Did you know that the average person gains about two pounds over the holidays, while those who are already overweight gain five or more pounds? According to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine, most people do not lose the weight they put on during the holiday season! Why? Did you really think you can easily lose this excess weight with your New Year’s resolve and willpower? Think again. You have a better chance at beating Manny Pacquiao in the ring than winning this fight by sweating it out and putting duct tape on your mouth!
No matter how hard you try not to eat, there are “hidden forces” inside your body that will try to pry your mouth open. Where your body is concerned, food is a drug—a foreign substance that turns on many natural chemical reactions and processes inside your body. After a season of bingeing and indulging, your brain and belly chemicals would have already “possessed” your mind. Your job is not to resist biology but to reprogram your brain and reboot your body. Here are three things you must do immediately after the holidays to jumpstart your weight loss journey:
SILENCE THE SUGAR!
Did you binge drink on New Year’s Eve? Were you not able to resist extra helpings of leche flan and brazo de mercedes on the buffet table or the daily dose of puto bumbong and bibingka after Simbang Gabi? If you fell prey to any of that, chances are you will be riding high from the mood boosting neurochemicals of all that sugar and alcohol. If you withdraw cold turkey, your brain will scream to get relief from more carbs and sugar. You will also likely suffer from blood sugar fluctuations, which will drive your cravings. It’s you versus sugar in a heavyweight match. Unfortunately, the fight is always fixed—NOT in your favor! You need to outsmart and outmaneuver sugar with the following tricks:
Slow it down with fat and protein
Load up on protein and healthy fat for every meal to ward off cravings and keep blood sugar levels stable. Include lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, beans and legumes. As an added benefit, your body works hard to process protein, which can work wonders for your metabolism. Healthy fats such as nuts, avocado, olive oil, and dark cocoa will do more than just tame your sugar cravings. If taken at least 15-20 minutes before a meal, it will also trick your brain into thinking that you’re already full because the right fats stimulate production of your satiety hormones.
Kill it with fiber
Fiber knocks out your sugar cravings! It helps balance blood sugar levels and slows the transit of food to help keep your stomach feeling full! Start with 1-2 grams of dietary fiber before meals and slowly increase to 5 grams. You can use fiber supplements such as C-Lium, which you can find in major drugstores and supermarkets. Dissolve the fiber supplements in water and take 10-15 minutes before meals. As an alternative to fiber supplements, you can also begin your meals by filling up on fiber and water-rich salads or vegetable soup.
Tame it with sleep
You must remember S.S.S.—Sleep Stabilizes Sugar! All those late-night holiday parties, reunions, and family gatherings can create havoc on your hunger and satiety hormones, which in turn will increase your sugar and junk food cravings! Lack of quality sleep also affects your stress hormone, cortisol. A single night of poor quality sleep can raise your cortisol. Elevated cortisol triggers appetite and cravings, raises blood sugar levels, and promotes storage of fat in and around your belly!
SHRINK THE STOMACH!
In a perfect system, our satiety center regulates our appetite—we eat when we’re hungry, and stop when we’ve had enough. Left to its own devices, it is self-regulating except when we override this internal monitoring system by stuffing ourselves long after we feel full…something we almost always do over the holidays!
Nilagang Karne, Pochero, or Shabu-Shabu Therapy
Protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which can kill your sugar cravings, can also reduce your appetite and help you feel full. Food with high water content has a great effect on satiety as well. I consider the Pinoy favorites nilagang karne, (pork, chicken, or beef) and its close relative pochero, as perfect diet meals! The broth, protein, fat, and fiber all work together to keep you feeling full. You will not miss rice because of all the fiber-rich vegetables! Shabu-shabu is a great substitute if you exclude the noodles and the starchy vegetables. Choose lean meats or seafood and clear broth as your base. Avoid all the funky condiments except for a bit of chili paste, which can even rev up your metabolism!
Color your appetite BLUE
Use blue plates, napkins, or place mats. Paint your kitchen wall blue or place blue light in the refrigerator to help curb late-night raids. Blue is an appetite suppressant. In tests, many people could not bring themselves to eat foods that are colored blue. We have instincts to avoid blue & purple foods because they tend to be poisonous. Avoid red, yellow and orange which stimulate appetite. Notice how fast-food logos use the red end of the color spectrum? They are designed to trigger your eating mechanism!
Downsize your dinnerware
Big dishes and tall cups trick you into thinking that “availability” dictates how much you should eat, instead of your natural hunger and satiety cues. Using smaller dishes gives you the visual and psychological cues that you’re full, which in turn affects your biological satiety cues. Many of us are not satisfied until our plate is clean, in part due to an upbringing, which brainwashed us to eat everything on our plate and not waste food because “in comparison, other children are starving.”
Once the biological mechanisms that are triggered by a season of indulging are engaged, weight loss becomes an uphill battle. Detoxification can assist in rebalancing your chemistry. The fast and almost magical results from detoxification regimens can also spark your commitment to follow through with a more sustainable eating plan for gradual weight loss. Here are three different ways you can jumpstart your weight loss journey through detoxification:
Gentle system detox diet
Christmas buffets always include sweet treats, holiday bread, jamon and queso de bola. Sensitivity to common allergens like sugar, gluten, wheat, artificial food additives, and dairy, causes weight gain, water retention, and fat storage. Removing these types of food from your diet will often result in a rapid weight loss of approximately five pounds within a week’s time. After this initial water loss, fat loss on a healthy diet and exercise regimen becomes less of an uphill battle.
Liquid cleanse regimens
Detox cleansing regimens made of fresh juices and soups that are rich in plant enzymes can help reset the digestive system after a period of unhealthy eating or drinking. As a juicing rule, “Eat your fruits. Drink your vegetables!” Fruits are best taken whole with all the fiber that controls blood sugar levels. It’s important to choose non-fruit-based juices, which are often high in sugar. I formulate detox juices such at my retail brand Sexy Beast using herbs that fight bloating, inflammation, and flatulence. Some are also choleretic and cholagogue herbs, which help increase bile production and aid in detoxification. I use cold-pressed vegetables as base carriers for these herbs while I sparingly include antioxidant-dense fruits merely to add flavor to the juices. Some of the ingredients I use are lemongrass, ginger, pandan, cilantro, basil, parsley, tarragon, spinach, wheatgrass, banana, papaya, lemon, and cinnamon. In my latest book, Sexy at Any Age—your insider’s guide to living your sexiest life—I discuss my arsenal of herbs, spices, and superfoods from all over the world designed to flush water retention and cause fast weight and waist loss!
Combination solid and liquid detox plans
For people who want faster results than a solid detox diet but cannot manage a liquid only regimen, I recommend in-between plans combining solid detox food and juices. An example would be the AnneKapal Diet, which is THE exclusive plan that transforms most of my celebrities so they can squeeze into the most unforgiving bikinis or body hugging costumes in such a short time. I created the plan for Anne Curtis in 2014 for her AnneKapal concert. You can learn more about my magical 101’s in my book Sexy at Any Age.
My quick fix regimens are healthier alternatives to starvation diets that a lot of people resort to in their desire to lose weight fast. Quick fixes are not meant to replace a healthy and active lifestyle. Make sure you get back to your long-term fitness goals immediately after you lose all the holiday weight!
Described as the "fairy godmother of flat bellies," if there's anyone who can help you get back into shape, it's this US-trained nutritionist. Our guest editor for January, Nadine Tengco, who still slays in a bikini (check out her Instagram for proof), takes care of heavenly bodies like Anne Curtis, Jessy Mendiola, and Agot Isidro and is the author of Sexy at Any Age.