Say Goodbye to the Holiday Pounds

Don't forget breakfast. Take lots of protein-rich foods. (Photo:

You’ve put the Christmas gifts away, written all the thank you notes, even the grogginess you felt after ringing in the New Year is gone. The only thing left behind is the extra pounds you packed on after a month of holiday cookies, family get-togethers, and office parties. Yup, the proof is staring right back at you on the scale. Kicking it won’t change the number, so here are a few tips.

Be kind to yourself

First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up. Feeling bad about gaining weight is counterproductive and won’t get you anywhere. Instead, pat yourself on the back for having the courage to face up to reality and that you are being proactive about making a change. 

Like saying a prayer before you start each meal to give thanks, being mindful of what you eat will help you focus on maintaining healthy eating habits.

Set a goal

Now that you know how much you’ve gained, set your goal and get to work. If you feel that you have to weigh yourself every day to track your progress then go for it, otherwise monitoring once a week is also effective. For consistency, weigh yourself at the same time, preferably first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink.

Know your numbers

I always tell my clients that losing weight is a numbers game.   If you want to lose a pound a week you would have to cut out 500 calories a day (or 3,500 calories a week). You can either cut out 500 calories or add an activity that will burn 500 calories or a combination of both (burn 300 calories and cut out 200 calories).  

Use any of the free calorie tracking apps to help you. My favorite is “MyNetDiary.” It’s one of the many free apps for tracking calorie intake and expenditure. The pro version includes a Diabetes Tracker app that provides net carbs and diabetes carb count tracking. Once you get the hang of setting up your favorite foods and activities, tracking is a breeze. Knowing how many calories you’ve taken in and burned throughout the day will help you make wiser food choices.  

There are a lot of calorie counting apps you can use, like My Net Diary. (Photo:

Eat Protein at Breakfast

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of eating breakfast, preferably high protein that includes eggs, nuts, meat, fish, protein shakes, etc.  The Filipino breakfast can easily include these foods, but you should be aware of the amount of oils used to prepare them. 

The effects of a protein-rich breakfast include decreased hunger until lunch, a high degree of satiety and satisfaction and lower calorie intake at lunch and dinner. The reason high-protein breakfasts are so effective is that they produce a very moderate, gradual increase in blood sugar and insulin that is sustained for a longer period than with a higher-carb meal. 


If you take in more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight and there’s no other way to burn calories than to move your body. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther from your destination, make a habit of walking around the block after lunch and grab some colleagues to take with you while you’re at it.

Adopt an exercise plan that will stick, so choose something you enjoy doing and have to commit to such as a dance or martial arts class, or organize your own walking group.  If you want a more personal approach, hire a personal trainer to help keep you accountable and help you reach your goal.

After hitting the scales, time to hit the treadmill. Choose an exercise regimen that you can enjoy and commit to. (Photo:

Be mindful

Like saying a prayer before you start each meal to give thanks, being mindful of what you eat will help you focus on maintaining healthy eating habits. Before each meal, take a minute to think about the choices you are about to make to nourish your body. Ask yourself, “Are these foods that will give me energy?” or “How will I feel after eating this?” 

Make simple rules for yourself like; stick with one portion, eliminate starches or sugars, ban junk food at home, eliminate sweet drinks with meals and drink water instead. Making these simple rules your own will make it easier to keep control of your calories.  

Be real

Many of us are brainwashed with media images of underweight skinny models and perfectly buffed bodies. Such images influence unrealistic expectations we have for ourselves, which only sets us up for a sense of failure. 

I know a fitness instructor who, before she started teaching a high-intensity dance class, was at a healthy weight and fitness level but nevertheless always had a “magic” number in her head. After a year of teaching three times a day, five times a week she finally reached her number. She admits that had she not become an instructor, she wouldn’t normally be engaged in three hours of daily rigorous exercise. She realizes now that her dream weight required a different level of commitment. 

There are many factors that determine body weight such as age, gender, height, body type and genes. Your best weight is the one where you are the healthiest. Your doctor or fitness professional can guide you.  

Once you’ve reached your goal, remember these tips to keep it off. Maintaining a healthy weight is a lifestyle choice, so now that you’ve changed your eating habits it’ll be easier to maintain the weight you desire. 

Imelda Oppenheim

Imelda Oppenheim

Imelda Oppenheim is an ACE Certified Personal Fitness Trainer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She can be reached at