Health Watch -- A thinner New Year? (part 3)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the  Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Don't let your initial weight-loss enthusiasm spoil your chances of long-term success.

This week on Healthwatch, we've been discussing one of the most common New Year's resolutions, the resolution to lose weight. In these first few days of the new year, it's easy to be enthusiastic about the new you you' re trying to create - especially if you're still feeling guilty about overindulging during the holiday season.

But nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say you shouldn't go so far in your enthusiasm as to starve yourself to make up for any earlier gluttony. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian who teaches clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern, says that will just backfire on you. Your body needs food for fuel every day, no matter how much you ate a few days or weeks ago. Whatever weight you put on over the holidays was probably just fat, but if you starve yourself, you'll lose muscle as well as fat. That lowers your metabolism, which makes it harder to lose weight.

Instead of starving, make a fresh start for the new year by getting temptations out of the house. Take food gifts, like cheese trays or candy boxes, to the office or share them with friends. Then stock your refrigerator and pantry with nutritious foods. Good choices include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat yogurt and milk, dry cereal and almonds or walnuts for snacks. That way you'll have good fuel for your body as you begin to make the lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight and keep it off.