According to the National Institutes of Health, weight gain can contribute to obesity and chronic diseases later in life.
1. Set Realistic Goals
Of course you want to drop pounds quickly, but setting unrealistic goals can actually thwart your progress. A 2009 study in the “American Journal of Medicine” found that setting personalized, realistic goals led to less frustration and greater long-term weight loss. Aim for a loss of about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
2. Healthy Breakfast
Drop those holiday pounds by adding a healthy breakfast to your morning routine. A 2002 study in “Obesity Research” found a common factor among participants who’d lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for more than one year: Seventy-eight percent ate breakfast every day. The study also found that breakfast eaters engaged in more physical activity than non-breakfast eaters, another key to weight loss. Harvard Medical School recommends eating a breakfast containing at least 6 grams of fiber to lose weight and prevent chronic diseases.
3. Fiber-Rich Foods
Bulk up your diet with healthy, fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Not only do these foods make you feel fuller — a sensation you probably got accustomed to during the holiday season — most offer vitamins, minerals and nutrients without a heavy caloric impact. For weight loss, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, upping your whole grain intake to at least half of your total grain intake and increasing your consumption of beans, peas and lentils.
4. Increased Movement
When you burn more calories than you consume by adding physical activities and exercise into your daily routine, you’ll lose those extra holiday pounds. While even 30 minutes of exercise per day offers health benefits, weight loss generally requires about 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week, according to the Mayo Clinic.
5. Think Long-Term
If you want to lose those holiday pounds and keep them off permanently, think of weight loss as a long-term lifestyle choice. According to the Mayo Clinic, achieving weight loss — and better overall fitness — involves mental, emotional and physical commitment along with the realization that the process doesn’t happen overnight. Keep yourself motivated by tracking your progress in a weight-loss journal and by engaging a supportive group of friends and family in your efforts.