There are hundreds if not thousands of tips on social media and at the grocery store magazine rack to help you control or lose weight during the holidays. However, there are only a few sure fire ways to do it, and there are no shortcuts. Below are are six tips that actually work and are based on sound science and nutrition.
1. Know what your Basal Metabolic Rate Is
The body requires a significant amount of energy (i.e. calories) just to function each day. Your body must breathe, circulate blood, control body temperature, grow new cells, support brain and nerve activity, and contract muscles. Staying alive is hard work. The amount of energy (in the form of calories) that the body needs to function while resting for 24 hours is known as the Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. This number of calories reflects how much energy your body requires to support vital body functions if you were resting in bed for an entire day. BMR is different for everyone based on age, gender, and weight. Use a good calculator like the one at My Fitness Pal.
2. Keep Track of How Much You Move (and Move More)
Buy a good activity tracker and use it. Fitbit and Jawbone Up are both great. These wearables will keep track of how much you move, and tell you how many calories above your BMR that you can eat on a daily basis to stay within your limits. Walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Get your heart rate up if you can. But whatever you do, just move.
3. Record What You Eat in a Food Journal
Knowing how much you eat is critical. Calories are sneaky. A bite here and there adds up. Make sure that what you're eating in daily calories is within the limit of your daily BMR plus how much a wearable shows you burn just going about your day. My Fitness Pal is the one we use.
4. Have a Macronutrient Balanced Diet
It's not just the calories you eat. It's the kind of calories. Your body burns carbs faster than proteins and proteins faster than fats. If you're not eating a macronutrient balanced diet at regular intervals during your day, you're likely to get hungry and blow your calories. This is a good article on the subject and a Google search will help you learn more about macronutrients.
5. Avoid Alcohol
Once alcohol is in your system, your body makes metabolizing it a priority. That means that it will stop metabolizing anything else in order to first get the alcohol metabolized. The reason for this is because unlike protein, carbohydrates, and fat, there is nowhere for alcohol to be stored in our body. It has to be metabolized first. If you drink, you will likely not lose weight.
6. Consult a Doctor or a Good Nutritionist
Don't take our word for it. Consult with your doctor or a good nutritionist. There are no gimmicks, people. Wellness and weight control or loss is hard work and requires a holistic approach based on sound principles. A professional is the best place to turn if you really need to get it right.