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Mark Macdonald Talks “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to Prevent Weight Gain

Posted by Levine Communications Office on September 8, 2011

With today marking the first unofficial day of fall, it’s easy to let summer’s healthy diet and exercise regimen fall by the wayside. After all, we’re no longer shedding our clothes to hit the beach, and comfort food is everywhere (pumpkin spice latte, we’re talking about YOU!). What’s worse, the holidays are just around the corner, promising nearly nine weeks of Halloween candy, pumpkin pie and eggnog.

While gaining a pound or two underneath several layers of clothing may not seem like a big deal, studies show that most of us don’t lose that extra weight long after the New Year’s confetti has been swept away.

Want to avoid fall weight gain? We asked Mark Macdonald, nutrition counselor, personal trainer and author of the bestselling Body Confidence: Venice Nutrition’s 3-Step System That Unlocks Your Body’s Full Potential, for his top three “do’s” and “don’ts” to help prevent autumn pounds.

Remain in control: Knowing that you’ll be navigating dietary minefields can make it easier to come up with strategies to avoid them. Your number one focus during the slippery month of September is to stay ahead of the game and spend a few hours each Sunday stocking your kitchen with healthy foods and planning your exercise routine for the upcoming week. We all hate having to scramble, so the solution is keep things easy, plan ahead and stay in control!

Prepare a mobile readiness food kit (MRFK): As long as you keep your blood sugar stable, it’s impossible to store body fat. Your MRFK ensures that food is always within an arm’s length to keep your body fueled, balanced and burning body fat. A MRFK can be as simple as a protein bar in your purse, or as complete as a cooler with Greek yogurt, nuts and fruit. The key: making sure you have balanced meals at the ready when temptation strikes (and it will)!

Go for maintenance: Imagine maintaining your weight throughout the holidays, so you don’t have to kick off the year with some crazy resolution that you probably won’t keep. During the fall months and holiday season, you will have some extra “off plan” meals and you will miss some exercise days, but if you are dialed in 85 percent of the time, you will definitely maintain your weight. Then instead of focusing on losing excess holiday pounds come January, you’ll be focusing on getting your body bikini ready for summer.

Skip meals: You might think you’re minimizing the damage by slashing calories, but you’re actually encouraging fat storage. Here’s the thing: When you deprive yourself of food all day, your body shifts into survival mode and prepares for a famine. Your metabolism slows down, your body begins conserving energy and you begin stockpiling any calories as fat. To avoid this vicious cycle, eat a protein-rich snack (like yogurt and berries, an apple and a mozzarella stick or a balanced energy bar) every 3-4 hours to help stabilize your blood sugar, keep your metabolism humming and stave off comfort food cravings.

Eat carbohydrates first: Your body is designed to digest carbs quickly, since glucose (sugar) is our body’s main source of energy. When you eat the bread or potatoes first, your blood sugar spikes at a faster rate, causing you to store more fat. So, if given the choice, always eat protein (turkey, chicken, etc.) first to help slow digestion and keep blood sugar levels on an even keel.

Miss a workout because of a time crunch: The reality is that life happens, and when it does, you must adjust, be flexible and remember that all exercise is a good. Can’t make it to the gym? Do your best to squeeze in 10-20 minutes of exercise and make it a high-intensity workout (like interval training). Finding time for exercise keeps your weight consistent even when your schedule is not!



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