calorie restriction can slow your metabolism and affect your ability to lose weight long-term. In addition, when you severely restrict calories, levels of hunger hormones rise significantly, increasing appetite and testing your endurance.
- Don’t weigh yourself
Avoid the scale and focus your energy and attention on getting your daily diet back on a healthier path.
- Empty your fridge and cupboards of leftover food and sweets
Remember, if it ain’t there, you can’t eat it! But if you know you have a kitchen full of cookies, chocolate and Christmas cakes, you’ll eventually succumb, that’s for sure.
The hormone ghrelin, released by the stomach when we are hungry, activates the brain’s reward system and draws us to unwanted, high-calorie foods. Prepare the meals and snacks of the day with healthy options that will save you from the urge of sudden hunger.
- Set specific exercise goals
The second week of January is almost always busy for gyms, filled with shiny leggings and big intentions. However, statistics show that participations are again declining by mid-February. For those of us where exercise is not part of our lives but often just a very vague commitment, the key is to set very specific exercise goals that are realistic for us, e.g. twice a week, to plan them in advance and of course to follow them.
- Walk more
Exercise not only burns calories, but it boosts self-esteem and a positive mindset that encourages you to make healthier food and lifestyle choices.
In addition to your regular exercise routine, simply walking more can help you shed any extra pounds. And remember: going up and down the stairs tones and builds muscle.
- Choose healthy foods that you like
Don’t try to force yourself to eat something healthy that you hate. Look for delicious healthy foods and make smart substitutions in your diet.
- Cook more
People who eat home-cooked meals five or more times a week are 28% less likely to be overweight and have 24% less body fat than those who eat at home less than three times a week, according to studies. The researchers found that those who ate at home consumed more fruits and vegetables.
- Eat your vegetables first
If you’re not eating enough vegetables, it could be because you’re putting them in a competition they can’t win. Research has shown that when vegetables compete on our plate with other, perhaps more appealing foods, we end up eating less of them. Make a salad and eat it before putting other food on the table, experts suggest. This way you will not only eat more vegetables, but you will also reduce your hunger in a healthy way and you will also eat less main meal.
- Choose one non-meat day per week
Replacing animal protein with an equivalent amount of plant protein is associated with a lower risk of mortality, especially from heart disease.
- Better, more nutritious breakfast
A breakfast containing protein (e.g. yogurt or eggs) helps prevent weight gain, contributes to easier weight loss and reduces the number of calories you consume in the evening.
- Make small snacks more enjoyable
You don’t have to completely give up your favorite sweets, but prefer a delicious homemade snack with ingredients that are not only healthy but offer you flavor and a special texture. This will help you feel satisfied with even a smaller piece.
- Replace soft drinks and sugary drinks with water
We all know that soda isn’t the healthiest beverage choice. Even fruit juices hide a lot of extra calories and sugars. Prefer water that not only does not add calories but uniquely hydrates your body as well.
- Add more healthy fats
Healthy fats make us feel fuller and have been shown to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Popular sources of these healthy fats are salmon, avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
- Check your environment
Don’t eat without organization. Put delicious, healthy foods at home but at the office, such as fresh, chopped fruits and vegetables, yogurts and homemade nutrition bars.
- Eat lightly in the evening
Consume fewer calories than during the day and don’t forget to eat early. Soup is ideal to not only feel full with fewer calories, but also not to go to bed full.
- Good sleep
Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Many studies have shown that sleep disorders are associated with weight problems.