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by Stephen R. Van Schoyck, Ph.D.

Most people gain some weight over the holidays, and so they should. With all the cookies, cakes, wine, and cocktails, how could you do anything else but gain some pounds. I tell my patients that if they gain less than 5 pounds from November 15 to January 15, they have done an excellent job. Most react with surprise and fear when I tell them that. They are so used to dieting during the holidays to prevent weight gain, that the thought of "letting go" is terrifying, and the thought of being 5 pounds heavier by January 15 is even worse.

A Different Way

Now, after the holidays, it is time to learn to manage your weight in a different way. Any weight that you may have gained during the holidays is normal weight fluctuation. If you look around, you will notice that it is not only the overweight people who have gained some weight. Now is the time to start down a new path to living healthier and thinner. Your reaction to the weight gain is the first place to start. The worst mistake you can make at this point is to diet out of desperation from gaining some weight. Desperation dieting only causes you to regain more weight than you will lose, and to spend your money on quick weight loss diets or products that have hurt you in the past.

Consider the Source

What you need to do now is to consider the pattern to your weight changes throughout the past year. If you gained some weight over the holidays, and it added to the weight that you gained during the year, it may indicate that your burn rate may be changing. Make sure that you refigure your burn rate before planning what to do. Follow the method outlined in the BURN RATE DIET by Dr. Stephen Van Schoyck or by going to the web site,, to find a Burn Rate Testing Center in your area. Follow your Burn Rate Diet Guidelines to plan your meals to maintain appetite control at the calorie level associated with your goal weight.

Weight Control for Life

Remember that you are not trying to create a structured diet to live on for the rest of your life. You need to know what is the best nutritional plan for you, but be able to enjoy food as well. Experiment with different patterns to your eating to find the right blend of eating for pleasure and nutrition. Some people will restrict during the work week and let go during the weekend. Others can't last a whole week and need to alternate light and heavy every other day. Still others will need to adjust meal to meal. Keep in mind that you need three modes for life-long weight control: careful, casual and carefree. Sometimes you care a lot, sometimes you chip away at it, and other times, you don't want to think about it. Balancing all three styles will make it easier to watch your food intake and take better care of your weight and health.

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