Story By Cindy Black

The holiday season is a time for giving and receiving and enjoying the company of others. The problem is that there are usually too many examples of receiving in the form of calories!

The 30 days of eating between Thanksgiving and Christmas often leads to the guilt-driven New Year’s resolutions that are related to my favorite phrase, “Eat Less, Move More.”

Changing one’s eating habits is half of the weight loss battle. Proper nutrition is the ground work for a healthy body. Your body needs a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats to function at its optimal level.

Eat breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day and is a critical component to your weight-loss success. Most people eat too many carbohydrates. Your food choice each morning will determine if your body will store or burn fat.

Avoid processed foods. If you cannot pronounce the ingredient list, your body does not need it. In order to have a healthy body, you must put healthy food in it.

Increase your intake of vegetables. Vegetables are packed with nutrients your body needs to function properly. Dark green, purple, red and orange are a must, so vary what you consume. Google healthy recipes for a vegetable you’ve never tried. You may find some new favorites.

Drink plenty of water. Water flushes your body of toxins, hydrates your muscles to work more efficiently and allows your kidneys to function properly, to name a few benefits. Do not substitute fruit juice, which is usually high in sugar, or diet sodas/teas that are full of chemicals.

Exercise. The other half of the weight loss battle deals with moving more, better known as exercise. For those who do embark on the “Move More” journey, you must realize that exercise is hard work. You must stress your body in order to make weight-loss (muscle-building) progress.

While some movers will start a walking program, others will hit the ground running with personal training. Personal training, whether one-on-one or with a partner, is a great idea for new exercisers who lack experience and movement aptitude and are unfamiliar with training techniques. Training with a professional can also take those who are stuck in an exercise rut to the next level by changing their program and adding variety.

Boot camps and group classes are successful for the experienced person when applied correctly and offer a lot of fun due to the group dynamic. When choosing where to start and how to proceed, avoid environments that force participation above a tolerable level and increase one’s risk for negative outcomes — quitting or, worse, injury. Proper technique and progression is the key.

Cindy Black is owner of the Fitness Studio in Ocean Isle Beach.