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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Avoid The Pitfalls Of Holiday Weight Gain!

The holiday season is undoubtedly a time for rejoicing. Unfortunately, the average adult tends to celebrate a little too much during this time of year, which leads to distressed organs and extra baggage in the form of weight gain. Studies have shown that over the holiday months some Canadians gain an excess of 5 to 7 pounds! But even slight weight gain, if left unchecked, can accumulate yearly and endanger long term health.

Many people have good intentions however procrastinate on their New Year’s resolutions. The danger lies within gaining a pound or two and not working it off. The gain stays on and adds up each year; in a decade it could mean an excess of 20 pounds! Such gains can lead to obesity and related health problems such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes, cancer and other maladies. So what’s the solution? You guessed it, healthy food choices, good eating habits and consistent exercise.

Although walking, if done at a rapid pace, is a good fat burning workout, you need to shake up the fitness routine with variety to effectively start seeing results. 45 – 60 minute high-intensity, fat-burning and muscle toning workouts can burn an excess of 600 calories! To achieve this, consistent total body workouts must target both major and fine muscles and the cardiovascular system. Performing regular vigorous exercise increases the body’s need for the essential building blocks found in a balanced diet. These are the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

Carbohydrates are the body’s chief source of energy for the internal organs, nervous system and muscles. They help to regulate protein and fat metabolism, indirectly help to fight infections, promote growth of tissue, lubricate joints and provide the only energy source useable by the brain. Some good carbohydrates include berries, sweet potatoes and spelt.

Proteins are the building blocks of our cells. They are made up of essential amino acids. Amino acids are essential because the body cannot manufacture them and therefore must be obtained from food sources (both plant and/or animal). Proteins are essential for growth and maintenance of muscles and for synthesizing hormones, enzymes and antibodies. They can be obtained from sources such as halibut, kidney beans and eggs.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) speed up metabolism and increase metabolic rate (speed at which the body uses energy). They also regulate emotions and mood, brain function and nerve impulses. EFAs protect the heart against disease, control blood pressure and inhibit blood clotting). Some of the healthiest oils include: Omega 3 (e.g. fish oils), Omega 6 (e.g. avocado) and Omega 9 (e.g. olive oil).

A macronutrient such as fiber keeps our digestive tract from getting clogged with mucus, toxic materials and metabolic wastes. Fiber is a natural appetite suppressant and it aids in the removal of waste from our bodies. It also lowers blood cholesterol, attaches to bile acids and removes excess estrogen. Some great sources of fiber include flax seeds, leafy greens and whole grains.

By maintaining a balanced diet and through regular vigorous exercise one can shed holiday weight gain and maintain a happier and healthier lifestyle. Regardless of your fitness goals and current physical health, the keys to success are variety, moderation and consistency. For most people change, convenience, fear and a lack of motivation are the first barriers to exercise and to making positive dietary commitments.

However, as with anything else in life there is always a starting point. If omitted, nothing improves or changes. You owe it to yourself to make the necessary changes to improve your health and happiness! Start today. It’s never too late!

Source: USKD MMA Inc,