YOU ARE NOT ALONE
We’ve all been there – you work hard most of the year, eating right and putting in serious effort at the gym, only to have it all come undone during the winter months as you find yourself hibernating indoors, binge-watching Netflix and giving in to unhealthy food cravings. What is supposed to be a holiday or a brief detour turns into a week away from your gym, eating leftovers packed with god knows what, and spending disproportionate amounts of time in food induced comas.
We caucused the team here at WellPath to come up with easy tips on how to survive the winter without destroying all that good work you’ve done.
TIP #1: EMBRACE THE CHEAT DAY
There is a great deal of conflicting advice about cheat days and meals. Research suggests that cheat days, where you pack a whole lot of unsavory eating practices into a single eight or so hour period, can actually have positive biological effects on our body. One way in which they do so is through helping to stimulate leptin production. Leptin is a hormone that plays an integral role in weight management and appetite. Without going into detail here, the higher our leptin levels the better our ability to effectively lose weight. Not surprisingly, the amount of leptin that our body produces tends to decrease as we lose weight and eat healthy. This is largely responsible for why it tends to be so hard to lose those “last five pounds” – by the time someone has gone through any substantial amount of weight loss their leptin levels have generally come down meaningfully, making every subsequent pound increasingly difficult. The key takeaway for you though is to understand that indulging in a big day of eating just about anything you want to stimulate leptin production is not only not a bad thing but actually may be a real positive. How’s that for something to keep in mind and feel good about when you go out for a four-course meal? Of course, bear in mind we have been talking about taking a cheat day. Not a cheat week. Unfortunately no evidence supports there being much in the way of benefits from binging on unhealthy foods for a protracted period of time, though rest assured you’ll be the first to know if that changes.
TIP #2: HAVE VITAMINS, WILL TRAVEL
Bring your vitamins and supplements with you in a travel pack. Either buy products that are travel friendly (the WellPath Solutions 7-day essentials box is perfect for this) or find a way of putting your daily regimen into something that will travel well. Considering that when you’re on vacation you are most likely going to be slacking on your diet so those are especially the times that you want to make sure you have your supplements on hand to keep you functioning at a high level. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to make sure you stay on top of your own nutrition while you’re traveling and don’t fall out of a rhythm.
TIP #3: FASTING – NOT JUST FOR HIPPIES
In fact, incorporating a one-day (or even 16 hour) fast after a cheat day can have some pretty profound impacts on the body. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, especially considering Sunday dinners can easily be on the early side. For instance, if you’re done eating for the day by 7 PM, if you were trying to do a 16 hour fast then you could eat again the following morning at 11 AM. The benefits are numerous. For one, it serves as a very effective cleanse. Second, provided you exercise at some point on your fast day, your body will be primed to burn fat as you’re glycogen stores will be largely depleted (more on that later as well). This will further help you counteract any damage you might’ve done during the holiday weekend. Lastly, you’ll likely find yourself more energetic in the morning. In short, there are a lot of benefits that make it worth at least giving a shot, it’s easier than you might otherwise think.
TIP #4: GET CREATIVE WITH EXERCISE
Do away with the idea that you need a gym to work out. Bodyweight exercises can be a great means of getting your heart rate up and maintaining muscle tone. Simply routines, like the one above, we love and can be done in your hotel room or wherever there is a little space. To get even more out of it, do it shortly after having waken and prior to having any sort of food at which point your natural glycogen stores are depleted and it will provide a fat burning boost to your body to help counteract the effects of any indulgences you had the day before.
To learn more about the customized nutritional solutions that WellPath provides click here.