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by Linda Gabriel

Lose Weight Over Holidays

Yes, it’s possible to not gain weight over the holidays!

It’s important to give yourself permission to enjoy traditional holiday meals. In order to gain a pound, you have to overeat by 3500 calories. That’s hard to do in one sitting. The tendency to over eat several hundred calories a day over the holidays is far more treacherous. Those mindless extra bites can really add up, so keep your splurges confined to the traditional holiday feasts. One day of over-indulgence is okay, but don’t turn Thanksgiving into a 4-day eating marathon.

If you have a strategy you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays without gaining weight. You might even lose a pound or two.

10 Tips for Healthy Eating Over the Holidays.

1. Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach. If you try to starve yourself in advance in order to “save up calories” you’re much more likely to overeat. It’s better to eat normal, healthy food the day of a party. Sometimes I eat a healthy snack like an apple before heading out. That way, by the time I arrive, I’m more interested in the company than the food.

2. Don’t overdo the alcohol. It adds a lot of extra calories and interferes with good judgment. Decide ahead of time to have only one drink and make it last. Skip mixed drinks, especially egg nog. It can pack as much as 600 calories per serving! At 160 calories per 8 ounces, champagne is a much better choice. Better yet, drink sparkling water. Tall narrow beverage glasses fool the eye into thinking you have a larger serving than shorter wider glassware.

3. Don’t stand and chat next to the food table at a buffet. Stay more than an arm’s length away. Serve yourself a plate and move to the other side of the room where you can slowly enjoy what you’re eating. Focus on socializing.

4. Remind yourself that food is a poor substitute for love. If you have a beloved relative that typically insist you eat seconds, plan ahead. Serve yourself smaller portions to begin with. Then pre-emt by asking for seconds of one particular dish – the healthiest.  Better yet, skip the seconds but give your relative a big hug and tell them how much you love and appreciate them.

5. Enjoy treats but limit the amount. Instead of full portions, try sampling small tastes of several different items. That extra cookie or serving of yams usually doesn’t taste as good as you think it will. Instead choose to eat just one small serving and really savor it.

6. At parties, don’t just sit in one place, mingle! Keep moving. Offer to help with the clean up. If there’s music, get out on the dance floor.

7. Days are short during the winter so plan to get some exercise early in the day, preferably first thing in the morning. Grab the kids and take a brisk walk outside if weather permits. Going shopping? Wear comfortable shoes and include a few extra laps around the mall. Get an exercise buddy and enroll in a stress-busting yoga class. Rent or buy exercise videos. Choose some fun ones like Belly Dance for Beginners or Sweatin’ to the Oldies.

8. If you’re invited to a pot luck, consider bringing a healthy dish. There are a loads of delicious, healthy recipes at cookinglight.com.

9. Out of sight = out of mind = out of stomach. Don’t use food as part of your holiday decor at home or at work. Keep treats under wraps until you are ready to serve.

10. Distribute and/or destroy the bounty. If you receive a box of candy or cookies, open it on the spot and share. Send leftovers home with guests. And don’t be afraid to throw surplus food away. With more than half of adults in the US suffering from obesity, people are suffering from having way too much food. Imagine you are throwing fat down the garbage disposal. Better in the trash than in your arteries!

What are some of your favorite tips for keeping fit over the holidays?

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Number of Calories to Lose WeightBy Linda Gabriel

Do you know the number of calories you need to lose weight?

If you’re like most Americans, you have no clue of the number of calories needed to maintain your desired weight. Even worse, you probably don’t have a clue about how many you actually are eating every day.

According to a recent survey of over 1,000 people conducted by The International Food Information Council Foundation 63% couldn’t estimate the number, 25% won’t even take a guess and only 12% have an accurate idea of how many calories they eat. That means a whopping 88% of those surveyed are clueless about their “number.”

There is no one-size-fits-all number

Part of the reason is that there is no one-size-fits-all number.  Each person is unique and individual caloric requirements vary widely depending on your gender, height, weight, age, and level of physical activity. According to Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, the registered dietician who helped conduct the survey,

“Adult calorie requirements can range from 1,400 to 1,600 a day for a small sedentary woman to 4,000 or more calories a day for a highly trained endurance athlete.”

How Can You Figure Out Your Number?

Here are the 4 things you need to know in order to get a handle on your personal number.

1. What’s the number of calories needed to maintain your desired weight?

Thanks to the internet this number is much easier than ever to calculate. Go to http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html and enter your desired weight. This is the number you want to aim for each day.

Helpful Hint: Use this number instead of a calorie restricted number. Diets don’t work. On the other hand, if you adjust your intake to the number of calories needed to maintain your goal weight, you will automatically lose 1-2 pounds a week, usually without suffering.

2. What’s the number of calories in food?

Again, this information is more easy to find than ever. You can find inexpensive pocket guides near the check-out stand in most grocery stores and there lots of free calorie content websites. Some are better than others. I happen to like this one: www.calorieking.com. And now there’s even an app for that! Check out Livestrong.com’s highly rated (and inexpensive) Calorie Tracker which has the nutritional content of lots of foods and allows you to keep track of what you eat (and burn) during the day. If you eat in restaurants, I highly recommend the bestselling book Eat This Not That by David Zinczenko.

Helpful Hint: If you are serious about knowing the amount of calories in the food you eat, it’s important to be honest about the portion size.

3. How many calories do you actually eat?

Go back to the calorie calculator at http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html. This time enter your actual weight. This will give you an idea of what you are actually eating in order to maintain your current weight.

Helpful Hint: Subtract the number of calories needed to maintain your desired weight from the number to maintain your current weight and you’ll have a good idea of how many calories you need to cut out per day.

4. How many calories do you burn?

Not only do people not know how many calories the eat, they aren’t clear about how many calories they burn each day. 77% of Americans don’t meet the government’s guidelines of 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. That’s not for weight loss, that’s for health!

If you think taking a brisk walk will burn off that cinnamon roll you ate for breakfast prepare yourself for a shock.  One Cinnabon contains a whopping 740 calories! Yes, you can “walk it off” but it will take about 2 hours at a brisk 3.5 miles per hour for a 200 pound person. The Mayo Clinic has a handy chart that will give you an idea of how many calories different activities burn in an hour.

Helpful Hint: Use a pedometer app or Fitbit to keep track of how many steps you take per day.  Experts recommend 10,000!

While calories aren’t the whole picture, having a solid frame of reference about your calorie intake and output is a key step in creating a lifestyle that fosters a healthy weight and a healthy body.

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The Key to Healthy Energy

Healthy Energyby Linda Gabriel

Healthy energy is flowing energy.

Did you know you have an energy body, as well as a physical body? When we feel trapped or stuck in life, it’s a clear sign that our energy isn’t flowing. No one likes the feeling of being stuck in traffic. In Chinese medicine, pain is an indication that your energy is blocked in the area that hurts.

Being overweight is a physical sign that your energy isn’t flowing properly. Fat is stagnant energy. When you get your energy moving, you’ll lose weight automatically.


One of the best ways to get energy flowing is to breathe. I mean really breathe, deep into your belly. Have you ever watched a newborn baby breathe? Perhaps you’ve noticed how the baby’s belly visibly moves with every breath. That’s how I want you to breathe; deep into your belly so that with each inhalation you can feel your belly gently expand and then with each slow exhalation, feel the belly gently relax.

Your Body is Designed to Move

Exercise is another way to move energy. Walking, especially outdoors in nature, is a great way to reset your energy flow. Medical experts suggest walking 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. This is not for weight loss, it’s for normal health.  Your body is designed to move. When you’re sedentary you are blocking your natural flow of energy.  The paradox is, the less you move, the less energy you will have so you won’t feel like moving! But if you make walking 30 minutes every day a part of your normal daily routine, you’ll actually increase your energy. Expending energy increases energy. Deeper breathing is a normal result of exercise so you get the added energy benefit of breath.

Stretch Your Body, Stretch Your Mind

Stretching gets your energy moving. Yoga is a great way to stretch, move and increase flexibility. It’s also good to stretch your mind by learning something new. Challenging yourself to stretch beyond your comfort zone is a great way to infuse your life with new energy. It’s important not to try too much at once. No one can run a marathon without some training. So whether it’s exercise or learning something new, it’s okay to take baby steps.

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