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what to do when weight gain overstyas its welcome

Dear Dr. Gott: I hope you can give me an answer to my problem, which is about to drive me nuts!
I am a 50-year-old male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, somewhat well-muscled, yet have a 36-inch waist and weigh 190 pounds. I drink alcohol on occasion, never smoked, have no health problems and take no medication.
My daily diet consists of coffee and one cookie in the morning, water and a sandwich with mustard for lunch, and a well-balanced supper.
I don’t use sugar in my coffee or tea. I don’t drink soda or sugary juices and don’t eat ice cream, baked goods, chips, junk or fast food.
I work at a seasonal job doing turf maintenance from April until the end of October. In that time, I will lose one-half to three-quarters of a pound each week until I get laid off in October. During November, my weight loss levels off and is maintained easily because I am quite active outdoors hunting and the like. Sometimes I’ll lose a pound or two during that time.
Then comes December! I’ll gain a pound per day (almost all belly fat) for the first two weeks and then will gain between 2 and 5 pounds more the last two weeks. The weight gain then stops, and I have to work like heck to get it off. This has been going on for almost 10 years and only happens in December. Nothing in my diet changes.
In fact, the only change in my lifestyle is that I do not get up every day at 4:30 a.m. Otherwise, I’m just as active as when I’m working.
Is it possible that a genetic or chemical trigger is set off in me because of the shortness of daylight, or could it be something else? I’m ready to explode because I’m so frustrated. I wish I could skip December altogether or go into hibernation.
Dear Reader: A person will ordinarily gain weight when the caloric input exceeds the caloric needs. Your conscientious approach to a healthful lifestyle is remarkable. In fact, your caloric intake is far from being extreme. I’m tempted to blame your “belly fat” on stress, a condition that causes increased waistlines for most of us.
With your obvious concern about your end-of-year annual weight gain, you may enter December with trepidation, and your system may react adversely and cause you to store excess fat despite your diet and activity level.
Do you attend many family or community parties during the holidays that might provide empty calories? If not, perhaps something as simple as additional coffee ingested daily during the winter months might slow your calorie consumption.
To explore this possibility, you may want to write down everything you eat and drink in December, as well as your exercise habits, to determine whether there is an alteration in your daily routine. Perhaps you are consuming more or are less active than you think. By keeping a journal, you can go back and review it. You may even find a pattern of which you were unaware.
Address your concerns with your family physician. For instance, you may want to have your metabolism checked with a thyroid blood test. In fact, after taking your history, your physician might consider other blood tests that may provide the missing pieces to your puzzling weight gain.
At the very least, your doctor can follow your weight loss/gain to identify a reasonable cause for it.
It appears that you are healthy. Your weight depends on calories. This relation can have a genetic basis. Were either of your parents or your siblings troubled by inexplicable weight alterations? If so, treatment for your pattern would be different. Maybe it’s time to relax and not be perturbed by your modest winter weight gain. What you gain in December is basically what you are losing during the summer. I don’t believe you need to worry about your loss/gain pattern. However, your family physician can help you.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “A Strategy for Losing Weight”. Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped number 10 envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.
Dear Dr. Gott: Please let us readers know the results of your self-experiment with cinnamon to control cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dear Reader: Cinnamon was of no benefit to me. I received dozens of letters from readers saying it did not work for them. Some readers also experienced severe diarrhea while taking the cinnamon; therefore, I no longer endorse it.
Doctor Gott is a retired physician and the author of the book “Dr. Gott’s No Flour, No Sugar Diet,” available at most chain and independent bookstores, and the recently published “Dr. Gott’s No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook.”Copyright 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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