Getting Back in Shape after the Holidays

Many of us tend to avoid checking ourselves out in the mirror after the holidays, as we know we have put on some extra pounds. Between the desserts, potatoes, and extra helpings of stuffing, no one could accuse us of not enjoying ourselves in the moment. However, a quick glance at our reflections will show that our momentary enjoyment has some lasting effects. We all know that if we eat more calories than we burn, our bodies will store this extra energy as fat for later use. What you may not know is that certain kinds of calories trigger our bodies to store fat more quickly than others. These calories come from sugar and from starchy foods that our bodies can easily turn into sugar. These delicious starchy foods are considered “high glycemic,” meaning that they more easily convert into sugar after you eat them.

It is no accident that we enjoy the taste of high-glycemic foods. We are descended from ancestors who were able to survive the famines. One of their survival traits was that they could store fat easily and then live off that fat when food was scarce. Historically, high-glycemic foods were hard to come by, so when prehistoric humans came upon them, they ate as much as they could. Consequently, we’ve evolved a taste for high-glycemic foods.

This knowledge gives us an easy path to drop some of that weight from the holidays. Simply stop eating high-glycemic foods for a couple weeks and your body will be forced to use that fat for energy.

Start by eliminating sugar from your diet, cutting out candy, desserts and sugary drinks (including fruit juice). You also need to eliminate other foods that you may not realize have sugar, such as sugary salad dressings, marinades, pasta sauce and bread. Checking the ingredients list is helpful, but the rule of thumb is that anything that tastes sweet has sugar in it.

Next, cut out high-glycemic starchy foods that your body can easily turn into sugar. These include potatoes and refined grains like white bread, pasta and white rice. Whole grains are less of an issue, but generally, the starchier a food is, the more easily it will turn into sugar in your body.

If you can increase your calorie usage with some exercise, then all-the-better: the fat will come off even faster!