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Make 2014 your Healthiest Year Yet! 4 Tips from Carlon M. Colker, M.D.

Winter is back again, with a vengeance. A great challenge we face during the winter is all the holiday treats, coupled with a drastic rise in homebound inactivity. The result is holiday flab. That’s right, the old blubber basket comes back and each year as we get older, it gets more difficult to lose. With the help of some simple adjustments, you can make 2014 a little different, with the hope that the New Year ushers in a new you! 

1. Try Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit native to India, Asia, and Africa that you might know as a tamarind. Used in native food preparation, Garcinia cambogia has long been known by the natives that use it as having the interesting ability to make meals seem more filling. Science tells us this may be due in part to a natural extract in Garcinia cambogia called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA appears to work by helping to inhibit an enzyme in the body that makes fat. It is also been theorized that HCA might also work its magic by enhancing a chemical in the brain called serotonin, which may explain its appetite-suppressive action.

For this reason, Garcinia cambogia may represent an important way to get a little natural help when trying to shed those excess holiday pounds.

Published clinical medical research certainly has supported the safety and efficacy of Garcinia cambogia. Though evidently safe, it’s not without a variety of conclusions in terms of efficacy, so while there’s no absolute consensus telling you it’s definitely going to work for you, Garcinia cambogia remains a consumption-control tool available to you in the supplement aisle of every Fairway Market, either as a standalone ingredient or as part of some weight-loss formulas.

Whether or not you decide to give Garcinia cambogia a try, just remember there’s no such thing as a magic weight-loss pill (otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this!). The fact remains that the cornerstones of any successful fat-reduction program are sensible dieting and regular exercise. Of course, it’s nice to know that something like Garcinia cambogia might be just what you need to take the edge off the suffering!

2. Sneak In Smaller Meals 

From the holidays through the winter, many of us are faced with an increase in the number of large late-day meals. One of my tricks here in order to portion-control and mitigate some of the damage of those late-day meals is to have a small meal in advance of the large one. I realize it must sound a little crazy to you, given the fact that you might very well want to enjoy sampling all that good food and don’t want to spoil your appetite, but if you stop and think about it for a minute, a small meal in advance of the larger one takes the edge off the sense of starvation, and thus reduces the portion size you grab. When done correctly, you’ll still have enough of an appetite to enjoy sampling the different items, but your portion size will be smaller; as a result, so will your waistline.

3. Start with Vegetables, Salad, or Fruit

Another portion-control eating strategy that helps to reduce the damage of all those calories is to make sure during those big holiday meals to reach for the healthier items first. By eating some salad and vegetables as a prerequisite to heavier and less-healthy items, you tend to reduce the volume taken of the less healthy item.

4. Stay Active 

Finally, remember that it isn’t just the excess food that does the holiday damage; it’s also the sharp reduction in activity that will compound the problem and magnify fat-gain. The holiday months are cold, so people tend to huddle together inside; they’re not like the summer months, when the layers come off and we venture outside for sporting activities, jogs, and long walks. To counter this, if you don’t have sports or other exercise activities you participate in year-round, try to find physical things to do to boost your activity level. If you’re fresh out of ideas, look to your local health club or YMCA: in addition to exercise equipment, many have pools and basketball courts as well. The better clubs will also have some structure to their activities,  offering league sign-ups and friendly competitions between teams. In addition, aerobics classes are offered all year around.

If you can spring for a personal trainer during those winter months, you can emerge in the New Year with a new body and be the envy of all your friends. Of course, if that’s beyond your budget, a less expensive option are the numerous fantastic exercise videos available through television infomercials or obtainable on-line for. These programs can absolutely give you the same results, but tend to be less effective when compared to having a personal trainer standing over you, busting your chops.



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