With the New Year well under way, fad diets and weight loss pills are hot items! Millions of people are making New Year’s resolutions from everything to losing weight, saving money, spending more time with family and everything in between.
With large Thanksgiving meals, leftovers, holiday desserts and cookies for Santa, it should not be surprising to find that the last months of the year can lead to most weight gain all year. According to Yvonne Ortega, a registered dietitian and professor at Santa Monica College, Americans tend to gain anywhere between nine and 12 pounds during the holiday season! Holiday meals can account for 3,000 – 5,000 calories not including those leftovers we savor the following week. (Check out my previous post to see how to eliminate some of the calories without sacrificing any of the necessities!)
So, what is the best way to combat the extra pounds that continue to accumulate after all these years? Is it the latest weight-loss pill that claims to “clinically proven” or the newest “cleansing” diet? The answer is NO! As humans, we naturally look for the quickest and easiest way to lose weight. The truth is that there is no overnight solution. The weight took time to accumulate and it will take time to get rid of.
Those weight loss pills on TV are not even regulated by the FDA and cannot be proven safe or even effective! The ever-popular cleansing diets that involve only drinking lemon juice, vinegar, or even smoothies are really just starvation diets in disguise. Do you even really know what you are trying to cleanse? Those diets eliminate entire food groups and not sustainable. As soon as the “cleanse” ends the pounds will return and you will lucky if you don’t end up gaining more than you lost in the first place.
With so much of today’s society’s social events being centered around food and alcohol, losing weight can be a challenge. The secret to weight loss that no one wants to here is long-term, sustainable, healthy living. This involves making every day, healthy choices such as these:
- Choose grilled or boiled meats and vegetables instead of breaded and fried
- Limit portion sizes
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of sugary drinks like soda and juice and drink more water or unsweetened tea
- Limit intake of cream based sauces and soups and chose vegetable or broth based soups
Physical activity is also a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get to the gym or devote an entire hour directly to exercise everyday – there are other ways to increase your energy expenditure. The key to exercise is to find something that you actually enjoy doing. If you hate running you probably won’t last long if you force yourself and the excuses to not work out will be easy to find. Think outside the box. Have you tried Zumba, kickboxing, spinning class, taking walks, hiking, the opportunities are endless. If you aren’t used to exercising start by taking small steps like taking the stairs, not using the remote, walking the dogs, doing calf raises while doing the dishes. You may be surprised by how all the little things can add up!
So please, don’t fall for the latest fad diet and together let’s make it our New Year’s resolution to NOT diet but instead let’s work to make daily healthy choices that will lead to a sustainable, healthy, and enjoyable life.