Commander's Fit Tip: Worried about keeping off the pounds? These tips should help

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Panarisi
Around this time last year, we looked at just how many miles it would take to run off a typical "holiday" meal.

That didn't exactly fill my inbox with "thank yous" so I have a new idea this time around.

I'm sure you've heard of the KISS principle (keep it simple). Here's a "simple" list of ways to keep the pounds off and still enjoy a few goodies this season.

By far the most important is to adapt your routine to the changing weather.

You just can't give up your routine in the face of a little rain or some cold temps.

I'm no fan of running in less-than-comfortable conditions, so I head indoors.

We have treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers, and spin bikes all at our disposal.

Plus, if you've never taken advantage of one of our instructor-led workouts, this would be a great time to start.

It doesn't really matter how you do it, you just have to stay committed.

Next up: portion control!

You don't have to deprive yourself of all those goodies, you just have to keep the serving size and numbers down.

Just one scoop of mashers, a smaller dose of pumpkin pie, and an occasional cookie instead of the whole batch!

A recent study showed that a test group actually lost weight over the holidays, not by foregoing their favorites, but instead literally using smaller plates. Just can't beat the physics on this one!

Here's a great one: we call it "pre-dinner." Whenever we eat out, we grab a snack right before we leave.

Why? When you don't eat at home, you typically eat a little later, and you have less control over portions, content, preparation methods, etc.

So you start out at a disadvantage, and you're likely to be a little extra hungry too boot.
So the "pre-dinner" lets you arrive without that starving feeling, and if you start the meal with the salad (not the "starters!") you'll be in a much better position to fend off the urge to over eat when the meal finally arrives.

My favorite pre-dinner is a protein shake ... pre-made and down the hatch in a minute or two. Works like a champ.

Finally, a little regimen at lunch can make a big difference.

I call this "simply salad." If you eat a large salad for lunch, you'll get all the benefits of a really healthy meal, plus a little headroom in your calorie budget for all those goodies.

But don't punish yourself with a lousy iceberg lettuce pile. Get a large salad with lots of ingredients, topped off with a sizeable portion of your favorite lean protein.

My recipe includes baby spinach, cucumbers, broccoli slaw, tomatoes and shredded carrots. I toss in diced chicken breast or salmon, and dress it up with salsa.

A very large one is under 300 calories, or about the calories in two slices of bread. Tons of natural vitamins and nutrients, and plenty of protein to stay with you through the afternoon.

And I make it big enough that there's no way I'm hungry at the end.

I mean a BIG one. A full dinner plate full, not some measly salad bowl. I don't skimp on the protein either ... six to eight ounces, maybe more.

There's really no limit here, there just aren't enough calories there to worry about.

Then you can indulge a little at dinner without busting your calorie limit for the day.

Just a few simple steps, and a little extra time in the gym, and you can hit the new year stronger, lighter, and guilt-free.

You may even find these tricks useful all year, and if so, you can accelerate meeting your goals without depriving yourself of some of life's simple pleasures. Good luck!