When I first started losing weight when I was 18, during my first Christmas season, I gained about 25 pounds of it back. Every year since I have struggled during the winter months, but usually only gain about 10 pounds. I told myself I would either LOSE weight this season, or stay the exact same.
Between all the drinks at Christmas parties and the food, how am I supposed to either say no to all of it, or keep the pounds off?
This year I decided to try out this diet plan I keep hearing about called intermittent fasting.
Basically there are many variations to the diet plan, but it calls for your body to fast a certain period before eating. The variation I am on, and the one I tend to hear about the most is 16:8 plan. You fast for 16 hours a day, and then eat for eight hours a day. This means I ONLY eat during the hours of 12 pm through 8 pm. Right at noon I eat a normal modest lunch, a snack at 4 pm, and a larger dinner at 7:30 pm. I don't eat badly, I have a modestly healthy diet. Not over the top, but I don't eat a whole lot of junk food.
I started intermittent fasting to cut down on my snacking habits. I LOVE a good late night snack, which are the reasons I wasn't losing those last 10 vanity pounds. According to healthline, studies have shown that due to hormone level changes with the diet plan, you can raise your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%.
In addition to raising your metabolic rate, according to that same study, with a healthy diet and working out people had a weight loss rate of 3-8% and lost 4-7% of their waist size. Other studies according to healthline have also shown that intermittent fasting causes less muscle loss than other diet plans.
The biggest key to intermittent fasting is that you cannot fast and BINGE. This requires a healthy lifestyle. During the Christmas season, I have found that telling yourself "no," is not awesome for our self image. It's better to say "not as much." Are you at your works winter potluck and you really want to eat all the junk food? That's fine, but rather than piling up the plate, only fill half of it, and eat a healthy dinner. You know your family is going to go all out for Christmas dinner? Have a healthy meal plan for the rest of the week. Those turkey leftovers would be a great topping for salad, or a quinoa bowl. Grandma makes the best cookies? Have one, rather than shoving six of those sugar cookies into your mouth, have one, or split one with your favorite cousin.
There is no miracle diet plan, there is no pill, shake, or wrap, that is going to magically make you thin and healthy. It takes work and dedication. I wish I could tell you it's easy, but it isn't. Intermittent fasting is to help CONTROL the weight intake, as well as potentially have added benefits to weight loss and waist size.
Don't be discouraged if you gain some weight over Christmas, take some healthy tips, and intermittent fasting into the new year with you.
Good luck friends!