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Surviving September: The Dietary New Year

With summer completed and school back in session, it'll be time to settle back into another fall routine. And, even though the flexible schedules of summer have gone, this is actually a very good thing for your weight and health.

In the summer, schedules can be hectic, haphazard, jumbled. This plays havoc with your weight control efforts because you end up eating on the run, at odd times during the day, or out of sync with any rhythm you have established.

Just as your sleep is affected by its normal cycles, your body also needs predictability when eating. Uneven eating patterns leads to multiple between-meal snacks, and these only provide extra calories.

Dr. Barbara Rolls at the Penn State University has shown that, when you eat between-meal snacks, you are not going to eat less at the next meal. In fact, they have no bearing at all on how much your body is hungry for later on. So all those calories are just piled onto the total.

This really makes September very much like January in many ways. January is the "diet month" because people will have eaten poorly at office parties and family reunion grazing fests for 6 straight weeks - and they're finally ready to turn over a new dietary leaf.

In the same way, we typically slip-n-slide off our normal eating schedules through the summer months, only to return to normalcy and "real life" in September. So September becomes like the dietary New Year.

It's the perfect time make fresh schedules and routines that fit a new, relaxed lifestyle. Put space in your day for relaxation, so you aren't so stressed through the day. This will keep you from cramming too many activities around your life this fall. Make sure you sit down for dinner (not in your car), and enjoy those around you.

To create the schedule that serves you best, do right away, because once life kicks into high gear again, it will be more difficult to shift gears and shuffle priorities again.

What to include on your schedule:

time to eat at the table, to unwind, to do an exercise you really love. You might try getting up a half hour early (if you're a morning person) or staying up a half hour later, to sit in the quiet of your home. Have your mate with you, your pet, or your favorite book. The point is to turn off the noise, and turn on a moment of sanity.

What to exclude from your schedule:

unneeded activities,
excess car time,
stressful people

You can't be all things to all people and, while you're trimming down your weight, it's really okay to cut back on your harried time commitments as well. You'll be more effective if you focus on just a few things at a time. Walk away from stressful people, who just contribute to the angst of those around them. You need peace in your life.

These tips are great starters for not only surviving September, but for living a thin and healthy life throughout the year.

About The Author

Will Clower is the award-winning author of The Fat Fallacy and founder of The PATH Curriculum, The PATH Online, and Newsletter.

The PATH: America's weight solution.

Dr. Clower can be reached on his website


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