Lose Weight Without Losing Sight of Your Health

A brand new year and decade have arrived. However, at this moment, many of us are facing a very familiar problem: losing that extra weight gained during the holidays.

Before you make a vow to shed those pounds as quickly as you put them on, keep in mind that staying healthy is just as important as reaching your pre-holiday or goal weight. Fad diets and extreme measures might help you lose weight but they are rarely sustainable in the long run, and may even lead you to choices or habits that run counter to supporting your overall wellbeing.

Here are some helpful tips to follow that can help you drop those pounds in ways that are healthy, easy to do, and beneficial to your eating habits and daily routine all-year-round.

Toss out the leftovers

Obviously, wasting food is something to be avoided if at all possible. But if you find yourself keeping Christmas feast leftovers in the fridge and gifted cakes and cookies on the countertop, you’re making it much too easy to give in to high-calorie temptation. Clean out the leftovers and return to your regular meal routine as soon as possible.

Get your sleep

Studies have shown that skimping on sleep can actually trigger the release of a hormone that contributes to burning less fat. So when the season for holiday celebrations is over, make a conscious effort to go to bed at a reasonable hour—and give your body the rest it needs to help get rid of the weight you’re looking to lose.

Avoid frequent trips to the scale

You need to weigh yourself on a regular basis to see if you’re making progress on your weight loss goals. However, stepping on the scale every single day just to see if you’ve lost even a tiny amount may be detrimental to your plan. Not seeing any change in your weight over a day or two days can be discouraging and make you feel like you’re not progressing. Weigh yourself no more than once a week; with this schedule, you’re much more likely to see a real difference. Remember, healthy weight loss is a long-term process, not a sprint.

Remind yourself of your goal

Make a reminder of your goal weight tangible—add it to your phone calendar, put it on your fridge, or carry a piece of paper in your purse or wallet. This will help you stay on track daily with your diet or exercise and maintain focus on making progress every day.

Drink plenty of water

There are a lot of benefits and zero downsides to drinking water throughout the day. It helps flush out waste, keeps your skin and joints healthy and hydrated, helps regulate blood pressure, etc. It can also help you cut down on overeating. By drinking water before meals, you’ll have a sense of fullness that may help you reduce that amount of food you take in.

Give yourself a break

Staying on a healthy weight plan doesn’t mean continually punishing yourself until you reach your goal. Allow yourself a “splurge” meal or dessert once a week (within moderate portion sizes) where you can eat whatever you want. It won’t undo the previous work and willpower you’ve already put into your weight loss and will help you feel less deprived.

Try the 10-minute challenge

Studies suggest that sudden food cravings only stick around for about 10 minutes. The next time you feel that you absolutely have to have that cookie or slice of pie, set a timer for 10 minutes and use that time to get out of the kitchen and do something to take your mind off food. You might find that the craving disappears on its own—and that you’ll be able to make it to your next meal unscathed. 

Cut back on alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are often a bigger-than-you-expect source of calories, especially cocktails and mixed drinks that have sweet or creamy ingredients. You already know that alcohol should always be approached with caution; if you’re trying to lose weight, look for alternative beverages with your meals and on the weekends.

Scrumptious food will always be a part of the holidays. But with the help of these tips, it doesn’t have to take its toll on your weight and health long afterward.

Jennifer Rooke

Jennifer Rooke

Specializes in Preventive and Lifestyle Medicine

Learn more about Dr. Rooke.