Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

17 12 2016

Santa’s on his way

Updated, 17 December 2016 Marc Woodard

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you have a hard time managing body weight.

I have an 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan that may alleviate fears of eating your favorite traditional Holiday meals and without gaining weight.

These tips can help many resist the temptation to overeat during this time of year.  I’m sharing a “no weight gain strategy.”  This strategy has helped past clients stay on weight loss target.  Admittedly most didn’t lose weight… however most didn’t gain any either.  And some even shed a few pounds by applying all 8 tips below.

Back History on the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan – I was asked during a client consult if I could create a work around food strategy.  One that allowed someone to eat favorite foods during the Holidays without derailing a current weight loss plan.

Of course I told the young lady there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when overeating hyper-palatable foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to modify the current diet plan.  That is to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal with family and not fear losing control over foods and body weight.  Prior to this request she had avoided all Holiday meals in fear of weight gain.  And now doesn’t want to avoid them any more.  After applying the 8 tip program she acknowledged the following results.  There was no weight gain and she continued to stay on weight loss target for the following Year.

For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden the body for the rigors of war because of all the food temptations in front of us.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.

The worse part of consuming too many calories in a day, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing the excess.  Instead the metabolism gets very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true during the Holidays most have a tendency to over indulge and then continue this pattern the following Year.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success in melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution commitment.

Congratulation to you!

For those still struggling to lose weight don’t give up!  I’m sharing the same client tips I know can work for you.  And quite possibly may be habit changing enough to incorporate into your current weight loss program.

However the tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Whereas ill-health conditions warrant medical doctor advisement prior to changing a daily routine.  The point being these food strategy tips will not help if you are in poor health, have substance abuse problems, personality disorder, e.g., obsessive compulsive tendencies, etc., and/or carry excessive body weight and grossly obese.  Moving on…

IMG_0186

A Time to Celebrate With Family

I’m no different than anyone else with regard to foods during the Holidays.   I’m greatly tempted to eat more than I need.  However, awareness of our food habit weaknesses combined with a food plan strategy is the best deterrent to minimize an uptick in body fat weight during the Holiday season.

The fact is as you age the body simply doesn’t require the excess calories it once needed during the developmental and active adult years.  This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirements are to follow the satiety suggestions below, reduce over processed food consumption and don’t eat or drink your calories after 8pm.  And participate in some form of low stress aerobic exercise activity daily [i.e., walking, biking, hiking, jogging, dancing, yard work, rowing, cross country ski, swimming, etc.].

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, health and medical condition, genetics, etc.,  I can’t predict or provide a one fit “hold the body weight line” solution that will work for everyone.  Especially when I know the program below was designed and worked for a few client types that wanted to indulge during the Holidays without experiencing weight gain.

However I do know these tips are worth sharing because they can be advantageous for you.  Especially if your the type of individual that has the will power to continue a healthy habit food course after partaking in an infrequent celebration or Holiday meal.

Can this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan strategy work long term?  Yes I believe it can for certain individuals.  But determining each individuals commitment to a successful weight loss goal and plan is best accomplished through 1:1 consulting services where information sharing is a two-way street and the program is relative to individual needs and wants.

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power most of us can only dream about.  For others, to help reduce calorie consumption during the Holidays my 8 Tip Holiday Meal Plan may be of consequence.

Best Time Ever

Best Time Ever

If you take this 8 Tip Holiday Meal Plan to heart and apply parts of it or the whole, it can work short and possibly long term.

Tip#1Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal seems to be ingrained within the American spirit and culture.  I know my family like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves.  Before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.  So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food after a meal, the stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies with each one of us.

I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is when you get to the table you won’t be as hungry or want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

Tasty Beer Cheer.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body prior to sitting for the meal?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor.  The point is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain equates to much inhibited calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day when attending Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently and that means less calories stored as fat.  Plus, water will make you feel full faster and has no calories.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here.  I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan strategy that moves one away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving.  After you consume it wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal.  “Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.

Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/2 the plate diameter.  And no piling food on the plate.   Focus on 50% less than what you’d normally put on the plate for 1st’s and 2nd’s.

Tip#6Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat dessert after you’ve eaten your meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass blood sugar spike without consequence, especially if you’ve achieved satiety after eating the main meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of what you ate.  If you experience a feeling of satiety and not overfull after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  While eating dessert take your time to gage feeling of gut comfort. But if you begin to experience the feeling of near full, back off and leave the remaining portion of dessert.

Tip#7 Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods addicts some to a similar eating pattern for months.  And thereafter another 10 pounds can be added quickly.

Walk where ever you find yourselves during the Holidays.

Tip#8Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holidays.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to mobilize the body to remove the unspent fat fuel.  I highly recommend a daily walking program, or other Low-Impact aerobic activity at least 30 minutes daily.

You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods that don’t compromise the meal experience or add guilt.  And best of all when applied with conviction you won’t gain weight.  You may be surprised and even lose a little.

Marc Woodard wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  If fortunate enough to get covered in the white stuff, walk around in it. It’s a fantastic exercise activity experience.

Have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss plans prevent a great meal experience with loved ones.

Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays without fear of being around the foods you love to eat.  You’ll be glad you did.

MirrorAthlete wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2016 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

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Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

21 12 2014

It’s that time of year again. What will be your New Years Resolution?

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you have a hard time managing body weight.

I have some food management and modified behavioral habit tips that may help alleviate fears of eating your traditional Holiday meals without gaining weight.

These tips may help you resist the temptation to overeat foods craved at this time of year.  I’m sharing a “no weight gain strategy” I’ve provided past clients and have helped to keep weight off within a 48 hour window of time and longer.  Although most didn’t lose weight… they didn’t gain any either.

It was through a diet consulting session a client asked if I could create a work around food strategy so they could eat their favorite foods during the Holidays.  And without derailing a weight loss diet plan.  Of course I told them there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when you eat rich foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to enjoy a good Christmas meal with family and not fear losing control over foods and body weight.

For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden the body for the rigors of war because of all the tempting food nemesis in front of us.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.

The worse part of consuming too many calories in a day, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing to remove the excess food fuel from it.  Instead, our metabolisms get very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true during the Holidays we all have a tendency to over indulge and then continue this pattern through the New Year.

We all know excess body fat has a direct correlation to poor health conditions and disease.  Some of the better know diseases directly related to obesity for example are diabetes, atherosclerosis, congenital heart failure, weight bearing joint pain, etc.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success in melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution commitment.

Congratulation to you!

For those still struggling to lose weight don’t give up!  I’ll provide the same client tips to help you modify food habits in a way to enjoy a tasty meal in good company without fear of weight gain.  And quite possibly this may be a habit changing plan to supplement  your continued weight loss effort during the New Year.

But the tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Since weight loss, health condition, medical history and fitness levels are all interrelated it is advised you seek a medical doctors consultation if you have a serious obesity or health problem.  These food strategy tips will not help if you are in poor health, have substance abuse problems, obsessive compulsive tendencies and/or carry excessive body weight.

IMG_0186

A Time to Celebrate With Family

I’m no different than you with regard to all the tempting foods during the Holidays, I’m greatly tempted to eat more than I need.  However, awareness of our food habit weaknesses combined with a food management strategy is the best deterrent to minimize an uptick in body fat weight you don’t want.

There are many reasons one may over consume foods daily [stressful environment,  compulsive behaviors, bad relationships and depression to name a few].    However when over consumption occurs frequently, the body tends to accept this habit as the norm.  Hence a new habit of overeating is formed and weight gain is inevitable for most of us.

The fact is as you age the body simply doesn’t require the excess calories it once needed during the developmental years.  This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirement is to cut out excessive calories and participate in some form of low stress aerobic exercise daily [i.e., walking, biking, hiking, jogging, dancing, yard work, rowing, cross country ski, swimming, etc.].

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, medical conditions, genetics, etc.,  I can’t predict or provide a one fit “hold the weight” solution that will work for everyone for a few days.  Especially when I know the program was designed and worked for a few client types that wanted to indulge during the Holidays without experiencing weight gain.  But since I know these tips can work through short-term modification of food behavior and habit it’s worth sharing because it can work for you.  Especially if your the type that has enough “will power” to apply a short term off-the-wagon dietary strategy to self control within the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan guidelines below.

Can this food tips strategy work long term?  Yes I believe it can for certain individuals.  But determining each individuals fitness and weight loss goal nuances, habits and behaviors within environment etc., is best accomplished through 1:1 professional consulting services that make these connections and provide relatable  information  that resonate with clients.   Personalized fitness programming with a safe weight loss long-term strategy has the best chance to succeed when unique lifestyles are analyzed and prescribed relative to the individual.

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power that most of us can only dream about.  For others, to help reduce calorie consumption during the Holidays, My 8 tip Holiday Meal Plan plan may be of some assistance.

Best Time Ever

Best Time Ever

Now, let’s get to the meat of what you’ve been waiting for. Here are the tips clients and I have used to minimize weight gain during the Holidays.  If you take this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan to heart and apply it, it can work for you short and possibly long term.

Tip#1Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal feeding frenzy seems to be ingrained within the American culture.  I know my family, like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves, before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.   So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food your stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours after each meal depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies within each one of us.   I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is when you get to the table, you won’t be as hungry and you just won’t want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor.  The point made of over consumption is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain… Much calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day when attending Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently.  Plus, water will make you feel fuller faster.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating for further conversation.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here; I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle strategy that advises one to move away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving, after you consume this wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal before you even think about seconds.

“Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately 20 minutes to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.  Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/4 the plate diameter.  And no piling on.

Tip#6Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat desert after you’ve eaten your meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass assault without consequences, especially if you’ve achieved fullness after eating the main meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of fullness.  If you experience a feeling of satiety after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  But if you begin to experience fullness again back off.

Tip#7 Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods stimulates and addicts some to a continued and similar eating patterns for months.  And thereafter another 10 pounds is added to body weight.

Tip#8Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holiday season.

DSC00495

Marc prepares for the Holiday festivities with family. A time of Year to reflect and be thankful for all we have.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to assist the body in removing the unspent food fuel.   I highly recommend a daily walking program, or other Low-Impact aerobic activity at least 30 minutes daily.

Hopefully, I’ve provided a few tips you can relate to and apply this Holiday season.  You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods without guilt and doesn’t’ compromise taste buds or the social meal experience with family.  And best of all, if taken seriously and applied correctly, you won’t gain any weight.

Many can enjoy tasty meals during the Holidays without gaining weight when a reasonable food consumption plan is known in advance to help modify traditional Holiday food habits.

Please have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss diet plans compromise having a great meal experience with loved ones.  Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays, you’ll be glad you did.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ANG, MSC CPT RET.  2014 MirrorAthlete® Copyright,  All rights reserved.  Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.





After Holiday Weight Gain Blues

23 01 2010

The End of Old Habits Are Near. Let Life Begin

Another year has gone by with all the Holiday décor and cheer with it.  I understand some of you had a tough time with the food choices and amount that you consumed.  And with this being said, should I dare say some of you are not only bummed out after you stepped on the scales, you are blue with depression.  This I understand and can definitely empathize.  The way I see it, you can continue to feed those screaming fat cells telling your stomach and brain it needs more, or you can deny them.  I know, easier said than done.  Cutting back after consuming all those rich foods will be the hardest thing you’ll do to get control of your weight for the New Year.  I also understand with the passing of the old year and in with the new, maybe last year’s resolutions to lose weight didn’t work out so well.  I’ve got to tell you; “don’t be so hard on yourself.”  There are many reasons weight gain occurs and I would never tell you I know what you are going through.    So many of us, when we get stressed, or traumatic change occurs in our lives, causes much long-term depression as well as over consumption of food.  Many at some point in time are at great risk of this prolonged weight gain habit being triggered during the Holiday season.  Because with the Holiday’s many emotions are triggered that can also set the stage leading to depression. 

Unfortunately too many of us deal with depression by consuming too much comfort food and drink.  After the consumption of too much rich food we get upset, frustrated and finally depressed about our weight because we don’t know why we can’t control this habit.  There is also an illness-disease cause and effect relationship that complicates controlling weight once we become obese.  At this point the mind-body “can” becomes susceptible to greater illness-disease risk.  For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), congenital heart disease, fibromyalgia, phantom pain, etc.  Over eating for many years will cause much discourse and depression in one’s life which complicates weight management, mood, and pain picture, relationships we have with people and life goals. 

Although I’ve written many articles revolving around depression, fitness and pain management, I have not written an article with regard to food habit & depression relationship triggers.   In general, stressful life events cannot be avoided in life but can be minimized by understanding the stress triggers and food consumption patterns.”  Regardless of season, or any day for that matter, you must learn to change behavior and habits to take control of your weight goals and develop better stress coping skills.  These skills can be greatly improved through healthy food consumption, relationship associations (behavioral food trigger habits), activity and exercise.  Learn to realize the stress triggers and substitute healthy food and activity as a stress reducer, i.e., walk-window shop, read a good book, call a friend, eat organic, or Mediterranean diet etc.  Whatever you do, don’t go to the fridge or quick mart and have a binge session.  This habit is very hard to stop.  Seek professional help if depression lasts longer than 14 days or frequently returns and/or if you become obese as a result of your habits and can’t stop them. 

Holiday’s and weight gain relationship is something I understand and have worked to avoid during this eventful time of period.  And I know the screaming fat cells will get over themselves once one gets back to a normal routine after the festivities pass.  But all too often, it is too easy to continue the party into the New Year, or look to celebrate every weekend.  Don’t fall into this trap.  To carry this habit into one year and then the next is really unhealthy and depressing as I know you may be aware. 

Alright, I know I said “don’t be so hard on yourself,” and “I would never tell you I know what you are going through…”  However, there is a difference with cheerful event weight gain and short-term depression versus long-term weight gain and depression.  One is short lived and the other is not!  For a few, I would say your weight gain unfortunately may be due to a metabolic defect of the thyroid, or pancreas for example, in which case you require a physician’s treatment.  Any long-term weight gain that has become an unhealthy condition putting you at risk for more illness, disease, depression and pain requires a physician consultation and treatment!  However, there is no reason not to pursue changing your life style to fit habits that incorporate specialized medical treatment and advisement from your physician. 

I now present 8 prominent weight gain blues and depression habits people get themselves into and don’t necessarily know how to resolve the weight gain quagmire throughout the year.  Below I have listed eight hard to break weight gain problematic habits that need to be realized before successful long-lasting health benefits occur.  It is the hope that by exposing habit/behavior relationships, one can change these unhealthy habits into healthy habits that are enjoyable.  

 8 Prominent Weight Gain Blues Behavioral/Habits that Require Change,

  1.  Holiday Cheer Weight Gain – What can I say about Holiday Cheer Weight Gain that I haven’t mentioned in my previous writings.  Have a Holiday battle meal plan before you set down at the table.  Read the following article, “Holiday Weight Management Tips.”
  2.  Last Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Failed – You know why you failed your weight loss program from previous years.  You did not resolve, or change your behavioral eating, drinking, or fitness habits.  To do so is still too painful for you for whatever the reason.  As I stated, “I will not pretend to know what you are going through…”  Until you can resolve and/or get serious about your weight loss/depression, or seek professional help, my fitness tips will fall on deaf ears.
  3.  Pain factor – All pain is directly related to illness, disease and/or injury.  And with pain comes more sedentary type activity.  It is for this reason, it is more important than ever you work with your primary physician and pain management specialists to find activities that you can do safely.  Also visit mirror athlete chronic pain center for other tips and recommendations.  All pain disorders are different and require customized fitness specialization in order to work around and prevent pain trigger aggravations, or worsen pain disorders.  It is for this reason you become proactive to find a fitness activity that you can participate in daily while pain managing with your physicians.
  4.  Stressful life events and comfort food – For many the trigger to eat comfort foods stems from everyday stress factors such as:  Work, bills, health, relationship, family issues, etc., the list goes on.  Stressful daily events can culminate into major depression and poor eating habits (these two things often go hand in hand).  This is a duel health hazard (impacts mental/physical) that effects millions of Americans causing the national obesity and ill-health mental crisis for our children as well.  We get so stressed out over our fast paced lives we can’t foresee how we could ever squeeze time in the day to maintain our overall fitness and healthy eating habits.  Then you tell yourself, I’ll take care of it later.  You must find time before, or after the day’s end to participate in a healthy fitness activity to thwart off daily stress and increase overall fitness levels.  Good diet and activity practices are important for the entire family where healthy habits is essential to establish early on in life and critical for good health “especially” as we age.    For example, my daily fitness activity is walking.  I also mix up the fitness activities with swimming at the local fitness center, light weights and other aerobic equipment.  My fitness habit is mid-day; although it was 5:30am and 12:00pm for many of my working years.  This habit for me reduced stress depression, built self-esteem, controlled my weight, and alleviated pain disorders while keeping the body fit.  I know AM routine seems tough at first, but become an addictive habit if you give it a try for a couple of weeks.  For most, I don’t recommend an after workout fitness habit unless it’s walking.  The stressful day will make the fitness habit seem like pulling teeth for which one will not adhere for a long period of time.  For instance, walking provides much less stressful and more relaxing with your spouse, kids, dogs in hand, etc., where stressful issues can be discussed into reasonable solutions and making better relationships.  I highly recommend mixing it up with after work walks and every other day morning fitness activity.  Look for weekend activities with family, e.g., hiking, camping, boating, walking the beach, visit historical places, etc. I promise you’ll get healthier while improving family relationships.
  5.  Carry the party into New Year – Some carry the end of year festivities into the New Year.  This behavior can last for months.  For many through the entire New Year.  The festive mood appears to keep your depression at bay while keeping you preoccupied with comfort eating, drinks and cheer with friends.  The basketball and baseball season is loaded with reason for bi-weekly celebration.  “First and foremost, you must understand this is occurring and must break this bad habit!”  It is not bad to watch sports, of course this may vary in opinion with your significant other as time is spent on viewing other than bonding.”  However, to continue the party festivities for weeks and months in over consumption indulgence will only drag on the inevitable weight gain and depression blues that accompanies this jovial behavior after the party. Although jovial is enjoyable and relaxing, too much of anything can be a bad recipe for disaster.  As we age and continue this type of lifestyle behavior, weight will pack on and become harder to lose creating many health risks.  If you’re hanging onto this habit and want to change, incorporate a plan to change using my recommendations here, or review anyone of my articles to assist in your weight management control and lifestyle change goals.
  6.  Fast foods after the Holiday’s rush continues. Too many Americans consume fast foods especially during the Holiday rush.  Here lies a crux for the American obesity problems.  During the Holiday’s everyone is in a rush to get the shopping done for gifts, Holiday meals and travel.  During this time there is a huge spike in fast foods and alcohol.  This is greatly reflected through our stock markets and retail purchases.  Yes, business booms almost in every sector of the economy, especially, retail, fast foods and spirits.  Let’s focus on fast foods.  Fast foods are convenient, chemically addictive and bad for your health in the long run.  Both fast food and drink easily bind one into an addictive habit that is hard to break if continued too long.  I’ve watched too many people throughout my life not understand the addiction, weight gain and ill health results from fast foods.  Most that continue the fast food habit don’t even realize this is creating their weight gain problem.  All too often after obesity strikes so does illness and disease.  If you are eating out more than once per week, this could very well be your weight gain problem.  I know, you’re thinking, what if I just give up the fast food places and eat out at restaurants?  While this is a better concept, you don’t know how much of the meals are preprocessed and then served, even in fine dining establishments.  Also, when you eat out most tend to eat more.  Instead of eating out, develop a healthy active habit of shopping for more organic type foods and preparing your own meals.  I highly recommend you read my article, “Restaurant Foods Healthy?
  7.  Love of Baking – I know, some of you carry your new found baking creativity and consumption habits into the New Year.  Although there is nothing wrong with healthy food baking habits, the pitfall is when you love everything you bake just a little too much.  I know the kids love your baking treats and it’s hard not to make cookies, cakes and pies after the Holidays.  Remember moderation with deserts.  Too much sugar, fats and salts are not good for anyone, even kids with fast metabolisms.  If you’re having a tough time with moderation of baking because of whatever is tugging at your apron, try changing up the desert menu a little.  Try to be creative with other types of deserts if the sweet tooth bug just won’t stop.  Try fruits-veggie tray, jello, pudding, etc.  Mix it up and break away from the continuous baking habit.  If you continue baking from one New Year into the next because you are the one that lacks the will power to balance this activity, I highly recommend you read the following article if you want to take back your weight control goals, “Will Power Weight Loss Secrets.”
  8.  Empty Nester’s Bake for an Army – Regardless of season, there are many empty nest couples that continue baking for their entire family after the children have left home.  There are many things tied into this habit which makes this pattern particularly tough to break, especially for those that want to take control of their weight.  And this is an especially tough feat if one wants to change the habit and the husband for example demands dinner meals that require traditional family recipes.  This is a tough to break psyche-food habit relationships for many empty nest couples.  For example, check out some of the tough relational habits after years of lifestyle practice:  Family dinners and social event food comforts; recipe serving portions equate to taste; favorite dishes tied to child personality, family traditions.  You continue to cook huge portions, eat bigger portions and/or store more.   The activity habit of hording food through continuous shopping may be a stress reliever as a form of social & physical activity.  You store excess foods in preparation for when family members visit.  You continue to invite your children and their children over for frequent mid-week and weekend meals.  You celebrate annual Holiday events to include sports playoffs with big meals whether family is there or not.  I could go on and on with this, but I think you get the picture.  Many empty nesters lived for their children where their food storing, preparation, celebration and eating habits were based on full house functionality.  As I stated, this is a tough habit to break but can be done.  If you fall into this category, you first must realize what you are doing and work to change this habit if weight loss and thwarting the blues and weight loss is your goal.  If you feel the need to change your traditional cooking habits into a healthy activity with your significant other…  Learn to cook Mediterranean type recipes, etc., and get exercise by walking to the local market to get the ingredients.  You will also have to learn to mix in your families favorite dish recipes, but modified to servings of two, three, four…   Also, make a huge effort to get in daily walks whether it’s coupled with a healthy walk meal shopping effort.  The idea is to get more activity and eat a healthier diet in proper proportions.  Walk to your local library, and pick up a healthy recipe books and/or look to take a Mediterranean, or low calorie healthy cooking class.  Consider previous MAE articles and apply this information to your lifestyle.  Visit Mirror Athlete’s health repository for other healthy habit weight loss and management tips and recommendations files under weight, holiday, depression and diet.

 After the Holiday’s it can be easy to get into a pattern of never ending “feel good binge eating habits” for whatever the reason and carried into the next New Year.  Just as any one, or combinations of reasons above apply to your particular weight gain and depression blues scenario through each passing year.  You cannot continue to mask your depression blues through food, year after year because your food habit controls your will power to change.  Once you begin to eat healthy and exercise, your fitness levels improve dramatically.  You’ll have the energy to walk and/or become involved in healthier hobby-exercise activities.  And with this habit change the depression blues will become infrequent to rare. 

 I would just like to end this article by providing a valuable bit of insight.  Too many people don’t understand this food habit relationship and the ill-effects it has on quality living.  The same is also true of natural addictive brain chemical stimulation through a more active life style and the effect it plays on weight loss and mood.  And with this being said, it is sad to say, all too many are now prescribed anti-depression pills to boost serotonin levels in the brain to make us feel better on a daily basis.  This does absolutely, or very little to promote increased activity, changing daily habits and weight management.  There is also known “secondary health risks” that “can/do” occur through long-term use of psychotropic prescriptions.  Instead, it would be wise to consider the natural alternatives in combating obesity and depression through increased activity which will naturally boost serotonin levels for healthy body, mind and soul.  If you now use psychotropic prescriptions to combat depression and it’s further complicating your health goals, please read the following article, “Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals.”   Do not stop your medication; simply consider incorporating exercise and eating healthier while you work with your doctor.  You may be able to get off the medication, or reduce the dosage dependency, thereby decreasing other serious health risks. 

 Write us about your weight loss success and removing depression from your life.    We’ll publish your New Year’s resolution success story and identify your post with a first name and state you reside in.  Or make a comment in the posting log where this linked article resides in our healthrepository.  Simply email us with how you changed your habits to lose weight and/or thwart the blues and we’ll post for you under this article.  May this year be your year for weight loss success and defeating depression.  Good health to you and your family! 

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Holiday Weight Management Tips

18 11 2008

 

Holiday Weight Management Tips Video    I can’t believe how fast these end year Holiday festivities roll upon us.  I’m here today to help gear you toward weight management during these tough times.  For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden our bodies for the rigors of war.  I know overwhelming food selections, smells and tastes are enough to drive you crazy.   It’s no wonder we weaken and over consume.  What’s a body to do?  The worse part of it all, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient and unable to process these rich foods out of our bodies.  Instead, our metabolisms get very efficient at storing food in the form of fat.  We all know excess body fat and weight on our bodies is directly related to many health diseases.  Some of the better know diseases directly related to obesity are diabetes, atherosclerosis, congenital heart failure, cancer manifestation, etc.

    I’m also aware that a great majority of you have made tremendous strides in melting the pounds away at the beginning of last year for your new year’s resolution.  Congratulation to those that accomplished your goals!  For those of you still struggling don’t give up!  I will provide some tips and recommendations that will help you get through this Holiday season to survive the ever present danger of adding weight back on, or worse, packing on more weight from last year’s failed weight loss program.  I’m no different than you with regard to all the tempting foods during the Holiday season, I’m greatly tempted to over consume during this time of year.  However, awareness of our weaknesses during the Holidays with a battle plan is the best deterrent to minimize the potential damage to our health.

    In modifying eating behavior, it is necessary to understand why some overeat.  There are many reasons one may over consume (addiction to foods, compulsive behavior and depression are a few).   Survival necessitates consuming calories to live.  Fortunately, in the land of plenty there is no problem here.  But if we continue to over consume, our bodies accept this as a normal condition of survival and demand the same daily consumption practices, because it believes this pattern to be normal for survival.  The fact is as you age your body simply does not require excess calories as our youthful developmental growth years.   Instead adults require healthy living maintenance calories.  Maintenance calories is not considered a diet as in weight loss program, but more so a healthy food intake management program.   This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirement is to maintain healthy consumption behavioral patterns.

    Since everyone’s metabolism is different with various ages, sex, health conditions and genetics, etc., I can’t provide a one fit solution for all to manage weight during the Holiday Season.  Instead I will provide tools to assist in modifying Holiday behavioral consumption patterns.  I also won’t provide you the typical nutritional tips recommended by health experts insulting your intelligence, such as grazing tips.  This is simply ridiculous… How many of you could go to the King and Queens ball with so many scrumptious food delights and not over consume?  Come On!  Give me a break!  I’m not saying we’re all undisciplined.  I am saying there aren’t very many of us that can control our food selection and consumption habits at these types of social events.  For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power that most of us can only dream about.  For the majority of you that fall into the weak willed consumption patterns like me, I have some tips that don’t involve calorie counting or grazing tips and may help you to turn down some of those extra calories during the Holiday season.

    Let me forewarn you the tips that I provide may not work for everyone, but they seem to work for me.  Also, if you suffer from a serious health disease, my approach may not be in your best health interest.  As I stated earlier at the beginning of this article, there are many health variations and considerations with regard to age, sex, medical conditions, etc., but you may be able to modify your present consumption behavioral habits, or nutritional requirements during the Holidays to be of greater benefit without increasing health risk!  Now, let’s get to the meat of what you’ve been waiting for, here’s what I do to battle increased weight gain at seasonal events.

Tip#1 – Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!  This habitual habit regardless of social event seems to be ingrained within the American culture.  I know my family, like so many others during the Holidays repeat this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves, before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.   So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for the Holiday meal.  The way our digestion system processes food your stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours after each meal depending on metabolism.  This figure varies with different people.  The point is when you get to the meal table, you won’t worry about “grazing selection,” instead, you just won’t eat as much, and you’ll fill up faster.
Tip#2 – Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal battle.  You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and inhibitor.  This for me is the effect alcohol plays on my body at the dinner table and many others.  The cause of over consumption is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain… Much Gain!
Tip#3 – Drink plenty of water when attending Holiday meals where rich foods are served!  Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently.  Plus, water will make you feel fuller faster.  There are many benefits to drinking more water with your meals and throughout the day.
Tip#4 – Do not stay at the dinner table after your done eating for conversation.  This is where most of us fall prey in busting our weight over our maintenance weight.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, Champaign, olives…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here; I think I just made myself hungry.”  See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan!
Tip 5# – Take your first serving, after you consume this wait 20 minutes before you dive into seconds “seconds is not recommended,” this will be the hardest part of the battle plan!   It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.  This is why it’s easy for someone to overeat that has starved themselves prior to going into the Holiday meal.  They tend to gorge rather than enjoy, then feel the pain!
Tip#6 – Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat desert after you’ve eaten your meal. This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass assault without consequences… Like indigestion, heart burn, bloat, constipation, diarrhea, need I go on?  And how will your body absorb the excess calories [can you say fat cell absorption]?   Wait 1 hour at a minimum to see how your body reacted to the main meal before going for dessert.
Tip#7 – Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.   This can set you up for failure by eating more rich foods throughout the Holiday season.
Tip#8 – Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holiday season, this mistake is made by many.  This is very important!  When you consume excess calories, you will need to defend your body’s health and weight management with additional calorie burn activities.   I highly recommend a daily walking program at a minimum, or other aerobic activity at least 30min/day.

    Hopefully, I’ve provided enough ammo prior to the Holiday meals by providing you tools to help with your consumption habits; without feeling you lost out on a meal event, or worse, compromised your taste buds!  I prefer to go in prepared for Holiday meal events as I’m too familiar with a miserable outcome.  We can enjoy meals during the Holidays.  It simply requires us to build in behavioral tools that provide a “will power edge.”  Who said will power has to be such a tough thing if armed with tools to make the Holiday meal battle easier on us without compromising a great meal experience!

 

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2008 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.





Lose Weight, Through Behavioral Change Not Fad Dieting

23 10 2007
  “Unfortunately, many weight loss products or product fad services are available to all that will fall into this trap.  Many consumers will try to expedite weight loss results through extreme dieting programs promising to melt off the pounds.”  In all my years of working in the field of health and fitness with a clear understanding of the human body, I’ve rarely seen a “quick” weight loss program that works for the long-term.  Don’t confuse the “rarely” with services that provide long-term healthy weight loss benefits by changing behavior.  I agree with programs that promote a balanced nutritious daily food intake regiment, exercise & supplement with high quality absorbable mineral and vitamins.  I also agree that electrolytes, fiber drinks and meal replacement fillers in-between meals (dependent on program and activity) make for a good weight loss and weight management program.”  These types of programs if followed per design will promote gradual weight loss while changing behavior.”  Long-term “permanent” weight loss results require long-term behavioral life change habits.  In other words, it takes time to do it right.  Don’t get set up for overnight results which will lead you to failure…  And once you meet your goals, maintaining your ideal weight requires a life change commitment.  If you do it right, “you don’t suffer at all and you feel great and excited about life.”

 I personally practice 4 behavioral habits to manage my weight.  I believe these New Year Resolution tips will help reduce weight regardless of age, or gender. 

 1) Consume a “good absorbable daily vitamin & mineral supplement [Visit our site Wellness Company Wholesale Program].  Many essential nutrients such as vitamins B, C, are water soluble and removed by your body daily.  Good health, metabolism and weight regulation is dependent upon “highly absorbable daily vitamins & minerals at the cellular level (quality absorbable weight loss products also found at the link). “Nobody, or very few” get 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. 

 2) Ensure you get quality exercise every day.  I walk to manage my weight, lubricate the joints, increase circulation with oxygen-enriched blood for daily tissue repair, etc.  “You don’t need to run a marathon for good weight management.  After 35, running to manage weight is simply ridiculous for the average person and a potential risk to your health.  It has been proven that walking is just as beneficial as running.  There is also less potential damage to joints, tendons and ligaments and greater benefits for increasing muscle tone [includes healthy heart], improved circulation and promotes greater fat burning efficiencies as a low impact exercise.

 3) I always “try” never to eat after 7:30pm.  I also drink 1 litter of water, some with dinner and the rest after, usually an hour before going to bed.  After 7:30pm your metabolism has slowed down considerably.  This means, most food consumed after this time will likely be stored as fat.  The water serves to flush fatty acids and remove toxins from the body, etc.

 4) Never eat out at fast food places more than once/wk.  After 25, your metabolism becomes less efficient at processing non-organic foods [fast foods equal “low nutrient, high fat fillers”].  For moderate weight loss and sustaining your weight goals try changing your behavior by following items 1-4.

 Now that you know my weight loss and daily behavior habit modifications to lose and maintain weight, “Make it Happen!”  Let’s make those New Year’s Resolutions stick!

SEE The Full Story “New Year’s Weight Loss Basic Secrets!”

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2007-2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.