5 Easy Steps to Lose Belly Fat
Yes, the holidays are definitely upon us and when you are trying to maintain a healthy diet, temptations certainly abound. Here are 10 tips for avoiding a weight-gain disaster and enjoying some treats too.
- Say No To Portion Distortion – With finger foods arranged appealingly everywhere, resist the urge to leave your hand in the snack bowl and mindlessly munch through the night. You may not even realize how many extra calories you rack up. Instead, grab a standard sized plate and place all the food you are planning to eat on said plate. This way, you can see the amount of food you will take in which helps you visually make a connection with the amount of food you are ingesting.
- Drink Plenty of Liquids (Non-Alcoholic) – Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily, especially during the holiday season, is extremely important. When we are dehydrated our bodies can sometimes misinterpret the thirst signal as hunger. If our bodies are replenished with water, we will never fall victim of mistaken cravings, thus shaving off excess calories that may have been consumed. Although you may pay regular visits to the bathroom, this is just an opportunity to touch up your lip gloss or fix your tie to look picture perfect in the mandatory group/ family photos.
- Eat What You Absolutely Love – As a child, trips to the buffet meant trying a little bit of everything and then returning for seconds to stock my plate with favorites. I’ve learned the hard way that my former childhood method is probably not the best; I would eat way too much, and would feel incapacitated and sluggish, something I’m sure you wish to avoid at your upcoming holiday extravaganzas. Instead, just take what you absolutely love! Why waste calories on items that are just ‘meh’? By not loading up on mediocre foods, you will cut out extra calories and still enjoy the cream of the crop.
- Whoa – Pull in the Reins – Savour your meals with careful chewing instead of wolfing food down. Our brains take twenty minutes to receive the “I’m Full” signal. By chewing carefully, this slows down consumption and allows the necessary time for the signal to be sent and translated to your body. If you swallow your meals whole, you’ll most likely want to add more to your plate, which is completely natural since who wants to be the only one not eating when everyone else is still enjoying a full plate?
- Pre-Eat – Before going out to a event or party, many of you probably pre-drink in order to save on some cash-ola. We are considerate of money in our pockets so let’s do the same for our waistlines! Have a salad or some soup (preferably not cream based!) prior to attending holiday gatherings. When you get there, you won’t be famished. This will help you remember to do #4 and #7.
- Back of the Line – Instead of rushing to be the first to fill your plate, head to the back of the line (if you follow #5, this will not be a problem). If you are the first to eat, you’ll be the first to finish. As mentioned in #4, the first to finish will often grab seconds; if your plate was filled at the end, you will most likely be starting on your first helping when others are already finishing up or going for seconds. By the time you are done (if you are mindfully chewing, ahem, #4), everyone else may be too, thus lessening your urge to reload. Patience is a virtue.
- Protein Protein Protein – Filling your belly with some healthy proteins such as fish, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds, or some lean meats for the omnivore, can keep you feeling fuller for longer since they are able to stabilize blood sugar levels. If you are attending a dinner party, contribute some healthy options such as homemade hummus, quinoa salad, or hemp milk.
- Avoid Skipping Meals – I’ve heard of many people who will starve themselves for the day in preparation for a big meal at a holiday party. If you’ve read this much, you know that we want to do #5 and #6. By skipping meals, you will be famished! You will eat too quickly, overeat, and most likely feel not so great afterwards (not to mention cranky and irritable upon arrival… something not fun for the host or other guests). More, your metabolism will be sluggish and will not work up to par. Please, follow this rule of thumb, don’t deprive yourself by skipping meals; you are doing more harm than good.
- Limit Alcohol – A lot of calories come from alcohol over the holidays. Don’t hate me, but let’s do some math…here’s a breakdown of calories – 1g carbs = 4 calories, 1g protein = 4 calories, 1g fat = 9 calories, 1g alcohol = 7 calories. Hmm, let’s just take this into account before we reach for our next brandy eggnog.
- Nix Couch Time – The holidays make me lazy: hanging out in my reindeer pj’s, watching holiday movies, and eating a batch of cookies while it’s bitingly cold outside equals the best day ever. However, I have to remind myself that the extra holiday pound cake deserves to be worked off with a wee bit more exercise. Hit the gym for an additional 10 minutes on top of your regular routine to help offset treats. If the gym does not excite you, grab your skates, go cross country skiing, fight through the crowd at the mall, build a snowman, start a curling club… the possibilities are endless. Stay active and avoid being a holiday sloth.