The Festive season is upon us. Just like that the end on year functions and school merit evenings have come and gone. Your local supermarket has been adorned in yule decorations while carols play merrily over the radio, a few brave souls are taking on the South African heat to walk around in Father Christmas outfits. Summer holidays are here, and you are probably looking forward to a much-needed break, with family and friends.
This also means that we will soon be waving good bye to 2017 and greeting 2018 with hopes of a “new year, new me”. Many of us struggle with the overabundance of food over this season and as a result we all tend to pick up a few extra kilograms due to the eat, drink and be merry holiday spirit. The best gift you can give yourself this festive season is starting 2018 without the guilt of doing everything “wrong” over this time… The question is how do you find the balance without missing out on all the feasting?
Here are 6 tips to spark your metabolism and prevent the December weight gain
1. Start your day off with a cold glass of water. In our hot South African Decembers this starting your day off with a nice cold glass of water is a simple one. Studies have shown that drinking cold water burns more calories than drinking water at room temperature, this is because the body wants to keep your body at a constant temperature and has to work a bit harder if you drink your water cold. Water is also calorie free and helps to prevent you from taking in too many calories because your body often mistakes signs of dehydration for hunger.
2. Don’t skimp on the quality of your food, nutrient rich meals not only help to prevent you from eating empty calories they also have a high satiety value. Severely restricting your diet puts your body into starvation mode, which slows down your metabolism and over time reduces lean muscle mass which puts you at a disadvantage when you go into festive eating.
3. An intermittent eating program has been shown to support metabolic function much better than traditional calorie controlled diets. The eating program is based on extensive research sponsored by the British NHS (National Health Services) and conducted by Dr John Briffa. The results of his research showed remarkable health and weight loss benefits of following an extreme diet twice a week (500kCal or less over a 24hour period). Try go for the 2-4-1 eating plan, so you balance out all the braais and Christmas lunch: two low calorie days, 4 days of eating according to your metabolic rate and one day of eating whatever you feel like having.
4. Spice it up. Studies have shown that certain spices like chilli peppers and ginger may have boosting effects on the metabolism. Ginger has great benefits for your entire digestive system this spice is not only anti-inflammatory, but acts as a digestive aid, boosting your metabolism and helps to regulate appetite. A recent study using the Breezing™ tracker was able to determine a positive correlation between capsaicinoids (an active component found in chili peppers) and resting metabolic rate. You can read the full study here.
5. Alternating between HIIT and Strength workouts help to boost your metabolism. Lean muscle tissue burns more calories. You don’t even have to go to the gym, with our sunny South African weather there are so many options to choose from, go for a hike, if you’re fortunate enough to be on holiday a quick swim, or even a game of soccer or garden cricket with your friends are great ways of reving up your heart rate.
6. Rest and relax. Getting too little sleep raises the amount of stress hormones in your system which in turn slows your metabolism. Getting adequate sleep gives your body the chance to recover and repair itself, it also lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body.