As the winter holidays fast approach us, an overwhelming sense of anxiety casts a wide shadow over the preparations for all the office and new year parties. “How will I feel On Monday January 3rd when I have to actually show up to work again?” Well I would like to share with you a no nonsense approach to the holidays that takes into account the latest research and science on how to manage your next two weeks while keeping your sanity and health
Know your numbers:
If you know your numbers, you will be able to bounce back pretty fast as long as your body is within 10% of its current state. Your body has an internal memory for metabolism and can maintain that rate as long as you do not push it too hard. So what should your numbers be? The easiest way to track your weight is via the body mass index or BMI. To stay healthy most studies show that you would want to keep your BMI under 30 and can use a calorie app to track your current status. For example, I am at six feet and weigh 190 pounds that puts me right under the borderline of normal to overweight. If you find yourself inching up closer to the obesity category (BMI above 30) you need to engage in an active exercise plan.
Numbers Don’t Lie:
The great thing about tracking your BMI is that you get a clear sense of your plan for the next two weeks. If you are <25 you do not have as much to worry since your body’s thermostat is in the right range and can bounce back pretty well after new year’s. Once you go >25, you need a plan of action. You can enjoy the holidays but need to keep track of what you consume since you will have to increase your metabolism to make up for it in January. The formula here is pretty simple; for each pound that you want to lose after the holidays, you must exercise for 500 calories per day extra. That equals 3500 calories per week which in turn equals a pound of weight loss per week.
Numbers in Should Equal Numbers Out:
As you track your outcome in January, remember that to get back to your baseline you need to spend as much energy as you gained consuming those tasty gift chocolates and new year champagne. So if you have gained 5 pounds in the next 2 weeks you need to spend 5X 3500 calories or 17500 calories to get back to baseline. The studies show that the best way to maintain your diet and have a smooth re-entry to your previous weight is to lose it slowly (not a crash course diet) so that your metabolism can adjust. That is why adding exercise at 500 calories a day which equals doing running for 45 minutes or doing rowing for 15 minutes a day would bring you back to baseline within 6 weeks. You can expedite that by changing your usual diet and also cutting back on some calories that you usually eat in order to decrease your caloric intake in addition to caloric expenditure.
What if the Numbers Don’t Add Up?
There are some of you that despite the best of intentions do not quite make it back to your pre holiday baseline. This maybe due to age which causes lowering of the metabolism or a genetic predisposition that stores fat in certain body compartments such as the saddle bags and love handles. In scenarios where you are within 10% of your ideal body weight we may recommend a body contouring procedure. These can include non-surgical approaches such as coolsculpting that essentially freezes the body fat so that your body can eliminate it from the unwanted area or Power Assisted liposuction, which uses energy to break up the fat cells for controlled elimination from the body. You have to be seen by a board certified Plastic Surgeon (they are available on www.plasticsurgery.org) to make sure you are a good candidate for these procedures only after you have done your part to get back or improve on your baseline BMI. Either way, don’t sweat it (no pun intended) as you have plenty of time to prepare for that gorgeous bikini on the beach next summer.