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Losing Holiday Pounds

Now that the holidays are gone, some individuals wonder how to shed the weight they’ve gained.  There’s typically little reason to be overly stressed because most people resume normal patterns, and the situation corrects itself over time.  Still, there are some beneficial steps we can all take to be healthier and expedite the loss of a pound or two.  Here are a few.      Senior Man Eating Fresh Fruit Salad

  • Replace sugary/fatty drinks with healthier options.  Some people love soda, but the sugar content contributes to neither good health nor weight loss.  Therefore, search for a suitable alternative, one that hydrates and pleases at the same time.  A suggestion?  Water, it’s fabulous!  Water is thirst-quenching, hydrating, and it helps rid toxins from the body.  At first it may take a while to get used to this liquid as a primary drink, yet once the habit sticks, nothing else will do.  But you need some zip in your glass?  Then try seltzer water.  There are different types, and some varieties are infused with lemon, lime, raspberry, or other satisfying flavors (just make sure sugar or one of its derivatives is not an ingredient).  Other drink thoughts?  Replace 2% milk for whole milk, or 1% (or even skim) for 2%.  It is best to gradually ease down the fat scale; going from whole milk to skim might shock the palate and negate the change.  And beer?  Well, it has carbs.  One every now and then is not going to ruin a waistline, but consistent indulgence might do just that.  A healthier alternative?  A glass of red wine.
  • Cut back on fatty foods.  Reducing fatty foods does not necessarily mean that you must consume less, it just means the choices you make should be lower in fat (having said that, food restriction is not a bad idea for people who overeat).  Ways to cut fat?  Select leaner steaks or ground beef, go sparingly on the butter (if you usually use two pats on your bread, try one instead), replace lard, vegetable oil, butter, or other oils with olive oil cooking spray whenever possible, go easy on the cream in your coffee or tea (even better, switch to milk if you can), drink fruit-based smoothies instead of frappes or milkshakes, use applesauce in place of butter or Crisco in baked goods, choose whole grain breads for sandwiches (yes, they now make whole grain white!), bake chicken instead of frying it, pick refreshing fruits over high-calorie cakes, resist fatty or sugary snacks when grocery shopping (maybe carry a picture of yourself at your ideal weight and pull it out if you become tempted), eat oatmeal at least three times per week in lieu of bacon, eggs, and toast (oatmeal is high in fiber and may even help reduce bad cholesterol!).
  • Move around. Moving doesn’t have to mean structured exercise, although workouts are great if you have your doctor’s approval.  Nonetheless, moving can mean making a concerted effort to resist being stationary.  So, when you have the opportunity, take the stairs instead of an elevator.  If you are watching television, lift your legs up and down or periodically rotate your arms.  If you are at the mall, circle the periphery two or three times.  If you’re a passenger in a car, put your seat back as far as you can while remaining buckled and make small circles with your legs (hey, it’s a wonderful opportunity to use otherwise unusable time).  If you’re inside for the day, walk from one room to another and get chores accomplished.  If it’s nice outside, take a brisk stroll around the neighborhood.  If the mail house is in a community location, walk instead of drive.  There are many ways to keep active besides going to the gym; and the more you move, the more calories you burn!

Alas, the holidays are behind us, but there’s still so much joy ahead.  Therefore, put in to practice the changes that can work for you, and look at every challenge as something to be overcome.

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