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Peel Off Those Holiday Pounds Healthfully - Part II

Posted Jan 11 2009 4:21pm

In my previous blog I offered tips on healthy eating strategies for losing those holiday pounds.  Here are more tips:

Focus on Whole Foods

If you eat predominantly whole foods you will naturally get the necessary nutrients and fuel your body requires to function at its best. Processed foods may be handy, but most are lacking in nutrients (including fiber!) and leave you feeling dissatisfied after consuming them. When you must eat packaged foods, skip products with ingredients that require a chemistry degree to identify.   

Watch Your Portions

There’s a reason buffets and salad bars provide you with small plates….they’re limiting the amount of food you can take at one time (although I must confess to having developed techniques to maximize the real estate on a salad plate!). Try the same trick at home - use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate - and don’t fill your plate twice. Or, use a dinner plate, but fill half of it with vegetables.

Slow Down and Sit A Spell

Don’t eat when you’re in a hurry! Gulping down your food while standing at the counter or, even worse, driving in the car, is bad for your digestion and your diet. Your brain can take up to 20 minutes to signal that it’s full - so if your meal takes less time than that you’re more likely to overeat. Also, DO NOT eat in front of the TV or computer. It’s too easy to tune out what and how much you’re eating.

Don’t Let Loose on Sat Nigh t

According to a study by the Washington University School of Medicine , Saturdayis the worst day of the week in terms of adults’ calorie consumption. If you’re going to indulge, plan for it and cut back other places  or other days. Or, schedule an extra workout.

Keep An Ongoing Food Diary

Keeping a food log may be a hassle but it will make you more aware of what you’re eating. It will also make you think twice about eating something when you know you have to write it down. Be as detailed as possible –recording how you feel (i.e. energized, satisfied, or sluggish, bloated, etc.) There are many free on-line food diaries that can help you track your calories and some of them your nutrients. Check out for one example.

Increase Your RMR

Your resting metabolic rate (or RMR) is the number of calories you require to maintain your weight if you were lying in bed all day.  A pound of muscle on your body requires about 35 calories to maintain whereas a pound of fat requires about 2 calories.  Exercising – especially strength training – adds lean muscle mass to your body which translates into more calories burned whether you are skiing or sleeping.  

Get Your ZZs

Sleep isn’t just important in recovery from the demands of physical activity – it’s also an important part of appetite-control. The hormone, leptin controls appetite and is largely produced during sleep. Conversely, production of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite, increases when you don’t get enough sleep. Furthermore, quality sleep helps keep the stress hormone cortisol levels under control and helps prevent diabetes by increasing glucose tolerance and reducing insulin resistance. When cortisol remains elevated at night due to stress or lack of sleep – this can stimulate the release of insulin and lead to an increased storage of body fat.

For more tips on healthy eating strategies for weight loss and wellness, please join me for one of my Nutrition Workshops on Monday, January 26th at 7pm at the Page Mill YMCA in Palo, Alto, CA. For more details, please visit my website If you don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area or  can’t make the workshop, I offer my  nutrition services  via phone and e-mail.

Be Well,


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