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What we are willing to change for varies by person

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By Maryellen Garrison

It’s pretty easy to gain 5-10 pounds from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Big holiday meals, parties and open houses, and candies, cookies and rolls are more available at home, work and school. All promote weight gain, and pair that with less time for exercise... well, you see the problem.

Most of us are willing to make some changes in our diet to lower fat, sugar, and/or salt and to increase fiber. Sometimes it’s because we want to lose weight, sometimes we are responding to a doctor’s recommendation, and sometimes, maybe we have become more alert to the messages in the media.

What we are willing to change varies tremendously from person to person. I was talking to a friend who had successfully lost some weight and she said that, years ago she made some diet changes which are now ingrained habits for her… she doesn’t even have to think about them and is not tempted by the higher calorie versions. For example, she:
• doesn’t drink soda unless it is diet,
• buys only light or Neufchâtel cheese,
• doesn’t add spreads to prepared pancakes, muffins, or other quick breads,
• uses skim milk or evaporated skim milk instead of the higher fat versions, and
• regularly reduces the sugar and fat in recipes that she prepares.

However, in other areas she is not willing to make changes. For example, while reduced fat cheese is okay, she would rather just skip foods with fat-free cheese, she really does not like fat free salad dressings—some of the light salad dressings are okay so she just uses less of them, She buys diet margarine (which can be 50 percent water) to use most of the time on her toast and popcorn, but loves the taste of butter once in a while.

Each of us varies in diet changes we are willing to make and remember weight control is not something you do for a short time-it is making life long changes modified.  So think about the changes that you believe might become permanent habits in your life now as we start into the Holiday Season!

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.