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I don't think any of us asked for 5 more lbs. of fat this year, but if you don't watch it during the holidays, that could be just what you get! If you are having trouble with your weight then you are not alone. A study by the National Center for Health Statistics predicts that 100% of all adults could be classified as overweight or obese by the year 2048. 100%! That is an astounding number and it is even more upsetting when you realize that it is our children we are talking about. Let’s start getting our weight under control now so we can enjoy the holidays and start teaching important lessons to our children so we can ensure that they will have a long and healthy life.
Follow these Four Rules of Fat Loss:
*Increase your activity level.
-Studies show that those participants whose activity levels remained high did not gain weight and some even lost weight during the holidays. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take the kids to the park instead of watching TV, put down the Wii and go play the actual sport. Exercising with your kids is a great way to spend quality time and to teach them healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to skimp on your workout routine. The tendency is to say "Forget it, i'll just get back on track after the holidays but that will put you way behind by then! Keep your program going, even if it's not 100% and you are stressed or rushed, something is much better than nothing. Trust me, if you take 3 weeks off for holidays, it will be like starting all over again when you come back and that is not good! If anything, step it up a notch as the holiday parties are much more fun when you are feeling good about the way you look!
*Control your portions.
-Of course you will want to enjoy the Christmas cookies and the holiday classics and you should. Just keep an eye on your portions. It’s not the plate of turkey and stuffing that is the problem, it is the second and third helpings that will end up on your waistline. If there is a particular cookie or treat that you just can’t resist, don’t buy a huge bag and keep it in the house. You will just set yourself up for failure. Also, don't overindulge on everything just because it's holiday time. If it’s the pumpkin pie you really love, don’t stuff yourself with the crackers and cheese that you could eat anytime. Save your calories for the ones you really want.
*Don’t starve yourself.
-A big mistake though is to “save” your all of your daily calories for that one big meal later in the day. Never do that. Eat breakfast every day and some small snacks so you are not starving by the time dinner comes. If you starve all day you are setting yourself up for failure. Studies show over and over that those who skip breakfast and don’t snack end up overeating at dinner and are more likely to gain weight. It is important to keep your metabolism running high all day and you accomplish that with small meals eaten frequently throughout the day, even during holidays!
*Start strength training tomorrow.
-Strength training is the number one way to increase your metabolism. By adding lean muscle tissue your body will burn more calories every day, even at rest! The reason your metabolism slows as you get older is that you lose 1-2lbs of lean muscle per year. For every pound of muscle that you lose you will most likely add a pound of fat and lose a percentage of your metabolism. The good news is you can reverse this process with as little as 30 minutes of strength training performed 3x/week. Even better it will improve everything from your tennis game to your mood to the way you look in your bathing suit! It’s not about big muscles and bulk as strength training has come a long way in the past few years. Think more Michael Phelps and Dara Torres and less Arnold Schwarzenegger.
By following the Four Rules of Fat Loss you can minimize or eliminate holiday weight gain and get started on the track of long term weight control and fat loss and that means Happy Holidays for everyone!