Here Are the Safest Ways to Lose Weight After the Holidays

It’s something that happens at the start of every year. After a month of shoveling holiday goodies in your face, it’s time to try every quick-fix weight loss program you can find online in order to meet your New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, many weight loss methods that pop up at this time of year are not only bogus but they’re also not very healthy. Thankfully, it’s possible to lose those extra LBs the right way. Here are the safest ways to lose weight after the holidays.

First and foremost: Think long-term

Woman using planner on laptop

Woman using planner on laptop |

One of the biggest problems with trying to lose weight after the holidays is that many people try to lose too much weight too fast. (We’ll break that down a little more in just a bit.) But losing too much weight too fast can lead to a slew of health problems including nutrient deficiency, gallstones, and a weakened immune system — just to name a few. Instead of viewing your resolutions as a quick fix, look at it as an overall lifestyle adjustment.

Next: With that in mind …

Cut your resolution into smaller pieces

Healthy resolutions written on a piece of paper | Source: iStock

Turning your New Year’s resolutions into a long-term set of goals can make things a bit overwhelming. And the last thing you want is for your health-seeking resolutions to cause you stress and anxiety. Instead, take your big goals and split them up into smaller, more obtainable goals. This will help keep your stress level down — which is important since stress can cause weight gain!

Next: Always remember to …

Drink plenty of agua

Drinking water

Drinking water | seb_ra/iStock/Getty Images

All this running around trying to lose weight may cause you to forget to drink plenty of H20. And trust us — you don’t want that to happen. As tells us, chronic dehydration makes your heart have to work harder to pump blood and can put you at risk of having a stroke. Drinking plenty of water doesn’t just help your heart, but it can also help cut down on your post-holiday food cravings.

Next: On that note …

Continue eating, but …

Pencil lying on a meal planner

Pencil lying on a meal planner |

… change what you eat. Skipping meals will only slow down your metabolism and make your weight loss resolutions even harder to reach. All you have to do is change what it is you’re feeding yourself. If your holiday meals were chock-full of refined carbs and fatty meats — whose holiday wasn’t like that, let’s be honest — replace them with meals full of dark green leafy veggies, whole grains, and leaner protein like chicken or fish.

Next: Here’s some good news …

Don’t completely deprive yourself

Hungry women

An empty plate| AnaBGD/Getty Images

One of the biggest problems with starting a diet is that, no matter how hard you try, you will continue to be tempted by the foods you aren’t supposed to be eating. The healthiest way to tackle this beast is to allow yourself just a tiny indulgence or two throughout your week to keep you sane — and to keep you from binging later on.

Next: That being said …

Ditch the leftovers

Man going for a late-night snack |

Wasting food is never a good thing. But keeping your holiday leftovers in the refrigerator is only going to make you want to reach for them again. What’s worse, is you may be tempted by that leftover holiday cheer after a long day of being disciplined. (Don’t even get us started on how unhealthy late-night eating can be if you eat the wrong things.) For your resolutions, start with a clean state by cleaning the leftovers out of your house.

Next: This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth …

Go easy with the new gym membership

People Using Equipment In Busy Gym

A row of people on the treadmills at the gym | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

January may be the time of year everybody signs up for that new gym membership complete with a full personal training package. But in reality, you should be approaching your new “gym lifestyle” at a slower pace. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is going all in on the first week of the year,” Kris Cueva, CPT, tells Shape. Ashley Borden, CSCS, adds: “If you’ve barely worked out for the last six months and now think you’re going to go five days a week nonstop, you are setting yourself up for failure.”

Next: Always …

Make sure to incorporate weights

Dumbbells on the gym floor

Dumbbells on the gym floor | Source: iStock

“While doing cardio can help your fat-loss goals, in a lot of ways weight training is more effective and will also give you a more toned body shape,” summarizes. “While lifting weights can help you build muscle mass, that muscle mass will, in turn, help you lose fat mass.”

Next: One habit you may not have known can be unhealthy …

Go easy on the scale

young healthy girl on home scales

Weighing in | Ensuria/Getty Images

Sure, you’re going to have to weigh yourself in order to gauge if you’re meeting your weight loss goals or not. Just be careful how much you’re relying on the scale. “If you’re stepping on the scale before and after meals, or if you adjust the way you stand on the scale to tweak the numbers, this is a compulsive behavior that will only get worse over time,” warns. They suggest weighing yourself once a week.

Next: If you want to lose weight the healthiest way …

Be wary of weight loss supplements

Composition with dietary supplements capsules

Supplements |

We get it — even when you try to spread out your weight loss goals and tell yourself the process will take time, it can be tempting to try to speed up that process. That’s when many people turn to weight loss supplements — and many of those supplements contain ingredients that are hazardous to your health. If you’re serious about adding something to your weight loss regimen, you should absolutely talk to your doctor first.

Next: Here’s a weight loss method everyone can get behind …

Get plenty of sleep

Senior couple sleeping

Senior couple sleeping | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

There’s no denying it. A lack of Z’s can make you gain weight. So the best additive to your New Year’s weight loss resolution is to get plenty of solid sack time. “Too little sleep triggers a cortisol spike,” WebMD summarizes. “This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours. Translation: You’re more apt to hang on to fat.” Long story short: Sleep helps keep those pesky cortisol levels down.

Next: You don’t have to do this alone …

Consider getting a workout buddy

Old couple with yoga mat

Couple at the gym | LightFieldStudios/iStock/Getty Images

Having a designated workout buddy doesn’t just make working towards your weight loss goals more fun. also reminds us a designated fitness friend can help you maintain proper form without the stress of trying to impress a personal trainer. (And without the steep price tag, too.) So grab your significant other or close friend and get the extra support you need to safely meet your weight loss goals.

Next: As tempting as it may seem …

Ditch the desire to out takeout

Eating at the office

Chinese takeout | Molchanova

Trust us. After cooking up a storm for family and friends over the holidays, the idea of cooking yourself healthy meals every night becomes daunting — especially if you’re tired from your new workout routine. But, whatever you do, beware of the urge to splurge on takeout. Ordering in from most places is basically as unhealthy as keeping those holiday leftovers in your fridge. It’s full of foods you should be nixing from your daily menu if you want to lose weight.

Next: Don’t forget …

Write your goals down

It’s that time of year |

It may seem redundant, if not a bit neurotic. But writing down all of your weight loss tools and goals is the best way to stay on track. It’s also a great way to see how much progress you’ve already made. It’s also a good tool to help you decide if you need to make adjustments to your weight loss plan as you go along — especially if you hit a plateau — to make it work even better.

Next: Last but not least …

Don’t stop once you meet your goals

Healthy trail running

Trail running | BrianAJackson/Getty Images

Want your healthy weight loss results to last? Don’t stop once your New Year’s resolutions are met. “It takes bravery to attempt a new goal,” Whole Life Challenge says. “But it takes fortitude and courage to stay the course. Continuing beyond our initial goal and living a truly healthy life takes the right approach and, most of all, the willingness to face failure.” As you meet your New Year’s resolution goals, start adding onto them. This way, you have a better chance at sustaining the success you first aimed for when you made your initial New Year’s resolution.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!