Extra Holiday Poundage? Bah, Humbug!

You’ve probably heard that we Americans gain around 5 to 7 pounds around the holidays. With a pound being equal to 3,500 calories, that’s the equivalent of eating 17,500 and 24,500 extra calories between Turkey Day and Christmas! Seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? Now, I don’t know if people actually gain THAT much (more recent studies suggest that we only gain a pound or two) but if you want to avoid any extra poundage, Bea Boomer has a few suggestions:

  • Do NOT eat cookie dough while making those holiday goodies.
  • DO jog in place while watching “Christmas Vacation” or Bea’s persona favorite, “Elf.” (When Buddy is doing his dance in the mail room, why not join him in your living room?)
  • Do  avoid the four food groups favored by the North Pole elves: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

Looking for more practical options?

  • Sign up at a fitness center. There’s a Planet Fitness on many a corner, and it’s cheap! Then actually get up off the couch, go to the gym and work out.
  • Can’t afford a gym due to crazy holiday spending? When it’s mild out, take the dog for a walk or go for a jog with a friend. Do cardio workouts in front of your television; there are plenty of fitness DVDs available at Amazon.com. Do some strength training to speed up your metabolism.
  • Fill your fridge with healthy fruits and veggies, cut up and ready to eat.  Add more fiber to your diet by eating whole wheat cereals or oatmeal.  Switch from white bread to whole wheat. Ditto with pastas.
  • Drink lots of good old water to stay hydrated and ward off hunger pangs. Cold water may boost our metabolism.
  • Avoid drinking your calories: limit your intake of alcoholic drinks, eggnog and soda.
  • Finally, don’t go to a holiday party hungry. Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch to avoid eating too many of those yummy goodies at the Christmas buffet.

Here’s the bottom line: If you want to avoid looking like Santa Claus, you’ve got to take action! In fact, the Big Guy himself just may want to think about trying some of these tips. Those Christmas cookies he munches on all night are probably a nightmare for those reindeer, on that trip back to the North Pole!

 

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How to Use the Internet to Lose Weight

Want to lose 5, 10, or more pounds?

The internet provides some great online tools to help jumpstart your weight loss program, and many of them are free.

To determine calorie intake needed to lose weight or maintain your weight loss:

Calculator.net provides a simple calculator to determine calorie needs. You simply type in your age, gender, height, current weight and choose your activity level. Other links at this site include a body fat calculator and a BMR (basal metabolic rate) calculator.

To keep a food diary: 

My Food Diary offers a 7-day free trial, then costs $9 a month.  This site features a food diary, exercise diary, and a body log to track your progress (weight and measurements). You’ll also find a blog with weight management related categories such as: exercise, lifestyle, nutrition, recipes, etc.

Nutrimirror.com: Free to join. You can keep online logs of food intake and exercise. Downloadable resources include printable food logs, printable nutrition facts and others. Also includes BMI and other calculators. Offers an online tutorial to get you started with the site’s features. Provides personalized reports and statistics to track your progress.

Support groups and weight management programs:

  1. Calorie Count:  Free. Get weight management support from a 5 million member community. Provides calorie counts for foods, phone apps, healthy recipes, a blog that provides tips and success stories. You can also get weight management advice from a team of experts. This site even has a self-directed exercise plan with “how-to” directions for individual exercises.
  2. Weight Loss Buddy: Free. With this site, you find a buddy by filling out a short profile and browsing the buddy results. You can also join a team, ask diet advice from the panel of experts, and your own diet page with plenty of weight loss tools.

These are just a couple of options.  Others include SparkPeople, ExtraPounds, and the oldie but still dependable, Weight Watchers ($)

Blogs for fun and motivation – For Weight Loss and Fitness:

Three Fat Chicks

Roni’s Weigh

Cranky Fitness

Carrots and Cake

Looking for healthy recipes? 

Fruits & Veggies: More Matters

My Recipes

Mayo Clinic Weight Management

How about some healthy snacks?

19 Healthy Snack Ideas

Healthy Snacks from AllRecipes.com

Need an Energy Boost?

 

Instead of drinking energy drinks such as Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy, try boosting your energy the natural, healthy way: Through good food choices such as whole grains, nuts, fiber, and others, as shown in this slideshow from WebMD. 

Note that while the slideshow does mention energy drinks (in slide 18), it also notes that they’re high in calories and are more suited for athletes who need a quick burst of energy.

Eating the “Right Foods” is Anti-Aging

 

Eat the right foods, and you can look like a teen-ager again! (Without the zits, I hope).  No facelifts or Botox necessary. Alright, I’m stretching the truth a bit here.  But
according to health experts, eating healthy foods CAN help protect your body from age-related conditions, as well as slow down the aging process.  You’ve heard it before, haven’t you? You are what you eat.

 

Can you believe this couple is pushing 70? That's what a healthy diet can do for you!

 

What the “Right Foods” Can Do:

According to the authors of the book, Growing Younger – Breakthrough Age-Defying Secrets, eating a healthy diet can power up your energy, build a stronger immune system, help improve your memory, eyesight, and hearing, add muscle and increase bone density.

Dr. Vincent Giampapa, who heads the Longevity Institute International, maintains that a “longevity diet” helps our body become more youthful in three ways:

  1. It increases our “youth hormones:” the human growth hormone (hGH), the insulin growth factor (IGF-1) and finally, dehydroepiandroseone (DHEA) (I can’t even pronounce that word!)
  2. It slows down damage from free-radicals, which are damaging to our cells and DNA. Ugly foods, such as refined carbohydrates, sugars, saturated fats, and foods with trans-fats produce free radicals in our bodies.
  3. It builds up our bodies’ cells. Many of the foods we eat in our country contain chemicals, pesticides, fertilizer, and other toxins (sounds yummy, hmmm?) By eating a healthier diet we “clean up” our insides, and our cells work more efficiently.**

It’s hard to believe that simply eating right can make such a difference!

Some examples of diets that can revitalize us and keep our bodies going strong:

**Source:

VanTine, Doherty, & Prevention Editors. Growing Younger Breakthrough Age-Defying Secrets.

    For Further Reading:

     

     

     

     

     

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    5 Tips For Losing Five Pounds

    Trying to lose those five pounds you put on over the holidays?

    Follow these tips and your body will thank you!

    (1) Become more mindful of what you eat by writing down what you eat on a daily basis. WebMD shows you how to make a diet diary work for you.

    (2) Step up your exercise/activity level – Strive for 30 minutes of high intensity exercise, five days a week.  High intensity exercise, as opposed to exercising at a moderate pace, will help you lose body fat.

    (3) Eat lots of veggies, fruit and beans!  Fiber is great to help you lose weight.  Other healthy diet tips can be found here.

    (4) Eating mini-meals more often can help keep hunger at bay, and can help you lose weight. Check out this WebMD video to hear about how this works.

    (5) Cut out soda, frappucinos, and other high-calorie beverages!
    Please, feel free to comment and let me know if you have any weight loss tips!

     

     

     

    Chew Gum – It’s Good For You (Maybe)

    Bazooka gumImage via WikipediaFrom: Parka Lewis at en.wikipedia

     
    As a kid, I chewed a lot of gum. Bazooka bubble gum was my first choice. Remember it? I’m sure you do, if you’re a boomer. It cost a penny, yep, just one cent. Can you think of anything that costs a single penny these days? I can’t. It was a hard pink square of gum, and inside its wrapper was a comic. What a deal! Pink sugary bubble gum and reading material, to boot!

    I not only chewed the stuff, I swallowed it. Yep, that’s my dirty little secret. My mom would warn me not to swallow my gum because it wouldn’t digest, it would just grow into a blob of gum in my stomach and eventually it would kill me! Or I’d have to have surgery to get it out of there. Whatever. I didn’t care. I swallowed gum and I’m still alive to tell the tale today.

    Believe it or not, I was actually reaping health benefits! Well, except for the swallowing part. Oh yeah, and the fact that the bubble gum’s main ingredient was sugar. Maybe sugarless would have been a better choice. (Did we even have sugarless back then?)

    Anyway, I have read about the health benefits of chewing gum (And it isn’t only Wrigley that touts these benefits).

    According to an article from the WorldWide Health website, benefits include:

    • Weight management (by helping control your appetite, and using as a substitute for other higher calorie snacks)
    • Helping improve focus, concentration, and alertness
    • Relieving minor daily stress

    And, the International Chewing Gum Association (bet you didn’t know that existed!) says that it can help people who suffer from a dry mouth and those who are trying to quit smoking. 

    On the other side of the coin, Health Guidance points our a few of the not so good aspects of gum chewing: Yep, it’s not so good for your stomach and your digestion. (Why, or why, did I swallow all that gum??)

    Well, good for me or not, I’m still chewin’, (usually sugarless) though I haven’t had a lovely piece of Bazooka bubble gum in a long time.  And if I’m sure if I ever find it, it’ll cost me more than a penny! 

    How about you?  Do you chew? 

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    Soup – The Ultimate Comfort Food

    February 4th is National Homemade Soup Day!

    The Gone Ta Pott website has declared today as National Homemade Soup Day. Not soup in a can day.  Real homemade soup, made from scratch.

    Do you remember your favorite soup as a kid?  I sure do.

    A common chicken soup variation, with egg nood...Image via Wikipedia
    My mom made the best chicken soup in the neighborhood, maybe even in the world. (Well, in my humble opinion, that is). Back in those days, that wonderful sixties decade, my dad would drive to Hamtramck, (Michigan’s home for all things Polish) and pick out a fresh chicken from the butcher shop. (Believe me, you don’t want to know any more details about that poor chicken – sorry, PETA).

    None of that frozen chicken from the grocery store. Nope, that just wouldn’t do.

    And Then . . .

    Mom would cook up a broth from that chicken, add carrots and onions and celery and peppercorn and chicken bouillon cubes, throw in a bay leaf, then shred the cooked chicken and add that in there too. That soup would simmer all day long, until the house smelled so heavenly I couldn’t wait another minute to eat it!

    Oh man, I can taste it now.  It’s one of my favorite comfort foods, one that, as a kid, I found to be the best medicine for the common cold. 
     
    Mom’s Chicken Soup

    1 stewing chicken, cup up (3 ½ – 4 lbs)
    3 quarts water
    1 medium onion, quartered
    4 celery ribs
    2 or more chicken bouillon cubes (to your taste)
    1 tsp minced garlic
    ½ cup thinly sliced carrots
    3 cups cooked rice or noodles

    Place chicken and water in a large soup pot or dutch oven, bring to boil. Reduce heat, add onion, celery, bouillon and garlic. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Strain and reserve broth, discard vegetables. Add carrots to broth and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Debone chicken and cut into cubes. Add chicken to broth and heat through. Ladle into bowls and add rice or noodles.

    What’s your favorite homemade soup?

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