According to CNN (among other sources), the average American gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. What is a person to do?

Well, to be honest, you shouldn’t you get yourself in that position to begin with. Moderation should be the watchword for those who tend to easily gain weight. If not, then there are some consequences that need to be addressed. Now how to lose that extra weight?

Now the first thing that some people will do is overreact. Throw themselves on the first diet that they see, and start eating diet-labeled foods. That’s the worst thing that you can do.

First of all, fad diets are short term, and don’t last. What does work is a moderate intake of a variety of food (you don’t need that third helping of pie…) and exercise. A new food pyramid at is a good start on the nutrition side of the equation.

Also on the food side, people like to think that if they drink diet colas and eat diet products that this will help with the calories. Wrong! The tendency is to drink more of the diet colas than normal because it’s diet.

Of a greater concern (at least to me) is the use of artificial sweeteners like aspartame (like NutriSweet and Equal). First of all, I cannot stand the taste of these products, and they tend to make me light-headed. And there seems to be a reason behind this.

According to Wikipedia:

In 1995, FDA Epidemiology Branch Chief Thomas Wilcox reported that aspartame complaints represented 75% of all reports of adverse reactions to substances in the food supply from 1981 to 1995. Concerns about aspartame frequently revolve around symptoms and health conditions that are allegedly caused by the sweetener. A total of 92 different symptoms and health conditions were reported by physicians and consumers.

The extreme side of this is a condition known as Aspartame Poisoning (information found here). What is also confusing is that aspartame has been approved by the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority. Personally, I would rather just deal with moderate portions than trying to cheat with a chemical that has the potential of having adverse effects.

Now the part that everyone talks about but few do – Exercise!! My wife and I have been going to the gym for almost two years. She has lost 25 pounds and several pant sizes. I have lost 20 pounds and three inches around the waist. Exercise only works if you are consistent in the time and frequency spent. It does work, but it takes time and dedication.

So when everyone is looking at the scale and trying to figure out how to lose those holiday pounds, breath in and relax. There are ways to deal with it, just don’t think that it will be as quick or as easy to get rid of them as it was putting them on.

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Years.