Tips to get rid of belly fat post a vacation or holiday.
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Time to Read: 5 Minutes 30 Seconds
If you have a super high metabolism and do no gain weight even with a few extra serving of fries and martini's during a holiday, then you are blessed. But most of us are going to gain a few extra kilo's and feel sluggish and bloated as soon as we get back. Here are a few tricks for you to get rid of the holiday belly.
- Take immediate action: Don’t try to do the whole “ill start from Monday”. I have a rule when it comes to cheat trips. I start eating healthy and normal the moment my flight lands in Bangalore. So that is saying no to all the chips/ cookies etc from the moment I step out of the airport. By eating healthy, I mean eating whole- food and low fat. Saying a no to processed foods majorly, and avoiding eating too much fat.
- Exercise: Hit the gym the very next day. Now I am saying the next day assuming you land late at night (most international flights while travelling back to India). You will find some excuse like JetLagged, work overload, gym membership not renewed, its not Monday etc, but irrespective, workout. Even if it is a 20 minute jog, do it. But give your subconscious a message that you are back on track. Find a fitness buddy or hire a gym trainer that week to help you stay consistent.
- Excuse yourself: Don’t try to do too much the very first week you land. It is hard to go from eating out constantly to a very strict diet plan the next day. If you expect everything to be perfect the moment you are back, you are setting yourself up for failure. Allow yourself one cheat meal per day (mostly snacks) for a few weeks and then jump back in to a plan that suits your goals. This could be something homemade like chikki or besan laddoo etc. Mostly try to have this around your workout so you are not sitting idol post the cheat snack. This is going to more likely help you ease you way back to your meal and fitness plan.
- Avoid the weighing scale: It will only make you sad and depressed. Stay as much as 2 weeks away from the weighing scale. You will be carrying a lot of water weight from all the excess sodium, and till you do not get that down, your weight will show higher than it normally is.
- Hydrate: The best way to flush the sodium out of your body is by increasing your water intake! Dink a litre of water between meals (avoid right after a meal) and wake up to 1/2- 1 litre of water. This way, you will be consuming 3-4 litres of water without forgetting. Though this sounds very simple, its actually a great tip! Another tip to help fight bloating is by increasing food rich in potassium like bananas and apricots.Try a raw vegan breakfast such as a banana/ papaya (natural laxative) smoothie for a week. (1 banana+ 1 full papaya+ chia seeds+ mint leaves+ ice.)
- Cardio up: Read this article and try MISS cardio as mentioned here. Include 3-4 sessions of wake up steady state cardio or post weight training 30 minute steady state cardio in the first two weeks. This may feel long, monotonous and boring, but nothing fights holiday fat like steady state cardio. Make sure you are working in an aerobic state and not pushing too hard during these cardio sessions. A power/ brisk/ slightly inclined walk or stationary bike does the trick.
- Say no to take away's: Avoid going out to eat for one week more. Stick to home food and even better, meal prep. You may not have time for this but boiling rice and beans in bulk to last you a few days is not as time consuming as you think. Even if you do not meal prep, it is important to prep for some quick healthy snacks or go grocery shopping and get loads of fresh fruits and veggies to munch on in between meals. It is also wise to add in fibre to your food. A big bowl of salad pre lunch or dinner with colourful greens and a low fat/ low sodium dressing is awesome! Select from seasonal veggies and even add a fruit if you want to sweeten your salad without adding artificial sweeteners or sugar.
- Start tracking: Start loosely tracking what you eat in either a food journal or MyFitnessPal. Don’t try to go on a fat loss program or stay calorically deficit immediately, since your body is still recovering and repairing from all the abuse you might have done to it over your vacation. Eat enough to maintain your weight and start a fat loss program only after 15- 20 days if required. Most of you will come back to your normal weight within this time and will not require to get on a fat loss program at all.
- Experiment with herbal tea's: Though I am not a huge fan of “detox tea’s”, I suggest sipping on organic dandelion tea infused with some fresh mint leaves and ginger slices every night before bed. This might slightly aid in digestion and even cleanse your digestive track. Making a big pot of this and sipping it throughout the day is also fine (only for a few days though). Parsley/ celery/ cilantro and cucumber smoothie is another fantastic option! All of these will help with water depletion and act as natural diuretics.
- Boost metabolism: Make small changes to pump up your metabolism and burn some fat. Having spicy food, sleeping in an environment colder than you are used to, adding on a pilates class or even having organic coffee pre workout/ physical activity. Even intermittent fasting for 12-16 hours everyday is proven to boost metabolism!
Remember the 80/ 20 rule. To enjoy the freedom of eating whatever you want 20% of the time and still stay fit, you MUST be disciplined the remaining 80% of the time. I also believe everyone must learn how to cook healthy food and still make it tasty. Nutrition must never ever be boring- food should be fun.
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