The festive season is a time to indulge in all those glorious goodies that are far too sinful to enjoy year-round. Come December, the dedication to healthy eating and daily gym sessions comes to a standstill, and is replaced by the urge to devour every butter-centred, or chocolate-covered thing in sight. But there are ways to survive the aftermath of the festive season binge.
While giving into temptation over the holidays is nothing short of a cake walk, returning to a healthy lifestyle in the New Year is far more challenging. In the spirit of the New Year’s resolutions you’re sure to have made, here are seven festive fat-busting tips that you can use to get back in shape for summer.
1 Be strategic
Getting back on track is easier said than done, but not impossible. Consider what stands between you and achieving your goal – even if it’s something as simple as getting out of bed for a morning run – and make a few strategic adjustments. Dig out your running shoes from the cupboard and leave them on your side of the bed. Dust off your gym gear and hang it up where it’s likely to be the very first thing you see when you open your eyes in the morning. This makes it far easier to get started with an early-morning workout, even if you’re still half asleep.
2 Clean out the pantry
Even the strong-willed find it hard to resist the snack cupboard, which is why it may be necessary to remove every source of temptation from your home. Grab a big plastic bag and clear out all those cakes and sweets, chocolates and chips. You can pass it on to a friend or neighbour, or if you’re feeling particularly charitable, you could donate the lot to a nearby children’s home – they’re sure to appreciate it. For those with a sweet tooth, consider eating a fruit like an apple or banana to satisfy sugar cravings without boosting the calorie count too much.
3 It’s the little things
You don’t have to run a 10km every day to get fit and healthy; there’s merit in taking things slow at first and not biting off more than you can chew. Pushing a button and waiting for the ding of an elevator, however, won’t help you lose those kilograms. Rather take the stairs – it’s about seven times more effective in burning calories than taking a lift. Take the dog out for a walk around the neighbourhood. Not only will you break a good sweat, but good ol’ Rex will love you for it.
4 Eat, and eat well
People often confuse the word ‘healthy’ with the term ‘self-imposed torture’, but depriving your body of essential nutrients isn’t the way to go if you want to lose weight and maintain a balanced lifestyle. Eating a good breakfast everyday can actually help with weight loss. Yep, that’s right. Since the body goes without any nourishment during slumber, a healthy breakfast in the morning stimulates the metabolism and in turn helps the body work harder to burn fat. Follow this up with a light lunch and dinner, remembering to include a large portion of vegetables in both meals.
5 Enlist a gym buddy
Some people enjoy the tranquillity of training alone, without anyone around to cause distraction. For others, staying focused and committed to a workout plan proves a little difficult. Having a gym buddy – someone to give you company at the gym or on a run – offers a support system that will better your chances of sticking to a workout routine. It can also be way more fun to have a friend to work out with, even better if it’s someone who is on a similar or slightly higher level of fitness than you are, keeping you both motivated and sufficiently challenged. It also helps to have someone along who shares your goals and understands how far you can go, as well as your absolute limit.
6 Track your progress
There is a range of fitness trackers on the market to help you keep your eye on the prize and your health in good order. The fitness devices and wearables available at the moment are a useful, yet slightly pricier option to the many free mobile phone tracking apps available that work just as well. With these trackers you can easily keep a record of fitness goals, how many calories you’ve burned as well as the amount of calories you’ve consumed, depending on the specific features available. Have a look at the options in your nearest tech store, or check the app store on your smartphone for the most suitable one for you.
7 Be kind to yourself
In the end it’s important to remember that there are no quick fixes to losing weight; anyone that says different is probably lying or trying to sell you something. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to lose every last kilogram by the end of the week, or you may find yourself doing major damage to your health and well-being in the long run.
The temptation to skip the gym and gorge on tasty treats over the festive period is often unavoidable, but with these great ideas to burn fat and get back in shape, everyone can start the new year on a positive note. Well, until the start of the next festive season at least.