How to Enjoy The Holidays without Gaining A Pound!

How to Enjoy The Holidays without Gaining A Pound!

Top 5 Tips to Keep the Pounds Away During the Holidays

You can enjoy the holidays dinners, parties and time with friends and family this holiday without gaining  weight.  I have used these tips every holiday and so far have not gained weight.  These are simple strategies that you easily do and incorporate without feeling deprived or missing out on the fun. 

The average American will only gain one pound during the holidays.  One pound may not sound like much but it is the weight that we gain over the holidays that is the hardest to lose.  And, every year we make the same New Years resolution to lose weight.  Won't it be nice to make a different resolution?

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, most people do not lose that weight 1-2 pounds gained annually quickly becomes that extra 10 pounds.  It has also been shown that if you are already overweight, you will gain even more over the holidays; overweight people will gain on 5 pounds on average.

Holidays Pumpkin Pie A better Choice for pie.

The Secret is To Not Gain the Weight in The First Place

What can you do to avoid those extra pounds?  First, realize most weight gain is not due to eating too many calories.  It is often the result of too much stress, environmental influences, and nutritional imbalances.

Some of the foods that most contribute to weight gain are snack foods, processed foods, and desserts that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.  It is those “empty” carbohydrates that research now shows is one of the main causes of weight gain.   So, it is not just about calories.

Reach for the more nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry, fruit, nuts, and legumes.  Try to avoid the complicated dishes like the infamous green bean casserole made with canned cream soup.

Stick with simpler preparation; green beans prepared with sautéed mushrooms and tossed in extra virgin oil.  Instead of topping the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, top with pecans or other healthy nuts.

Green Beans Shallots Nuts

My Five Top Tips to Avoid Weight Gain!


  • My Buffet Strategy

    • Always do a “recon” of the buffet table before loading up.  Determine ahead of time what you will indulge with.  Leave a small space on your plate for that and fill up with healthier choices.  Otherwise, you start filling your plate and before you know it, you have no room for the good stuff like quinoa salad or kale salad.
  • Decorate Your Plate

    • Decorate your plate with color from vegetables, cranberry sauce, and salads.  Most of the calorie-laden foods are white, beige and brown like potatoes, turkey, gravy.  Cauliflower is an exception, by the way!  The more color on your plate, the more variety in nutrients.  And, it will fill you up making that piece of pie not so tempting.
  • Limit Cookies and Snack Foods

    • I learned a long time ago – cookies were not my friend.  After gaining over 60 pounds eating a few too many cookies, I have pretty much, limited cookies to once or twice a year.  They are high in not just sugar, but fat and in some cases, unhealthy fat.  This is the combo for weight gain.  Limit snack foods to nuts, olives, cheese, and vegetables.  Save the indulges for dessert like pie during holiday dinners.
  • Manage Stress

    • Chronic stress eventually disrupts the hormones that help us to manage our weight like cortisol and insulin.  For some of us, the holidays can be very stressful.  Hosting parties, finding the right gifts and traveling can lead to chronic stress.  Try saying no to a few parties, and take time to relax during the holidays reducing stress levels.  Also, limit alcohol and caffeine – both of which we tend to depend on when we are stressed only making things worse.
  • Choose Better Options

    • If you have more than one option like pumpkin pie or pecan – than the better option is pumpkin pie.  Obviously, Aunt Linda's pecan pie she makes once a year might just be that one of your indulgences.
    • If you drink alcohol then choose the lower-calorie options like white or red wine over sugary mixed drinks.
    • Other options are:
      • Mashed Cauliflower over Mashed Potatoes
      • Steamed Vegetables over Vegetable Casserole
      • Roasted Brussels Sprouts over Green Bean Casserole
      • Roasted Beets over Sweet Potato Casserole 

But most importantly enjoy the best part of the holidays; a time to celebrate and gather with family and friends.  Let the focus of your holiday be about friendship, love and the enjoyment of the winter season and less about food.  You will be pleasantly surprised come January that you won’t be promising yourself the same old new years’ resolution to lose those pesky holiday pounds. Maybe you might be a more fun resolution this year like playing more tennis or promising yourself that you will go on a fabluous vacation. Cheers!


Are Chemicals Making You Fat???

Are Chemicals Making You Fat???

Struggling to lose those 20 pounds?  Been eating “right” and just can’t seem to get rid of those extra pounds?  Could be chemicals known as obesogens that are commonly found in food, cosmetics, and personal care products.

Do Home Fragrances Contain “Obesogens”?  

And, those house fragrance products – you know the plugins and candles.  And yes, those auto spraying home fragrance products.  Who thought that one up??

Most obesogens are what are called endocrine disruptors.  Basically, they disrupt your metabolism hormones leading to weight gain especially in the tummy.  It is the chronic low-grade exposure over time that eventually imbalances your hormones that keep your body’s metabolism at its peak.

What Chemicals Can Make You Fat?

  • Pesticides, Insecticides, Herbicides – Most notably atrazine and glyphosate are known to have an impact on glucose metabolism – diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
  • Phthalates – Common plasticizers that are found in everything from designer handbags to home and personal care fragrance products. Difficult to find in the ingredients list as it commonly is hidden in the word “fragrance” and manufacturers do not have to list it.  The simple way to avoid – skip the commercial home fragrances, perfumes for better options using essential oils.
  • Parabens -Commonly found in food as a preservative with high levels found in maple syrup, muffin, iced tea, pudding, and turkey roast. Look for word paraben preceded by -methyl, butyl, and propyl to see if there are in your pantry.  This is also used in many cosmetics and personal care products like shampoo, conditioners, lotions, and even toothpaste.
  • Bisphenol (BPA) – Commonly found in plastics, canned foods, medical devices, and even cash register receipts. Plastic water bottles especially the “thin” plastic water bottles under certain conditions (high heat) leaks BPA into the water.

These are just a few of the chemicals that have linked to obesity and hormonal imbalances.  The list is growing as more and more evidence is showing that these chemicals actually disrupt the normal signaling pathways in weight management.

For some of us, these chemicals will have a bigger impact on weight management than others due to genomics or genetics.  For instance, those with SNP in the PPAR are going to be more affected by these chemicals as they have an impact on that metabolic pathway where PPAR is involved.  Want to learn more, please join my Nutrition Solutions Through Genomics Facebook page today! 

Reference:  Obesogens – An Environmental Link to Obesity, Environmental Health Perspectives – Vol. 120, Number 2, Feb. 2012

Weight Gain – Blame the Hormones!

Weight Gain – Blame the Hormones!

We often blame genetics for weight gain or inability to lose weight, but maybe the answer lies in your hormones.  Or I should say – hormone imbalances!

How does Hormonal Imbalances Lead to Weight Gain?

Hormone imbalances often lead to not just weight gain, but chronic headaches/migraines, insomnia, depression, brain fog, acne, IBS and PMS symptoms.  It can also lead to missed cycle or irregular cycles.  And, for those postmenopausal – the dreaded hot flashes!

Chronic Stress Leads to Estrogen Dominance 

Chronic stress is probably one of the main reasons women suffer from PMS, hot flashes, headaches, even digestive issues.  Top this off with thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s, you have a recipe for hormonal imbalances.

The main cause of this is an over production of cortisol which reduces the production of progesterone leading to imbalances in progesterone and estrogen!  This creates a condition known as estrogen dominance.

Conditions such as PCOS leads to great swings in hormone balance leading to weight gain, acne, belly fat, and mood disorders like depression.   This condition causes a reduction in the production of estrogen, progesterone, and an increase in testosterone.  In some cases, this can promote metabolic syndrome which is highly implicated in heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

And, of course, menopause where the body goes through major hormonal changes and there is a drop not just in estrogen but anti-aging hormones like DHEA and progesterone.  Testosterone can also increase leading to stubborn belly fat, acne, and high cholesterol especially LDL.

Poor Estrogen Detox Can Lead Hormonal Imbalances Leading to Weight Gain

Not only does chronically high cortisol lead to imbalances, but the poor degradation of estrogen can also impact hormone balance.  And, can increase your chances of getting breast cancer or uterine cancer.  How do know if you are degrading estrogen properly?

The best way to determine if your body is properly breaking down estrogen, is to test not for your hormone levels but for the intermediary products which are SUPER TOXINS.  It is these super toxins that are implicated in breast cancer.

Top that off with genomic mutations that impair your ability to breakdown hormones – you will have a tendency to have hormonal imbalances leading to these symptoms including weight gain.

Have you tried all of those supplements but nothing works?  Had enough quinoa?  Almonds??  Tried of trying those super hormones balancing foods that keep popping up on your FaceBook feed?  Maybe it is time to try a more targeted approach that works for you!

Should Your Test Your Hormones Before Trying to Lose Weight?

One of the most accurate tests for hormones is now using not just blood tests (which can be extremely inaccurate), but urine.  The DUTCH test now tests for all hormonal levels, cortisol, SUPER TOXINS metabolites, neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine), and common nutritional deficiencies.

Genomics & Weight Loss

Genomics & Weight Loss

Ever wondered why someone can lose weight eating high carb/low fat like Weight Watchers while others gain weight.  Or, maybe you tried the latest in fad diets – Ketogenics or The Whole 30 diet and were able to lose weight but your friends got the “keto flu”.  The answer is probably in your genes.

Your Genes Determine How Well You Metabolize Carbohydrates

Weight loss on a high carbohydrate diet that is high in starch can be close to impossible for those that have the AMY1 genomic marker as this causes carbohydrate intolerance.  People who have this genetic polymorphism will not produce enough of the digestive enzyme, amylase, which breakdown carbohydrates.  Without enough amylase to breakdown carbohydrates, people will experience longer-lasting blood sugar spikes compared to people who are ample amylase producers.  And, that means more insulin and cortisol – the fat-storage hormones.

This genetic polymorphism usually follows our ancestors' diet and environment.   For instance, in Japan, their diet is much higher in starch  (rice, beans) and they tend to have higher salivary amylase and more copies of AMY1 than people whose ancestors ate a higher protein and fat diet.  This genetic polymorphism is commonly seen in Northern European whose diet over 100 years ago was higher in fat and protein.

What does that mean when it comes to weight loss and reducing the risk of diabetes?  

People who have this genetic polymorphism have a much higher risk of obesity and diabetes due to poor blood sugar regulation, low satiation, and weight gain.  They tend to get hungry right after a high carbohydrate (especially refined) meal,

This could explain the failure of some plant based diets (which are inherently higher in starch) like Pritikin, Ornish, McDougall and Esselstyn programs for some people.

This along with other genomic markers like your ability to metabolize fats, your tendency towards snacking or your preference for sugar could go a long ways towards pointing you in the right direction for the right weight loss program for you