November 27, 2009
Post-Dinner Recap-How do you all feel today? Remember last week when Kate Moss was quoted as saying that her life’s motto was “Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels”? She came under a ton (!!) of scrutiny. This wafer–thin model, being a (former?) anorexic, inflamed the media who expressed concern that she was either condoning anorexia and/or unduly influencing young girls to restrict their eating. I kept my big mouth shut last week, but every Facebook status update I’ve read today has been the written equivalent of holding their belly, proclaiming “I’ll never be hungry again!” or “I can’t believe I ate so much food!” etc. Everyone I’ve encountered today is overfull and bloated. So I thought it might be good timing to say that, I also, was too full last night. I’m here to proclaim first-hand that nothing feels worse than being too full. Within five minutes after arriving home last night after a wonderful 17 course meal at our friends’ house, I simultaneously climbed the stairs while surreptitiously whipping my pantyhose off so fast it made my dog’s head spin. I slipped into my drawstring sweats with such a gratifying sigh that my husband peeked his head into the bedroom to be see who was in there with me (it was just me and the confused dog, who is always hopeful that inexplicable, sudden movements might mean a walk for him.) By 8:30pm me and my also-too-full husband settled into bed like sedated grizzlies, ready to hibernate until our digestion was complete or spring thaw, whichever came first. It was a classic Thanksgiving and very similar to the past 25 Thanksgivings we’ve spent together. Did we enjoy every minute of it? Definitely. Should we do it more than once a year? Probably not. And the million-dollar question-Does thin feel better than food tastes? I say YES that thin USUALLY feels better than MOST foods taste. Anyone who has struggled with obesity and then been thin WILL tell you that thin feels better and that most decadent foods are not worth the effort it takes to burn off the caloire equivalent. Maybe Kate Moss is not the one to deliver this message since she may look or actually be too thin. But since the majority of Americans are struggling with the opposite of anorexia and much of the latest scientific research DOES in fact support restricted calorie programs, not just for weight control but because it is proving to be associated with longevity, we all might accept that feeling less full feels better than most food tastes. As well a possibly help us live longer AND healthier lives.At least until we get hungry again, maybe sometime tomorrow.
November 25, 2009
Chatting on the phone with one of my BFF’s yesterday, she, in passing, pushed one of my buttons. Maybe she was practicing for pressing her own mother’s buttons. Maybe she thought I was missing my mom and thought she’d push my button on behalf of my mom. She was explaining that she was in the midst of making her Grandma’s baked apple recipe and she that she had to bake her famous pumpkin muffins for her brother, and as she listed her wonderful traditions surrounding this holiday dinner she slipped this little bomb into the conversation, she said “Unlike you, I don’t hate Thanksgiving…” “________________ whaaa?” I said. This reminded me of yesterday’s New York Times article by Tara Parker Pope who wrote about Food, Kin and Tension at Thanksgiving.
Anyway I wanted to make sure that no one else confuses my calorie lectures and my accountability talks (about how 5 minutes of eating can cost you 5 hours of exercise) with a dislike for the holiday itself. I happen to love Thanksgiving so much that I went to Costco last night with all of the second-to-the-last-minute people and then again today to get one more $5.99 gigantic pumpkin pie with all of the official last minute peeps. Being at Costco the day before Thanksgiving is the November equivalent to being an elf at the North Pole on Christmas Eve. I didn’t mind it one bit, it made me feel anticipatory, and all warm and fuzzy inside (as long as my checkout line moved faster than all the other lines, which I surreptitiously monitored for the line contest in my mind. Once a competitor, always a competitor). Stuck in the traffic on the way to and from Costco, I enjoyed seeing all the families packed up in the cars traveling at a snail’s pace alongside my car. And even though I didn’t envy their long road trip I wished I could zap our family back to Ohio for the weekend. If we drove, it’d mean 8.5 hours in the car with three teenagers and a tailgating hubby which does not compute in my dinner vs. road trip calculation. But being a news reporter, my husband always works when a holiday falls on a weekday so he’s always worked Thanksgiving as long as we’ve been married. I do miss seeing my family and the subsequent dinner but luckily we have longtime friends (who are excellent cooks, I’m no dummy) who always have mercy on us and adopt us for dinner. So yes, you all have my permission to have the most delicious meal-to-top-all-meals tomorrow. Savor every bite and even help yourself to seconds. I will be doing the very same thing.
Of course, there’s always the calorie bill to be settled come morning. “Oh Weigh-ter! Check Please!”
November 20, 2009
I hate to be a nag. But weeks like this get me overly revved up. I feel like it’s early enough in the holiday season that none of us have fallen off the fitness wagon YET. There is still HOPE.
And if somehow, someway we can figure out how to manage ourselves and our eating and exercise,
then there’s hope that we won’t end up another five ell-bees (lbs equal pounds) heavier come January.
If it were just five lbs it wouldn’t be a big deal but if the same thing happened last year then it will most likely happen again NEXT year and your metabolism is doing it’s aging/slow down/I used to be able to cut back but now the weight doesn’t budge thing.
If we can manage to not let ourselves off the hook yet again, then keeping that extra weight off will be much easier and let’s face it, more realistic than trying to lose it.
Like I often say, five minutes of eating can often (and at Thanksgiving I should say always) take five hours of exercise to burn off and no pumpkin pie ever tasted good enough to be worth jogging 20 miles (pecan pie, maybe).
And further more, no one ever wakes up the next morning regretting not having eaten more. Can you imagine? “Dammit. I don’t feel bloated enough and not a whiff of gas. I didn’t get second helpings of stuffing and I should’ve tried ALL of the pies. My rings still fit and what’s up with the scales? I still weigh the same? Next year I’m gonna eat MORE.”
Can we break the cycle?
Can we eat on smaller plates?
Start with the green beans and skip the sweet potato pie?
Do we really need a roll just because they’re warm?
Can we leave the serving dishes in the kitchen and use smaller serving spoons? Can we nicely say no thank you and not worry about offending the family food-pusher(every family has one- “Come on! Just one bite! You have to try this, I made it just for you!”)
Only consider this idea if you can close your eyes right now and think back to last year and tell me honestly that you were at no point nauseous or needing to unbutton your pants.
But if you do recollect some overeating last year, consider the strain this places on your body. Like I said last week,overeating produces free radicals and free radicals contribute to aging faster. This may sound okay if you’re stuck with the in-laws all weekend but you’ll still feel worse come Monday morning.
At our health club we offer a two hour cycling class Thanksgiving morning that will burn 1200 or so calories. Considering that the average Thanksgiving meal contains 4600 calories, this will put a small dent in the calorie bank and help us maintain rather than gain. We also offer great classes the day after, which beats the heck out of going to the mall.
Consider doing the same. Or you could take it one jog further and starting now, eliminate just 100 calories per day- that only means skipping your cappuccino, so that you have another 700 calories in the fitness bank. Take an extra long walk every day this week. I know that many towns offer Turkey Trot races, go online and register right now!
Stay on track so that your holiday season gets started with a bang and not with bloat
November 13, 2009
Belly fat comes in two radically different forms. One is slightly annoying and fairly harmless. It is the layer of fat directly under the skin. It’s called subcutaneous fat. Think of it as a layer of fat between the surface of the skin and on top of the belly organs. It’s also known as muffin top, love handles or jelly belly. The villainous other type of fat is called visceral abdominal fat, VAT for short. It’s associated with cancer and heart disease and a slew of other miserable age-related diseases. This layer of fat is beneath the organs and is what gives one that very rotund look of a potbelly. If you have ever heard of people with an apple shape, that’s a VAT belly. These VAT people are more prone to disease because of the nature of serious problems associated with visceral fat.
Another little known fact is that fat in the abdominal area functions differently than elsewhere in the body. It has a greater access to blood supply as well as more receptors for cortisol, a major stress hormone. Cortisol is a fight or flight hormone. But I call it the Fat Belly hormone. It’s levels rise and fall throughout the day but when you are stressed out, like when you are running late and stuck driving behind the drop-off bus,your cortisol level remains elevated. When you have consistently high levels of this hormone in your blood stream, more fat is deposited in the abdominal area because there are more cortisol receptors in your abdominal wall than anywhere else in the body. So stress can indeed make you fat!
Another switch that is triggered when we are under stress is the there is a higher Ph level in the bloodstream. This acidic level leaches calcium from our bones. So stress reducing activities, like meditation can help prevent osteoporosis. Who knew that lying silently on the floor could make your bones stronger- and thinner.
If we can reduce our stress levels, we can maintain a more alkaline level in our blood stream, which also helps protect our bones.
So reduce your stress by adding meditation or tai chi. It will help your metabolism work better so that your bones can remain strong so that if you fall, nothing will break. It will also reduce the fat-belly hormone so that you get a VAT. And as we head into the holiday season in this economic situation, it’s a profound practice- being able to calm your self down in the middle of craziness.
November 13, 2009
Last week my rant was about the two different types of belly fat. This week my rant is on the behind, the junk in the trunk, the caboose, patootie, booty, arse, badonkadonk, whatever you want to call it, you all know what I mean. I divide the world (of behinds) into three distinct categories: the first group has not enough butt, sometimes known as flat butts or what I like to call party platter butts. These are the people you see on America’s Funniest Videos in the pants-falling-down category (one of my favorites, much more enjoyable than the old folks-falling-down category). A little known side benefit of having some junk in your trunk is that it keeps your pants from falling down. Paula Dean is an excellent example. She is by no definition thin, but(t) her butt could be a sewer cap and when she wears spanks she is especially susceptible to losing her pants. (See video)The second group has too much butt and this is where the majority of adult women “end” up. They never lose their drawers. Ever. Instead, their struggle is to get their pants ON. The third group is bum-indifferent (about their own, that is).They never look back there and this lucky group has no opinion whatsoever about their own tush. Many men are categorized here. If you fall into this category you can skip the rest of this rant and go sit on yours.
Unlike belly fat which, if you have the bad kind, can be lethal, fanny bulge is just annoying and unhealthy in a more vague and overall unhealthy way. This is due to the anatomical fact that no vital organs are stored in our hiney, although I have known some men who’ve made me wonder if this is true for all humans.
If you don’t like what you’ve got back there, here’s what you can do:
If your rump is flat:
• Lunges and squats with heavy weights can give the appearance of lift and separation if you have good form. Lift a challengingly heavy weight for your size and work through your heels. By that, I mean keep your weight out of your toes, because you don’t want to work the front of your leg.
• Remember the Jane Fonda bridge? You lie on your back, feet under knees and pulse the hips up like 10,000 times. This will directly work the glutes. You can also hold hand weights on your pelvis as you lift or alternate legs for added challenge.
• Do stair climbing, either on a machine or preferably on real stairs. The major mover in your body when you climb is the glutes.
• If you really yearn for a bubble butt and don’t want to work for it (and it is hard work) you can purchase a handy little undergarment called Bubbles Bodywear,
which adds some silicone to it’s padded panty. Bubbles Bodywear are the Ebony to Spank’s Ivory. Uniquely similar in opposite, yet equally important ways. It may sound ridiculous but if those of us with a tummy bulge can spend $40 on Spanks then $30 for a bubble butt sounds like a reasonable investment to those who’d rather have something to show on their party platter.
Moving on to those of you with bigger bottoms than you’d like, here’s what you have to pick from:
• Do tons of cardio, preferably running or if not running, jogging. Nothing will change your rear-end size like high-impact cardio. Don’t bike a ton of biking or do heavy-weighted squats/lunges. If you do indoor cycling classes, keep your toes angled up and your heels in a dropped position.
• Do LSD workouts. This stands for Long, Slow Distance. Try for a 60 minute walk, vigorous golfing or tennis. Any length of time over 45 minutes will be burning fat stores and if your fat is in your behind then 30 minute workouts aren’t gonna cut it. This is hard to do if you hate exercise so find a buddy to walk with. It’ll help pass the time.
• If you’ve been in a cave and haven’t heard, there’s no such thing as spot reduction. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SPOT REDUCTION. There. Is.No. Such. Thing. As. Spot. Reduction. I hate to sound like a broken record but if your rump is too big, you just have to lose weight. In general, the densest weight stores are around the hips so if you drop the extra pounds, chances are it will go from your trunk. That’s the best I can tell you. I’m sorry.
• Wear black and avoid horizontal stripes around the midsection.
And finally, if you can’t be with the butt you love, Honey love the butt you’re with. Love the butt you’re with.