32 Ways to Reverse Holiday Weight Gain in 1 Week
Lose 1 pound this week
If you're emerging from the holidays having put on a little weight, you're not alone: the average person gains about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. But the good news is that a few simple changes to your routine can help you shed the weight quickly. "After the holidays, it's smart to get back on track by making small, realistic changes, instead of setting yourself up for failure by being overly drastic," says Keri Gans, RDN, a New York City-based nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet.
To lose one pound in seven days, you'll need to eliminate a minimum of 500 calories each day through diet or exercise. These tips from trainers and nutritionists will help you work off at least that many calories a day (if not more) and lose weight fast. Aim to follow seven of the suggestions on this list over the course of a week, and you'll be well on your way to reclaiming your waistline before you've even had a chance to pack up the holiday decorations.
Lighten up your coffee order
If you typically begin the day with a 16-ounce latte with 2% milk, Health's contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, recommends making the switch to a 12-ounce cup with coconut milk instead. Not only will this swap cut calories, but coconut milk also contains a type of saturated fat that could help raise your "good" (HDL) cholesterol, but not the "bad" (LDL) kind. Stick with this modified order every day for a week, and you'll slash 560 calories by day seven.
Dilute your OJ
Try an at-home HIIT workout
Agostina Laneri, a trainer from wellness website TrainersVault, recommends this 25-minute HIIT workout to torch 500 calories: 1 minute, 30 seconds of burpees; 1 minute, 30 seconds of squat jumps; 1 minute, 30 seconds of pendulums; 1 minute, 30 seconds of band jumps; and 1 minute, 30 seconds of bicep curls with bands. Repeat three times with a minute of rest in between. "This sequence hits your whole body and the fast transitions keep your heart going," she says. "That way, even when the workout is over, you'll still be burning calories."
Sweet tooth? Sass suggests skipping your afternoon pick-me-up of a handful of M&M's for two individually wrapped squares of dark chocolate. Do this five times a week and you'll cut 600 calories. Also good: dark chocolate boasts some serious health benefits, helping to keep your heart healthy and even boosting your mood.
Spin it off
Get fit with baby
Opt for a low-calorie breakfast
Swap out your regular morning bagel (or try one of these best breakfast foods) for an English muffin to immediately slash 240 calories from your breakfast. And instead of flavoring it with butter, Sass recommends spreading some ripe avocado on the bread. You'll save yourself another 25 calories and benefit from the "good" monounsaturated fats in avocados, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Do this twice a week to cut 530 calories.
RELATED: The 10 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast
Don't just sit there
The average person burns 100 calories per hour sitting and 140 per hour standing. Make a point of being on your feet for at least two hours every day, and you could slash an extra 560 calories by the end of the week. Bonus: Taking frequent breaks can help prevent your risk of developing anxiety, heart disease, or certain cancers—all potential side effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Have a healthier taco Tuesday
A few changes to your family's Taco Tuesday menu can make a big difference, says Sass. Instead of corn tortillas, serve tacos in three outer Romaine leaves to cut 145 calories. In lieu of white rice, whip up a batch of cauliflower 'rice' by grating the veggie, then pulsing it in a food processor, to slash another 180 calories. Forgo richer toppings such as cheese or sour cream in favor of fresh cilantro, homemade salsa, or purple cabbage to bring that total number to about 500 calories.
Dress your salad with a fork
Prefer your salad dressing on the side? Lightly dip your fork into the dressing before stabbing your greens instead of plunging an already-loaded fork into the condiment (which picks up more) or drizzling it on top. You'll get just enough to flavor each bite and will cut about 500 calories. Another tip: Always opt for balsamic instead of Caesar to save yourself another 70 calories per tablespoon, says Gans.
Update your plate
Switch out your 12-inch dinner plate for a slightly smaller 10-inch one. Research suggests that this will encourage you to serve yourself a smaller portion of food, and you'll consume up to 22% fewer calories as a result. If you do this for every meal of the day, you'll slash around 500 calories.
Build a better sandwich
Rearrange a room
Skinny up your cocktails
Say goodbye to soda
There are plenty of reasons to give up your soda habit once and for all. Studies have linked consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to tooth decay, diabetes, and poor bone health. And diet soda doesn't fare much better—artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose trigger insulin, which could cause you to gain weight. Start by replacing your daily 12-ounce can with a glass of water for a week, and you'll cut 980 calories. "This is probably one of the easiest and best swaps you can make," says Sass.
Choose the right soup
It's one of the more dreaded household tasks, but shoveling snow can burn nearly 500 calories (this will come as no surprise to anyone who's ever struggled to clear their driveway after a big storm). To protect your back and ensure you're shoveling safely, look for one that has an ergonomic handle, like this one ($25; amazon.com).
Cook at home
Certified personal trainer and ISSA director of wellness John Rowley recommends this full-body exercise that utilizes just one prop: a chair! To start, place the chair behind you as if you're about to take a seat, and do one jumping jack facing away from it. When you bring your feet back together, sit down upright in the chair. Stand and repeat 25 times. "This workout is so simple to do at home," Rowley says. Do it every day, and you'll burn 500 calories over the course of the week.
Go for a run
Hit the stairs
Pick the perfect pizza
You can still participate in Friday pizza night, but choose a few slices of thin-crust veggie pizza instead of a deep-dish pie or one with heavier toppings like pepperoni or Italian sausage, or even try a pizza crust with quinoa. This simple (yet still satisfying) swap will save more than 500 calories.
Take the family bowling
Grab a jump rope
You may think of it as a health food, but one serving of pita bread contains about 13% of your recommended daily sodium. For a healthier fix, pair hummus with crunchy red pepper slices. This fiber-filled veggie is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, and will save you 135 calories. Do this four times a week to burn 540 calories in total.
BYOP (bring your own popcorn)
Headed to the movie theater? If you can manage to smuggle in your own air- or microwave-popped, 94% fat-free popcorn, you'll save yourself about 900 calories. Thanks to all the added salt and butter, movie theater popcorn can contain more than 1,000 calories.
Have a swim session
Dance the night away
DIY kale chips
Resist the temptation to visit the vending machine for an afternoon snack. A bag of potato chips can set you back more than 200 calories (not to mention all the added salt that's typically in packaged varieties). Bring your own kale chips from home instead (or whip a healthy side of kale). One serving of this cruciferous veggie is a great source of calcium, folate, and vitamins A and C—and only 84 calories. Do this for five days to bring the total calories saved to more than 500.
Deep clean your own, but not all at once
Work out for just 10 more minutes
Whether you're on the treadmill, walking around your neighborhood, or swimming laps, tell yourself to continue on for another ten minutes after you're ready to end your workout. Those extra minutes could help you shed an additional 100 calories. Repeat for five of your weekly workouts to burn 500.
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