Gaining weight over the holidays is a common issue – we all expect it and most of us do it. But new research suggests that it’s more important than we realize to lose that weight quickly.
In a recent study from Tufts University, it was shown that, of the people who gain weight during the holidays:
1) most gain 5-10 pounds and 2) few of them ever lose it.
That’s right. Almost no one loses that extra five pounds they picked up over the eating season. But here’s something else that’s really important: The people who did lose that weight did it by February.
What that tells us is that if you want to lose that 5-10 pounds you just put on, your chances of doing it will seriously deteriorate if you don’t do it right now. Fortunately, it won’t take much to take that weight back off. Here are five things you can do to get rid of that extra fat before it becomes permanent. Follow just the five tips and you’ll be back to your normal weight (or less) by the end of February.
1. Incorporate three HIIT sessions into your week, every week.
HIIT accomplishes far more than burning calories. The afterburn effect will have your metabolism running faster for up to 48 hours. You don’t need to kill yourself. 10-15 minutes per session is plenty.
2. Focus on strength-training even more than cardio.
Cardio burns calories from carbs. That’s all well and good, but it’s a very short-term benefit as far as fat loss. Instead, focus on adding muscle. Not only will you burn more calories throughout the day (70% of your base metabolic rate is based on lean muscle mass) but you’ll also raise testosterone and growth hormone (which build muscle and prompt fat loss), both of which lower insulin and cortisol (which store fat).
3. Cut all processed foods until the weight is gone.
Some studies estimate that people consume 1,000-3,000 calories per day just in processed foods. Processed foods not only add a ton of calories to your diet, they’re also loaded with refined sugars and flours, both of which decrease insulin sensitivity. When insulin sensitivity is low, glycogen (the form calories take to be used as energy) can’t get into your muscle and organ cells, so it’s stored as fat instead.
4. Make sure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C reduces the free radicals in your body, which in turn reduces the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream. At the same time, your body will have the Vitamin C it needs to make l-carnitine, a compound that is responsible for transporting fat from fat cells back to the liver, where it can be turned back into glycogen and burned as fuel. Best natural source for Vitamin C? Broccoli. Try to get at least 2000mg per day.
5. Skip the carbs after 7pm.
Your body doesn’t need carbs when you’re at rest. Carbs eaten now are almost certain to go straight to your fat cells. What your body does need is protein. Protein synthesis occurs during sleep, so your protein stores are usually depleted when you wake up. Eating a protein snack (instead of carbs) in the evening will ensure that your evening snacks don’t go straight to your abs.
Notice that there’s no mention here of going on a diet, cutting ro counting calories, or working out twice as much as you already do.
However, following these five steps for the next month or two can result in significant fat loss without all that misery and deprivation.