Call it the gift that keeps on giving—those extra five, maybe 10 pounds you’re carrying around thanks to all those holiday goodies. And, unfortunately, there’s no magical exchange department that you can go to and say: “I’m sorry, but these five pounds just aren’t working for me. I’d like to exchange them for the body I had before I ate all those gingerbread cookies.” But all is not gloom and doom. This is a fixable situation—it’s just going to take a little thinking and a little work on your part. So check out Ocala Style’s recommendations for a healthy and fit 2008. Sure beats the line at the exchange department.
1. Veg Out
We’re not talking about sacking out on the couch with that big bag of chips while watching a late night CSI marathon. No, we’re talking about veggies, veggies, veggies, all colors and varieties. Fresh is best, but frozen works, too. Slice and dice ‘em. Make a salad, stir fry, steam ‘em. They’re rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber—all good stuff!
2. An Apple a Day
All fruits are all-stars when it comes to being super nutritious. But with regards to weight control, apples are overachievers. In a recent study at Pennsylvania State University, research participants who ate an apple 15 minutes before a meal consumed 187 fewer calories than those who hadn’t eaten an apple. And here’s more good news: a medium apple of 70-80 calories has three grams of fiber and about 10 percent of daily vitamin C needs, but contains no fat, saturated fat, or cholesterol.
3. Perimeter Shopping
According to Marion Nestle, long-time nutrition professor at New York University and author of What To Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices, perimeter shopping at the average grocery store is best. That’s where you’ll generally find the produce, fish, meat, low-fat dairy products, and fresh-baked bread. Stay away from the center aisles where the processed foods (i.e. the not-good-for-you items) are usually located.
4. Eviction Notice
Keep those tempting goodies out of your house! It takes an iron will not to give in to those donuts calling your name all night long. No reason to be a masochist or a martyr. Indulge yourself once a week with a special treat—just do it out of the house! Eat your treat at your favorite ice cream shop, bakery, or restaurant. Then practice some tough love and don’t bring any of it home.
5. Scale Down
Eat on smaller plates. Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Studies show that people will automatically eat less and be satisfied with eating what’s on a smaller plate. Now smaller servings don’t mean you get to go back for seconds! And the same holds true for those 100-calorie packages. This is a good idea—in theory—but the problem with this is that no one buys just one 100-calorie package. Instead, they buy a box of 100-calorie packages. And guess what? It’s too easy to eat more than one package because the box is there in your house!
6. Can the Soda
The average American consumes three sodas a day. Three 20-ounce bottles of soft drinks equal 59 sugar cubes and 1,000 calories. An adult expends about 100 calories for every mile walked or run. It takes three miles of walking/running to burn off the calories in a 20-ounce soft drink. Drink water instead.
No, don’t call the moving company. Move you! There’s no way around it—you have to move it to lose it. A recent University of Pittsburgh study reported that even just walking briskly for almost an hour a day is the key to losing weight and keeping it off. Researchers noted this amount of activity suppresses the appetite, relieves stress, and replaces time spent eating.
8. Moving Target
The amount of exercise we should do seems to change daily. Is it 20, 30, 60 minutes? Two, three, six times a week? The answers can be different for every person, depending on your health goals. But
the important thing is do something as often as you can. Join a gym, get some exercise CDs, walk around the block, take up a sport, ride a bike. The choice is yours.
9. Mix and Match
The best exercise programs combine cardiovascular and strength conditioning. Three days a week strive for a 45- to 60-minute session which includes: 10-15 minutes of stretching and easy walking; 30-45 minutes of brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, or other aerobic exercise; 5-10 minutes of cool-down stretching and easy walking. Two days a week: warm up with 10-15 minutes of stretching and calisthenics; 15-20 minutes of strength training exercises, such as sit-ups, push-ups, and exercising on weight machines under supervision; 5-10 minutes of cool down stretching and calisthenics.
10. Have Fun
No one likes drudgery. Don’t think of it as compulsory exercise with a Marine drill sergeant calling you a sissy and torturing you with more push-ups. Instead think of it as play—the kind you did as a kid just for fun! Get outside, breathe in some fresh air. If you have to plug into your iPod instead of the sounds of Mother Nature to do your fitness thing, that’s okay, too. Just do it!
Crunching the Numbers
Activity Calories Burned
Bicycling, < 10 mph 290
Bicycling, > 10 mph 590
Golfing, walk w/ set of clubs 330
Running, 5 mph 590
Walking, 3.5 Mph 280
Walking, 4–5 mph 460
Weight training, light 220
Weight training, vigorous 440