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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mindless Munching: The Real Culprit Behind Weight Gain

"Everything is okay in moderation." Right? Well, no and yes. "No" is in response to the most common perception of this phrase. This phrase leads countless people to believe that eating a couple bit size pieces of candy or a small handful of your friend's potato chips is okay, because you only ate a small amount. That is not okay.

Let's start first with how people perceive what a diet is. The first major misconception is the eight-week diet or the twelve-week diet or the (insert any number here)-week diet. The second major misconception is the daily diet. A diet is everything you eat or drink at all times. It isn't what you eat each day. You don't get a fresh slate each morning. A diet also doesn't last eight-weeks. It last a lifetime. Think about that for a second. All the eating, drinking, and physical activity in your life to this point have shaped the body you have today... for better or worse. So, if you are 30 years old, then you have put 30 years of eating, drinking, and moving around into your body. If those 30 years you ate well, were highly active, and took care of yourself from a medical standpoint, then you are likely in good shape. However, if those 30 years have been filled with unhealthy eating habits and a lack of consistency in physical activity, then you have a lot of bad stuff put into your body.

So back to point, what most people don't realize when it comes to weight they've gained is it doesn't come from the holiday party where you ate too much turkey. It doesn't come from the pizza party you went to or the ice cream social you went to. Why not? You planned on those things. And everything is okay in moderation... if you planned for it. Where weight gain comes from is those unplanned calories, that mindless munching. Whether it is a handful of M&M's from the candy dish (50-100 calories) or a five french fries off your friends plate (50 calories) or the ranch dressing on your salad (150 calories), it'll add to your midsection in ways you aren't going to like.

Now to run the numbers: say you mindlessly munch 50-300 calories a day. That is a 1/2 pound to 2 1/2 pounds a month. That is 6-30lbs in a year. In 5 years, that is 30-150lbs overweight. Scary, isn't it? How can you avoid extra weight gain and still enjoy tasty treats? Plan for it. Plan on the ice cream & cake, limit your portion size, and plan some extra walking each night that week or hit the jogging trails a couple extra times that week.

When people hear that I'm a personal trainer they assume that I am a super healthy food junkie. I do love to eat healthy, fruits and vegetables are some of my favorite snacks. However, my all time favorite foods: pizza and ice cream (donuts are in the top 10). How do I get away with it? I plan for it and I only enjoy them in moderation.

Dan Sabin is a fitness professional certified by the ISSA (CFT). He provides Private Training, Sem-Private Training, Boot Camp, and more. For more information and FREE resources, got to

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