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If you’re looking for a miracle diet that will make you lose ten kilograms of fat in a month, you’re probably going to be disappointed. We will not offer you anything like that. Nor are we going to convince you that you need a January detox to shed a few kilos. Instead, today we’re going to focus on tips to finally lose weight permanently without drastic diets.
It doesn’t matter if you have been trying to do this for several years or you are making this resolution for the first time this year. Whatever your starting point, today we’ll show you how to break free from your distracted mode not just after Christmas, and gradually incorporate simple steps that will lead you to your dream goal. This year, you won’t just end up like the quitters who give up after a few days, you’ll see it through to a successful end.
16 tips to lose weight after the holidays
1. Get back to your pre-Christmas life
You might be thinking, why would you want to go back to the situation you were in before Christmas? After all, you were already unhappy with yourself then and told yourself you needed a change…
Try to objectively evaluate for yourself how your meals looked from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. Did you, by any chance, indulge a little more than normal? When you go to work or school, you probably don’t have as much time to think about treats during the day. When you do get a craving, sweets may not always be so accessible to you. But at Christmas, it’s different. You’re making the rounds, tables are sagging under piles of food and you don’t know what to try first. Often, your family will give you some sweets, sandwiches and other goodies that will literally be calling to you from the fridge: “Come and get me, I’m all yours.”
Don’t try to hurriedly turn everything around from January 1 and get on a track that even a perfectionist nutritionist would be ashamed of. Rather, return to the habits that came naturally to you before Christmas. That will now be your starting point, from which you will bounce back and gradually improve.
2. Get rid of leftover Christmas food
It’s hard to get back into pre-Christmas mode when you still have so many tempting foods at home. If you know you’re not the kind of person who can have just one biscuit with your coffee but would eat the whole box in a heartbeat, it’s better to get rid of the leftovers. Of course, we don’t want to encourage food waste, so don’t throw anything away. There are many other ways to get goodies out of the house in a more practical way.
You can gift it to a friend, other family members or take food to people who need it. A great way to get rid of sweets temporarily is to freeze them. You won’t have treats in plain sight, and you’ll see that when you have visitors, you’ll appreciate having something to offer them without the hassle of lengthy preparation. For special occasions, hide the alcohol too. It’s not exactly an ideal partner for weight loss either and often delays progress.
3. Add fruit and vegetables to every meal
Did you know that everyone should eat at least 500-600g of fruit and vegetables a day, ideally in a 2:1 ratio in favour of vegetables? If you follow this recommendation, you will increase your intake of important micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. In addition, you will also feel fuller after eating. Plus an added bonus is that fruit usually contains less sugar than traditional sweets, making them a better choice. [1-2]
If you are trying to lose weight, fruit, and vegetables will become your best friend. Try to have a piece with every meal. An apple or orange will complement a sweet breakfast, and you can have a light salad for lunch. And no, we don’t mean potato salad with mayonnaise, take a break from that again for a while.
When you add a portion of fruit or vegetables to each meal, you are likely to eat less of the other ingredients that have a higher energy value due to the fibre contained. You can easily reduce your caloric intake and start losing weight.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of fruit, you shouldn’t miss our article How Many Calories Does Fruit Have and Which Vitamins and Minerals Does It Contain?
4. Eat more protein
Protein is a key macronutrient that you should focus on when losing weight. [3-7]
- It helps maintain the muscle mass you’ve laboriously built up at the gym.
- Contributes to the growth of muscle mass, thanks to essential amino acids contained, which are the basic building unit of muscles.
- Involved in the maintenance of healthy bones.
- Has a positive effect on immune system functions.
- Helps repair muscle microtrauma that is caused by strength training.
- Increases the feeling of satiety after a meal.
- Can help reduce sweet cravings, thanks to its positive effect on hormone levels. Protein can reduce the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which leads to greater satisfaction after eating.
- Its metabolism burns the most calories. Protein has the highest thermic effect of all the macronutrients, which is around 20-30%. This means that out of 100 kcal ingested from protein, the body will actually use 70-80 kcal.
As you can see, protein not only affects your body structure and its health, but also how you feel. Therefore, you should definitely not underestimate its intake. General recommendations states that you should stick to a daily amount of 0.8 g/kg TH (body weight). However, this value is sufficient, for example, for inactive people with a sedentary lifestyle. For more active individuals, athletes and dieters, a higher intake is recommended within the following range of 1.2-2.2 g/kg TH. A high-quality whey or plant-based vegan protein can help with sufficient protein intake.
If you’re looking for inspiration on where to get your protein from, take a peek at our article How to Sneak More Protein into Your Diet?
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5. Speed up your metabolism and move regularly
You have planned to start moving regularly from Monday – walking 10,000 steps every day, go jogging for an hour three times a week and put in four strength training sessions a week? It’s time to come back down to earth…
If the most you have moved up until now has been walking to your car to take you to work in the morning, it would be naïve to think that everything will be different now. Don’t try to imitate the routine of athletes who are used to moving regularly. Adapt all activity to your current lifestyle. For a person who has never engages in any sport, going for a walk for an hour three times a week can be a challenge. Similarly, it can be challenging to get off the bus a stop early and walk at least a kilometre.
What might it look like for somebody who doesn’t exercise to naturally incorporate more activity into their daily routine?
- In the afternoon after work, get off two stops early and walk home.
- Don’t drive to the shop two kilometres away and carry your shopping on your own. Taking a walk with a load of bags can be a challenging workout.
- Stop using elevators and escalators, the stairs will become your new exercise for a toned butt.
- During the week, try to find at least two hours of time for any sporting activity. It can be swimming, a brisk walk, strength training, home workout or even badminton with a friend.
Gradually you will see that even such small changes can bring nice results. Once your body gets used to an activity, you can add more. Always remember that it’s not just what you do in an hour at the gym that counts. What matters is your overall lifestyle and natural activity during the day, which ultimately burns more calories than regular exercise. Read more about this in our article What Is the Most Important Factor in Weight Loss?
How to maintain a more active lifestyle?
If an active lifestyle is a given for you, try to focus more on regularity and achieving specific goals.
- Set your activity days and stick to it. Think of your workout as an appointment that you have scheduled. You’re not going to cancel it just because you don’t feel like it, are you?
- Set new goals you want to achieve in your given sport. This will propel you forward. For strength training, it might be heavier weights on the barbell, for cycling it might be a distance covered in a year, for running it might be a faster pace.
You can read more about staying motivated and achieving your goals in our article 5 Tips to Stay Active, Motivated and Keep You Exercising at Home.
6. Do not deprive yourself of any foods
You know the saying that forbidden fruit tastes best? Maybe you wouldn’t normally think of having something sweet or pizza. But as soon as you get the idea in your head that you just can’t do that right now, what’s likely to happen? You’ll crave that certain food even more. There’s no need to try to trick your head into craving chocolate and chase it away with a cucumber. Just like there’s no need to deprive yourself of eating sweets. Try hard to get the ingrained division of foods into healthy and unhealthy out of your head once and for all.
The only foods you should not eat are:
- those which you have an allergy to
- those that cause digestion difficulties
Otherwise, there is really no need to deprive yourself. The problem is often not the food itself, but the quantity. Fast food and other delicacies that you used to consider unhealthy have a high energy density but a low nutritional density. Thus, in small quantities, they contain quite a lot of energy but few micronutrients that are important for our bodies. However, this does not mean that you have to give up such food. It is just appropriate to have smaller quantities than you have been used to. The first bites taste the best anyway. Enjoy it to the max. 
It is quite likely that if you deprived yourself of such foods, you would probably succumb over time anyway. Your head would then quite possibly react that it doesn’t matter anyway, since you have broken the diet ban, and you would overeat everything you have denied yourself. After the short-term pleasure would come the regret that you are back where you were and you just cannot do it. Thus, stop dividing foods into good and bad or healthy and unhealthy, and this just might be the key to breaking this vicious cycle of denial and overeating.
If you don’t believe that you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favourite treats when losing weight, you shouldn’t miss our article How to Eat Pizza, Sweets, and Still Lose Weight with IIFYM?
7. Avoid extreme diets
Unfortunately, there are still people among us for whom weight loss is associated with dieting, detoxes and similar extremes, which often prohibit one or more food groups. They typically start losing weight by typing the phrase “best diet” into Google and are inspired by the extremes that the search engine recommends. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
To lose weight, you don’t have to avoid carbohydrates, gluten, stick to a dairy diet or eat only when the moon is full. It’s much easier. Just be in a calorie deficit, which simply means you burn more energy than you take in, there are no major complexities involved. To make calculating your energy intake easier, we’ve created a calculator that does all the maths for you.
If you stick to a reasonable calorie deficit and don’t go to the extreme, you will see for yourself that losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult. And there is no need to even give up your favourite foods. Plus, you don’t have to worry about extreme hunger, uncontrollable cravings, or problems associated with low energy intake. We discuss these more in our article How to Fight Menstrual Loss and Other Symptoms of the Female Athletic Triad?
8. Drink more
When losing weight, people often focus on what they eat, but somehow forget that drinking water is also important. Maybe you know someone amongst your friends who claim that they eat almost nothing but keep gaining weight. Perhaps they forget to mention that they drink two litres of Coke during the day (900 kcal), have a big hot chocolate with full cream milk at Starbucks after lunch (729 kcal) and two of their favourite cold beers after dinner (500 kcal). 
These beverages can add an extra 2,129 kcal to your daily energy intake. Just to give you an idea – this is an amount that can provide an average woman energy for a whole day. We haven’t even factored in food intake. So try to drink more tap water, which contains no calories, is readily available, and is cheaper overall than the calorie-dense drinks mentioned above. However, you can also spice up your drinking regimen with tea sweetened with calorie-free sweeteners, sparkling minerals or sugar-free flavoured powder.
If you’re wondering how many calories your favourite alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages have, then you shouldn’t miss our article Where Are Liquid Calories Hidden and How Do These Empty Calories Prevent You from Losing Weight?
9. Use smaller plates
When serving food, you probably focus mainly on what you put on a plate. However, have you also thought about how important the plates you use actually are. There’s a big difference in how the same portion looks on a smaller plate, and vice versa on a larger one. Even research shows that compared to 1990, the size of plates used has increased by 44%. This also makes a difference to what a full plate looked like then and what it looks like now. Hand in hand with this then go larger portions of food, less active lifestyles and a rise in obesity. [10-12]
Knowing this, let’s try to trick your mind. Get a smaller plate to eat from. You’ll find that you’ll feel better after you’ve finished eating than if you’d just loaded up half of a big plate. You can practice a similar rule with desserts. For example, you can put a piece of cake on a smaller saucer to create the illusion of a full plate again.
However, you can also use this trick to your advantage in the opposite way. If you want to satisfy your taste buds and your mind with a glass of wine, adjust the size again. Instead of a glass that can hold an entire bottle. So sip wine from a tasting glass that can hold no more than 200 ml when fully filled.
Are you having trouble keeping up with your fluids intake because you can’t manage to drink a whole glass of water? Try filling a larger container but not completely full. If you are struggling to eat enough vegetables, put your serving on a bigger plate. It’ll look like a smaller and more manageable portion that you can eat.
You can read more about how to make balanced meals and healthy serving sizes in our article What Is a Healthy Diet and How to Learn to Eat Healthily?
10. Do not underestimate the importance of mental well-being
During stressful times, eating is one area where this problem quickly starts to manifest itself. Some people stop eating altogether and begin to make up the deficit once the stress is over. Others, on the other hand, already seek comfort in food during stressful periods and use chocolate, ice cream, French fries or pizza to try to induce a feeling of happiness, at least for a while. Both ways are wrong and probably won’t lead you to a sustainable slim figure.
Therefore, even under stress, try to stick to your current eating routine. Ideally, prepare each portion in advance in a lunch box so that you always have food on hand and do not have to worry about what you are going to eat. This way, you can invest your efforts in eliminating the cause of your stress.
These activities can help reduce stress:
- writing down your feelings
- time spent with loved ones
- dietary supplements – adaptogens, B vitamins, l-theanine, glycine, magnesium
For more effective tips on how to deal with stress, read our article Why Is Stress Dangerous and How to Reduce It?
11. Get enough sleep
Do you feel that the less you sleep, the more energy you burn? This may not be entirely true. Try to remember how you feel when you are awake all night and get up early in the morning. You’re probably tired, and you try to fight off that feeling with some treat for breakfast, ideally a sugar-rich breakfast, and a sweet coffee to go with it. To some extent, hormones are responsible for these cravings and hunger.
Our body can react to lack of sleep by producing more of the stress hormone, cortisol. However, it also reduces the level of the satiety hormone (leptin) and increases the level of the hunger hormone (ghrelin). You then tend to load up on larger portions of food and also reach for higher calorie foods. In addition, fatigue can cause you to avoid activities that you would otherwise take for granted. In the end, sleep deprivation leads to weight gain rather than weight loss. [13–18]
So make sleep a priority and try to get 7-9 hours of it every night. Its positive effect will be felt not only in weight loss, but also in better concentration and other aspects of your life. If you would like to learn how to get a royal night’s sleep, you shouldn’t miss our article How To Fall Asleep Quickly? Try Our Simple Tips For A Better Sleep.
12. Try new ingredients and recipes
Just because you’ve decided to lose weight doesn’t mean you now have to give up everything you love. What about giving less calorie-dense alternatives to your favourite foods a chance?
- If you love pizza, you can prepare protein dough and put a high protein ham and vegetables on it instead of fatty salami.
- ZERO noodles, are also worth trying, as they can replace pasta in recipes and significantly reduce the caloric value of food.
- For inspiration, you can use our fitness recipes, where you will find exact methods to prepare protein-packed meals with lower calorie values. We guarantee that you will enjoy your meal every time.
Therefore, do not look at weight loss as a limitation. Rather, see it as an opportunity to learn to cook new meals that will replenish your body with all the necessary nutrients. You’ll find that your wallet will thank you. You can then use the money you save to buy a gym membership.
13. Focus on your food
Perhaps everyone has experienced the situation when they opened a bag of chips during a thriller movie and unknowingly ate them before they knew of the plot. You probably didn’t even enjoy the treat, and you added more than 500 kcal to your daily energy intake (the energy equivalent of an average lunch).
Unfortunately, people are not able to give their full attention to two different activities – they either concentrate on the chips or on the movie. So either you miss the details of the thrilling plot or you eat the food without enjoying it. But when you know the principle behind how concentration works, you can use it to your advantage. So become familiar with the concept of mindful eating, which is related to the philosophy of mindfulness. [19–21]
It is an approach that focuses on the present moment and awareness of your current feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. You can carry over these practices into the area of eating, and improve your overall habits. When food is in front of you, you should give it your full attention. Turn off the TV, put down the phone and just feel the texture and flavours of the food. This will make you eat slower, more consciously and you will learn to recognise satiety better, thus making weight loss much easier. [22-24]
You can learn more about the mindful eating concept and its positive impact on health in our article 30-Day Challenge to Help You Lose Weight and Eat Healthily.
14. Consider taking some dietary supplements
When you are working your way to a goal, in this case a slimmer figure, you somehow naturally tend to look for shortcuts and anything that will make it a little easier. Again, I’ll have to disappoint you, there is no miracle concoction that will conjure up a slimmer figure for us overnight. Still, we do have a few practical extras that can help and make achieving your goal a little easier. Let’s take a look.
- Protein powder – a dietary supplement that every gym-goer has tried at some point. This is a great way to easily get more protein into your diet, thus increasing satiety, reducing sweet cravings, contributing to recovery, growth, and maintenance of muscle mass.
- Fibre – an important component of our diet that is essential for healthy digestion. Moreover, it can also contribute to a higher sense of satiety. In addition to fruits, vegetables and wholegrain products, you can increase your intake by including psyllium or apple fibre. The soluble fibre glucomannan, which can attach fifty times more water to itself than it weighs, is also worth a try. This can help to induce satiety.
- Appetite control – a supplement for all those who are trying to lose weight and face constant hunger and cravings. Contains HCA natural fat burner and white bean extract. These act as carbohydrate blockers, allowing them to help reduce energy intake and lose weight. There is also no shortage of the popular apple cider vinegar and chromium, which contributes to the proper metabolism of macronutrients and also helps to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
- Fat burners – substances that can help burn a little more calories at rest and during exercise, and thus promote weight loss.
Although dietary supplements can make your journey to a slimmer figure a little easier, don’t expect miracles. Simply put, no pill will do the workout for you, and no healthy lunch will be prepared by itself. It is all up to you. Plus, you’ll be all the happier with your results.
If you want to learn more about fat burners and their effect on weight loss, you should not miss our article How to Choose and Use the Most Effective Fat Burner?
15. Don’t do it alone
Things always go better when you have a partner. Try to find someone to share your journey with. It could be your partner, a parent, or even a friend. The ideal is to confide in the person who believes you can do it. The last thing you want to hear when you have a crisis is: “I told you couldn’t do it, screw it.” You better find someone who can get you off the couch and go to the gym to support you.
If you don’t have anyone in your close circle to share your journey with, you can join various online communities that provide support. Personal trainers or nutritional therapists can also be great motivators and make it easier for you to get started. But for some, just sharing results with their friends on different apps may be enough. It’s up to you which option you choose. It’s always better not to be on your own.
16. Don’t expect everything immediately
Deliberately think about how long you have gradually gained weight to the point where you are now. It probably didn’t happen overnight, did it? Therefore, you can’t expect your figure to become slim overnight. Everything takes time and you have the whole process in your hands. Keep that in mind when temptation strikes.
Fancy adding two more pieces of cake after dessert? Then think about whether this short-term pleasure is worth moving away from your goal. It’s up to you and your priorities. In the end, however, you’ll be happier that you have three centimetres less on your waistline than you did a week ago when you had cake.
What should you remember?
Losing weight doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Often the hardest part is finding the determination to get started. If you don’t overdo it at the start and don’t make many big changes right away, you will see that it can be done. Be mindful of your starting point and don’t try to get it perfect overnight. Instead, slowly incorporate subtle changes into your life that you will gradually adopt. And when you look back on your journey in a few months, you’ll be surprised at how much your life has changed. In fact, it wasn’t that hard. So arm yourself with patience and believe that this time you really can do it.
Do you know someone amongst your friends who would like to finally lose weight permanently this year? Share this article with them and make their journey to reach their goal easier.
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