10 Effective Strategies to Shed Holiday Weight and Kickstart 2024


The holiday season makes it difficult to adhere to a strict diet and fitness plan even for the most disciplined people. Once in a while, it’s good to take a break. But now that the holidays are over, it’s time to pursue your fitness goals with renewed zeal.

You’ve likely made some New Year resolutions, and at least one of them probably revolves around your fitness goals. These strategies will help you stick to your resolution and attain the desired fitness results this year:

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is more than just a buzz phrase. Research has shown that several health benefits are associated with intermittent fasting. These benefits include but are not limited to a leaner body, increased mental sharpness, better memory, and improved heart health.  Intermittent fasting is quite different from other dieting methods. It focuses on ‘when to eat’ rather than ‘what to eat’.

There are various approaches to intermittent fasting, and you can select the most suitable one for you with the help of experts. The differences are mostly in the length of time spent fasting and the frequency of fasting. These are some of the common approaches to intermittent fasting:

●      Fasting and ‘feasting’ on alternate days.

●      The 5:2 Approach: This involves fasting on two days of the week, and eating regularly on the rest. On fasting days, you’ll limit yourself to 500-600 calories.

●      The 16:8 Approach: This plan involves fasting for 16 hours (fortunately, you’ll spend half of it sleeping) and eating only in the 8-hour window.

Intermittent fasting in itself does not promote weight loss, but caloric balance does. However, many proponents of IF find the strategy helps to manage their hunger with low calories while dieting and helps them reduce caloric intake overall.

Intermittent fasting is best avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding ladies, children or teens under 18, and people with medical conditions or a history of eating disorders.

Taking Active Breaks

This is a good strategy for those who struggle to take time out of their busy schedules to exercise. Active breaks will not only help you shed some pounds but will also increase your productivity and keep many diseases at bay. Such breaks will also rejuvenate you and help you avoid burnout.

These breaks don’t even have to be long. You could take a two-minute break and exercise right in your spot, or go for a 10 to 20-minute break and perform a complete workout. It doesn’t matter if you can’t go to the gym and sweat it out for an hour or two, just take active breaks whenever you can, and you’ll soon start seeing results.

Avoiding Extreme Diets

This is probably the most important point to remember this year and every year. Avoid all kinds of extreme diets, as such diets do more harm than good. Extreme diets can have multiple negative short-term as well as long-term negative consequences such as weakening of the immune system, loss of muscles, hair fall, dizziness, hormonal changes, sleep issues, and depression.

Steer clear of all kinds of fad diets. Opt for more sustainable and better alternatives such as portion control, and incorporation of more whole foods and nutrient-dense ingredients in your diet.

Tracking Macros

Tracking macros is a more precise and effective approach to ensuring a balanced diet and managing calorie intake. Although it might seem like extra effort, the improvement you’ll see eventually in your health and physique will make it worthwhile.

Whether you work out regularly or have a sedentary lifestyle, it can be helpful to track your macros. This activity will allow you a more profound understanding of what’s actually going on in your body. It’s an effective way to ensure that you’re getting the nutrition you need.

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Getting a Workout Buddy

If exercise seems like a chore, or you need some extra motivation, get yourself a workout buddy or join a fitness group. Working out with someone can increase accountability and improve engagement. You’re more likely to show up when you know someone’s waiting for you. Take your workouts up a notch by infusing them with a little bit of competition. Or, if that’s not your thing, hype each other up to boost motivation and morale.

Leveraging Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is all the energy that your body uses for activities other than eating, sleeping, or exercising. You can leverage NEAT and consciously direct it to aid weight loss. All activities such as standing up from your seat and running to catch a bus require some energy. These are activities that you do in your daily life, (mostly) without paying attention to the energy expenditure.

Increasing these activities consciously can help you burn more calories throughout the day. For instance, if you’re used to scrolling social media while lying down, you could consider moving your legs more while in that position. Similarly, you could walk around while on a call instead of remaining seated.

Preparing Meals at Home

Eating out/ordering in is great once in a while. However, if you’re frequenting restaurants or regularly ordering food, you could be consuming a lot more calories unintentionally. The problem with such food is that you don’t have complete knowledge of or control over the ingredients that go into it. Even the most ‘healthiest’ salads may have hidden calories in the form of dressing. Preparing meals at home can solve your dilemmas.

The benefits of preparing meals at home include more effective management of nutrition, more hygienic practices, lower cost, and NEAT (you spend energy while cooking). You can also swap out boring ingredients with more interesting alternatives. For instance, in many recipes, you can replace boiled chicken with delicious and protein-rich lobster.

Once you start preparing your meals, you’ll be surprised at how creative you can get with meals. If you’re looking for macro-friendly meal ideas, you’ll find 40+ simple and delicious recipes right here.

Setting up a Home Gym

A home gym can increase your commitment to fitness. Wondering how? For starters, it works as a significant visual reminder. Every time you pass by the designated gym space in your house, you’ll be reminded that you need to devote some time to exercise. Secondly, you’ll be making some monetary investment in the equipment.

You’ll feel the urge to work out to ensure an adequate return on investment (ROI) in the form of improved health and increased fitness. Smart home gym equipment is likely to retain and increase your interest with customized workouts and audio/video coaching resources.

Making Mindful Eating a Habit

Mindful eating is about focusing on your food and the effects it has on you. It’s about paying attention to hunger and satiety cues, savoring each bite, engaging maximum senses while eating, and making healthier choices. It’s easier to overeat when your focus is elsewhere, such as on the TV, mobile, or stressful thoughts.

Switch off the TV, put the phone away, and consciously bring your attention back to your plate every time you notice your thoughts drifting away. Appreciate the taste, texture, and appearance of your food and maximize your enjoyment of it. All of this will help you avoid binge eating and help you make progress toward your weight loss goals.

Getting Sufficient Sleep

Studies have found that sleep deprivation is associated with increased cravings for energy-dense foods, more late-night snacking, and the likelihood of eating bigger portions. Lack of sleep also triggers a cortisol spike and makes the body hold on to fat.

If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’re also more likely to skip exercise since you’ll feel tired. Insufficient Zzzs can contribute to weight gain by hampering your metabolism. If you’re serious about hitting your weight loss targets this year, try to get adequate good-quality shut-eye on most nights if not all. Sufficient restorative sleep will be beneficial throughout your weight loss journey and beyond.


Start with a plan to turn your fitness dreams into reality. Random efforts are bound to be inconsistent and most likely won’t bear the desired results. Incorporate the strategies above into your plan, and make this year the turning point of your life.

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