Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - some real nutrition tips for the big day.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Well, if you happen to Google "Nutrition Tips for Thanksgiving" you will get over one million results from nutrition experts (and many non-experts!) telling you to "eat this, don't eat that", "avoid dessert, have fruit instead", and it goes on and on.

What's the reality? Well, my reality is that this is one day of the entire year that I get to enjoy Nana's pumpkin pie, Auntie Becki's deviled eggs, Papa's mashed potatoes, and Mom's turkey stuffing. Am I going to avoid all of those things in order to stay on my nutritional plan? NO! So I'm certainly not going to advise anyone else to avoid their favorite Thanksgiving food that they get to enjoy once a year.

What is the best nutrition advice for THANKSGIVING festivities?  PORTION CONTROL!
Portion control is the key to sound nutritional plans, and it also allows you to occasionally enjoy your favorite foods, including those Thanksgiving favorites that you look so forward to once a year.

Here are a few suggestions to help with Portion Control:
  1. Please eat breakfast (or something healthy) before the big dinner. Many people think that if they starve themselves the entire day until the big dinner that they may be avoiding some calories. The exact opposite happens! When you avoid eating until the big dinner, your brain does not have the energy to think rationally. Plus, your morning "starvation" gives you a false sense of accomplishment and a license to overeat - as soon as you see food, you may immediately take larger portions, overeat everything, and feel completely and uncomfortably stuffed after the meal. This in fact results in higher calorie intake for the day.
  2. Avoid "over-snacking" on the chips, dips, and fatty snacks that may be out and about during the early festivities and football games. These extra calories will add up. If it is the Thanksgiving meal that you want to enjoy, then snack lightly. 
  3. Eat slowly and wait at least 20 minutes before you go back for "seconds".  It takes our brain at least 15-20 minutes to realize that our stomach is full, so if you eat slowly and wait that amount of time, you may realize that you are already full, avoid getting "seconds", avoid overeating, and avoid excess calories.
  4. Use your plate as a Potion Control tool. Enjoy a smaller portion of each of the Thanksgiving foods. If you can't fit it on your plate, then you probably should take smaller portions of your favorites. 
I would like to wish everyone a safe, fun, and Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner. Take a nice after-dinner walk with the family. May we all be thankful for family, food, and health. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Watching TV can be good exercise?

Ok, so now that I have your attention,
who says you have to watch TV sitting down?

Oh, comes The Perfect Storm: 
  • Rainy season has arrived. 
  • Daylight savings time is ending.
  • Sports season is in high gear w/ football, basketball, hockey (Go Sharks!), etc.
  • November sweeps for all of our favorite TV shows is here. 
These events can really take a toll on our outdoor exercise programs, BUT, there is a way to stay on track.

Exercise while you watch!  

If you are lucky enough to have a gym membership, then stay on track and keep it up! However, for those of us who do most of our exercise outdoors, this can be a tricky time of year.

The GOOD news: We can still exercise indoors on rainy days or dark evenings while we catch up on our favorite sports teams, reality shows, sit-coms, or dramas. Even the American College of Sports Medicine has recently reported that Old School core exercises and calisthenics are going to be one of the hottest trends in 2011. Think "Rocky Balboa" with his push-ups, sit-ups, dumbbells, and jump rope and you've got the makings of a great indoor workout.

Here are some fun exercise ideas you can do while watching TV.
Get off the couch and go for it!
  1. Enjoy "Dancing with the Stars" or "Glee"? Well, get up and dance or jump rope to the music!
  2. Instead of using the DVR to skip commercials, do sit-ups, push-ups, squats, or jump rope during the 2-minute commercial breaks of your fav shows.
  3. Is your weekend filled with watching college or pro football? Do 100 jumping jacks for every touchdown, 10 push-ups for every field goal, and 10 sit-ups for every first down! Or design your own combination of exercises.
  4. You can do similar exercises during hockey or basketball games: perform jumping jacks or jump rope during power plays, do sit-ups and push-ups for every goal, and do squats for every point scored in basketball. You get the idea!
  5. If you own dumbbells or kettle bells, you can also do sets of these during commercials or during games. 
Every little bit of exercise helps, so utilize these times to exercise, improve your health, and keep yourself fit!