Do not get this wrong, holidays are all about having good moments and indulging with friends and family. Fortunately, you can do that while checking on your pounds.
- Eat before the celebration
Ditch potentially disastrous ideas such as skipping breakfast and/or lunch in the name of saving your appetite for the after party.
- Bring your own foods
Rather than try to figure out what is in every food item at a big party, it is healthier to bring your own packed food.
- Chew slowly
The faster we eat, the less time the brain has to register our fullness. This way you may eat and eat and eat.
- Serve meals restaurant-style
To avoid the temptations that come with seeing a basketful of food next to you, bring only what you need to the table leaving the rest in the kitchen.
- Reduce your plate size
Choosing plates of between 8 and 10 inches instead of 12+ inch plates is a good way to suppress your appetite.
- Choose proteins
Serve up more turkey and ham as well as other foods rich in protein as they are associated with greater satiety.
- Increase your fiber intake
Small portions of fiber-rich legumes will leave you fuller than comparably larger portions of other foods.
- Make room for healthy fats
Not all fats are bad fats. You can get healthy fats from avocados, olive oil, and nuts.
- Incorporate a few veggies
Mixing pureed vegetables such as pumpkin into casseroles or baked goods or sneaking them into potato dishes or pasta will help you avoid obesity.
- Say NO to added sugar
Cookies, pies, and cakes are tempting. But that added sugar can be a disaster. Stick to foods that contain sugar in its natural form.
- Go easy of simple carbs
The body tends to break simple carbohydrates (such as white bread) faster resulting in a spike in blood sugar.
- Say NO when you think you’re full
Grandma will always encourage you to shove seconds onto an already clean plate. You must learn to say NO.
- Go slow on grabbing seconds
Before grabbing a second or getting to the dessert table, give the brain some time to rest by taking a walk.
- Get toss-away Tupperware
You should always encourage friends to pack and carry away the surplus.
- Freeze the leftovers
Stashing leftovers away from sight saves eliminates the temptation of getting a bite every few minutes.
- Turn off the TV
Eating while watching TV has been linked to poor eating habits
- Chew a lot of gum
Chewing gum generally keeps you busy, lowering cravings and helping avoid the calories.
- Beware of temptation
It’s proven that the closer you are to food that you can see or smell, the more likely you are to consume it.
- Give in to cravings
Be careful about this. You don’t have to binge. But completely resisting the temptation may only make the food more attractive.
- Don’t fall into the trap of booze
Alcohol adds unnecessary calories to our diets and often makes us eat irresponsibly.
- Sip before and during meals
Sipping water before a meal helps with general weight loss. Sipping between meals allows the brain to register fullness.
- Go for the tall, thin glass
It’s funny, but yes, research shows that people tend to pour less liquid in tall, thin glasses.
- Drink plenty of water
The more water you drink, the fuller you feel, and the fewer calories you’re likely to consume.
Improve your movement and mindset
- Set realistic goals
Honestly, you’re not dropping 3 dress sizes by February. So, you need to be more realistic in your New Year resolutions.
- Tell yourself “I can control my eating.”
Even if it feels silly, finding positivity in your eating habits can help you check on weight gain.
- Avoid stress
You know that stress can increase craving. The rest of these tips will help with de-stressing;
Through techniques such as muscle relaxation, you can learn how you may be eating to satisfy your emotions.
- Get enough sleep
Sleeping right has been proved to help shave off pounds while minimizing weight gain.
- Do not limit yourself
Yes, don’t think only of the gym when you think of cutting the pounds. Find ways to use your body weight and consider a home gym.
- Engage in functional exercises
This refers to working multiple muscles at the same time. The movement promotes muscle gain which increases metabolism.
- Exercise with a partner
Science suggests it’s more rewarding to exercise with a partner.
- Move around more than you eat
This festive season, forget the lift and take the stairs as you increase the number of steps you take in a day. Hikes, cycling, and snow sessions are other possible sources of exercises.
Of course sneaking in a few visit to The La Jolla Sports Club is also a great strategy for keeping your metabolism firing on high thru December!
Remember that these tips will work best when observed, not singly, but as a unit.
We all know that during this Holiday time of year, choices of food and lifestyle changes add unwanted pounds. By changing your approach, it will give you the tools to keep those pounds away. Having a real connection between nutrition and exercise will keep you energized and healthy. Step Number 1: Create a 12 week calendar – either an old- fashioned paper kind or on your phone. Fill in all your trips, parties, and children’s events. Write down your weight and a goal for each week. Hint: Having a goal for each week creates accountability. Change the goals up between exercise and food. Step Number 2: For each week, fill in 6 days of workouts. These workouts need to be structured with a goal. Each workout is 45-60 minutes long and can be adapted to outdoor or indoors, depending on the weather. Hint: You have a bike ride planned but it is raining. Do not cancel. Go to the gym and take a spin class or hop on the spin bike and turn your music up! Step Number 3: For each week, plan your meals around your events. By knowing when your parties are, you can cut out alcohol the day before and after, workout harder and eat less. Try to stay with organic, unprocessed foods. Keep white anything away from the cupboards!!! Hint: Print out recipes and take to the store so that you are only buying what you need, not the newest Oreo cookie flavor! Step Number 4: Weigh yourself each week at the same time, same day as the week before. You pick the day and time but remain steady in your pursuit to track your weight. This will allow you to manipulate the next week’s workouts and meals. Hint: Weighing in the morning after a workout and before you eat is always the best time! Step Number 5: The 12 week calendar will take you from November to January, the most calorie-laden time of year. I love to write in each day how I feel, what I need to do the next day. It is fun to see in February if my goals were met. Hint: I use Smiley Faces on each day I did what I said I would do!!!! If you really want a great shape and healthy body to carry you from season to season, you need to have the courage to change and adapt. Take the time to treat yourself and your family well and don’t forget to enjoy this Holiday Season! KATHLEEN RAFAAT - LJSC Sports Nutrition Counselor
Imagine if pizza was just pizza, and not a stress reducer. Guess what? It’s not. It’s just pizza.
Now, imagine if that ice cream, those cookies, the bag of potato chips and those burgers with fries were just, well, food, and not mood enhancers? Guess what? They’re not. They’re just food.
The trouble is that food is too often way more than simply healthy nutrition. Food is far too often something we nosh on to bring back that lovin’ feeling, and to overcome negative emotions such as sadness, ennui, anger or tension.
So do you know where your hunger is? Here’s my handy “Gastronomic Positioning System” to help you locate your hunger above or below your neck.
✓ Head hunger hits you out of the blue, when you aren’t even be thinking about food. One minute you are focused on writing an article and the next minute, whoosh, it’s “FEEEEED ME NOWWWWW!” time.
✓ Are you craving only one type of food? Think that only that chocolate almond candy bar will satisfy you? That’s hunger that’s coming from above the neck, especially when that “not-really-hunger” is urgent and tugging at you to eat NOWWWW!
✓Your GPS is pointing brainward when that “not-really-hunger” is tied to a situation you erroneously believe is “upsetting” you, “making” you sad, “causing” you to feel angry. (Remember, the link is what you think.).
✓Really believe that someone else is shoving that cupcake into your mouth? Psychotically believe the plate of fries is calling your name? Find that the food on the buffet line somehow automatically winds up in your mouth and you have no recollection of how it got there? That’s above the neck, emotional hunger. By the way, the fries aren’t calling your name. Fries don’t talk. Really. They don’t.
✓Got that full feeling but keep eating anyway? Guess which hunger that is? Yep, you guessed it. It’s that nasty head hunger that’s on auto-mindless pilot.
✓ So, you were feeling anxious, depressed, angry and thought that potato chips and ice cream would be good mood fixers. So you ate and ate and lo and behold, still feel what you were feeling but now on top of that, you also feel that grisly GUILT feeling. That’s definitely a knock on your door that says, “This is your head stopping by for some food.”
Hunger that comes on slowly, usually a few hours after you’ve eaten a meal, doesn’t “require” one specific food to “satisfy” you, begins with rumbling and gnawing sounds in your stomach and is patient, is real, true to life, in your stomach, physical hunger. It’ll stop when you are full and probably won’t leave you feeling guilty afer you’ve eaten. Sounds great, right?
(Keep in mind your need to eat will vary with the type of fitness and exercise you do regularly at the gym)
Now that you know the difference, here are some steps to take to turn your head around.
1. Identify the emotional triggers that set your eating in motion. Emotion journals that include what you think and feel are remarkably helpful in focusing in on an illogical drive to eat. Write down what you are thinking and feeling before, during and after you eat. Ask yourself, “Am I physically hungry? What am I thinking/feeling? What do I need? How can I meet this need?”
2. Create and use your own “hunger scale” from 0, starving to the point of feeling sick, to 3, hungry with a grumbling stomach, to 7, feeling full and slightly uncomfortable to 10, feeling sick and extremely uncomfortable.
3. It’s not what’s eating you but rather it’s what emotion(s) you are eating about. Create other ways to deal with emotional eating. This might include going for a walk, talking things over with a trusted friend, exercising, taking a nap, or some other productive activity. Tell yourself, “It’s just a craving and it’ll pass.” “I can stand feeling discomfort.” “Just because I think it’s what I need, doesn’t mean it really is.”
4. Before eating, use these four steps: A. Stop B. Breathe C. Reflect Why do I want to eat now? Why this particular food? Is this what I really need? D. Choose wisely
Yep, that’s right. Gratitude is medicine. You’ve seen the, “Exercise is Medicine” campaign offered up at www.exerciseismedicine.org, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Association and supported by many health and fitness related organizations notably among them, the American Council on Exercise, www.acefitness.org.
The goal of this initiative has been to make physical activity and exercise a routine part of disease prevention and medical treatment. In the words of the famous commercials, “But wait, there’s more…” What more can assure better living, healthier, fit and happier lives? No pill, no strict diet regimen are needed. It’s simply gratitude. At least that’s true if you believe what people have been writing since Biblical times, writing about more recently in the popular literature and researching at universities for the past several decades through the lens of positive psychology.
This dose of medicine requires a daily moment or two of your time. Research at the University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Davis, and the Universities of Michigan, Utah, Illinois and Kentucky, in particular, have demonstrated that people who are deeply thankful, count their blessings, notice the simple joys of daily life, and acknowledge everything they have in positive ways, engage in healthier behaviors and generally take better care of themselves. This extends to exercising more regularly, eating more wisely, and visiting their physicians for regular physical examinations as needed.
In his 2007 book, “Thanks: How the Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” Robert Emmons reported on his well-known study that found that people who keep a daily journal listing five things they feel grateful for each day, are 25% happier than those who don’t. He also described this group as feeling “…more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, attentive, energetic, excited, determined, and strong than those…” who focused on the hassles of daily life. The gratitude group also reported fewer physical symptoms and exercised more, which of course are related. The benefits of focusing, daily, on gratitude extend to the emotional, mental and physical areas of life.
Writing down your grateful thoughts is also a terrific sleeping pill. In his research, Emmons found that those who do, “get more hours of sleep each night, spend less time awake before falling asleep, and feel more refreshed upon awakening.” Sure beats a pill!
Gratitude beats back stress, which may be related to 90% of all doctor visits. Looking through the mental lens of what can go right, being appreciative of what you have instead of being angry for what you don’t have, leads to seeing life as full and satisfactory. It may well be the link to helping people cope with daily events, effectively avoiding the kind of thinking that creates stress—“Life should be different, and I should have it the way I want/demand it to be. It’s not and therefore that’s awful. Since life is awful, I can’t stand it!”
There you have it. One daily dose of spending several minutes jotting down three to five things for which you are grateful, what went right, developing the sense of abundance, appreciating others and the simple pleasures of life while avoiding a sense of entitlement and envy, goes a long way to adding health, happiness and wellness to your life.
Can you think? Be grateful for the good you can contemplate. Can you see? Be grateful for the beauty that you can see. Can you hear? Be grateful for the soothing sounds of life that you can hear. Get it?
Finally, if you forget, remember this GPS system that will take you to the best places of life: Gratitude, positivity and sensitivity.
Good – what’s good about your daily life regardless of what you have or not?
Recognize – what can go right?
Appreciative – are you appreciative of what you have…and don’t have?
Thankful – who have you sincerely thanked today?
Emotional – can you express emotion in a positive manner?
Fulfilled – you are either fulfilled or on the way to being fulfilled…never unfulfilled
Understanding – do you have the lens to understand that whatever happens always happens for the good?
Liked – do you look for what you can like in every person and situation you come across in life?
Want to lose weight and get ripped this summer? Want to workout with your friends or family and enjoy a friendly competition and extra motivation to eat healthy, workout hard, and shed pounds? Then Mission: Slim for Summer is a perfect fitness program for you!
Sign up today and compete for a FREE weekend vacation compliments of The La Jolla Sports Club! That’s right the individual who loses the most relative body fat will win a FREE weekend getaway. The program starts June 28th so sign up today!
Take a quick snapshot of your life and you’ll probably see your work, your family, your friends and yourself. Now ask yourself this simple question: what are you achieving and enjoying?
Not an uncommon question, since many ponder these two concerns during our daily activities—“What in the world am I really achieving by spending time on this?” “Am I really enjoying this or am I just going through the motions?”
Work-life balance was all the craze a number of years ago. Today, it seems, striving to find the balance between work and life is deemed a rather foolish pursuit. Instead, we are urged to thrive and flourish in all areas of life, not just one or the other. Forget finding equal ground, blossom in both areas. Sounds great, doesn’t it? While the media filled tens of thousands, if not more, pages and hours of airtime with “tips to achieve work-life balance,” today we hear that it’s not a worthwhile pursuit after all.
It’s a fairly grisly picture out there. With more than a third of people saying they are unhappy or very unhappy about the time they spend at work, to almost 50% of people saying they are neglecting important parts of their personal lives due to work, it’s pretty clear why more than 25% of employees in one study reported feeling depressed, more than a third feel anxious, and almost 60% say they are irritable. People have more and more but seem less and less happy.
For those who regularly workout at The La Jolla Sports Club, with or without a certified trainer, alone or in a group ex class, you can readily identify with recent research published in the journal Human Resource Management that looked at almost 500 adults, and found that regular exercise helps balance out feelings, improves self-confidence and the ability to be more productive at work and at home. The exercise that was studied wasn’t only gym-based but included “stolen moments” of activity during the day that add up to about 30 minutes per day, such as climbing stairs for five minutes or doing jumping jacks in 30-second spurts. Beyond exercise, of course, I coach my clients to change the way they think about work-life not as separate entities, but as one, called “LIFE.” In their terrific book, “Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life,” authors Howard Stevenson and Laura Nash identify four areas to contemplate as metrics for an overall, “good life.” These include:
1. Happiness: Feelings of pleasure or contentment in and about your life. 2. Achievement: Accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strived for. 3. Significance: A positive impact on people you care about. 4. Legacy: Establishing your values or accomplishments in ways that help others find future success.
But here’s the key. It turns out, according to research, that the happiest people are those that include something each day to fill each of these buckets. Delay enjoyment while you are busy achieving and you’ll be sadly disappointed—is there any other kind of disappointment? Focus on enjoyment and achievement may suffer. It’s not like working until the “finish line” will free you to have supreme happiness after your work life is over. That’s the foolish, “First, I’ll work until I’ve made enough and then I can do whatever I want to be happy.” Sounds terribly confused, and flies against what science teaches us about flourishing in life.
Quick Read: How to Add 22 years to your life
Want to take your life to this noble level of thriving and succeeding? Remember you need to focus on what’s important and here’s a hint: not everything is important. Set priorities and invest yourself NOW in those things that have the highest payoff.
“The link is what you think”, so put it in perspective. Achieve, enjoy, exercise and strive for brimming with optimal health and extreme happiness—the ultimate rewards for crisscrossing the work-life balance.