Five easy ways to get back in shape after letting yourself go during the holidays

Drinking more water can help get you into shape after the holidays.
Drinking more water can help get you into shape after the holidays.

If you’ve been indulging too much throughout the summer holidays you may be tempted to go to extreme measures to undo the damage.

But the truth is a few smart, reasonable adjustments you can actually stick with can loosen up those too-tight jeans in no time.

Here’s how to get started:

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

You don’t need to get back from a holiday and “work off” what you ate. You don’t need to do two-hour cardio sessions.

You don’t need to mentally abuse yourself with negative thoughts about how you should have done things differently.

There is absolutely nothing positive that will come of this behaviour.

Just get back into your old workout routine as soon as possible and get into a positive frame of mind.

Don’t Weigh Yourself

If you feel sluggish and/or bloated, you know it.

The scales are only going to tell you the same thing but will more than likely put you in a bad mood and maybe even make your behaviour spiral out of control and send you into a binge. You know how you feel and how your clothes fit, weighing yourself only to find out you’ve “gained” five pounds on holiday will do no good.

Speaking of, most of the ‘weight’ you gain will be in the form of water weight.

Start Eating on Schedule

Each day, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and eat again every three to five hours.

Starting your day with a healthy meal and enjoying evenly spaced meals will maximize your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, and level out your appetite.

i know it may be tempting to cut way back, but starving yourself completely backfires.

Eating too little forces your body to switch into conservation mode and burn fewer calories, which means you’re more likely to hang onto body fat.

And undereating can cause your body to break down muscle mass for fuel, which also causes a metabolic slow down.  

Unless you want to wind up thinner but flabbier, eating enough and at regular times is key.

Drink More Water

Water does support optimal metabolism and some research shows it may naturally curb your appetite, but it can also help you feel better fast.

Drinking more water flushes out excess sodium to help you quickly de-bloat, and it gets things moving in your digestive system to relieve constipation. Aim for 2 to 2.5 litres a day.

Cut Back, But Don’t Cut Out Carbs

Cutting out carbs completely can force your body to burn protein for fuel instead of using it to support and maintain your calorie-burning muscle.

So instead of cutting carbs out, just cut back. Pair veggies and lean protein with a small amount of a healthy fat and a small serving of whole grains.

I recommend aiming for 100g of veggies, 3oz or a 85g of a lean protein such as tofu, beans, fish or poultry, 120g of a wholegrain such as quinoa, barley or wild rice, and a little bit of healthy fat like extra-virgin olive oil, chopped avocado, or sliced almonds.

Your Trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham. The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year. Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012. For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com or visit www.eastcoast-fitness.com