As the Holidays approach, one thinks of the family gatherings, the food, drinks, and the likely expanding waistline that comes with the territory.  For some reason, the Holidays often present with those favorite foods that seem to be made only at that time of year in spite of the fact that the ingredients are usually available year round.  Unfortunately, one feels as if they must get their fill or risk waiting another year for the same treat.

Statistics show that, in general, Americans are: overfeed, under nourished and consequently, overweight.  The data is grim to say the least.  Six out of every 10 Americans are overweight or obese according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or 97 million adults aged 20 or over!

The underlying causes for obesity are multiple, for example; less exercise,  a sedentary work style, more meals eaten outside the home, bigger portions, more fats and sugars in prepared foods, an abundance of cheap, high fructose corn syrup, and the tendency to overeat.

Assessing the Basal Metabolic Rate, (BMR), the minimum caloric requirement needed to sustain life in a resting individual versus what is consumed daily, confirms the obesity statistics. The average BMR for women is about 1400 calories and the BMR for men is about 1800 calories.  Interestingly, the average American chomps about 3800 calories per day.  This excess caloric ingestion leads to weight gain.  Looking at the total food consumption, the average American eats between 250 -500 grams of carbohydrates per day.  The average human body can hand 75 to 100 grams per day. Excess carbs leads to fat weight gain!  The problem arises when the majority of the carbs come from simple or refined carbs.  If it’s white, don’t eat it!  This includes white bread, sugar, white pasta, white rice, candies, cakes, cookies and pop latent with high fructose corn syrup.

Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, preferably gluten free is a smarter choice. The Mediterranean Diet recommends up to ten fruits and vegetables per day, limiting the fruit to 2-3 and the rest in a form of fresh or frozen vegetables.  By consuming this many vegetables the fiber content will be closer to the recommended 25-40 grams per day.

What choices do we have?  Several!  By eating a high fiber food before attending it will expand in the stomach giving a sense of fullness. When at the social gathering select a small plate and make a conscious decision to eat wisely.  Chew your food selection slowly, counting to 34 before swallowing that mouthful.  By doing so, the stomach has an opportunity to register its fullness.

Keep a tally of the carbohydrate intake.  Switch to non carbs when daily limit of 100 carbs is consumed.  For weight loss, focus on less than 60 carbs per day. Weight loss will improve high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, especially the triglycerides, diabetes, sleep apnea and arthritis to list a few health improvements.  It will take an effort to adjust to this new lifestyle change, however, the health benefits over time will be worth the effort.

In is endeavor to lose fat and not muscle mass and improve overall body composition, consider an appointment with an alternative health care provider trained in healthy weight loss who can coach you on the course of improving your health.

This information is for educational purposes and is not intended for diagnosis or treatment.