Friday, September 10, 2010

Don’t Go on a Vacation From Your Health

By JJ Virgin
Having trouble losing weight and keeping it off?
Could be your on-again, off-again relationship with weighing your food optionsfood. Curling up with quinoa and fresh veggies one week, then rebounding with ice cream and French fries the next is often a recipe for weight loss resistance. Don’t assume you can easily work off those extra calories at the gym following a weekend of sweets or a carbo-loaded vacation.
These short-term lapses in healthful eating habits can have a long-term impact on your health and well-being. A recent study out of Sweden found that people who upped their caloric intake and dropped their fitness regimen for just a month still retained some of that weight gain two and a half years later, even after they’d returned to their normal fitness and nutrition plans.
The study authors said this could be because overindulgences boost your body fat levels and even change your body composition. I suspect there may be additional factors at work as well, because the more you treat yourself to sweet, salty, or fatty foods, the more you crave them and the harder it is to stop.
Higher carb and damaged-fat food can also contribute to leptin and insulin resistance, which then makes you better at storing fat and worse at burning it off and adds to the problem. And by quitting the exercise, you lower your ability to handle stress well and could lose precious metabolism boosting muscle mass.
The easiest way to avoid this situation is to not let it happen in the first place. You may be thinking that is easier said than done, but there are a few easy strategies that you can deploy to keep you on the straight and narrow:
1. Keep a food journal
2. Hire a coach
3. Follow the “three bite rule”
4. Weigh and measure weekly
It’s often a self-defeating pattern, but you can bust out of that pattern by focusing on clean, nutritious foods like lean protein, healthy fats and non-starchy fruits and vegetables. When you make that shift, substituting more nutritious foods for your former fall-back foods and staying focused on your new lifestyle, those stubborn extra pounds often disappear AND stay off because you are healing the damage done to your metabolism.
If you want to attain and maintain your ideal body weight, then think of healthful eating, burst training and resistance exercise, stress management and consistent high quality sleep as long-term commitments, not a one-night stand. If you cheat by sneaking soda or candy, then you’re really cheating on yourself!

©2010 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition and Fitness Expert JJ Virgin is a the author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy and the co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters reality series. Visit her at to grab her free audio: 7 Steps to Break Your “Freaky” Food Habits Fast & Forever.

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