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VILSECK, Germany -- It's that time of year again, 2012 has rounded the corner and New Year's resolutions are in full swing. According to the Department of Health, the most reliable and repeated New Year's resolution is losing weight. After all, when the holidays are in full swing, so are our bellies, and thighs, and … well, you get it.

An alarming 62 percent of active duty personnel are overweight or obese, according to Kim Waller, director of the Grafenwoehr Army Wellness Center.

"But it's not an individual problem," explained Waller. "It's a national epidemic."

Within the past 20 years, the rate of obesity has climbed significantly within the United States. In the year 1990, on average, 10 percent of the population was considered overweight or obese compared to 25 percent of the population today.

Why the bloated numbers? We could blame it on numerous exterior outlets -- video games, sedentary lifestyles, portion sizes, the inherent desire to clean your plate because there are starving children in Africa. (Thanks, Mom). But the real issue may be a lack of understanding of one's own body.

Metabolic testing, a free service offered through the Grafenwoehr Army Wellness Center, helps community members identify how much they need to eat in one day and how many calories their body burns naturally.

"When you begin with the basic understanding of what your body needs, you can then work towards your weight loss goals," said Waller.

During the test, patients breathe steadily into a machine to monitor their resting metabolic rate. Height, weight and body mass index are also recorded.

The test is followed up by a course in basic nutrition, reading labels, weight management, and eating to your metabolism.

This change in diet doesn't mean you have to feast on celery and carrots around the clock. In fact, the biggest misconception in weight loss is the thought that you have to deny yourself the foods you love.

"Generally, it's not what people are eating, it's the amount they are eating or how inactive they are," said Waller.

This is good news. No one has to deny their stomachs of the wondrous Big Mac with its divine special sauce, but a step in the right direction may be to omit the fries, replace your regular soda with a diet soda, or shy away from the super size.

"It's about lifestyle changes," said Waller, adding that ridding your diet of regular soda can achieve a weight loss of up to 10 pounds in one year. While this seems slow and steady, unlike yo-yo diets, the weight will stay off. And your body will thank you for it.

To schedule a metabolic test or fitness assessment, contact the Army Wellness Center at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, DSN 476-4795, CIV 09662-83-4795.