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How to Lose Weight During the Holiday Season

Every year we face a similar dilemma. While we all love to enjoy getting together and celebrating the holidays with friends and family, come January we face the consequences of our actions and often find ourselves finding a few (or sometimes more) extra pounds. Is there any way we can actually reverse this trend and take off a few pounds this year? You bet there is. Here are a few things that will likely produce good results.

The first and probably most important thing is to spend at least 1/2 hour to 45 minutes every day in an activity that demands bodily movement that you enjoy. You will note I don’t call this “exercise” which is often associated with “work”. Just find something you like to do that requires movement. The key is that you need to enjoy the activity to ensure you are consistent.

I’ve found walking and cycling my best choices. When weather does not cooperate, you may want to take a trip to a local indoor mall for your walking and do some people watching while you’re at it. This is a great time for doing some holiday shopping as well. You should eat before you go and avoid the food courts.

An average 45 minute brisk walk will burn about 450-500 calories and doing this every day will actually increase your body’s efficiency in burning fat.

In addition to exercise, you should know how to deal with holiday eating. The key here is food choice awareness coupled with moderation. As far as food choices, feel free to load up on the vegetables (unless heavily buttered) and fruits. Be conservative with the nuts and meats, and ultra conservative with the refined starches (rice, potatoes, chips. etc). Stay away from sweets and alcohol. Sweets are high in calories and just one or two can reverse the efforts in your 45 minute daily fun activity. Alcohol not only provides empty calories, it dulls your judgment when making your other food choices.

Another technique in holiday eating is to either use smaller plates (if you are serving) or only fill your plate half way (if you are being served) when sitting down to your holiday meal. For drinking, try to stick with water or something that provides maximum fill effect with minimal calories. Most people do not drink enough water which is essential in maintaining optimal health. If you must have alcohol, a light wine should be your choice but if you do this, you should probably skip desert completely.

But what if I blow it, you say? I ate too much and so I’m beyond repair. Don’t worry. Just double your activity for the next two days and you will be fine. Understand that nobody’s perfect, get over the guilt and move on. If the activity is something you really enjoy, you should have no problem in doing it longer. If not, then you need to pick something else. Planning a family activity such as skating or skiing could also provide for a good family experience and the additional calorie burn you need.

Finally, a principle I often use is to avoid eating paste 7:00pm every day. The earlier in the day you eat, the better it is for obtaining or maintaining your ideal weight. There are also some effective supplements that can help obtain your health goals, however it is always important to augment any supplement regime with good old fashioned fun physical activity. Do it with someone you enjoy to be with and it is even better.

Steve Caldwell is a student of health and an advocate of people interested in improving a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and exercise. To become a part of this healthy movement, feel free to join our social community, HealthEWorld.
Copyright © Steve Caldwell 2008. All rights reserved.
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