The Post-Holiday Bulge

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It’s Time to Undo the Damage!

When it comes to getting back into shape after indulging over the holidays, will you lean towards excuses or work towards results?

Here it comes. That post-holiday bloating, lethargy and overall feeling of the “blahs.” These are the “gifts” we receive after over-indulging throughout the season of festivities. Getting back into shape may feel unattainable, but it can be done. Trust us. We know how you feel. We have all been there, but now that the holidays are in the rearview mirror, it is time to kick that lethargy, lack of motivation and unwanted pounds to the curb. Yes, it may seem as if getting your body back into shape is an insurmountable hurdle, it all begins with getting your mind in shape first. Give yourself a pep talk and prepare yourself to take charge of your post-holiday health and fitness goals. If you are ready to spring back to good health and a healthy weight, then now is the time to take action. Be forewarned, however. When you overdo it during the holidays, it can be tempting to go full throttle and take extreme measures to undo any damage, but it is far more prudent to make reasonable adjustments to which you can stick throughout the coming weeks and months. Once you have mentally prepared yourself for the changes to come, it is time to put your plans into place.

So, if your clothes have begun to feel a bit tighter these days, there are a few ways to loosen them up. First of all, develop a plan that allows you to eat your meals on schedule. Start each day with a good breakfast within an hour of waking up. Be sure to eat again every three to five hours. Start your day with a healthy meal and stick to your schedule. By spacing meals at appropriate intervals, it will help you maximize your metabolism, as well as regulate your insulin and blood sugar. As tempting as it may be to make extreme cuts in your calorie count, refrain from this approach. This only forces your body to conserve what it has for fuel and burn fewer calories. Translation? Your body will most likely hang on to the body fat. That’s not part of the plan, right? Plus, when you restrict your calorie intake, your body will turn to muscle mass for fuel, which leads to a slower metabolism. Still not the direction you want to pursue. The key is to eat a sufficient amount of food for your body’s needs and to consume those meals at regular times throughout the day.

Don’t forget the H20! While it goes without saying, be sure to stay hydrated all day long. A refreshing glass of water supports optimal metabolism and can actually curb your appetite. Water also cleans out excess sodium from your body, which will decrease any bloated feeling you might have. Water is also a great way to maintain regularity. Now is not the time to feel constipated.

Getting back into fighting form also requires a bit of sweat equity. Yes, exercise is an important player in this plan. Did you fall off the fitness and exercise wagon over the holidays? With so much to do during that time of the year, finding time to exercise usually takes a back seat to other priorities. As a result, your body will decondition itself. Even if you engaged in extreme workouts before the holidays, when you resume your fitness routine post-holidays, be sure to take it slowly and do not push yourself so hard that you end up injuring yourself. Begin with shorter, lighter workouts and then progress to increasing the time and intensity as you feel comfortable. To complement your workout regimen, develop a diet that includes good carbohydrates, fats and proteins. You may even want to consult your physician or a nutritionist for assistance with a plan that will work for you.

One of the biggest tips is to avoid procrastination. It can be too easy to grab another cookie or piece of cake and tell yourself you will start that diet tomorrow. The more time you go without taking steps to get back into shape, the more damage your body will incur. It can be challenging to summon the motivation, but once you do it, you will feel so much better. Set goals and share them with people who will support you and keep you on track. Most important, be kind to yourself. Getting back into shape is a journey and not something that will magically occur overnight. Just remember each positive action you take is getting you closer to improved overall good health. You may even become so conditioned to your new good health habits that you can sail through the holidays in the coming year relatively unscratched!

Sources: shape.com, upmc.com, trimdownclub.com

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