Monday, November 26, 2012

It's the Most Fattening Time of the Year - here's some help in the battle of the bulge

Did you know the average American gains 7 lbs over the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas? If you consider the fact that to achieve 1lb weight gain, you need to increase your calorie intake by 3,500,  that's a whole lot of cookies, stuffing and sloth in a few short weeks. Consider what 7 lbs of fat might look like in a bucket and then think of how it feels to carry around on your belly.  Cookies don't seem so appealing anymore, do they?

Ok, so realistically, none of us will be iron-willed against the temptations of holiday cheer, but we can do a few things to curb our enthusiasm for gluttony. Exercising self control on the Mondays and Tuesdays of the week will help balance out the 3-party Saturdays of the season.  Kicking it up just a weensy bit will make a huge difference in how quickly those cookies accumulate, on your ass.

Here's a place or two to start.... And I'll keep them coming - like a wellness Advent Calendar, hold the chocolate.

Baby Steps to Weight Loss –
Little dietary differences
  • Plan Ahead, Stay Ahead
  • Keep your fridge stocked with eye-level, easy –access fruits and veggies.  Wash grapes and baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, cukes and celery.  Cut into bite size grab able portions and leave in the fridge on the top shelf  That way, when the grazing crazies hit, or you’re too busy to eat a meal, the first choice you encounter is a good one.  Pair 1 cup of veggies with a light cheese stick (in the cold cut drawer, and you’ve got a pretty satisfying stack without dirtying a plate. 
  • Similarly, remove toxic food choices from obvious locations.  Do not leave your kid’s leftover birthday cake on the top shelf of the fridge – stick it in Tupperware and put it on the bottom.  They’ll remember it’s there – but you won’t.  Get cookie jars off the counter, and put cracker bags BEHIND meal-makers in the cabinets.
  • If you have the cabinet space, keep snack foods in an altogether different location than your regular grocery items.  I keep mine in with the breakfast stuff.  Even on my worst day, I’d never eat goldfish at breakfast time, so I’m less likely to crumble then.  Later, when you’re making dinner, you’ll have no reason to go into that cabinet and face temptation.
  • Prepare one healthy soup in your crock-pot every Sunday (if you don’t have one – buy one – they are about $25 for family size and they will be your saving grace throughout the week, on the fly). 
  • Prepare tuna, grilled lean chicken breast, steak tips or hard boiled eggs, and wash salad greens every Sunday.  Mix with your precut veggies (see above) for a 5 minute salad.  Keep yummy salad toppers on hand (sun dry tomatoes, feta cheese, raisins, nuts) to make a fabulous restaurant quality salad and keep yourself from feeling denied.
  • Shop places like Trader Joe’s and your local butchery for all-natural marinated meats (refer to your chart for best healthy selections).  These places often carry great sauces, all-natural light dressings and interesting salad toppers that you can keep on-hand and save the steps in preparation.
… About Small Exercise Changes
  • Take the stairs every single time they're an option. No more elevators or escalators.
  • Make exercise a priority, not an inconvenience.  Put it in your planner like every other appointment and keep this important appointment with yourself.  Every other thing you do will benefit from making this commitment!
  • Park far from your destination, so you're forced to walk — this works at the supermarket, the mall, wherever. (This also helps you waste less time looking for a parking space!)
  • View tiring chores (shoveling snow, cleaning the house, weeding the garden, taking the garbage out, grocery shopping) as a chance to get in some activity.
  • Take the grocery cart back to the store when you're done loading your bags into your car.
  • If you take public transportation, get off one stop early.
  • Work out with a friend.  You’re less inclined to blow off your friends than you are to blow off your exercise class.

  • Try different exercise classes until you find the one you like.  It could be that you don’t HATE exercise, you just step aerobics.  Shop around until you find something that works for you, so you won’t see working out as a chore.

  • Try different tools to enhance your workout.  Add a few hills to your walk. Get an iPod to add tunes to your walk.  Invest in long johns so cold weather won’t hold you back or buy a stability ball for your home, so you can do some abs and stretches first thing in the morning.  Lots of great fitness equipment costs less than $20 to purchase (resistance bands, balls,) and having a few things at home will make you feel better if obligations throw you off your routine.

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