Holidays bring fat along with presents

Danielle Pratt

With the holiday season lasting a whole five weeks, starting at Thanksgiving, rich desserts and leftovers can bring on dreaded, unwanted pounds. Making a millennium resolution to get in shape is not enough; exercise and a healthy diet are necessary to shed those holiday pounds.A proper diet and exercise are necessities for a healthy body. Everyone knows these should be incorporated into their diet, but how many actually follow a plan and do both year-round? It can be so easy to “forget” to eat breakfast because the alarm clock “forgot” to go off, leaving you late for class without the most important meal of the day.

“Never skip breakfast,” Greg Isaacs said. Issacs, a personal trainer, has appeared in multiple articles for Prevention magazine. “Just like Mom used to tell you, breakfast gives you the fuel to make it through the day or at least until lunchtime. It fills you up so your mind can be on other things besides hunger pangs. It also speeds up your metabolism and digests the meal faster than a late dinner could,” he added. Staying away from candy and junk food high in fat is another basic fact that Mom used to drill into your head. There are no nutrients in these snacks, just empty calories, so chomp on rice cakes or carrot sticks dipped in peanut butter instead if the urge to snack is felt.

If people want to lose weight and keep it off, they cannot just eat less food for a few weeks, lose a few pounds, then go back to their regular eating habits. They need to minimize their intake of unhealthy foods with no or little nutritional value. Instead of drinking soda pop every day at dinner, try a glass of skim milk and treat yourself to a can of pop every few days instead of every day. The dieter will be taking in fewer calories and may enjoy the taste better when it is not an everyday drink. The same goes for potato chips. Don’t reach for a bag of chips when you are hungry, because they are less likely to fill you up than a bagel or even four cups of air-popped popcorn and contain three times as many calories.

“People who just restrict calories may initially lose weight but are more likely to regain it quickly when they resume normal eating habits,” Issacs said.

Another helpful tip for weight loss is to banish booze – or minimize intake of it. At seven calories per gram, alcohol is almost as fattening as fat. Even after a drink or two, nutritional judgement falters. So when the chips and dip or pizza comes around, one is more likely say yes.

“Being a new resident assistant at Wetzel, I plan on getting my floor to participate in intramurals with me and spend less time in front of the television. I think it is great how the (Student) Recreation Center offers many classes at different times to fit everyone’s class schedule. Perhaps I will even get a personal trainer there,” Greg Gara, sophomore marketing major, said.

If you live in the dorms, go to the cafeteria and stock up on fresh-cut vegetables and fruit. Transfer them to a baggie and snack on them during the day. The cafeterias even have small nutritional tags above each product that comes from Marriott Food Supply. They list the fat and nutritional percentages in each meal, so read them to see what foods are better to eat than others. Supermarkets offer hundreds of tasty low-fat items that are worth a try.

Fat contains nine calories per gram, carbohydrates only four. So you can eat twice as many carbohydrates and still consume fewer calories. Just make sure those carbohydrates are healthier foods such as fat-free pretzels or a baked potato with salsa instead of butter.