There’s something special about the holidays that make it vehemently different than all the other celebrations throughout the year. Most calendar festivities only last one day, like Valentine’s Day and Labor Day. Even Thanksgiving only gets two days and is quickly forgotten before the leftovers have a chance to cool down in the fridge.
Christmas has an appeal that gains momentum a whole month before it even happens, and before you know it, you’ve already watched Love Actually half a dozen times and are belting out Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” in your car as strangers snapchat the whole thing in the car next to you at a stoplight.
You’re not imagining this jolly atmosphere. It’s ushered in by the bright silver bows on every streetlamp, retail store playlists and most importantly, the food. It’s hard to ignore all the sweet treats and decadent dishes that suddenly appear, and as the temperature continues to drop, the desire for comfort food becomes insatiable.
As a result, holiday weight gain tends to be inevitable, and once your tree’s fifteen minutes of fame passes, in come the resolutions. In fact, in 2016, living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight were the top two and three resolutions Americans made according to a survey conducted by GO Banking Rates.
While many panic at the thought of holiday weight gain, there’s no need. We did the research to find you the top three ways to beat the holiday bloat before the new year! Read on to find out.
1. Activate your digestion with spinal twists
Yoga has many, many benefits, but a good number of people are initially drawn to the practice hoping to get a workout. And it’s true, styles of yoga such as Vinyasa, Hatha and Ashtanga can incorporate rigorous movement, core strength and resistance training that challenge each muscle group in the body.
But did you know simple spinal twists have similar benefits? Dr. Frank Scali, M.D., D.C. says “A healthy gastrointestinal tract moves its contents along by utilizing a wavelike contraction known as peristalsis. These specialized contractions are initiated by stretch and pressure, which can be induced by rotating and bending the axial skeleton.”
Poses like seated supine twist and half lord of the fishes pose like the ones demonstrated in this video help activate digestion.
2. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Foods that contain sugar, refined flour and vegetable oil can cause inflammation. At a high-level, inflammation a response from your body’s immune system that defends itself against foreign substances that aren’t welcome — all of which all happen to be present in many holiday dishes. This can lead to weight gain and more serious diseases like diabetes.
However, you can combat this by eating anti-inflammatory foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids — think salmon, chia seeds, eggs, garlic, blueberries and ginger. This can help regulate your metabolism and insulin production to keep you on track with your weight loss goals.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Your body is made up of mostly water, so when you’re not replenishing it, this could seriously impact its function. “In order for things to run smoothly, the gut needs to be lubricated. If waste in the GI tract becomes sluggish or stagnant, it interacts with bacteria and bowel wall leading to irritation and inflammation. Long-standing inflammation results in an array of pathologies, the worst being colon cancer. Being well-hydrated and eating foods high in fiber is the mainstay preventative measure in maintaining a healthy GI system during and after the holidays because it bulks up the stool and moves the waste out.
Staying hydrated is not only important for lubricating the GI tract, it also provides the medium for pancreatic enzymes to digest food and permits transport of nutrients as well as vitamins into the bloodstream,” notes Dr. Scali. If remembering to hydrate is challenge, begin early. As soon as you wake up, have a glass of room-temperature water with half a lemon squeezed in to help jumpstart your metabolism.