As you may have noticed, it's hard to not gain weight over the holidays. Even to just maintain is quite a feat! There are a lot of useful weight loss tips out there but here are a few of my favorites for the new year.
Eat a handful of nuts a day. It may seem counterintuitive to eat fat to lose fat but nuts may become your best diet ally, especially if you eat them in place of high calorie, high saturated fat snacks. Nuts are a nutritious plant protein packed with minerals (iron, potassium), B vitamins, fiber, and healthful fats. Recent studies have looked at the type of fat in certain nuts—unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids—that can help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body (that may lead to diseases like cancer). Studies have also shown that dieters who eat nuts daily are more satisfied and able to keep weight off. Try these when you need that last snack before bed to keep your stomach happy through the night. All nuts are high in calories so keep the portion to a small handful a day. A mixture of a few almonds, walnuts, and peanuts is your most nutritious bet.
Keep a food journal. If you think you're eating all the right foods and still not losing weight, you must try this. Study after study shows that people underestimate the amount of food they eat, specifically portion sizes. I don't advocate living a life of counting calories, but if you're in a weight gain rut, do this for a week (or at least three days, including one weekend day). Becoming more aware of what goes in your mouth and the true amount of calories you're taking in might be quite a shocker!
Move it. The main benefit of exercise isn't really to burn calories because studies have shown that people may think of exercise as a ticket to a free-for-all eating binge afterwards, negating the benefit of those calories burned. The perks of exercise are that it gives you energy, increases your self-esteem, and helps you stay motivated to follow a well-rounded healthy lifestyle plan. Here's a simple but effective prescription to work up to: Do a favorite one-hour cardio exercise class three times a week (step, rebounding, kickboxing, spinning, dance) and at least 30 minutes of strength training (muscle toning, Pilates) 2-3 times a week. And switch it up! Participating in a variety of classes ensures you are training a wide range of muscles. It also helps prevent boredom, a big reason why people stop exercising.