I don’t know about you, but when I climbed my hefty self onto the scale after the month-long indulgence fest known as the “holiday season,” I wasn’t very pleased with the number.
I really thought I did everything right this time around — I got lots of exercise and included fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats in my day to day diet. However, upon closer inspection I also had lots of sweet treats, alcohol and late nights that overall took a toll on my body.
I’m starting the new year up a few pounds, and with a few extra pimples and wrinkles to show for it.
How Do I Fix Holiday Weight Gain?
As tempting as it is to go in search of a quick fix and to try one of the many “cleanses” out there — juicing for a week straight or only eating cucumbers for three day — to lose a few pounds, science tells us that there are better ways to get back into making health a habit.
In fact, some experts even argue that fad diets like juice cleanses could be counterintuitive to losing weight. Lauren Blake, a registered dietitian with Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center says juice cleanses “…can alter your metabolism and slow it down. These cleanses cause your body to cling to every calorie because it doesn’t know when it’s going to get its next dose of energy.”
This can cause the cleanse to be successful from a short-term weight loss perspective, but isn’t very healthy in the long-term. In fact, in an article published by U.S. News on the dangers of juice cleanses, Blake says, “There’s not a lot of scientific evidence showing that cleanses work.”
Now I’m not one to call juicing “dangerous,” because who doesn’t love a fresh-pressed juice to start off the day occasionally? However, there’s a difference between using juicing as one of many tools to live a healthier lifestyle and using it as a three-day crutch to lose ten pounds.
It’s not about total elimination, or just drinking juice for a day, a week, or a month to shed pounds. Your body has your liver and kidneys designed specifically to detox you everyday, but it’s up to each of us to eat a well-rounded diet to be at our optimum health and weight.
Just say no to juice cleanses and quick fixes, and instead check out some of these awesome alternatives to addressing your holiday weight gain.
Eating the Right Stuff
U.S. News and World Report recently published this handy guide to the best diets of 2015. Among them are well-known diets like the Mediterranean and Weight Watchers approaches, as well as newer methodologies like the DASH Diet, MIND Diet and TLC Diet.
When interviewed by Today.com, Angela Haupt, the senior health and wellness editor at the U.S. News and World Report said “We know that dieting is extremely hard. People go on diets and fall off the next week no matter how good their intentions are. We want to give people all the tools and all the information to make it easy for people to pick a diet.”
Each diet is broken down into seven categories, like:
- How simple it is to follow?
- How effective it is for both short-term and long-term weight loss?
- Is it is nutritionally complete?
- Is it safe?
- Is it effective at managing heart disease and diabetes?
From there, 22 health and wellness experts weighed in on each, giving users a great guide to find the right choice for them.
In my humble opinion, the list isn’t perfect. Here at FitnessHQ, we like to put a more holistic focus on health as opposed to just weight loss. So, when the Slim Fast diet ranks well above Paleo, we can’t help but have a few questions.
However, in each of the top five diets, one consistent theme emerges. These diets are centered around real, whole foods with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats for optimum health.
Now THAT is the kind of science I can get behind.
Finally, regardless of which nutrition plan you choose to help get your eating and your body on track for your goals for 2016, remember that the key is making healthy decisions daily.
If you want to shed a few holiday pounds like me, keep in mind that you didn’t gain the weight overnight and it will take just as long to lose it.
If you’re chasing performance or physique goals, eat to fuel those goals. For more great tips to help you stick to your plan, check out our 10 Tips to Rock Our Nutrition Challenge. If you missed out on our challenge this time around, don’t worry — it won’t be our last!