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Slow and steady, still wins the race!

Tips to get rid of that Thanksgiving gut before it becomes a bigger Christmas gut

BETWEEN all the football and turkey, why not show some gratitude for your health and that beautiful body that carries you through life?

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need high-intensity, sweating-buckets, feel-like-I'm-going-to-die workouts to get into good shape. To get into and maintain your fitness, you can get inspiration from the classic Aesop fable, "The Tortoise and the Hare." You know the one, where the fast arrogant hare hangs his head in the agony of defeat, as the victorious tortoise declares, "Slow and steady wins the race!"

Sounds too good to be true, right? But, it's actually true, and a recently published article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, backs me up:

The Annals of Internal Medicine's recently published report states that low-intensity exercise can slim down your waist just as effectively as high-intensity exercise can. After six months of treadmill exercising, the 300 abdominally obese adults all had similar results, regardless of whether they performed high-intensity or low-intensity workouts five times a week.

Isn't that great? You can lose your belly without losing your mind or needing a knee replacement. So, in addition to that nice little nugget, here are my five tried and true ways to slim down your waistline, whether you're trying to get rid of the Thanksgiving bloat or get a jumpstart on your New Year's resolutions:

Exercise daily

Yes, it's worth repeating: Exercise daily, exercise daily, exercise daily! Exercise is the most essential ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. There is simply no way around it. No matter what your size, exercise does the body good. Of course, go ahead and mix it up with cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and balance training. Variety is the spice of life!

Cook from scratch

If you are really serious about slimming down your waistline, then cooking your own meals from scratch would really be a smart move. When you prepare your own meals you know exactly what's in the food, and you have the ultimate control on how much butter, salt or oil you use. Also, try eating your meal on a salad plate or even a saucer to control your portions naturally. You'll be surprised at how easily you can slim down by implementing these two simple strategies.

Keep a food journal

Maintaining a food journal can really help you stay focused and maintain accountability. While there are a number of food-journal apps available, I prefer the old-fashioned method of writing it down. For some reason, writing in a physical journal just works better for me. Also, according to the National Weight Control Registry, individuals who maintained a nutritional diary along with daily exercise were the most successful at long-term weight loss and maintenance.

Do a daily weigh-in

The scale is not your enemy, but denial is. Sure, you can let 'er rip on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but you'll more likely than not have packed on an additional 2-3 pounds by Monday. Yes, it's that easy. A daily weigh-in also may help you stay accountable and make you think twice before going for seconds. Several major research studies have concluded that people who weigh themselves daily maintained their weight within about five pounds. Even if you never lose a pound, the scale will help you maintain.

Believe in yourself

While I know it sounds like a cliche, it's true: you have to believe to achieve. You have to see the end in the beginning, and see yourself successfully implementing the new behaviors in your mind's eye. Go ahead, right now, close your eyes and see yourself riding that bike, strolling through the park, preparing your healthy meal and serving it up on your finest salad plate.

Yes, you can!

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears Wednesdays.