Put down that cup of eggnog and slowly back away from the table. There still may be one night of debauchery left in 2012 but it's time to start thinking about the annual New Year's resolution to lose weight and exercise.
And despite all those resolutions over the years, Americans just keep getting fatter. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index estimates 26.1 percent of the U.S. population was obese in 2012, up from 25.5 percent in 2008. And those living in rural areas were more likely to be obese than those living in urban areas, a University of Kansas Medical Center study found.
The problem with trying to lose weight are the diets themselves. Face it: Nothing works for everyone and deprivation is just depressing.
When it comes to exercise, motivation is the key.
Some extreme diets are downright unhealthy. Some of those who followed Dr. Atkins' advice and cut out virtually all carbohydrates found themselves suffering from gout. The lack of carbs also produces lab results that mimic those of diabetics.
Eating a balanced diet, cutting out junk food and exercising is not just sound advice, it actually works.
Chicago dietitian Joanne Larsen told Family Circle magazine earlier this year the only way to make a diet work is to match it with one's particular likes and dislikes.
Family Circle went through the newest diets. Among their finds was "The Abs Diet for Women" by David Zinczenko. It recommends eating six times a day: medium-size breakfast, lunch and dinner and small snacks two hours after each meal. The diet recommends eating nuts, beans, greens, dairy, eggs, lean meats, peanut butter, olive oil, berries and whole grains. For extra protein just add whey powder to shakes. The program also calls for 20 minutes of strength training three or four times a week.
Next up was "The Bonus Years Diet" by Ralph Felder, which allows five ounces of wine and two ounces of dark chocolate a day in addition to fruits, vegetables, fish, a daily clove of garlic, and nuts. The diet is intended to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation.
The "F.A.S.T. Diet" by Tony Dean chronicled his family's successful effort to lose 500 pounds in a year. Members calculated their basal metabolic rate to figure calorie intake to maintain weight and then reduced that intake by 500 calories a day to lose a pound a week.
"The Busy Person's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss" by Dr. Melinda B. Jampolis recommends developing healthy eating habits so when stuck in an airport or elsewhere you'll opt for a salad instead of cheese fries.
Certified dietitian Brenda Watson's "The Fiber 35 Diet" promises a loss of eight pounds the first month and then a pound a week by slashing 1,000 calories from the typical daily intake at first and then 500 calories after the first month until one's goal is reached. She cautions, however, not to eat less than 1,200 calories a day and warns of bloating until your system gets used to the extra fiber.
When it comes to exercise, working out in front of the television is much less embarrassing than performing at the health club.
Acacia has issued some new workouts that will have you reassessing exactly how fit you are.
Think all those plies over the years produced quads of steel? The "Ultimate Kettlebell Workout for Beginners" with Paul Katami will disabuse you of that notion. The introduction alone involves nearly 30 minutes of squats to demonstrate the basic kettlebell positions. The core strength section will be with you for days as well.
The newest SparkPeople workout with Nicole Nichols, "Total Body Sculpting with Coach Nicole," employs interval training to boost metabolism. The DVD's first section incorporates ballet moves.
Also featuring ballet stretching is "Yoga Blast" with Dr. Lisa Masterson, a co-host of TV's "The Doctors," and personal trainer Elise Joan. The DVD is divided into three segments that include cardio, bodyweight strength-training and yoga.
"Canyon Ranch: Yoga for Strength & Energy" features two total-body workouts, plus recipes and bonus segments sharing the spa's diet and wellness secrets.
Acacia also has packaged some previously issued exercise videos into gift packs: Bethenny Frankel's "Body by Bethenny" and "Skinnygirl Workout" into the "Skinnygirl Yoga Workout Collection," and Shiva Rea's "Daily Energy Collection," which includes "Daily Energy" and "More Daily Energy."