Taking Off Those Holiday Pounds

IMAGE The holidays have come and gone. Life as you know it is back to normal. Except, of course, for those extra pounds you may be carrying as a hefty reminder of holiday revelry. You can reach and maintain your desired weight with the following tactics.

Keep These Tips in Mind

Losing weight is a challenge, and requires the same careful consideration that you would give to changing your job, moving, or choosing a college. Create a plan that really suits your lifestyle. Plan to start during a quiet time in your life, not when work and family responsibilities are likely to be at their peak. Start slowly to see how your plan goes and make adjustments as you need to. You want to be certain that your eating and exercise plans are compatible with your health status. This is especially important if you have diabetes , as losing weight may change your requirements for insulin or other medication. Walk, join a gym, or buy workout DVDs—the bottom line is that you need to move! Dietary changes without exercise are unlikely to produce long-term results. Exercise will make you feel better about yourself, increase your cardiovascular fitness, and enhance your weight loss efforts. If you have a hard time getting started, find a friend to buddy up with on your workout days. It may also be easier to join a class where other people can keep you motivated.While quick weight loss seems most desirable, it is not healthy, nor is it lasting. You want to choose a plan which will allow for 1 to 2 pounds of fat loss per week while preserving your lean body mass and water. Ultimately, weight loss is a matter of simple math. You have to burn more calories than you take in. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day as opposed to the standard 3 meals. This will allow you to fill up on healthy snacks rather than go hungry between meals. If you need to, consider talking to a dietitian about healthier food choices, portion control and meal planning.Drink plenty of water each day. Water is noncaloric, fills you up, and prevents dehydration. And do not forget the psychological benefit—water gives you something to put in your mouth when you are trying to forget about eating. Flavor your water with a spritz of fresh lemon or lime.If the scale intimidates you, look for other ways to chart your progress. Your weight fluctuates daily based on many factors, so a scale may not be the most accurate way to measure your success. If you want to use a scale, do so periodically. Try other ways of measuring your weight loss. For example, try on a snug pair of pants every other day. As the waist band becomes less snug, you will become more motivated. Or use a measuring tape to measure your waist, hips, or other body part, and chart your progress once a week.One splurge does not undermine your overall efforts. Learning to forgive yourself and overlook your indulgences are key to long-term weight control. If you have one bad meal, move on, do not turn it into a bad day or bad week. One bad meal is no big deal, but giving up is damaging to progress.Recruit your significant other, friends, work colleagues, or children for encouragement and support. Remind them that although you do not need the diet police, you would appreciate that they not sabotage your efforts. Also, there are many commercially available weight loss programs that are helpful.Both small and large treats will help you to realize your goals. Break your weight goal down into smaller segments and compensate yourself as you reach each one. The more you reward yourself, the more motivated you will be to continue.

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