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Want Help Dropping 5-15 Pounds Before The Holidays?

Then do these two things. Starting today.

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illustration of woman emerging from inside matryoshka dolls, weight loss, lose weight before the holidays
Kiersten Essenpreis
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Whether you want to shed a little weight before the holidays so you can fit into your favorite party dress, or you want a little wiggle room to enjoy extra treats, there are little tweaks you can incorporate now (that don’t involve exercise) to help those pounds fall off.

As a woman nearing 50, I’ve been doing two things since my high school prom when I tried on my dress a few weeks before and it didn’t fit. There’s no reason to go hungry, spend hours in the gym or obsess over the scale, either. These tips are how I lost my baby weight, and I still follow them when my clothes start to get a bit uncomfortable. After a few weeks, you’ll feel satiated, energized and may just make them part of your daily routine.

1. No starchy foods after 2:30 p.m.

The great thing about this tip is that you aren’t giving up a thing. You’re only limiting items like rice, potatoes, flour and sugar later in the day when you have less time to burn them off. Instead of a helping of rice at dinner, load your plate with lean protein like chicken or fish, a healthy fat like avocado and lots of veggies. Instead of baked goods or ice cream for dessert, have fruit and plain Greek yogurt. The goal is to feel full without entirely giving up pasta or cupcakes.

I stumbled on this by accident in the early 1990s before the low-carb lifestyle was a thing. I used to eat a lot of rice every night with my meat and vegetables but grew sick of it and added extra meat to my plate instead. Within a few days, my stomach and love handles were smaller, and my pants fit better. I got on the scale because I was sure there’d be a difference and I was right. I’d lost six pounds just from skipping rice at dinner.

“Your energy needs and demands are much lower at night than during the day when you’re more active,” said Dr. Keith Berkowitz, who specializes in diet and health, in Harper’s Bazaar. “If you have a high-carb meal at 8 p.m., the excess calories will be stored. When stored, it can lead to weight gain. Plus, if you are having more carbs and spiking more insulin, it is going to affect sleep negatively.”

2. Stop eating three to four hours before you go to bed.

In college, I put on the freshman 15 in a few months and it had nothing to do with beer. My friends and I would stay up late, snacking hours after dinner. The fact that I was 18 and taught step-aerobics four days a week didn’t stop my weight from going up.

By the time I went home for Thanksgiving, only two pairs of pants fit. I knew it was late-night eating, so I stopped. In less than two months, I was back to my old size and still had late-night snacks a few times a month, just not every night.

Now, I stop eating after dinner because I sleep better and feel more energized in the morning.

Medical News Today reported on a study of people over 50. One group skipped breakfast and had a snack at 10 p.m. The other group ate breakfast, lunch and dinner and didn’t have a snack. Both groups ate foods that were nutritionally equivalent and had the same number of calories. “The researchers found that, despite having a consistent calorie intake and activity level, the timing of food intake had a significant effect on how much fat the participants burned. On average, the participants who ate breakfast burned 15 grams more of lipid over 24 hours than those who ate the late-night snack. Over time, this could lead to significant fat accumulation.”

These tips aren’t meant to be hard and fast rules. Obviously, things like late dinners and birthday parties happen. However, following these diet tweaks for a few weeks should help you drop weight without leaving you hungry or feeling deprived. The added bonus is that you don’t need to spend money on an app or follow a strict diet for them to work.

Want more tips to help you lose weight? Go here.

What's YOUR best tip for losing weight? Let us know in the comments below.


Follow Article Topics: Health