Give yourself (and loved ones) the gift of health

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Another Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all of the trimmings is complete and the Christmas lights are going up. It all happens so fast right? One day, we are enjoying summer at the beach and the next day, we are searching for our gloves and picking out a Christmas tree. Holiday movies on the Lifetime Channel are a continuous loop and the kids are finally keeping their room clean because they know that Santa is watching. (Speaking from experience).

Perhaps the most popular question I get as a fitness professional is about reducing body fat ó especially around the holidays. And to make matters worse, obesity tops the risk factor list in almost every imaginable disease. Wow! Some people get motivated to exercise by health and vitality while others get motivated by being able to shape their physical appearance. Whatever your drive, be sure you stay driven because there are many benefits for reducing your body fat.

But with so much information out there, why do so many get it wrong? For starters there are those who just donít care and have surrendered their authentic power to the environment. They say things like, ďItís not my fault Iím overweight, itís my geneticsĒ. Then there are those individuals who have realized that they are the result of what they think about and do. These are the individuals that actually make an effort and still seem to get it wrong. Why?

I think most people fail to understand the fundamentals in physiology, nutrition but more importantly what governs our existence: energy. And whatís more they confuse themselves with marketing hype, promised wonders and conflicting information. Even though they work out religiously, they basically eat back what they just burned.

The energy we consume from food throughout the day is transformed into energy thatís utilized in our daily requirements of living. This energy will be used for digestion, physical action, body maintenance and repair. In order to create a calorie deficit you must do one of two things or both. You must either expend or burn more energy than you consume or you must consume less energy than you expend. When a calorie deficit is forced upon the body, the body is forced to tap into its vast supply of energy; body fat.

Calories in versus calories out is a fundamental principle that you must be aware of if you want to reduce body fat or lose weight. Keeping track of calories consumed versus those expended is a sure fire way to lose weight, just like the pros. Aim to slowly reduce your daily calorie intake as well as gradually increasing your activity level, and thatís all there is to it.

And, while you are enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee in your jammies, making your list of who is naughty and nice, I wanted to give you some gift giving ideas for the health conscious people in your life.

Iíve been a certified fitness trainer for many years and one of the must-haves on my list when Iím training clients is a fitness tracker. Some other great gift ideas are tennis shoes, socks, workout shirts, leggings, shorts, running jacket with a reflective strip, hat, gym bag or home exercise equipment. As you can see, there are numerous options with varying price tags. You could spend $5 or $5,000. You could also put a little gift basket together with lots of little items that any fitness geek would love.

Most fitness facilities, fitness trainers, massage therapists and nutritional consultants also have Gift Certificates available. SeeÖ many different options are available for you to choose.

Feel free to contact me and I can help you with some more ideas. (Santaís little helper)

Natalie Dreger is a certified fitness professional, Team Isagenix athlete and can be reached at

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