The Grapevine

How To Lose Weight Gained Over The Holidays

With a brand new year less than 24 hours away, we get to have another shot at a blank slate and a fresh start. Yet, there is always that tendency to bite off more than one can chew.

According to estimates, the average person in the United States sees their weight increase by 0.4 percent in the ten days following Christmas compared to the ten days before. More recently, a study revealed how the risk of having elevated cholesterol is six times higher after the holidays. 

But for many, the modus operandi involves promises of early morning workouts and fad diets, all of which may or may not blow over before February arrives. 

"After the holidays, everybody's ready to be so drastic, but if we take small steps, it'll probably lead to us being more consistent and being able to keep our goals," said dietitian Amy Shapiro.

Skipping meals is not the answer, especially as it can backfire by increasing your cravings for unhealthy food. Just make sure your calories come from better sources that provide essential nutrients. In fact, it is worth speaking to a registered dietitian if you suspect any deficiencies.

One reason is that deficiencies of certain vitamins have been linked to unintentional weight gain. Secondly, you need enough energy to maintain the required rate and intensity of physical activity.

Ideally, both aerobic and strength training should be a part of your weekly workouts. If not, seek guidance from a fitness expert to slowly work your way up to the physical activity guidelines. In other words, avoid burning yourself out on Jan. 1 by pushing yourself beyond limits you are not used to.

"It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly," the CDC states. "But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off."

"Dry January," a popular practice in the United Kingdom, involves abstaining from alcohol for the entire month. In a recent study, it was found that people who took up the challenge were more likely to be healthier later in the year.

There were also short-term benefits, according to Dr. Richard de Visser of the University of Sussex. Based on the findings, nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better, and three in five lose weight. Do keep in mind that sudden abstinence could be dangerous for heavy drinkers who may experience withdrawal symptoms. 

Finally, a very simple resolution to take up is to drink more water if you do not already. It can help regulate your appetite, reduce unhealthy cravings, and boost your energy levels — all of which can help you reach a healthy weight.