Christmas Weight Tip: Ramp up your running

Since the flood prevented me from exercising regularly and now that it has gone, I find myself in the festive season with my weight going uphill.  I gained 3kgs last week (now 2kg down and 1kg left to go) which is the most I’ve ever gained in the last year or so.  It’s during festive times like these when our weight go up and up. (I mean it’s a time for meeting friends, hanging out and having fun.  What this means is a lot of eating, drinking and late nights.  A routine that is wonderfully suited to gaining weight. )  Fear not, with some exercising planning, you can keep your weight in control and get it back down before you find yourself unable to fit into the pretty dress you had ready for New Year’s Eve.

Of course, in between meals do not forget to also watch what you eat.  The more you eat the harder you have to work at burning it out.  Since I gained 3kgs, I had to find a way to get it down and fast it must before it reaches a new steady state.  When the weight is in a steady state (meaning at a level for a longer period of time), it becomes harder to burn it off (for me anyways).

What to do?  Add an extra day or two to your weekly exercise routine.  For example, if I used to run two times a week, I now run three.  If I feel like I’ve been eating like there were no tomorrow, then I will run four times a week.  The more I eat, the more I run.

If you can do it, running two days in a row will also just push that metabolism up and burn burn the fat away.

Don’t forget to give yourself an hour rest after the running before your next meal.  This lets your body burn fat for an extra hour after you run.

So yes, beat the Christmas weight gain and go run!  If you want to eat, then you gotta run! Good food makes running worthwhile. 🙂

Myth 10: Do not eat after dinner time

I love this myth. This is a myth that says one should not eat after a certain time if one wants to lose weight because food eaten later will turn into fat.  I think at a certain time during my chubby days I too tried this and guess what? I stayed chubby.  I still ate a lot and did not exercise and so yes, I remained chubby no matter what time I ate.

Now the myth works for some people, because they end up eating less.  They tell themselves not to eat after a certain hour, and so mindless snacking is avoided.    Especially if you lived in an apartment like I did, the fridge was just convenient and easy access.  Watching TV, I could see the fridge and when you have nowhere to walk, (because the space is small)  you walk to the fridge.  You open the fridge and peek inside. A snack, a piece of cake, a chocolate catches your eyes and before you know it, it’s in your stomach!

Some say, however, that eating late results in more fat because your metabolism slows down at night and burn less fat.  You therefore end up storing more fat.  While your metabolism does indeed slow down when you are sleeping, it continues to burn and churn food in your stomach.  It might take longer, but it is still burning.    It therefore doesn’t really matter what time you eat. What matters is HOW MUCH you eat.

Now if you end up having a huge dinner, do not skip your next meal in an attempt to lose weight. Skipping a meal will make you go into “starvation mode” and your body will tell you to eat more at the next meal.  What happens is you end up eating more than you otherwise would have.  Even if you’ve had a big meal, have a lighter next meal, but do continue to eat.  Keep your blood sugar balanced!

So this Christmas season, don’t eat too much, don’t starve yourself and do allow yourself to eat late for parties galore! The only thing you have to becareful of is HOW MUCH you eat and how much you exercise off!  Happy Holidays!

Surviving Christmas Tip: Plan Your Meals

With all the festivites going on, Christmas and New Years is undoubtedly one of my favorite time of the year.  I get to meet friends, catch up over lovely meals accompanied by weather that is nice and cool in winter. It doesn’t snow in Thailand, but the temperature drops to the mid-twenties (celsius).  It’s lovely and cool.  Perfect.  And as one of my friends put on her facebook status it is the “perfect weather to get fat.”  I think this perfectly describes how we all feel.

A lot of activities during Christmas and New Years undeniably revolve around eating.  We meet, we eat.  We celebrate, we eat.  We travel, we eat. Then we sleep in between those “meets” and “eats.”  Oh how easy it is to pack on those pounds that won’t just go away.  Nevertheless, do not fear them…there is a way to overcome them and one tip is to Plan Your Meals.

I used to never plan my meals.  I’d just eat what I felt like eating each meal and if I had a big party coming up later that evening so what?  It was an added bonus.  It also added weight.  Now, I plan my meals.  It doesn’t mean that I have to bring my own food or count calories, I do it in such a way that I think is more sustainable in the long-term. 

The first step is to check your schedule and be aware of your dining engagements.  Most of the time, parties and get-to-gethers are scheduled beforehand so you know that on those occasions you will be eating.  You probably don’t want to go to party and not eat right? That would be no fun.  So go to those functions and eat.  Portion  control though, don’t overstuff yourself to the point of no return.  There will be other occasions to eat.

Once you know your schedule, plan out your meals.  For example, if I know I am going to have a buffet dinner tomorrow night where there are a zillion delicious foods awaiting me, I will start controlling my portions more closely the day before.  I’d have a light dinner (the night before), light breakfast and light lunch.  I’d cut down on the snacks and save my eating (and calories) for that buffet.

Third, work out.  Yes, if you know you are going to have a day or two of non-stop eating, work out.  Before a buffet, I’d go running the morning before the buffet and I’d make sure I go running again the day after the meal.  This way, I know I won’t pack on pounds.

If you say you have both lunch, afternoon tea and dinner engagements, then my answer to you is to go run in the morning.  Have half of what you would normally during lunch, tea and dinner.  Basically portion control.  You know you will have a full day of eating so don’t stuff yourself since the first meal.  Then just make sure you go run it off the next day and the day after if you can.

I have been doing this since I lost my 15 kgs a year ago and I have to say it works wonders.  My weight has not been a yo-yo and it has remained steady in a 1-2 kg range.  After my recent trip to Singapore where I spent a good time eating,  I feared the weigh scale. I didn’t have one at the hotel so I had no clue how much I weighed, so all I could do was plan my meals and do my runs.  It worked.  I was 0.5 kg heavier when I returned which is normal.  Weight cannot be that steady all the time.

So fear not the Christmas Weight Gain and Plan Your Meals! 🙂  Merry Christmas!