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Wed, Oct. 23

Weight, weight, don't tell me!!!

With holidays upon us my advice for those on a diet is this, QUIT. The idea of losing weight during the Christmas season, where cookies and cake abound, verges on insane. Instead, just try to maintain your current weight. You can start back up on Jan. 1 but for now MAINTAIN, MAINTAIN, MAINTAIN!

If you attempt to lose weight when everyone around you is eating you may well find yourself depressed, huddled in the fetal position crying into a tub of Rocky Road ice cream. So here are some tips on how to maintain your current weight during the holidays:

1. Walk. If you have the opportunity to walk at lunch, take it. While the weather is nice you can walk outside, but when the rain and assuming the snow ever comes, you may have to get creative. Go to the mall at lunch, walk the hallways of your work, or join a gym. The point is to walk, as often and for as long as you can. You burn a lot of calories when you walk and the faster you walk the more calories you burn.

2. Everything in moderation. The closer we get to Christmas the more we seem to eat. So keep this in mind and have a plan: When you see a plate of cookies, take the smallest one - yes, I said one. An alternative solution to the cookie crisis, if you JUST CAN'T TAKE ONE, would be to walk around your place of work before taking the cookie. You burn calories and might even forget about the cookie, but probably not. Don't forget about the liquids. Eggnog has more calories than you would imagine and your body will not tell your brain to stop drinking, EVER.

3. Eat your proteins first. I was going to tell you to use a smaller plate, but really, it's Christmas! This means eat the ham, turkey or pork first, then your veggies. After that the gloves come off and what happens at Christmas dinner stays at Christmas dinner. It takes about 20 minutes for the message to get from your stomach to your brain that you are full, but if you eat your proteins first the message gets there faster.

4. Wear something tight. I know this is a dirty trick but it works. That is, unless you are comfortable enough with it. In which case this doesn't work and frankly no one wins.

5. Have a plan. Eat something small, or drink a large glass of water, before you go to dinner so you aren't "starving" when you make your plate. Tell yourself, "I can eat smaller portions and I will be happy." Decide now that you are not going back for seconds, no matter how good it is. Eat a little less for a few days before the big feast. A little planning now will pay off in spades when you go back to losing weight in January.

I know it sounds counterintuitive but if you are on a diet, QUIT IT, at least for the holidays. You can start your diet regimen back up on Jan. 1. And frankly rigid diets don't work anyways, unless they help you change the way you think about food and eating, diets that restrict all enjoyable foods are doomed to fail you.

To lose weight and keep it off you have to do two simple things. Eat less and do more. I know this is over simplifying the issue, and what you eat is just as important as how much. If we all start changing the way we think about food, eat less and get up and move more, we will all be better off.

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