By Ben Smith, Lead Health Coach at Fitness Interactive Experience
‘Tis the season for holiday cheer AND adding a few more pounds. The stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day sees more weight gain than any other equivalent time period throughout the year.
On average we each gain 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. What’s a couple of pounds you might ask? Well, over the course of a decade it could lead to serious health implications.
So how do you combat the Holiday Season weight creep every year?
Here are 10 ways to boost your metabolism and win the battle over the bulge:
- Drink water, and lots of it! Not only will water ease digestion and assist in boosting your metabolism but it can serve as a natural appetite suppressant. The body often has a difficult time distinguishing between hunger and thirst. Make sure you don’t just need fluid before you reach for a snack.
- Join the Clean SMALL Plate Club! Research shows that 92% of people tend to eat everything they put on their plate…even if it’s a massive plate. To assist in portion control, opt for using smaller plates. Knowing that you’re going to eat everything you serve yourself, using small plates can help you keep to reasonable portions.
- Lift Weights! When people think of fighting pounds they often think of slogging hours on end of cardio. But adding lean muscle mass through the classic lifts (i.e. deadlift, back squat, bench press and pull ups) will elevate your basal metabolic rate and have you burning calories long after the effects of that treadmill session wear off.
- Go Green! Make an effort to include more vegetables and fruits on your plate during the holidays rather than highly processed carbohydrates such as breads and pastas. Not only are they a great source of much needed micronutrients but they are not nearly as calorically dense as other carbohydrate options.
- Have a Cheat Meal, Not a Cheat Week! It’s important to give yourself a mental break if you find it difficult to adhere to healthy diet choices. Keep in mind a cheat meal can be up to 800-1000 calories, but it shouldn’t be an all out glut fest. Adding a cheat meal once a week can actually cause your body to produce more leptin, which is an important hormone responsible for maintaining our energy balance.
- Pace when you’re on the phone! Mobile phones and blue tooth headsets allow you to move freely while on the phone. Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to move throughout the day. Not only will it double your caloric expenditure when compared to sitting but it can add up to thousands of calories over the course of a year.
- Masticate. Not only will thoroughly chewing your food make digestion easier but it can also keep you from overeating. It can take up to 20 minutes for a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) to tell your brain you’re satiated. When you inhale your food, CCK doesn’t have an opportunity to kick in in time to prevent you from overeating.
- Salad with Protein for Lunch. Eating salad for lunch (assuming you shy away from high calorie dressing/cheese toppings) is a great way to get adequate dietary fiber and have a filling meal without the excess calories.
- Play UtiliFIT! Whether it’s one of the UtiliFIT sedentary disruption games or a 6 Week – A Step Ahead Challenge, making an effort to increase your “incidental” activity throughout the day can give your metabolism just enough boost to substantially increase caloric expenditure over the holiday season.
- Get your Holiday Kicks away from the Table! Many of us tend to focus on the meals during the holidays rather than other enjoyable activities. Plan activity time with friends and family to burn some extra calories rather than having everything revolve around the next big meal.
Try to incorporate at least a few (if not all) of these tips to stave off the Holiday weight gain and help you kick off 2015 right!