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You’ve put on weight during the holidays…so join the club! Stop fretting about it, denying it and trying to hide it. Hop on that scale, take a good look in the mirror and be honest. If you start fresh right now you can lose those pounds, feel better and stay healthier all year. Here are a few tips that are sure to start a fire under your weight loss program.

In order to lose weight, you’ve got to have a strategy that includes cardio, weights, and nutritional planning.

Instead of thinking “diet” with its negative connotations, come up with an overall approach that includes sticking to sound nutritional principles. Keep a food journal and plan your meals. Doing regular cardio and weight training will help burn calories and get your heart pumping. If you can’t get out to walk or swim or hike for cardio, then get to the gym and ride the recumbent bike or another machine twice a week for 20 minutes or so for starters. Lifting even light weights 3 times per week will help build more lean muscle which burns more calories all the time even when you’re at rest.

Don’t try to do too much all at once.

It’s unhealthy to lose more than 3 pounds per week unless you’re under a doctor’s care. You’ve got to reduce your caloric, but starving yourself to lose 5 to 10 pounds in one week can result in a catastrophe. Losing weight drastically like this can cause your metabolism to plummet and you’ll lose lean muscle as well as fat. As your metabolism wanes so will your stamina for exercise as well as all other daily activities. Your body will rebel by storing fat more easily. You’ll also damage your heart with this type of radical yo-yo dieting.

No- more- excuses, get the facts, and do something about it.

Whether it’s a slow metabolism, too much time at the office or you’re too tired, you are a master at making excuses. Go online or have a trainer chart your Body Mass Index (BMI) and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) so that you know what your weight should be and how many calories you need daily. Change your outlook, believe you can shed those extra pounds and set your priorities accordingly.

Think before you eat!

Mindless eating makes you fat. You grab a few pieces of chocolate from the stash in your desk because you’re bored. You go to the drive through and chow down on burgers and fries because you’re in a hurry. Unfortunately, such mindless indulgences add up to weight gain and all the serious health problems that come with it.

Drinking makes you fat.

People who drink soda consume more sugar and calories. Booze isn’t much better. One gram of alcohol is an empty 7 calories. Furthermore, it’s very common to eat more and make poor food choices after you’ve had a few. Cut out the soda. Reign in the boozing and binging.