Let’s Get Rid of Holiday Fat!


Let’s face this cold fact – you have to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. We usually eat less than what we normally do during holidays, but that’s not enough. Either your metabolism will slow down by itself or you’ll develop nasty health conditions on the long run. That said, experts still say exercise coupled with a healthy diet remains the best way to lose weight.

Well, you need to do the math if you want a strict regimen for your weight loss program. In fact, runners have a penchant for tracking how far they ran vis-a-vis the calorie they burn per mile. Other factors include the humidity, wind, and so on.

How many calories to burn for reaching the ideal weight?

The universal advice says 3.500 calories.

As stated earlier, we need to incur calorie deficiency to attain weight loss. People say you need to lose about 500 calories a day, for a full week, in order to lose a pound. That’s how the 3.500 calorie-meter was derived. Yet, that is wrong by a very wide margin.

A more reliable figure says 7.000 calories per pound. Now that’s quite a lot, even disheartening at worst. This means you have to curb much more calories and this might even cause negative effects in your health. It is not like you are going to run 5 miles per day over a year just to get your weight goals, only star movies do that.

Keeping realistic goals will make you less disappointed when your weight loss begins to plateau. You will also likely to stick with your plan in that way. Yes – the only successful way to curb down your holiday fat is to hang on with your program. Nothing more.

The inverse relationship between weight loss and your appetite

This is actually an interesting oxymoron. You want to eat less so as to lose weight but your appetite grows when you lose some. In a shocking paper released by Hall, they studied how life of some of the Biggest Loser participants went 6 years after the show. The result? They gained about 70% of what they lost while they were in the popular show. Ouch. On a more positive note, they still lost about 30 percent of their weight in six years, which means the regimen is actually a success.

A more important term introduced to the scientific community is the metabolic adaptation. It is the way our body acts to weight changes. This is actually a tricky system. Our body wants to help us lose weight when we gain some. Hence, it burns more calories each day.

Shed some fats

However, the same can be said when we start to shed some fats from our body. This is due to the fact our body worries that we are veering towards starvation. Then, it slows our metabolism in various ways, which puzzle scientists up to this point. In other terms, our body wants to gain the pounds you lost in your weight loss regimen. I guess we can now stop wondering why we reach a certain plateau in our program.

Hall worked out the numbers, for us to better understand this mechanism. In his published work in Obesity last November, he explained that our appetite actually increases by 45 calories for every pound we lose. Our metabolism also slows down by 10 calories to compensate for the same loss in our weight. Whether we like it or not, these two are working involuntarily. Hence, we gain 55 calories a day for every pound we lost.

Nonetheless, there are disputes in this working theory. More than 10.000 individuals who lost more than 30 pounds have preserved their weight for more than 5 years, according to the National Weight Control Registry. Even more encouraging is that 98 percent already changed their lifestyle or their diet. Most of them also  their raised physical activity, through increased walking. It goes on without saying that they always eat breakfast and monitor their weights regularly. Lastly, many of them oversees their TV time.

Exercise isn’t everything

Obesity Reviews published a article which tackled how effective exercises are in terms of weight loss. Researchers compared weight loss from exercise and diet, sole exercise and through brisk walking only. The study showed that exercise plus calorie restriction produced around eight to eleven percent weight-loss in people. On the other hand, the other two approaches were much less successful. The exercise alone only yielded a 2 to 3 percent reduction. Much worse is the diet alone, which produced 1 to 1.5 percent reduction. In other words, exercise is important but you can only have a boost if you have a diet plan.

Consider these factors in your weight-loss agenda. First, exercise is needed to keep your body in good shape. You will most likely not lose weight just by starving yourself. The flab won’t just disappear. You skin will sag and you will feel awful in the first weeks of extreme dieting. Moreover, exercise produces great effect in terms of health even, if that’s not enough to lose weight.

Second, you don’t need to lose that much to see great health effects. The American Heart Association found out that a 3 to 5 percent loss yields “clinically meaningful” decreases in bad cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure.

How about a quick summary of do’s and don’ts?

Before we proceed with breaking some weight loss myths, here’s rundown of activities one should avoid/or on the contrary, engage in during the period which follows the holidays:

Healthy diet

We know this is kind of impossible during Christmas, but maintain at least a healthy diet during the normal days. That, and New Year’s Eve only comprise two days. So you have a whole week to balance the abnormal intake. Remember that the cleaner the diet, the less belly fat you’ll have.

Exercise – it’s a must

Well, we have to get moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 3-5 times a week. Couple that with a healthy diet and you maintain your ideal weight.

Sleep isn’t for the weekends

Adults should get enough rest. We need to have 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This helps to maintain our metabolism in check.

Practice Self Control

That roasted turkey over there looks tasty despite my plate being already full. Maybe I can eat this meal even when I ate just a while ago. Yes – practicing self-control is an important aspect of keeping things in harmony. Be mindful and control your urges. If you are that determined to remove excess weight, you can and you will do it. Just don’t stress yourself too much though. Which leads us to the last tip.

Stress is like a plague – Avoid it

Organizing parties, thinking of what to cook for the family and then some… Holidays are extremely stressful for adults. This feeling of stress may cause us to eat more and the food during holidays isn’t exactly healthy. Make sure you ask help from your family when you’re cooking, so as to lessen the burden. Maintain a balanced work-life ratio.

Last but not least, enjoy your holidays before anything else!


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