Bouncing back to normal eating habits after the feasting of the holidays is never an easy task. Most people tend to binge during the holidays and chances are come New Year's they find they have gained some extra padding! Here are 15 solid tips that will help you ditch that unwanted holiday weight.
1. Drink water. It is easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Drinking also helps you feel full. Some experts suggest sipping water (or iced tea) just before you sit down to a meal.
2. Set realistic goals. One or two pounds a week maximum is doable. Top weight-loss programs advocate stopping after the first 10 pounds and maintaining that loss for about six months before trying to lose any more.
3. Reward system. If you allow yourself to eat whatever you watn fro 2 meals out of every 21, you won't inflict enough damage to ruin your weight loss. And you'll feel less deprived.
4. Count to 10. Studies suggest that the average cravings lasts only about 10 minutes. So before caving in to your urge, set your mental timer for a 10 minute time out. Use the time to tackle an item on your to do list; choose one that will give you a sense of accomplishment - and get out of your kitchen.
5. Eat more often. People who have kept their weight off for more than a few years tend to eat an average of five times a day. Light, frequent meals curb your appetite, boost your energy, improve your mood and even speed your metabolism, since the process of digestion itself burns calories.
6. Make weekly resolutions. Don't try to overhaul your diet overnight. If you make too many changes at once, chances are you'll get frustrated and throw in the towel. Instead, make one change, such as eating at least one piece of fruit daily, every week.
7. Start with10%. People who start by focusing on achieveing just 10% of their long range weight loss goal may have the best chance of ultimate success. Losing those first pounds yields the biggest health gains, too, since belly fat is usually the first to come off and is the most dangerous.
8. Spike your meals with salsa. This spicy condiment can stand in for mayo to deliver plenty of flavor without the fat. Mix it with a bit of low fat yogurt to make tuna salad. Spread it on a veggie burger, or serve it with chicken or fish.
9. Take one-third off. When you eat dinner out, reduce the temptation to clean your plate by setting aside one third of your meal. Ask the server for a doggie bag, and take it home for lunch the next day. Try serving yourself one third less at home too. This simple tactic could substract more than 500 calories a day.
10. Don't beat yourself up. You can't take back the debauchery that happened at last night's dessert table. Treat the day after as just another day of eating healthy and staying active.
11. Stock up on healthy foods. Yes, your fridge contains half a pecan pie and enough petit fours to feed an army. While it might sound crazy to buy more foo, a fridge full of tempting treats won't help you get back on track. Go for high fiber veggies to fill you up, and lean protein to keep satisfied.
12. Put food away. Those holiday cookies might look festive on the countertop, but they're more likely to tempt you if you can see them. The more accessible food is, the harder it is to resist. Your best bet is to keep food in the cupboard or fridge below eye leverl, so you don't see treats every time you walk by the kitchen or swing open the fridge door for a snack.
13. Organize your fridge strategically. Put leftovers in the fridge towards the back and keep fruit and veggies in front. This way you'll have to work to get the good stuff, and have easy access to the healthiest foods.
14. Get moving. The extent of your movement during the holidays may have been limited to raising your fork, but it's important to get moving now. Exercise not only burns calories but also puts you in a positive mind set, which can help you make smarter food choices.
15. Lift your spirits. Watching funny movies or doing just about anything that puts you in a good mood also helps when willpower starts wearing down.