Although the winter holidays are primarily associated with joy and cheer, they are also a time of excessive self-indulgence. And who can blame you?! It is almost impossible to abstain from indulging in delicious foods, feasts, family gatherings, traveling, and parties marking the end of a long year. Not to mention exercising is probably the last thing on your wish list during the holidays. However, getting back in shape after the winter holidays is as important as getting a well-deserved break from your daily routine. In fact, it is best if you use your newly found New Year’s resolutions to motivate yourself to lose weight permanently. We are here to help you ease into the process.
This is the perfect opportunity to commit to a fitness program you will follow through long after the winter holidays. Of course, apart from exercising, this also includes introducing wide-ranging changes into your everyday behavior. Let’s see how.
Start getting back in shape slowly...
Of course, being motivated is essential, but the last thing you want to do is deplete it too fast. Many people start off exercising vigorously or following a too demanding or restrictive diet. Sure, you want to see progress as soon as possible. But, going back to your preferred weight requires stamina and persistence next to motivation.
If you haven’t been hitting the gym over the holidays, your body has deconditioned itself by now. In other words, it cannot withstand the usual intensity of exercising you might be used to. If you go overboard, you may experience excruciating sore muscles, severe muscle strain, or even injury. In contrast, sore muscles are pretty standard after a period of inactivity, and thus, the least of your worries.
Do not be too hard on yourself if you cannot lift or run as much as you want. Lowering your expectations a bit is a good thing that will help you stay motivated. So, go for lighter and shorter exercises. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising. If you want to clean up your diet, it helps to eliminate one type of food at a time so that you do not just give up on the diet entirely. If you had a post-holiday leftover binge, do not declare defeat too soon. Bounce right back up the next day.
Just exercising is not enough...
If you want to get back in shape for good, it is best to balance out your eating and exercising. Just think about it. Once you jump back into exercising, your body will need the proper nutrients to sustain itself. And if your diet is inadequate, you will never lose those winter holiday pounds, either because you do not have enough energy or because you are overeating.
The diet should be just right...
As you will probably go back to work or uni after the holidays, going for a highly restrictive diet might make your daily functioning a whole lot more complicated. If you feel low on energy due to dietary changes you think are necessary to lose weight, you may consider introducing natural supplements that can help you keep the weight loss healthy. Apart from being low in calories, your diet needs to be high in proteins, fibers, vitamins, and other nutrients that will give you enough energy to work out regularly. That is why good dietary supplementation is important for achieving healthy weight loss.
Also, the switch from a relaxed holiday atmosphere to a demanding, stress-packed schedule might instigate occasional cravings for fatty or sugary foods. Indulging yourself is completely fine from time to time, especially if you burn the calories through exercise.
Find an exercise buddy...
Having an ally in the gym could be extremely helpful. Having someone who can motivate you to go out and exercise when you don’t feel like it will make it a lot easier to get back in shape. Also, you will always have someone who will encourage you to do one more exercise or run a bit faster than you would on your own. Not to mention it is not as fun when you have to work out alone.
If you cannot find an exercise buddy, maybe you should consider taking up a group sport or going to a fitness class. Or, if traditional forms of physical activity are not your thing, you can join a hiking club, try out boxing, or dancing. Whatever you choose to do, it will probably be easier to keep up when in a group.
Set a definite goal and stick to it...
Set your sights on a clear-cut goal after the winter holidays. This will make the weight-loss regime seem more like a game and less like a punishment. Of course, take small, realistic steps and raise the bar gradually. Challenge yourself to run half a mile more or five minutes longer than the last time. Smaller weekly challenges should fit into larger monthly targets such as ‘exercise four times a week’ or ‘do a crow pose without falling’.
If you find it helpful, your goal could be numerical. However, forcing yourself to lose a particular number of pounds or inches might backfire on your sense of achievement if you fail to do so.
Why? First of all, your weight is not a good indicator of your weight loss progress. You could lose a lot of water in the first few weeks and then reach a plateau after some time. Also, as you gain muscle, your body weight might increase instead of decrease.
That is why you ought to keep your goals focused, small, and realistic. What also helps is to design little rewards rather than restrict yourself all the time. So, if you manage to fulfill a set goal, you could treat yourself to a day in a spa, new leggings, new shoes, or whatever it is that would inspire you to move forward on your journey to getting back in shape after the winter holidays.