Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Five Tips To Help Get Your Body In Shape For Spring

Adjust Your Diet
It's easy to find yourself with bad eating habits after the holidays are over and it's even easier to stick with them. More time on the inside leaves more time you spend loitering around the kitchen pantry and the refrigerator.
Look at your diet and get rid of the absolute no nos that you may have been letting slip by for the winter and holiday months. Knowing that it's going to be a while before you're out with less cloths on can make you feel confident that a little bit of this and a little bit of that won't hurt. But now is the time to remind yourself that every little bit counts and those extra calories add up; time to cut them out.
Up Your Cardio
In order to burn fat you have to get active and the best way to do that is to do that cardio. It will  help boost your metabolism and mood. Long winters can have effects on how energetic you are and how high your spirits are, a few cardio workouts to help you get back in shape can help turn all that around.
Mix in Some Weight Training 
Yes it's true, cardio exercising is the most efficient fat burning exercises you can do, but training with weights has its advantages as well. Just doing cardio is not going to help you get your upper-body back in shape. You need some resistance training to sculpt your peaks and trim out you arms. You don't have to go Arnold Schwarzenegger on the weights. Just high reputation with a comfortable weight setting should help tone you backup.
Full Ab Workout
There is nothing more sexy than a set of abs, but you won't get them by just doing crunchers, or just doing planks or any other signal ab workout. With abs you have to be willing to go the extra mile and implicate all of the workouts in your day-to-day routine. Work your abs from all different angles with all different exercises. Planks today, crunchers tomorrow. Legs raises the next day and so-on-and-so-forth. They're pesky, but when you can take your shirt off outside with pride, they're worth it.
Detox Your Body 
This is just good common sense for everyone to do every once in a while. But especially if you have been inactive for a few months and plan on getting back in shape, this makes even more sense. Look at it like an oil change for your car. Your body needs some refreshing. This will help you get rid of some bad toxins your body might be holding on to and help put a little extra pep in your step.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Want A More Productive Workout? Here Are Nine Ways

Trust us, we understand a busy schedule, and how important your time at the gym is. In fact,
you should be reaping the fruits of your iron-induced labor every minute that you're at the gym. So to cut out the time wasters, we tapped our experts for their tips to make your workout more productive. Follow along and unleash your true muscle-building potential. 

Prepare Your Muscles

Prior to lifting weights, you need to prepare your muscles for the exercises you’re about to do during a muscle preparation phase. “To get the most muscle action out of all your pressing and pulling, it’s always better to prep the exact motions you’re going to do and do a lot of isometrics at those ranges,” says Pete Bommarito, C.S.C.S., U.S.A.W., M.A.T. Jumpstart certified. “It’s not a stretch or warmup, it is prepping the muscles to be able to properly accept the heavier load.”
Before an upper-body workout, Bommarito suggests doing the following routine:
Thumbs-Up Dumbbell Front Raise (using 2.5 lbs each hand)
Reps: 8
What It Does: Shoulder Flexion
Bommarito says: Raise weights slowly and when weights are shoulder level, do a 3- to 5-second hold, then slowly bring weights down. Raise arms into a V-shape on the way up.
Side Raise and Shrug (using 2.5 lbs each hand)
Reps: 8
What it does: Shoulder abduction and scapula elevation
Bommarito says: Raise arms out to the side so arms are parallel to the ground, then shrug shoulders to ear height so arms are raised at maximum height. As you bring arms down, hold arms out to the side for 3-5 seconds, then slowly return to start.
Palms-Up Side Raise Rotation
Reps: 8
What it does: Shoulder rotation and shoulder abduction
Bommarito says: Rotate arms so palms face forward. Raise arms out to side and at top of raise palms are facing up. At the top, rotate arms forward so your palms face down, then roate your arms palms face forward again. Hold in this position for 3-5 seconds and bring arms back down slowly.
Palms-Up Incline Rear Delt Raise
Reps: 8
What it does: Shoulder rotation and scapula retraction
Bommarito says: Lie flat facing an incline bench. Put the back of your hands together and do a T-raise, bringing arms straight out to the side with thumbs up at the top. Hold for 3-4 seconds at the top and slowly bring arms back down.
Scapula Pushups
Reps: 8-15
What it does: Scapula retraction and scapula protraction
Bommarito says: Get in pushup position keeping elbows locked. Move shoulder blades together, then move shoulder blades apart. Keep elbows locked the entire time so scapula does all the movement.

Supp Up

There's no substitute for hard work and commitment in the gym or your sport. Achieving athletic success will come from within. With that said, there are supplements that have been shown to increase weightlifting performance. Bommarito says pre- and intra-workout supplementation is key to getting the most out of training. Bommarito suggests taking 1-3 grams of beta-alanine, 5 grams of creatine,  and 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin B12, vitamin c, vitamin e, and zinc with a trace amount of magnesium before resistance training. When it comes to caffeine, Bommarito says, "if it's not coming from a supplement, then a 10-ounce cup of organic coffee is a general rule of thumb pre-workout." Seven grams of BCAAs during the workout will bring your gains to new levels.

Beat Your Bests
Bring a notebook and pen to your workout to write down the exercises, sets, reps, and weight that you do. This way, next time you can be sure to beat those numbers. Bommarito says to have goals in terms of body weight, body composition, muscle mass, 1-rep or 5-rep max, and vertical jump. Bommarito tests his athletes’ blood and VO2 max to get the full scope of their improvements. Regardless of the objective, Bommarito says a three-month goal is a good standard to start with.

Rest Properly
Knowing how long to take a break between exercises is crucial for improving performance in the gym. Interval training, which is based on short rests with longer periods of work, are a time-saving way to burn fat. “For people who want to optimize training in the gym, decrease the rest periods,” says Jay Cardiello, C.S.C.S. “If you’re working out for 30 seconds and for reps using machines or body weight, decrease rest to less than a minute because you don’t want the body to fully recover.” When Olympic lifting with heavy weights, Cardiello suggests resting for 3-5 minutes between sets to demonstrate maximum muscle force and power.

Take a Whiff
Believe it or not, smells can influence the intensity of your workouts. “Smelling peppermint will boost exercise performance levels and can make your exercise more rewarding,”  Cardiello says. “The scent alters your perception of how hard you're working out, which makes training sessions seem less strenuous and slower paced.” Chew on an Altoid before and during a workout or take a whiff of any minty smell to give your workouts a boost.

Train to Function
“People need to be doing more unbalanced, unstable training, posterior training, and compound exercises where you recruit more muscle fibers and joints,” Cardiello says. That means, perform movements in the gym that you might find yourself doing in everyday life. For example, Cardiello suggests that doing burpees continuously for five minutes, resting, then doing another five minutes of burpees is both an effective strength builder and conditioning workout.

Get the Gear
Being comfortable and able to move freely is key. “Wear five-toe Vibram shoes because you want to build your body on a symmetrical basis, having the least amount of contact between the bottom of your foot and the floor,” Cardiello says. “If you lift heavy, you’re going to push down into a high heel and if your body is brought down more toward the right shoe than the left, you can create asymmetrical hips, which can throw off your total strength gains.” Cardiello warns against sneakers with a bubble in the heel or an exposed heel. Reebok Nanos and Converses are two strength-training shoes Cardiello suggests.

Squat More
Training the muscles in your legs will enable you to produce more explosiveness from the ground up. Also, training legs requires more energy to repair and grow since the muscles are larger proportionate to other body parts. “When you work your glutes, hamstrings and thighs, the three largest muscle groups in the body, you create a greater afterburn effect so caloric expenditure is higher during that time,” Cardiello says. “Think of a body as one unit; you're going to expel more calories post-workout, which is very beneficial to taking inches off your waist.” Train legs to shed pounds.


Recover Right
Static stretching should be implemented post-workout to bring your body back down to a resting position. “Static stretching can range anywhere from 3-10 minutes, and stretches can be held anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute,” Cardiello says. Another post-workout tip: “Take a cold shower to expedite the recovery process of the muscle or take an alternating shower where you go lukewarm then cold alternating 1-1.5 minutes between each because this helps decrease lactic acid buildup.” Reducing lactic acid buildup will help you work out harder and for longer before your muscles slow down and you start feeling a burning sensation. Stretch and use cold water to properly recover from workouts.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

5 Reasons Your Abs Aren’t Growing

abs-main-situps
After 1000′s of crunches and seven brutally intense ab workouts per week, you’d think that it would all add up to beautiful sculpted abs right? Wrong, It’s sad and discouraging when someone puts in a TON of effort to sculpt a rock-solid, well-defined set of six pack abs, yet the results are nowhere to be found. It can be unbelievably deflating. So what’s an innocent, ab-happy person supposed to do?
One of the most redeeming things about fitness in general is that there’s typically a direct correlation between time, effort, and results. It’s a simple equation — if you do cardio 45 minutes per day, 6 days per week, you will lose a lot of weight. Given that you do the right exercises, if you follow a comprehensive chest routine and increase the amount that you’re pressing over successive workouts, your chest will grow. It’s just the way exercise and training works.
Ab development tends to be MUCH more challenging; bordering on excruciating. That’s why you don’t see six packs endlessly populating the earth. The truth is most people approach ab training completely wrong and spend their time focusing on things that aren’t effective. Here are some reasons that you might not be able to see results in your abs:

1. You Can’t See Them

This might seem brutally obvious, but at the core (no pun intended) the most important — and fundamental— piece of ab development is being able to see themIt doesn't matter if you can do the ‘Plunging, Deep V, Lower Abs Workout‘ 18 times over. If your body fat % isn’t low enough no one will be able to see what you’re packing underneath. For men, body fat should be sub-10%; for women it should be sub-18% for the ab muscles to really pop. If you want to get your body fat down to 6-pack levels, make sure to incorporate a solid dose of high intensity cardio and emphasize a healthy, LEAN diet.

2. You Try to Crunch Away the Fat

Drill it into your cranium. There’s NO such thing as spot reduction. You can’t crunch off the fat covering the lower section of your abs — nothing about our physiology supports this misconception. The only way to strip the fat from your abs is by gradually burning it off from your entire body through cardio, diet, and weight-training. Unfortunately, the fat covering the abs is usually the last to go and the first to come back, which makes getting/keeping abs all the more difficult. Stay persistent with a clean diet, resistance training, and cardio regimen and you’ll be able to maintain low body fat permanently. Abs require a lifestyle shift and a TON of discipline — not a quick fix.

3. You Workout Your Abs Every Day

Give your core a rest. STOP training your abs every day, or even every other day. Like the biceps, chest, shoulders, legs, etc., the ab muscles need time to rest, recover, and rebuild in order to grow. Would you do biceps curls, bench press, or squat 7x per week to build bulging biceps, a hulking chest, or massive thighs? Never. Try doing abs once every 3 days. That’s 2-3x per week. Not only will this allow your abs to actually recover and grow, but it’ll free up significant time to funnel into more intense, more transformative training (e.g. compound weight-lifting and cardio).
Most of your bandwidth in the gym should be spent divided across the major muscle groups (legs, chest, shoulders, back) and cardio; and then accessorized with targeted abs work. Don’t sacrifice that in pursuit of a six pack — not only do compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bent-over barbell rows, clean & presses, and dumbbell swings shred major calories/body fat and stimulate muscle growth, they also work the core as hard — if not harder — than direct ab exercises. Big lifts are the sledgehammer; isolated ab exercises are the scalpel. Leverage both and reap the rewards.

4. You Only Do Crunches and Sit-Ups

Crunches and sit-ups primarily work the top of the rectus abdominus, aka the 6 pack muscles. Even though building up the top is an incredibly important part of a stellar midsection, relying ONLY on sit-ups and crunches will cause the obliques, transverse abdominus, and lower abs to lag behind.
Think of the transverse abdominus as a belt that runs around the waist and sucks everything in tight. Exercises like the plank can help build up the transverse and make the entire torso more compact. The obliques run diagonally along the side of the torso into the pelvis, which forms the V-cut that everyone craves so much.
The key — diversify, diversify, diversify! Incorporating bicycle crunches, hanging leg raises, and a variety of other ab exercises into your routine can help chisel out all parts of the core region, beyond just the rectus.

5. You Don’t Increase the Difficulty

Your abs won’t grow past beginner levels unless you force them to. Muscles grow based on the principle of progressive resistance, meaning that you need to increase the weight lifted, the amount of resistance, or the difficulty of the exercise if you want to see any additional growth or progress.
If you want massive legs, you need to gradually increase the amount of weight squatted — ab development works the same way. When it comes to developing core musculature, crunches and sit-ups are extremely basic and provide minimal stimulation. Instead of simply doing higher reps of something basic (ab exercises should stay between 12-20 reps per set), upgrade it by adding a heavier dumbbell/weight plate/medicine ball, or permanently shift to more advanced exercises.
For example, try crunches with a dumbbell on your chest, cable crunches, sit-ups on a decline bench, or the Lower Abs Trifecta. Adding a weight or more difficult angle can help make basic exercises significantly more difficult and kickstart brand new abdominal growth.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Six Ways To A Lower Calorie Super Bowl Party


1. Boneless Buffalo Wings
We love buffalo wings, but they are typically not the healthiest of party treats. These boneless buffalo wings, made from chicken breast tenders and little added fat, will taste great while not ruining your diet. Serve with blue cheese dipping sauce for the full effect.

2. Baked Tortilla Chips
It is just a given that the Super Bowl menu includes a bowl of chips. But, instead of indulging in high-fat, high-calorie, sodium-laden commercial snack chips, make your own out of corn tortillas, cooking spray, and a little salt. It doesn't get any simpler than this!

What is a chip without a dip? You could go for fat-laden cheese dip to accompany your chips, or you can get a boost on your veggies with this attractive two-tomato salsa to serve along with your chips. They are a traditional pair, so nobody will sense that they are low calorie when served together.

4. Herbed Vegetable Dip
Again, serving finger foods that take advantage of lots of vegetables is an easy way to keep the spread low-calorie. Make a batch of this yummy herbed vegetable dip, and serve with a colorful array of veggies such as carrots, radishes, red bell pepper strips, celery, and any other vegetables that your guests love.

5. Low Calorie Bean Tostadas
Serve these tasty, low calorie bean tostadas, but let your guests dress them on their own! Provide the crisp tortillas, then set out serving dishes with the beans, cheese, olives, sour cream, tomatoes, salsa, and lettuce.


6. Banana Blackberry Smoothie
Sure, smoothies aren't the first thing you would think about in the middle of winter, but as things heat up with the big game, this might be a refreshing treat to finish off the Super Bowl meal. Use frozen blackberries, and whip up a large batch that you can divide among guests so that you are not tied down in the kitchen. The smoothies only take a few minutes to make, so you can quickly make another batch on commercial breaks if needed.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nine Reasons Why We Don't Keep Our Fitness Resolutions

Nearly half of us have made New Year's fitness resolutions, but less than 10 percent of us are actually keeping them. Whether it's lack of motivation, resources, or we just lose interest, it's time to make a fresh start and figure out ways to finish what we've started. Here are 9 reasons why we don't stick to our New Year's resolutions and how to keep it from happening this year.

Reason 1: Going it Alone

Whether it's quitting smoking, improving your tennis game, or going to the gym more often, don't go it alone. "If you are someone who has a higher success rate when you have outside support, then get a buddy," says success coach Amy Applebaum. "This creates accountability, which is essential for success."
"Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be more, do more, and have more," advises The Mojo Coach Debi Silber. "If you play tennis and want to improve your game, play with people better than you who inspire you to be better." Remember, your buddy should be a positive force in your life, not a negative one. Silber recommends avoiding people who drain you mentally and emotionally.

Reason 2: Extremely Lofty Resolutions
If your goal is to solve world peace, maybe a more attainable goal is to vow you'll finally read War and Peace. "Most of us create resolutions that are too ‘big' and therefore we can't meet them," Applebaum says. "Examine your resolutions. Are they what you really want or did you commit to them because you thought you were supposed to?"
Take it day by day, says life coach Hunter Phoenix. "I've made a pact with myself to stop obsessing about the past, fantasizing about the future, and to instead embrace the present and what I can do to make a difference here and now."

Reason 3: Giving up too Easily
Whether you get discouraged or simply lose interest, giving up too easily is a big resolution breaker. "Many people make their resolutions with a genuine belief that they can accomplish them, bu come February the excitement wears off and other priorities begin to take precedence," says Andrew Schrage, founder of MoneyCrashers. "To cure this issue, try to set benchmarks throughout the year. By doing so, you can keep yourself on track throughout the year and use the power of positive reinforcement to keep your momentum going."

Reason 4: Time Management
Sometimes you realize your resolution is a bigger time commitment than you'd originally intended. Instead of trying to accomplish it all in one day, break it up into manageable increments. "I resolve to devote five minutes a day to being clutter-free and organized," says professional organizer Melinda Massie. "The easiest way to get and stay organized and clutter-free is to make it a daily habit, and everyone can spare five minutes a day."

Reason 5: Unrealistic Resolutions
You may fantasize about your svelte new size-6 body or that six-figure job, but can you really make it happen before the year is out? "If you think you will lose 100 pounds in three months, this is not going to happen," says nutrition and fitness expert Erin Palinski. "You need to set a goal that is actually achievable in the time frame you set for yourself."
This also means being realistic with yourself and taking a hard, long look in the mirror. "Resolutions require changes in behavior, and most of us don't want to face that there is often a laundry list of changes to make," says Alabama-based clinical psychologist Josh Klapow. "So pick one you have confidence in and stick with it. It is far better to succeed at a smaller, more manageable resolution than to fail at a larger, loftier one."

Reason 6: No Plan
"The best resolutions are those that actually include a plan of action," says hypnotist Michael Ellner. Applebaum says people set themselves up for failure because they commit to a resolution, fully knowing they have no plan in place to actually achieve it.
"You need to create a plan that will help you achieve your goals," say Karena and Katrina, founders of ToneItUp.com. "Break your end goal down into smaller, weekly goals so you feel like you're working towards something immediate, and make a calendar with something to do every day that will get you closer to your desired result," they say.

Reason 7: Lack of Honesty
Are you truly committed to running a marathon, losing weight, or whatever else you are committing to do? Be honest with yourself. "Oftentimes we find ourselves committing to things because we think we should," Applebaum says. "Don't waste your time with that. You will only be disappointed in yourself. Make resolutions you actually want to achieve because you really want to and are actually going to put a plan of action towards," she says.

Reason 8: Wrong Perspective
While you may have the best intentions with your resolution, you could be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Put it in perspective. "Rather than associating the New Year with resolutions or changes you need to make, consider it a time for reflection on things you wish to work on throughout the year," Applebaum says. "Quit dwelling on what you have not accomplished and focus on what you will accomplish instead."

Reason 9: Not Believing in Yourself
According to Beverly Hills psychotherapist Barbara Neitlich, sometimes all you need to keep going is a pat on the back—from yourself. "Congratulate yourself for your progress. The problem is that many individuals have a very black and white attitude. They see it as either you have achieved your goal or you have failed, but there is a grey area," she says.
If your goal was to send out ten resumes a week for a new job and you only sent out five, don't beat yourself up for it. "Rather, congratulate and reward yourself for making the effort toward your goal. That will give you the energy and stamina you need to continue achieving your initial goal," Neitlich says. And kill yourself with kindness, says Silber. "With friends, we often offer kindness, praise, warmth, and positive feelings, but most people don't speak to themselves that way. Commit to offering that same kindness and compassion to yourself."

www.worldgymdc.com

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reset Your Metabolism In 2014: A New Way To Approach Food This Year

Have you hit a wall in your weight loss journey? Do you feel like no matter how little you eat you just can’t lose any weight? If this sounds like you, then why don't you try a something NEW in 2014? You can reset your metabolism and get you body burning calories like a furnace once more. Here is a no-frills, easy to follow plan. You could eat like this for the rest of your life (which is the idea) and have a good chance of sticking with it.

The Detox-Metabolism-Revving Diet Plan: 
1. TOSS: Go through your house & throw away anything with added chemicals, corn syrup, fake sweeteners, added colors or preservatives. Toss all the food, that isn’t real food. Hint: if it has a label telling you how healthy it is… its probably bad for you… read the ingredients.

2. VEGETABLES: Buy a wide array of colors, heavy on GREEN & leafy. The more colors the better. Pre-chopped & bagged is fine though more expensive (just make sure there is only ONE ingredient in the bag – no chemicals or additives). Buy organic as much as you can afford… especially the green leafy things.

3. FRUIT: Fruit is now your dessert. Buy organic if you can. Fruit is not breakfast or lunch, its not for a smoothie. Fruit is your sweet-treat now. Eat the whole fruit (no juicing).

4. CARBS / STARCH: Breakfast cereal, white rice, and white breads are out. Read labels and find the lowest sugar, most “whole-grain” bread you can find. OR even better, if you are up for it, cut gluten all together. I’ve not been able to do this, but I have really cut way back on anything containing wheat. Instead opt for whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, millet, and starches like sweet potatoes, beans and legumes. Attempt to cook these items from scratch vs opening cans as much as possible. If you have to start with cans, fine. Try and move to the dried version as soon as you can.

5. MEAT: Meat is now a condiment instead of the main course. Fill up on vegetables first, unprocessed carbs/starch next and meat last. Look for meat that is grass-fed when possible and at least anti-biotic free if you can. 3-4 ounces of meat at dinner is more than plenty. Less at lunch.

6. DAIRY: No rBHT treated cows! Cattle feed should be GMO free! Personally I don’t eat a ton of dairy in any form. Consider limiting dairy if you eat a lot of it. You can easily get more fat than you need in a day from dairy. Also, many people don’t even realize they have issues with dairy digestion which can lead to inflammation*

7. SAUCES / CONDIMENTS: When you cleaned your kitchen of all food-stuff with chemicals and preservatives most of your sauces and condiments should have been tossed as well. Season food with citrus juice, chili flakes, pepper, a small splash of good olive oil or vinegar. Hot sauces made with no additives are great choices for adding flavor without the junk. If you cook, make some of your own sauces!

8. DESSERTS: See # 3 and perhaps a small amount of dark chocolate now and then.

9. NO TRANS-FATS. Enough said. Fat itself is not a problem, but trans-fats are poison.

10. ORGANIC: Buy organic – as much as you can afford & especially the green leafy foods.

11. QUANTITY: Lets not measure yet, but here are a few tips:
  • Instead start using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.
  • You can have fat & carbs, but don’t go crazy. Veggies are what should be more than 1/2 of what you eat.

Bottom line: Yes you are going to have to eat real food &  have to cook unless you can get someone to cook for you. But you are going to love the results.

How much should you eat?
Here is the great part.  You should eat at LEAST 5 times a day,  3 meals + 2 snacks.  No more skipping breakfast or lunch and pigging out at night when you are starving.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tips To Help You Stay Trim During The Holidays

Keep the focus on fun, not food
Most holidays are associated with certain foods. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt's green been casserole, but that doesn't mean food has to be the main focus. Instead, throw yourself into the other rituals a holiday brings, whether it's caroling or tree trimming.

Modify your eating times so that they jive with your relatives'
Do your in-laws' meal schedules fly in the face of yours? Here's how to compromise: Say they wake up later than you do and serve a late breakfast at 10:30. Then they skip lunch and serve Christmas 'dinner' at 3 p.m. To keep your blood sugar steady without overdoing it on calories, have an early-morning snack (such as a piece of whole-grain toast) before your relatives rise and shine. Their late breakfast will count as your 'real' breakfast, plus some of your lunch. Enjoy the 3 p.m. meal - but don't overdo it! - and have a small snack at around 8 p.m.

Indulge in only the most special holiday treats
Skip the store-bought cookies at Christmas, but do save some calories in your 'budget' to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your wife's special Yule log cake. Training yourself what to indulge in and what to skip is much like budgeting your mad money: Do you want to blow it on garbage that you can buy anywhere or on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Just don't completely deprive yourself on festive days - your willpower will eventually snap, and you'll end up overeating.

Keep Your Workout Regimen 
The habit: Staying physically active during the holidays.
The result: Gaining less weight over the years.
The proof: A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays - and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. (That may not sound like a lot now, but it means having to buy roomier pants after a few Christmases pass.) The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.


Stock the freezer with healthy meals
Everyone's overly busy during the holidays, and most of us want to spend our time shopping, decorating, or seeing friends and family, which leaves less time to cook healthy meals. Take defensive action several weeks ahead of time by cooking meals intended specifically for the freezer. You'll be thankful later when you can pop one of the meals into the oven or microwave and turn your attention instead to writing out holiday cards with a personal message in each.

Pour the gravy and sauces lightly
You may not be able to control what's being served at a holiday meal, but you can make the turkey, roast beef, and even mashed potatoes and stuffing much healthier by foregoing the sauce or gravy or spooning on just a small amount.

Toast the new year with just one glass of bubbly
You may be celebrating, but that doesn't mean that that you should send your meal plan (and your judgment) on holiday. Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contain a lot of calories - 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. What's more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass up.