The 8 simple ways to lose that Christmas belly fat – and you don’t need to count calories

IT'S all part of the fun to eat, drink and be merry at Christmas.

The festive weeks are a time when we give ourselves a little break and let loose with treats.

But if you feel slightly heavier than you did a few weeks ago, and want to do something about it, there are some simple ways to feel more healthy.

It's not about crash diets or making yourself feel rubbish – small changes and being a bit more aware of the sort of things you are eating can have huge impacts.

While it's all about being happy with the body you have, if you want to feel a bit fitter or shave off a bit of weight, we have eight tricks to try:

Don't count calories

Counting calories is no fun, and as it turns out, isn't helpful.

Instead you should be focusing on the amount of sugar and carbohydrates you are eating.

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Food that is high in these increases blood glucose levels, which can result in an insulin spike.

This in turn stops your body from breaking down fat cells and can actually create a situation where more fat is stored.

While carbs are definitely not the enemy, and are necessary if you are exercising a lot – being aware of your intake vs activity is useful.

Don’t count the calories – count the sugars and carbohydrates.

Avoid snacking after dinner

Although it'll be tough as everyone tends to hanker after something sweet post dinner, try to stop having desserts for a bit to see if it makes a difference.

Part of this is to curb your sugar intake, as discussed above…

But another reason is it will give your body a chance to digest and rest.

Take up resistance training

Using weights to train means you gain more muscle, which in turn gives you a higher metabolic rate.

There is a misconception that weight training will mean you bulk up, but this is a myth.

Having a boosted metabolic rate means the number of calories burned with minimal activity is increased.

So it actually means that the more muscle you have, the more fat you can burn, and you will likely feel stronger and healthier.

You must make sure you eat correctly and the right amount if you increase your workout intensity though – keep fueled.

Pick up a HIIT routine

These super fast and generally intense workouts are easy to fit in and good for busting fat.

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is thought to be one of the most efficient ways to burn fat.

The process is short intense bursts of exercise with small recovery periods.

It gets your heart pumping and burns more fat and calories in less time, and often more effectively.

Try something new

You might be feeling unmotivated to get fit, so it could be time for something new.

Instead of trying the old workouts that have become a bit boring, why not sign up for something you've never done before.

You could learn martial arts, try something water based or a dance class.

Not only will you pick up new skills and make some pals, you'll be feeling fitter before you know it.

Get fit together

Sometimes exercising on your own can be tough.

It's hard to keep going when you're feeling tired and there's no one to pep you up.

That's why going for runs with pals or joining a class can be really beneficial.

If there is a group of you wanting to get fit in the new year, why not organise walking or running events.

Or look into the classes on offer at your local gym and pool.

Go to the pros

You'll see the best results and feel armed with the best knowledge if you talk to experts.

Talking to nutritionists and personal trainers at the gym is always helpful.

If you feel that you don't quite know where to start, ask for help.

They will be able to help you with eating more healthily and training safely – setting manageable goals that aren't too daunting.

Keep consistent

This is the hardest bit, but once you've cracked it it'll be the part that makes all the difference.

It will take some time to see results, and requires a bit of patience.

But by the time you notice a difference, you will be feeling it too and that should spur you on.

Try to keep up the habits, if they are working for you and making you feel healthy.

3 reasons why you should cancel calorie counting in 2022:

By Tamara Willner, Senior Nutritionist at Second Nature:

1. It promotes low-calorie foods rather than healthy foods

31 per cent of people surveyed by SecondNature.io say they struggle to eat healthy foods if they're high in calories. This means that we’ve moved away from thinking ‘what would nourish my body’ to ‘what’s the lowest-calorie option’.

If we compare a sugary, ultra-processed (but low-calorie) cereal bar to a Ryvita cracker with avocado and cheese on top, the latter has more calories, but it also will keep us fuller for longer and provide our bodies with a variety of nutrients.

2. It’s hard to keep up because we feel hungry

One-third of those surveyed would go to bed feeling hungry up to four times per week.

When we’re scrimping on meals to ‘save up’ calories for things we enjoy, like chocolate, we’re not providing our bodies with enough fuel, so it’s no wonder 46 per cent of us feel hungry while calorie-counting.

3. It can negatively impact our mental health and social lives

Any lifestyle changes should be things we can incorporate into our lives over time.

Skipping social events, as 48 per cent admitted to doing while calorie-counting, isn’t sustainable behaviour.

This will only further fuel poor mental health and lead to us giving up. Second Nature enables you to make small changes you can keep up without sacrificing your happiness.

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