November 24, 2010
I used to have a minister that compared toothpaste to words. Meaning that once you squeeze that tube -or say those words, they’re almost impossible to put back. I thought this was a good analogy for my kids, who often, like their mom, spoke before thinking.
And in an inverse way, the eating we do on Thanksgiving can be something hard to undo. I know I sound like a turkey pooper and my point is not to RUIN your holiday enjoyment. But a few REALLY simple rules of thumb can leave you at the same weight come Friday that you are today. Things like drinking 2 glasses of water prior to your meal, chewing each bite twenty times, eating slowly, choosing only those foods you really savor and finally, waiting twenty minutes before helping your self to seconds. Or thirds (see? I’m really not a grinch!)
And lastly I’ll leave you with a funny poem my friend Kim sent me today. I don’t know who wrote it but have a laugh on her.
Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn’t sleep.
I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep.
The leftovers beckoned, the dark meat and white, but I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation, the thought of a snack became infatuation.
I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door, and gazed at the fridge, full of goddies galore!
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes, pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling, so plump and so round, til all of a sudden I rose off the ground.
I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky, with a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie.
Yet, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees, happy eating to all, pass the cranberries….please!
May your stuffing be tasty, may your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes ‘n gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious.
May your pies take the prize.
May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
November 19, 2010
Are you excited about the upcoming holiday dinner? If so, do you accept in advance the universal terms of Thanksgiving dinner and do you pre-embrace the notion that you’ll incapable of pushing away from the table at the first signs of satiety? New studies have shown that if you precontemplate a few of the dinner details you will gain less weight than if you come to the table clueless. For example, if you know where to sit at the table and what to eat the day before the big feast, you won’t gain weight over the holiday.
This morning when I polled class members if they had an eating plan in place, my friend Linda proclaimed “Ah shucks, It’s Thanksgiving for Criminy Sakes, just go for it and worry about it later!” Well. I bit down on my mouthful of imaginary fitness bullets to resist responding (that’s just the kinda girl my Mama raised) But I really do not recommend going on the “No Carb Left Behind” Thanksgiving Tour.
Many dieters and exercisers view the holidays as a time for throwing in the towel. Facing 72 straight days of a never ending barrage of fattening, fabulous foods, the mentality becomes: we know we can’t win, so we resign ourselves in advance and then let ourselves go.
Most American adults gain between five and eight pounds in the short time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, which is the same as eating about 20,000 excess calories, or 550 calories a day beyond what you need for weight maintenance. If we do this for ten years, we could be fifty to eighty ellbees over what we weigh today! And I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the harder shed extra pounds. It’s the butterfly effect-little changes we make today affect how we age (or what we weigh) over the decades. It’s not the one sliver of pie that does it, but the cumulative affect of our little decisions that add up (and build up in our arteries).
Did you know that if you have a big crowd for dinner, everyone eats 35 calories more per seated guest? If you eat in front of the football game, you’ll consume an additional 140 calories.
Here’s the catch about the Thanksgiving meal- we usually eat around 3,000 calories to kick off the season. Have you heard the myth that your stomach can stretch out if you eat super-sized meals? Or have you ever been sick or limited your food intake for several days then noticed that you got full faster, leading you to think that your stomach shrunk? Well that’s not technically what happens. Your tummy (and your brain) are much smarter than that. If we taper our meals the week prior to the turkey meal, the nerves in your stomach that detect fullness will recalibrate to detect satiety (fullness) with less food so that you feel full faster. This will make it easier to resist the huge piles of food in our presence on that day which might cause unconscious overeating.
Not to mention the types of food consumed over Thanksgiving. They tend to be extremely high in calories and low in fiber. They slide right through your system and land in your behind. Try leaving the skins on the potatoes, serving whole grain rolls and throwing the broccoli stems in with the flowerettes as well as starting the meal off with a green salad. Fiber keeps your insulin levels normal, meaning no hunger pangs or needs for a nap and it helps you feel full for longer as well as slowing down digestion so less calories are absorbed. Fiber also regulates blood sugar levels. If you consume 24 grams of fiber (twelve is average) this would help you absorb ninety fewer calories per day- all the while eating the same amount! There’s a bran cracker Dr oz recommends called Scandinavian Bran Crispbread (and granted it tastes like pressed roof boards) and it has all 24 grams of fiber in two small crackers that only have twelve calories. Now that’s bang for your fiber buck. Not to mention the added daily benefit of very satisfying trips to the bathroom (does that make you want to go buy them or is it too much information?)
Here are my five tips to make sure that what happens on Thanksgiving, stays on Thanksgiving.
1. Get some exercise before Thanksgiving dinner. Even if it’s just a walk between bastings, put yourself on your to-do list. The food will taste better, your body will feel alive and you won’t feel glutonous guilt. Then take a walk post-dinner. One of my favorite sights on Thanksgiving afternoon is to see families out taking a communal walk. At our gym from 8am to 10am, we are hosting a 1000 Calorie Charity Spin Class to benefit Feed the Children so not only do we create a calorie deficit but we can help some needy American families as well.
2. Start Now- add 24 grams of daily fiber and taper the size of your meals between now and next Thursday. drink at least two cups of water prior to all meals. Recent research has shown that older adults who do this lose more weight than those who don’t pre-meal hydrate
3. Table Management– Start with a small amount of servings and sit next to the thinnest person at the table. Watch what size portions they eat and try to eat slower than them. Several studies have shown that the proximity of food determines how much you load onto your plate, so stay far away. Move away from the bread basket and the wine bottle. The person sitting closest to their favorite food loses.Use the delay technique on second helpings. Wait twenty minutes before taking more.
4. Move Past the Mundane Morsels- If you don’t love it, skip it. Don’t waste your calories on foods that are just “okay”. This can save you hundreds of calories and help you enjoy your meal more.
5. Get Back on Track the Very Next Day
If you blow it, it’s not the end of the world, nor should it be the end of your diet. It’s just a small setback. It’s a million times better to get back on track than to continue to allow yourself to eat more. Go on a high-fiber regimen the very next morning—by adding high-fiber cereals—and see how quickly you lose the urge to overeat diminishes.
God Bless America
November 12, 2010
I’m going to diagnose myself as a sufferer of early onset seasonal affective disorder. Early onset as in early in the day. Several times this week I’ve had to stop myself from climbing into my pajamas at 7pm. We changed our clocks back from Daylight Savings Time last week and it’s just after four o’clock and it’s getting dark outside.
The only time I’ve ever appreciated this transition to shorter days was when my kids were babies.
I was the Queen of Beddie-Bye. Back then, I actually looked forward to the early arrival of evening. I remember sometimes having my three babes tucked into bed for the night by 5:10pm, the world record for overwhelmed moms. It was like Happy Hour around here.
But seasons change. As well as kid’s bedtimes. Now that they are teens, every evening that is not followed by a school day is reason to become nocturnal. With Veteran’s Day holiday this past Tuesday, I had to text two of my “babies” (16 and 18 years old respectively) on Monday night at 10:50pm saying “”WRU” (teen parents already know this means “Where the %$#@& are YOU” in text-ese). Teenagers get a second wind at about 9:45pm at which point I am two hours into full pajama mode, the slippers as well as half-glasses on, melatonin administered, teeth brushed and flossed and half-dozen anti-wrinkle creams applied. Let’s just say I really don’t need an extra hour of darkness anymore.
Speaking of darkness, we now have a very real health related darkness problem. Since the advent of sunscreen usage, nearly 70%of Americans have developed a deficiency in Vitamin D which we get from sun exposure. Additionally, there is a conclusive, growing body of evidence about the potential link between lack of Vitamin D and risk for certain cancers and diseases.
Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least seventeen varieties of cancer (!!)as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more! This is especially a concern for people with black skin or people over the age of seventy, neither of which convert vitamin D effectively.
The Canadian Cancer Society has gone so far as to issue a recommendation that Canadians consider adding a vitamin D supplement when Daylight Savings Time ends (and it is darker for a greater portion of the day).
You get your vitamin D from one of three sources: sunlight, fortified dietary foods, especially dairy products, some cereals and oily fish like salmon.
The radiation that converts vitamin D in the skin is the same wavelength that causes sunburn, so those of you who are religious about application of sunscreen (even if it’s just 15 SPF!) can drastically impair vitamin D absorption.
If you live in the northern latitudes, there is not enough radiation to convert vitamin D into a usable nutrient, especially during the winter.
What to do? Check with your doctor first,but if you typically avoid sunlight exposure, research indicates a necessity to supplement with at least 5,000 units (IU) of vitamin D daily. The US government recommends only 200 IU a day.
I believe that this is an outdated guideline that was based on Vtiamin D not being a water-soluable vitamin that could possibly build up in the body to toxic levels. This was prior to the sunscreen era. Tell me now that federal nutritional guidelines aren’t in need of an overhaul.
To give you an idea of how much 5000 IUs of vitamin D is, it is equal to 50 glasses of milk. With a multivitamin, that’s more than 10 tablets.
The skin produces approximately 20,000 IUs of vitamin D from twenty to thirty minutes of summer sun exposure on your forearms and face—100 times more than the US government’s recommendation of 200 IU per day!
What to do? Get your vitamin D level checked at your next physical.
It’s a $20 to $30 test. Just don’t load up on vitamin D because it still can be toxic at mega doses if you are not deficient.
Another negative aspect of earlier sunset is less exercise. Studies have shown that people exercise less when it’s dark. I know I don’t walk my dog if it’s dark (I’m still scarred from a bad experience we had with a skunk). With 300 less hours of sunshine, we are all apt to move less and sit inside more.
Britain started a Lighter Later campaign after surveys found that people rated themselves happier and more energetic and called off sick less in the longer summer days than they did in the darkness of winter. According to The Huffington Post, advancing clocks by an hour in the winter would lead to energy savings of at least 0.3 percent of daily demand in Britain.
Elizabeth Garnsey, one of the study’s authors and an expert in innovative studies at Cambridge University, said this was equivalent to saving 450,000 metric tons of CO2 during winter alone. This much CO2 requires 2000 acres of native forest to be reabsorbed.
What does all this mean? Push up your sleeves and get some sun when you are driving or eating lunch. The Fairway Market in Stamford has a lovely cafe perfect for lunchtime Vitamin D doses. Twenty minutes will be great but ten minutes has benefits as well. Turn off some lights or light some candles or a fireplace fire. Get over your Achluophobia by talking a moonlight walk.
November 7, 2010
Who was in charge this weekend? You or your sweet tooth? Hopefully you, unlike me, took my advice on Friday, and that the left over candy is finally out of the house. All of the good stuff is pretty much gone anyway. Now it’s time to move on. As in moving one hour on. Since it will now be dark today at 5pm. I like to think of Daylight Savings Time changes, both in the spring and in the fall, as a time to switch up your workout, much in the same way that many people switch their smoke alarm batteries. The “Fall Back” is an especially opportune time to add or change a morning exercise plan because you will surely wake up, maybe like me, thinking “Wow, I’m not late” starting tomorrow. It’s the only time of year I wake up BEFORE my alarm and feel refreshed and unruffled. Everyone’s lunch’s gets packed, no one misses the bus for sure and I may even get to sit down for breakfast , although this morning my body did somehow recalibrate and I was still the same seven minutes late for church that I always am, which was a disappointment. Ah the body clock is wise but the mental clock is wiser! At our gym, I’m encouraging my 6am class takers to bring a friend to the early classes this week because getting in the car to go work out (when it is light) is so much easier than in the dark. Consider adding a morning walk or even some floor calisthenics. Your dog will love this part. Commit for one week and see if you can use the jump start of the end of DST to make it easier. If exercise were a pill, we’d all be addicted. It’d be the oxycontin for everything. We’d wreck our lives to get a refill. Insurance would not cover it because we’d put them out of business by fixing most age-related illnesses that keep those companies rolling in the money. Think about it! Also, exercise is an especially effective medicine to give yourself in the morning. You will have more energy, be more awake, productive and your day will go better. Did I mention that exercise is FREE? So, if anyone in your family asks you what you are doing on the living room floor doing crunches, as they step over you on their way to the coffee pot, tell them you are trying to become an addict. Maybe you can get them hooked, too
November 5, 2010
Life continues to challenge me. As many of you know from my last newsletter, I had the idiotic slash genius idea to get everyone’s left-over Halloween candy out of their houses. This really is an ingenious idea but the idiot part is having them all bring it to my place of employment to be donated to our troops. Our troops overseas, NOT our fitness troops. And although I do work at a Health Club where every person that comes in the door is there to MOVE and therefore burn calories thus undoing the effects of what they ate/drank too much of yesterday, and every employee of said Health Club knows first hand that if you can see it you MIGHT just eat it, we are not perfect. Sadly, we are only human (as well as female) in our own inability to look into a bag of Reese’s Piece’s Minis and keep our hands out of it. Subsequently nor can we prevent our hands from putting aforementioned Mini’s into our mouths. Damn the troops is what our taste buds told us. So there was an ugly intervention by our sales manager Andre, who’s also a Firefighter, who had to employ his emergency training-he knew someone had to do SOMEthing- by rushing into the flaming candy building in my cubicle and confiscating the loot. Which he locked up in his sales closet. Which is why he’s a manager.
Another example of this shadow side to my personality happened in the Food Mart the other day with my visiting sister, Kim. Now Kim enjoys an evening serving or two or four of Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips washed down with a goblet of Coco-Cola. She’d been visiting for a week and since I’m not a salty girl and have no interest whatsoever in Lay’s Potato Chips nor have I had a Coke in two decades, as well as not wanting to seem inhospitable, I said “Sure! Throw ‘em in the cart.” thinking I was safe. Not until 10pm that night, after having consumed a half a bag of chips I don’t even enjoy did I see the insanity as well as the irresistability of allowing myself to once again be eating things just because I can see them.
Once again I woke up and my first thought was deprecatory- “I did it again.” Of course so did my sister so at least I wasn’t flying solo and had someone to commiserate over coffee with, but still, at my age it’s confusing and….not good.
As I’ve said before, no one ever wakes up the next morning after sticking with their plan and thinks “I wish I’d had another glass of wine” or “Why didn’t I have that Hot Fudge Cake ala mode for dessert, dammit!” “I don’t feel bloated enough.” or “My head feels too clear”or how about “I went to bed too early and slept too well, Darn me.” and the all-time neverheardofbefore line: “Shoot! My weight’s not up.”
Anyway, you get the point.
So let me leave you with a few of my all time favorite coaching tips from Oprah’s girl, Martha Beck
* No excuses-Just because I want to eat doesn’t mean I should.
*Get back on track- If I eat something I shouldn’t have, I haven’t blown it. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just a mistake. Get back on track this minute! Don’t keep on eating! It’s a million times better to stop now than to allow myself to eat more.
*I’d rather be thinner- Being thinner is SO much more important than eating this food.
*Can’t have it both ways- I can be loose with my eating OR I can be thinner. I can’t be both.
*If I’m upset or bored, don’t eat to seek comfort. It won’t solve the problem & I’ll just feel worse.
*Say no to extra food. It’ll be wasted in the trash can or in my body. Either way, it’s wasted.
*Tolerate it! Hunger and cravings aren’t emergencies.
*I’ll care later. I may not care right now but I will care a LOT when I get on the scale.
*Do it anyway. Even if I don’t feel like using a diet skill I’ve got to do it anyway. If I only do what I feel like doing, I won’t be able to lose weight and keep it off.
*Treat yourself like a BFF- If my best friend were discouraged, disappointed or dismayed what would I tell him/her?
*Celebrate! I should celebrate each pound lost.
What’s the take away here? Don’t assume that you have to love a food to consume it and don’t buy a food that is not in your eating plan. And lastly, if you still have unwanted candy in your house, maybe a better idea would be to drop it off directly at Stamford Dental Care, who will (hopefully more responsibly) send it on to the real troops.