Now that the holiday season is over, many of you may be finding yourself stepping on the scale and noticing the number quite a bit higher than you were hoping for.
It's not uncommon for people to put on 5-10 pounds during the holiday season; however, the real problem comes if now steps are not taken in order to undue the damage so that this added weight doesn't stick with you into the future.
1. Water Weight
First things first, realize that there is a good chance at least a few of the pounds you have gained are due to water weight. This is going to be especially likely if you had been low-carbohydrate dieting before the holidays hit.
When taking in a reduced carbohydrate diet, over time, you will begin to deplete your muscle's supply of muscle glycogen. This causes an additional water weight loss to occur and as such, the scale drops.
Then, when you go through a period of higher carbohydrate eating, the body will begin to replenish these stored muscle glycogen levels, retaining additional water in the process.
This is what can cause a drastic increase in the scale in some individuals. Basically, it's a very similar situation to what occurs when you are on a Keto-type of diet and carb-up at the end of the week. It's quite normal for those dieters to experience a 3-7 pound weight gain after that carb-up, but as the week then progresses, this water weight is then lost and the scale moves back to normal.
Chances are, if you proceed to now move back to a more normalized diet, similar to what you were following before the holiday, you will lose some of the weight that you have gained rather quickly.
2. Avoid An Overabundance Of Cardio
Your first instinct after stepping on the scale and seeing the resulting number may be to drastically reduce your foot intake and spend the next few hours on the treadmill in attempt to reverse the damage that's occurred.
This is problematic for two reasons.
First, a severe decrease in calorie intake coupled with a severe increase in aerobic exercise can serve to stimulate muscle loss. Losing muscle is exactly what you don't want at this point, as this will only make it harder to get that weight loss and then maintain the weight loss into the future.
The second reason this is problematic is because the more time you are spending on the cardio equipment likely means the less time you are spending lifting weights, which is what you should really be doing at this point if you hope to regain your pre-holiday body back as quickly as possible.
A smarter approach would be to do some cardio to help burn a few extra calories off over the next week or two, but to also make sure you get yourself on a good strength training program.
If you have never been on a good program in the past, make it your New Year's resolution to do so now. Book a session with a trainer so you can learn the basics of weight lifting and be sure you are using the correct technique.
3. Set Appropriate Goals
Finally, the last thing you must do is ensure that you select goals that are appropriate given your situation.
If you did gain quite a bit of weight over the past month, don't expect yourself to lose it in only a week. It's easy to lose touch with just how many calories some of those holiday goodies can have and how long it really does take to burn those calories off.
By having unrealistic expectations however, you will only set yourself up for disappointment when you don't reach them. This will then cause you to have a reduced sense of self-efficacy, which further decreases the chances that you stick with your exercise program.
By setting a smart goal, however, you will be sure you not only reach it, but that doing so, prompts you to set another goal which you can then work towards.
So, keep these factors in mind as you approach this coming month. Chances are the gym will be overly busy because there are many, many people who are in the exact same situation as you. Try and get there on off-hours to increase the chances you aren't going to have to fight for the equipment and just end up leaving if the wait is too long.
By approaching the situation with a rational frame of mind, it will only be time before you are looking like your usual self once again. Once that's achieved, then you might just have the motivation to keep going with your training and make this the year you reach new heights.