Post Holiday Indulgence: Tips to get back on track

Food & Recipes January 2, 2015

Alright… the diet starts tomorrow, I swear

Famous last words, right? At one point or another, we’ve all heard ourselves say it. After that last bite of those holiday cookies, I swear I’m going go extra hard tomorrow. I’m going to get back on that diet. I’m going to give up sweets forever!

Just stop. Stop making empty promises. You know the more you say it, it’s never going to happen.

Face reality. Okay, so you ate a little bit too much over the holidays. Maybe more than just a “little bit.” Quit whining, stressing yourself out, and making empty promises. All you have to do is have the right mindset and get yourself back in the game.

Here are some tips to get back on track

STEP 1: You want to jump into this head first, and quickly. The first few days are going to suck, sure, but if you push yourselves, it’ll all be worth it. The best way to get back on track, post-holiday, is to get yourself back on a routine. This means eating on a schedule and going to the gym on a schedule. EVERY DAY. Whether you’re working out in the morning, afternoon, or night, and typically have 5-6 smaller meals or 3 larger meals a day, or whatever, get yourself back in a rhythm. Again, this doesn’t mean starve yourself and push yourself to the limit. But if you feel that extra motivation (perhaps fueled by a bit of guilt) to eat a little healthier, do a longer, more strenuous workout, then go for it.

STEP 2: Keep it simple.

A little bit of guilt, a little bit of depravation, is good. No, I’m not telling you to go crazy and “go extra hard” on your workouts and workout 3 times a day and revert to starvation to rid yourself of the damage that those holiday cookies did. The biggest mistake that people make after the holidays is over-doing their workouts and eating too little. And doing this for a couple days. And then stopping altogether and going back to indulging themselves.

Keep it simple and just put the work in. Eat clean and exercise for a few days before rewarding yourself with something small. It’ll be way more worth it and you won’t keep piling on the guilt.

STEP 3: For those of you that want to make that extra push…

Work out in “fasted” state.

What I mean by this. Wake up, don’t have breakfast (this goes against what all those fitness magazines out there tell you), and go to the gym. You’d be surprised as to how much energy you have and how you’ll feel after your workout is done. Plus this sheds more body fat by having your body rely on its energy stores for fuel. What I usually do is I’ll wake up, have a coffee, and then head to the gym for an intense workout. Doing cardio in a fasted state is also a great way to lose that bit of fat you gained over the holidays. After working out, make sure to have sufficient protein and carbs. I typically will have a scoop of whey protein, and ½ cup of oatmeal, or a banana. You could also do some eggs with a piece of fruit, or any type of combo as long as you’re flushing carbs and protein into your system right after working out.

Limit the carbs.

Yes, I realize I was just talking about eating carbs. You need carbs especially if you’re doing those intense workouts and pushing yourself at the gym. But you don’t need to be eating any more carbs than you need to. If you choose to have carbs, leave them for AFTER the gym. Cut out any breads, pastas, and rice. Gluten-free carbs are a great option. You can check out gluten-free restaurants here if you are on the go! Stick to whole grains, fruits, veggies. Try to stay away from carbs in the morning unless it’s after your workout. The reason for this is that your body is more insulin sensitive in the morning right after waking, so you don’t want to eat anything with a high GI index (aka white breads or even fruits like bananas) that will raise your insulin even more. This won’t help you in burning fat.

Lean Protein – the Fish diet

If you don’t like fish, well then this won’t pertain to you. Again, this is from personal experience, and it may not work for everyone. But I find that when I choose fish over any other type of protein, I feel lighter, healthier, and am able to shed off the pounds easier. Try swapping out that steak or grilled chicken with some salmon, tilapia, or other types of fish. If you have fish for dinner every night for a week (just try it!) you’ll be shocked at the difference. Pair your grilled fish with some sautéed or steamed vegetables, and you’re set.

Sip on that protein

Yes ladies – we can drink protein too. Having whey after your workouts not only helps in recovering faster, but it also flushes protein into your system that grows your muscles. And yes more muscle means less fat on your body. Whey protein (one scoop and pair it with unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk for a thicker shake!) also curbs your appetite. It gives you that sweet, dessert-taste without all the calories, fat, and carbs. This is a great way to wean yourself off of those holiday sweets and treats you were having every day! This gets you back into that mentality of, no I can’t eat 6 chocolate chip cookies a day, but I still get to enjoy some sweets in my life.

Workouts – Weightlifting and HIIT

Quickest way to shed those holiday pounds – do high intensity interval training for your cardio and heavy weightlifting. Heavy. Weightlifting. To burn fat, you have to gain muscle. Best way to do this is lifting heavy, focusing on big compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench press, and then fitting in 4-5 sessions of cardio per week. HIIT burns more calories AFTER the workout is done and it preserves more muscle than steady-state cardio. Do 20-30 minutes after your weightlifting routine to maximize burning fat.

And… that’s all I got. After a time of indulging yourself and being in a food coma that lasted a week (and it felt OH so good) it’s time to get real. It’s time to work hard. It’s time to push yourself. So quit the complaining and get your ass to the gym.

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