Annual Weight Loss BluesIt happens every year – like clockwork.

Millions of people head into the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving, having the best intentions of exercising self-control, regarding over-indulgence and over-consumption.

However, human nature succumbs to temptation, and before you know it New Year’s Eve is almost here. You are finding it difficult to zip up your dress or pants. The same old rationalization occurs, “Too late to worry about it, at this point. I’ll just lose the weight after the first of the year, like everybody else.”

Then, there it is… the beginning of January… a new year.

The number of weight-loss ads you see and hear are everywhere: on TV, on radio, in the mail and on your e-mail. Weight-loss is newsworthy enough to be found on front pages of newspapers and your favorite news programs.

GOOD GRIEF! Just like spring, summer, winter, fall or duck hunting season, it even has its own calendar designation – it’s Weight-Loss-Season!!

This ‘Season’ is obviously recognized and supported by the masses. In fact, it could be considered “the Holiday time that binds”, because it draws no religious or political lines.

Then I woke up one day and realized that the older you get the harder it is to lose 5 to 15 pounds. That’s when you end up with a residual carried forward to the next ‘Season’!

That’s it! “Weight-Loss for World Peace!”

So, the number one New Year’s Resolution, year after year, is “to lose weight”! I’m addressing those of you who gain 5 to 15 pounds during the holidays; just enough to make you feel really uncomfortable in your clothes – especially when you sit down! (Having an ongoing weight problem, or having to lose more than 15 pounds for serious medical and health reasons, is a separate subject entirely. This will be addressed in a future newsletter.)

I know this pattern very well, because I used to be a General in the Weight-Loss-Season Army. Then I woke up one day and realized that the older you get the harder it is to lose 5 to 15 pounds. That’s when you end up with a residual carried forward to the next ‘Season’!

One can easily calculate that it doesn’t take many cycles of the ‘Season’ to create the need to ‘upgrade’ your clothing size. If you are over the age of 30, take a conscious tour of your closet. See what I mean?

THERE’S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY!?!

Surprise!! There is!

It has been working for me for years; so it should work for you, too.

Following are a few simple suggestions that could make you an active member of the “Society For The Abolition of Weight-Loss-Season”. Every year, between October 15 and Thanksgiving, I lose ten pounds. This gives me a head start on the holidays, and it’s not too late to begin.

It is easy to do. ‘Easy’ entails instituting a few minor modifications to your daily routine, for this short period of time. Following are the few minor modifications to your daily routine:

1) ABOUT FOOD: Avoid fats and carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, rice, and other grains. Instead, choose deep green and orange colored vegetables. These are good sources of carbohydrates, and yet will not add weight to our bodies.

Eat whole protein foods such as: chicken breast (no skin), fish, pork, lean beef, and eggs. There will be some fat inherent in protein foods, but don’t be concerned about that.
For vegetarians who do not eat fish or eggs, focus on varieties of lentils, beans, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cottage cheese.

For Everyone… AVOID margarine (definite ‘no-no’ discussed in another newsletter), cheese, whole milk, butter, pasta, potatoes, breads of all kinds (includes anything with yeast in it, i.e. pizza dough, pretzels), sugary or artificially sweetened carbonated drinks, and fruit juices.

Here are some good meal combinations (protein portion always grilled or broiled; veggies grilled, lightly steamed, or raw):

Fish and Spinach; Lean Beef and Zucchini Strips; Pork Loin and Apple Slices; Chicken and Broccoli.

Fresh, ripe tomato slices topped with fresh basil leaves and balsamic vinegar can be added to any meal. It is amazing how much weight we can lose, when we concentrate on choosing orange and/or deep green vegetables, in addition to lean protein, for our meals.

2) ABOUT WATER: Drink pure water (not unfiltered, chlorinated tap water) – at least half your body weight in ounces every day. For example, for a person who weighs 150 pounds, that would be 75 ounces of water.

When drinking water before a meal, it is important to squeeze a couple slices of fresh lemon or lime in the water to improve digestion. When in restaurants, drink the water/lemon juice combination before ordering. Having plenty of pure water every day is, of course, a good general rule for health. When and how much water you consume can really make a difference!

3) ABOUT DIGESTIVE ENZYMES: Add a digestive enzyme supplement to your meals to assist in the proper breakdown of foods, fats and calories. Digestive enzymes maximize the absorption, and utilization of macronutrients from the widest spectrum of foods, including proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, lipids/fats, and vegetable fibers.

4) ABOUT EXERCISE: For those, like me, who are not into a regular exercise routine, an easy habit to form is a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk every day. Although, anytime is a good time to walk, being outdoors at sunrise or sunset makes it extra enjoyable.

If you sit a lot, again like me, be conscious of making the most of every opportunity to move. It may sound insignificant, but I make a game out of resistance-type exercise while sitting for long periods of time at my computer. Just tighten and hold any muscle or muscle group for a few seconds and then release. I always have music around me, just loud enough to hear; so I also do a sort of a sit-dance (not to be confused with a lap-dance ).

The point is, you can do a lot of stretching and moving, even when you are seated. Stand up and stretch approximately every 20 minutes to lengthen your attention span and endurance.

As I said, it may sound insignificant, but as a habit, over time, it really helps. Other than the walking, the rest of this advice may not be applicable, if you work in a large office where everyone is staring at you – or maybe you can start sit-exercising with your co-workers. Picture that!

5) ABOUT OBVIOUS “GOOD” HABITS: Other commonly accepted good habits apply; i.e., don’t eat for at least three hours before going to bed.

With all the aforementioned in place, let me just remind you that it’s not only eating that increases over the holidays. Be aware of the caloric content in alcoholic beverages:

Calorie Facts per six ounce serving:
Champagne 150
Red Wines 150
Port Wines 300
12 oz. Beer 100 – 150
Cocktails Depends on how many olives, or how much sweetener – but, in any case – a lot.

Well, I lost my ten pounds and have only put about two back on through Thanksgiving. I figure I’m way ahead of the game! Now, to prepare for Christmas…

Happy, Healthy, Safe Holidays to Everyone!

[reprinted from Applied Health Journal No.15]

[Applied Health Publications are registered in the United States Library of Congress, ISSN: 1525-6359]