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Losing weight during the Christmas season

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  • How can I burn more calories over Christmas?
  • Warning: There are hidden calories lurking on the supermarket shelf

Winter is considered the time of year when unwanted fat deposits can accumulate on the abdominal muscles. However, it is possible to reduce your weight and be fitter than ever in the new year by knowing your metabolism and activating it specifically. This can be effectively boosted through appropriate measures. In addition, there are some clever tricks you can use at Christmas dinner to save calories.

How can I burn more calories over Christmas?

According to Ingo Froböse, sports scientist at the German Sport University Cologne, the quickest way to heat up your metabolism is through exercise. “Well-trained people can increase their basal metabolic rate 20-fold in the short term when exercising,” promises the professor. In addition, a fit body burns more calories even at rest and in the long term because it absorbs larger amounts of oxygen, has more muscle fibers and a higher number of mitochondria. Mitochondria are cell components that are also known as the cell’s powerhouse because they produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the universal energy carrier.

1. Build muscle mass all year round

Muscles not only burn a lot of calories during exercise, they also run at full speed when inactive. “At rest, muscles use around 30 times more energy than fatty tissue,” explains book author Froböse. “Every kilogram of active muscle mass increases the basal metabolic rate by an average of 60 calories per day.” Your body temperature actually rises without you even moving. Because men have, on average, 15 percent more muscle mass than women, they freeze less in the cold season – and also lose weight. For every kilo of muscle, 3 kilos of body fat melt away per year – just because the muscles are there.

2. Start with a balanced breakfast

Have a good breakfast, especially if there are gingerbread, cookies and stollen lurking in the office or at home in the afternoon that you want to resist. If you skip breakfast, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol – and that increases the risk that you’ll binge on cookies and the like. This is how you can lower your cortisol levels. Ideally, you start the day with a protein-rich breakfast. How about a delicious scrambled eggs or omelette with tomatoes and mushrooms? But quark, yoghurt or cottage cheese with some fruit also provide you with a lot of protein and important vitamins. Here are 4 recipes for your fitness breakfast.

3. Take advantage of every opportunity to get some exercise

Just a few hours of inactivity reduces the activity of the enzymes that regulate your fat and cholesterol metabolism. In order not to let your fat burning system collapse completely, you should take advantage of every opportunity to exercise, no matter how small, during the Christmas season. For example, take a brisk walk between heavy meals. This also helps your digestion. Or get up from the table every now and then during the feast, take care of dessert or the washing up, play with the children. Even small activities of just a few minutes are worth it if you get a total of at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a short, high-intensity interval training before the big Christmas breakfast – your metabolism will benefit from this all day long. How to burn fat quickly with high-intensity interval training.

4. Drink more water

With all the sparkling wine, mulled wine and other alcoholic drinks, don’t forget the most important of all liquids: water. After all, 80 to 85 percent of a muscle cell consists of water, which is required for all metabolic processes that take place in the cell. If there is a lack of water, your body cannot work at full capacity. “A loss of just 4 percent makes us unable to act,” warns sports scientist Froböse. Since water also fills your stomach without putting a strain on your calorie balance, you benefit twice. Do you find it difficult to drink enough water every day? Here are 7 simple tips to drink more.

5. Complete your running training in intervals

Your muscle cells have two ways to provide energy. Firstly, there is aerobic metabolism. You use it while walking or leisurely running. As long as you are still able to talk to your running partner without running out of breath, your body will use the oxygen from the air you breathe to gradually empty its fuel reserves. Anaerobic energy provision is completely different: it does not require oxygen replenishment, but only works for a limited time, for example during sprints. There’s no talking anymore.

Make sure that your body uses both pathways to develop maximum metabolic activity. “Muscles definitely need to be trained with little oxygen,” says expert Froböse. So when running, alternate between a relaxed pace and intensive intervals. This will really get your cells flowing – even hours after the run, thanks to the afterburn effect. Do 5 intervals of 1,000 meters each. During these XXL sprints you will be mercilessly in the red zone, i.e. up to your maximum performance. In between, allow yourself 4 minutes at a slower pace to recover. This means you’ll burn a lot of calories when you’re already sitting at the table and feasting again.

6. Make sure you eat enough protein

Proteins play a crucial role in losing weight and maintaining weight for several reasons: They serve as building material for new muscles. More muscle means higher basal metabolic rate and faster weight loss. Proteins also reduce the breakdown of muscle mass that the body initiates in starvation situations. In addition, a study from “The American journal of clinical nutrition” shows that digesting proteins costs the body twice as much energy compared to carbohydrates and fat: Accordingly, you practically burn a few extra calories just by eating protein-rich meals. Protein also keeps you full for a long time and, depending on your willpower, may prevent you from snacking on the colorful plate again shortly after eating.

7. Sleep at 19 degrees

A US study by the National Institute of Health suggests that if you sleep in a room that is 19 degrees Celsius, you burn more calories than if you sleep in a room temperature of 24 degrees. The body has to work harder to keep its temperature stable at 37 degrees, and that takes energy.

Speaking of sleep: it should be 7 to 9 hours, as sleep deprivation increases cravings for unhealthy foods, according to another study. This in turn means the other way around: When you’re well-rested, you’re more likely to choose healthier food and stop when you’re full.

Movement is everything: Getting up every now and then and doing something activates your metabolism, especially at Christmas

Warning: There are hidden calories lurking on the supermarket shelf

Gingerbread, Christmas stollen and speculoos are already piling up on supermarket shelves many weeks before Christmas. Anyone who has been able to resist so far, hats off! Most people become weak in the run-up to Christmas at the latest. So follow our tips on how you can save calories when shopping:

  • Marketing-Tricks: Terms like “limited edition” or “only for a short time” are often used by food manufacturers, especially at Christmas time. This will subconsciously encourage you to make impulse purchases. Pay attention!
  • Nutrition check: It is often worth taking a look at the nutritional information, as many products contain many other (unnecessary) additives in addition to extra sugar and fat. Be aware of how long you would have to exercise to work off all those excess calories.
  • Conscious enjoyment: Don’t completely ban yourself from the delicious treats of the Christmas season, otherwise you’ll collapse by Christmas at the latest and binge on the festive season, only to then celebrate the turn of the year with a guilty conscience. Treat yourself to a cookie or mulled wine occasionally, but be aware of how many calories and how few nutrients the temptations contain and find a healthy level that fits into your calorie balance.

Our tip: If you want to snack healthily, you should simply bake your own Christmas cookies this year. No icing, but with lots of protein and few calories. How about low-carb cinnamon stars or sugar-free coconut macaroons, for example? Here are 5 cookie recipes that every guy can get baked.

Winter and Christmas do not mean that you automatically gain weight. With our tips you can start the new year fitter and full of energy. Don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the Christmas season in moderation, not in large quantities.

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