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Every year from Thanksgiving until just after the New Year, the American population gains an average of about 15 pounds. Imagine the impact of Thanksgiving or Chanukah or Christmas alone and then combine them and then add to that the imbibing of New Years. All of those cakes, drinks, cookies, candy, latkes, and extra servings really add up and before you know it, clothes fit tighter, your energy is zapped and you're scrambling to figure out how to lose all that newly gained weight. Of course, there is no simple answer, but following the below game plan will help get you back into shape in an easy and sensible manner.
1) Success always starts by having a plan. In this case, the plan incorporates using the time-tested technique of planning your meals ahead of time. This is not as hard as you think. Weight control and hunger is often held in check by including breakfast daily in your routine. Mom was right; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The idea here is not so much what you eat, but that you utilize the concept of controlled portion size. An ideal breakfast might be 6 ounces of orange juice, 1-cup bran flakes cereal, 1 cup 1% milk, coffee or tea, sugar substitute, 1 slice of whole grain toast, 1 teaspoon of butter and 12-ounces of water. Alternatively, weight control or loss may be achieved easier if you employ caloric controlled (portion controlled) foods. I like using the ProSource Nutripure Supreme shakes for this purpose. Again, the idea is to plan to have breakfast and to use controlled portions. Keep in mind that using a MRP may just be the easiest way for you to lose weight and cut fat. In fact depending upon how and when you drink the ProSource shake can make a difference if you put your body in the right state to generate more muscle tissue. This is called anabolism; more specifically it is using Nutrient Timing to promote new muscle protein synthesis. If you drink this type of shake either before, after or both related to your weight training sessions, you will positively influence muscle protein synthesis at the cellular level. It has been shown that when myocytes are exposed to specific types of proteins as found in this and other drinks, the result is nothing short of amazing -- a cellular switch is turned on that result in new muscle formation and enhanced exercise recovery. Thus MRP's can be used for muscular growth as well when timed correctly.
2) Timed snacking is one key to success. You cannot forget about the snacks and meals that follow breaking the fast. People report more success at weight loss when eating small frequent meals daily. Since breakfast was already covered, the ideal day, spaces meals/snacks approximately every four hours. Thus your meals and snacks will total about four to five "feedings" daily. A meal or snack should be thought as anything from a half of a sandwich, a protein-based bar, to the grilled chicken breast with broccoli and couscous that you might have for dinner.
3) Keep a food diary. A food diary is a way to journal what you eat, what time you eat, what your mood is during and prior to eating and where you ate the meal. For many, mood, or the state of mind influences food choices. The only person that eats truly out of hunger and stops eating once full is an infant. All of the rest of us have societal and emotional influences. I am not saying to be a machine and live a non-emotional life, but this is where keeping a food diary can help. Journaling can help a person associate patterns. For instance if you eat when angry, than you will be able to recognize the pattern and be able to break it the next time the food-mood connection happens. Use journaling to achieve success.
4) Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. This can be as easy as gardening, mowing the lawn, taking a walk after dinner, swimming laps at the local YMCA or utilizing the amenities in a gym. Some people like a personal trainer to help motivate them, while others find fitness in tapes such as "Fitness Made Simple". Exercise is not a sentence and our bodies are made to be used, the more physically active you are (within reason), the better your body will be to you.
5) Use smart supplements. In the battle for weight control there are some dietary supplements that may just be the item, the catalyst to your success. For example, Tetrazene ES-50 is an awesome weight control agent that contains clinically validated ingredients that have been documented in various International studies to aid in appetite reduction, enhance resting metabolic rate and be an excellent source of fiber as well. The fact that this is a leasing product on the diet and weight control scene only lends to its credence as the right formula at the right time for weight control. It seems to me that if you couple a calorie-controlled meal replacement shake such as the one by ProSource with daily use of a weight loss/appetite reducing product like Tetrazene ES-50, that you are covering almost every perceivable angle for weight loss. In addition to Tetrazene ES-50 and perhaps the NutriPure Supreme as part of your exercise and nutrition plan, you may want to consider adding a general daily multivitamin-mineral product. Most people who calorie-restrict do miss out on a few vitamins or minerals -- or at the very least do not get what they need in optimal amounts. When dieting, a "multivite" is a no-brainer.
6) Markers for success. Remember, fad diets are only temporarily popular because they don't work for life; utilizing the support available to you through this newsletter, the website, and the dietary supplements sold by ProSource, coupled with peer support is an easy marker for achieving success.
7) Be accountable. In life we have to be accountable for our actions. Think about it, when you were a child, your parents surely aimed to mold you to think for yourself and to take responsibility for whatever decisions or actions that you took. Well the same is true with dieting and starting a new weight control lifestyle. For me, as a practicing nutritionist who sees all sorts of clients ranging from professional athletes to homemakers, I always strive to incorporate a team plan for success. Let me explain. When you decide that you are going to start eating cleaner, exercising, and really making a genuine effort to get in shape, it's made easier if you inform those closest to you. Once you inform a spouse, a boy/girlfriend, some co-workers about what you are doing with your personal life, you are asking for them to support you. In this vein, when you tell your significant other that you are going to the gym and that you wish them to help be a motivator, you are asking for your circle of friends to push you in the tough times, be there for you when it is meal time and to congratulate you for sticking to your plan. Sure, when you are by yourself you can use your home or gym scale to chart your weight progress and you can use the "eyeball judgment" of how clothes fit as another tool to check in on the lifestyle change and how you are progressing. Again, taking responsibility, being accountable and setting up a support group to help you achieve your goals can go a long way to you actually achieving your goals. As hokie as it might sound, one of the reasons that companies and weight loss centers like Weight Watchers are successful is because they utilize a peer support system. So, why should you not create your own peer-support system that you have to answer to on a weekly basis? One way that you can do this from a cyber-standpoint is by getting active on the ProSource Forums. These Forums will allow you to interact with thousands of other people while seeking expert advice and guidance from respected professionals in medicine, nutrition, training and other health disciplines. Best of all, the Forums are free. In short, use the scale, a support system of your family, friends and a workout partner and join the free Forums and you are setting yourself up for total success. Final Thoughts - The struggle to lose weight and keep it off for many is more than some of us can understand or imagine -- however the issue should not be avoided. Success in almost every endeavor is an ongoing project whereas everyday one strives and works for achieving the balance and goals that have been preplanned. The tips listed above are just that -- tips for starting off the New Year in the right frame of mind and with the right intentions. It is easy to lose weight for the short term, we all have -- but understanding enough about yourself and how to structure your life for long-term success is where the real rewards come in. Yours in health, Douglas S. Kalman MS, RD, FACN Douglas S. Kalman MS, RD is a Director in the Nutrition and Endocrinology Department of Miami Research Associates (www.miamiresearch.com) and contributes to the ProSource Forum.