Christmas is over, leftovers have been eaten, and those sweet baked goods are nowhere in sight. Now begins working off any weight you may have put on due to overindulgence in all of those extra (but admittedly delicious) calories over the holidays — and while many people have weight loss atop their list of New Year’s resolutions for 2020, often opting to wait until January 1st or 2nd to get the ball rolling on their new fitness goals — others like to get a head start, hitting the gym as soon as boxing day arrives, as well as trying to come up with a healthy diet plan. In this article, I share some tips to help get you started with your weight loss goals, including exercise tips as well as share some healthy food picks that you can incorporate into your everyday diet so that your focus is not just on the short term, but on the long term as well — as you should always strive to keep yourself as healthy as possible every day of the year.
Meals, Snacks and More
If you drank one too many glasses of eggnog or wine, or had more than your fair share of chocolates or other holiday treats, then you’re not alone. In fact, more than 130 million pounds of eggnog are sold each holiday season alone, while chocolate sales also increase exponentially during this time of year. For those who already have a healthy diet other than the small bit of indulgence over the holiday season, it might not be difficult to fall right back into a regular healthy eating pattern — but for others, it can be difficult — and needing some guidance to get you back in the right direction is never a bad thing.
The most important thing to remember when wanting to eat healthy is that you’re doing it for you. Think of all the positives that come along with having a healthy diet and how it can benefit you in the long run. For example, you’ll lose weight — and, in doing so, you also decrease your risk of developing other serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease — all of which can have a significant impact on your quality of life and lead to things like having to take medication regularly as well as seeing your doctor more frequently for check-ups and other complications that can potentially arise.
Next, you need to come up with a plan. While you don’t necessarily have to write everything down, as this often makes choosing a healthy lifestyle seem more like a chore, it can sometimes be a good idea to at least jot some of the changes you want to make down so that you can stick to your goals. What some of my patients will do is choose to keep a food diary, which can be done in many different ways. For example, you might want to write down a list of unhealthy snacks you find yourself enjoying, and next to that a list of healthy snacks they can be replaced with. For instance, if your snack of choice are potato chips, think of all of the things that are similar but healthier alternatives to potato chips — i.e. zucchini chips, sweet potato chips, and kale chips — all of which are fairly simple to make on your own. For a sweet twist with that same crunch of a chip, you can also try making apple or pear chips — and even sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon on them for extra flavour. When it comes to eating full meals, the holidays are the most common time of year that people overeat — often going back for second or third servings of food, and ultimately feeling too full after the fact. An important rule to keep in mind when it comes to eating is that you should never eat to the point where you describe yourself as feeling “stuffed.” Instead, you should eat until you’re around 80% full and then excuse yourself from the table, allowing your body at least 20 minutes to register what you’ve eaten. This will help you to avoid that “too full” feeling and prevent you from overeating.
Keeping Fit After the Holidays
If you’re one of those people who hit the gym the day after Christmas and found that it was busier than usual, then that’s because you’re not the only one wanting to work off that Christmas turkey. But just as you would any other day of the year, getting regular exercise is just as important after the holidays and everyday therein after that. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine, then your body isn’t going to be as healthy as it should be.
Weather permitting, one of the best things you can do for your body (and even for the mind!) is to go for a walk. What most people don’t realize is that you don’t need ot engage in vigorous physical activity in order to see results. Going for something like a 30 to 60 minute walk around your neighbourhood can be enough to start getting you on the path to good health, while there are other types of fitness you can engage in to work off weight, such as using an indoor bike, treadmill, and lifting weights. If you’re someone who isn’t used to getting regular physical activity or if you have an underlying medical condition that may interfere with your ability to exercise properly or put you at risk of injury, it’s always a good idea to first check with your physician, as they will often be able to put together a specific exercise plan that is best suited for you and your needs.
Originally published at http://alighahary.ca on December 27, 2019.