Most families are still munching today on Thursday’s Thanksgiving leftovers. The average weight gain during the holiday season is five pounds, andTexans are getting fatter and fatter. In fact, the Lonestar state is now ranked the 10th most obese state in the country, according to a report by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Several years ago, Tonnia Phelps of Copperas Cove did more than just ask Santa for good health. She took matters into her own hands when she climbed on the scale and weighed in at 299 pounds in November 2010.

“I thought, oh my gosh. I am going to weigh 300 pounds. I joined the gym on my way home from work,” Phelps said. “I made a conscious decision to change my life.”

Phelps said she bought workout clothes, went to the gym and then was bewildered not knowing how or where to begin.

“I just wandered around trying to figure out how to use the equipment,” Phelps said. “But, I was approached by a personal trainer who asked me what my goals were and encouraged me. Before long, I was making friends, feeling inspired, and seeing results.”

Over the last three years, Phelps has lost 120 pounds and is now a certified fitness instructor at Cove Fitness.

She’s still on her weight loss journey and hopes to lose another 10-15 pounds.

Cove Fitness, which is locally owned with 35 staff members, offers free enrollment today and Saturday. Owner Denise Doyle said in order to beat obesity, people have to make their health a priority.

“Caring about yourself is a gift to your family. Exercise and being healthy prevent illnesses,” she said. “Taking an hour a day to take care of yourself will make you calmer and happier rather than tired and irritable with no energy.”

Doyle recommends sticking with a schedule and making a commitment to go to the gym just like going to work.

In addition to exercise, healthy eating is also a requirement for weight loss.

Katie McGammon is a registered dietician with Metroplex Hospital.

She said party hosts can help guests avoid holiday weight gain by serving foods in smaller bowls and offering guests dessert plates rather than dinner plates.

“We eat with our eyes first. With smaller plates, our brains are tricked into thinking we are getting plenty to eat because the plate is full but with less food,” McGammon said.

She also recommends eating before the party to cut back on temptation and control what is eaten and using the three-bite rule.

“You don’t need the whole dessert. Take only three bites, but eat them slowly and enjoy them,” McGammon said. “You will be just as satisfied and have the same pleasure.”

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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