The Nation's Health + [Nutrition]

Nutrition: Repent for past sins

If the food temptations of the holidays got the best of you, and you're now 5, 10, 15 lbs or more over your pre-holiday weight (our record is 18lbs!), then it's time for serious action.

One easy method to regain the control you may have lost is to pick some period, say, 3 days. During those three days, eat nothing but vegetables --no breads, meats, dairy products, certainly no cookies, cakes, pasta, etc., not even fruit. Follow this routine and weight drops rapidly. Vegetables are wonderful but sometimes boring, so use healthy condiments to spice them up: mustards (hot, brown, yellow, horseradish); healthy salad dressings, which are olive or canola oil-based; salsas, a fabulous garnish with no nutritional downside whatsoever; pesto; tapenades; horseradish added to other condiments or even by itself (wasabi).

Of course, fasting in one of its several variations is another rapid method to regain control. My favorite is to use soy milk in a modified fast, usually 4-6 glasses of a low-fat, low-sugar soy milk per day, along with plenty of water. (Please refer to the precautions detailed in the recent Track Your Plaque Special Report, Fasting: Fast Track to Control Plaque , particularly if you fast 5 days or longer or take blood pressure or diabetic medication.)

Of course, yo-yoing your weight--up during the holidays, down after their conclusion--is not good for you. It does raise the likelihood of diabetes, not to mention cultivate the patterns that contribute to coronary plaque growth, especially small LDL. But if temptation got out of control and you need to regain lost ground, these two strategies work fabulously well for most people.

If you've gained, say, 10 lbs during the holidays, but simply resume your usual habits, chances are you won't lose the weight. Year after year, this can add up to an enormous weight gain. The time to act is now. It's easier to lose the 10 lbs of weight you gained recently, rather than the 50 lbs you've stacked up over the past 5 years.