Thursday, January 13, 2022

What Are Some Tips To Get Back On Track With My Diet After The Holidays?

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day presents some real challenges for those trying to eat healthy and lose weight. The holidays are great and it is a lot of fun to eat and drink a bit more during this time. Just about everyone puts on a few pounds by New Year’s Day. The Covid-19 pandemic, with its high levels of stress and social distancing is adding to the problem these past few years.

However, for many of us, the unhealthy eating continues well into January and even February. This is mostly due to swings in blood sugar that result in increased hunger and cravings for refined carbohydrates, which were likely consumed in large amounts over the last several weeks. The more we eat bread, pasta, white rice and sugar, the more we want these foods.

A couple of extra cheat meals and a few pounds gained during the holiday season are not much of a problem. But if the disordered eating lasts for months, you will put on some serious weight. Even my most successful and dedicated clients will struggle during and after the holidays. Here are a few strategies that help them get back on track:

1) If you have eaten more refined carbohydrates during the holiday season, you will have an increase in cravings for them. You will also be more hungry in general. Step one is to mentally realize this. Tell yourself that you will be hungry for the wrong foods, but will not give into them. Getting your head right and understanding the origin of the cravings is very helpful.

2) Write down your food for 2 weeks. It adds a layer of accountability that gets you back on the right track. A great free app to help you do this is MyFitness Pal.

3) Go to the grocery store and load up on all of the right foods. Make it easy to eat healthy. Similarly, get all of the unhealthy foods out of your house. 

4) Plan your meals ahead of time. Think about what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days or even a week.

5) Try to limit eating out at restaurants for the first week or two. Restaurant meals usually have a lot more calories, fat, salt and sugar.

After a week or two of eating right, you will find that your blood sugar has stabilized and the hunger and cravings for the wrong foods will start to calm down.



Trends In Childhood Body Mass Index

The Study

Changes in body mass index for Americans between the ages of 8 to 19 were measured between 1999 and 2018. National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data was used in this study. The results were not great:

-In males, BMI increased from 25.6 to 26.3

-In females, BMI increased from 33 to 33.7.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2021; 114:1495-1504

Take Home Message

These latest numbers from NHANES show that over 20% of our children are obese. The numbers have stopped climbing and have started to level off, which is good. Now we have to start pushing them down by focusing on healthy eating habits and lots of physical activity.

Recent Trends In Junk Food Consumption

The Study

This study used the most recent NHANES data to examine recent trends in junk food consumption among 29,970 children and 44,501 adults in the US. The results were not great. In children, 1 in 5 calories were from junk food sources. Adults did a little better at 1 in 7 calories. 

The most common sources of junk food were:

-Sweet bakery products

-Savory snacks




-Energy bars

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2021 114: 1039-48.

Take Home Message

Obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer are all diseases heavily influenced by poor dietary choices. This study did not included calories from sugar sweetened beverages, which is another 7% of calories. When we add this in, close to 1 in 4 calories in children are from unhealthy sources and adults are at 1 in 5. Sadly, these choices result in a lot of unnecessary sickness and suffering. We need to do better.

Product Review: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells

Working out at home makes a lot of sense. Most of us are busy, and not having to drive to a gym, park the car and get changed can save us some serious time. During COVID, exercising at home is also a good idea if you are looking to limit your risk of contracting the virus. Exercising at home can also save you a lot of money. You can take one year's worth of gym dues and make a really nice little home gym that will last you decades.

When deciding on the type of weights to include in your home gym, there is a lot to consider, including; the price of the system, the space you have available, and what exercises you want to be able to do. 

Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells are a great choice for any home gym. These are dumbbells that have a dial on the side that allow you to change the resistance from 5 to 50 pounds in 5 pound increments (and even 2½ lbs. increments for the first 20 lbs.). If you want them to be 20 lbs., you simply turn the dials to 20 and you’re ready to go. I’ve had a set of these for years and have been really happy with them. Following are some of the pro’s and con’s of these dumbbells.


1) Very easy to change the resistance. If you have plate loaded weights with collars, it can take you a few minutes between exercises to adjust the weights. This can disrupt your work/rest interval and add significantly to your workout time. With the Bowflex weights, the change is instantaneous.

2) Look and act like regular dumbbells. Other adjustable dumbbell systems have an unusual shape with a handle in the middle of the dumbbell. This makes it hard to do exercises like overhead back or triceps presses. The Bowflex system can be held like a regular dumbbell, so you can do anything with them.

3) A Serious space saver. This adjustable dumbbell set takes the place of an entire wall of individual dumbbells. This is important if you are in an apartment or only have a small amount of space to devote to your home gym.

4) Very well made. These dumbbells are very durable. I’ve had mine for years and they look like they just came out of the box. There are no signs of wear and tear at all.

5) Do not roll when you place them on the floor. This may be a minor issue for some, but to me, there is nothing worse than laying down your dumbbells in between sets and having to chase them around the room. The Bowflex dumbbells lay flat and don’t roll around.  

6) You can increase the weight by 2.5 lbs. increments all they way up to 22.5 lbs. with these dumbbells. Sometimes an increase from 10 lbs. to 12.5 lbs., rather than to 15 lbs. is appropriate and this is a nice option to have.


1) The only con I can come up with is the price. Right now on Amazon, they are $399 for the set that goes from 5 to 52 lbs. Now, if you bought pairs of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 lbs. dumbbells individually, you’d spend a lot more than $399. However, if you bought plate loaded dumbbells with collars, you’d spend a lot less.

Would I Recommend the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbell system?

Absolutely. They are a bit on the pricey side, but they have really changed the way I can workout at home. I can switch weights in between exercises and even in between sets, with ease. My workouts are now more fluid and overall quicker to get through. I love the space saving aspect as well. I recommend them highly. Several of my clients over the years have purchased these and they have all been just as happy with them.

If you are interested in picking these up, they are available all over, but currently has the best price and free Prime shipping.

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with the company that makes the Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell system and make no money if you buy it.