Americans typically go on an eating binge from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day consuming a virtual smorgasbord of rich, delicious, mouth-watering food and beverages and all the calories that go with them. While reports of holiday weight gain have been greatly exaggerated, several studies show that most people do gain an average of at least one pound which really isn’t a big deal except that it doesn’t usually go away after the holidays.
So, how do you maintain – or even lose – weight during the holidays without foregoing all of the gastronomic delights of the holiday season?
Losing weight is not rocket science. If you consume fewer calories, burn more calories than you consume, or any combination thereof, you will lose weight. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. So why is it so difficult to lose weight? Because we make it too complicated.
We count calories. We count carbs. We count protein. We weigh our food. We buy meal replacements. We eat according to our blood type. We eat according to our personality. We measure our time on the treadmill, our time in the gym. Everything is so restrictive, so calculated, and so disciplined that we soon grow tired of it.
So, let’s make it simple. Anyone who follows this easy plan will lose weight during the holidays or any other time – NO exceptions. It’s as easy as 1,2,3:
1. Drink a full 8-oz glass of water when you first get up in the morning (as soon as your feet hit the ground), before every meal, before every snack, and before you go to bed at night. This also means that you must drink the water before you down that first cup of coffee in the morning, before that cocktail or glass of wine at the office party, and even before you snuggle up with that ice cold beer in front of the boob tube to watch the bowl games.
2. The water should be room temperature or cool – but not cold – from the tap so that you can gulp it right down. This means “chug” it. No sipping allowed and, no, you can’t use the water to help you wash down the food either.
3. Timing is everything. It is critical that you drink the water exactly as described.
The underlying principle, of course, is that the water will fill you up. It doesn’t matter how hungry you are or how delicious the food is, you simply cannot eat – or drink – as much if you drink the water first. If you eat less and drink less, you are consuming fewer calories, and hence you will lose weight. If you don’t like the taste of water, flavor it with a slice of lemon or mix it with Crystal Light drink mix.
Many people – particularly women – will say that they already drink plenty of water, but they are typically “sippers” who sip on bottled water all day long. Remember, it’s not just how much water you drink but HOW and WHEN you drink it. If you already weigh more than 250 pounds, drink two glasses of water instead one.
Many of the popular diet programs are now recommending this same practice under the guise that their specially-prepared meal plans are actually causing you to lose weight when, in fact, it is the water that is filling you up so that you cannot eat as much. Save your money and just drink the water instead.
So, eat as much turkey and trimmings as you want, and have a big piece of pumpkin pie with whip cream on it. Christmas cookies and homemade fudge? Go for it! However, do not put that first bite of food in your mouth until you drink the water first.
If you do not lose weight on this program, you are NOT following the plan exactly as described. And, if you cannot do something as simple as drinking water, you are not serious about losing weight. Of course, a good exercise regimen will tone your muscles as you lose the weight but is not required if all you want to do is lose weight.
The best part is that once you perfect this habit, you will never have a weight problem again for the rest of your life. Or, you can keep making excuses.