Eat and (not) be merry
In the time it may take you to peruse the paper, your stomach will have told the brain that cereal was consumed.
Scientists have determined the process takes 20 minutes — about half the time it takes to pound down a Big Mac, fries and a shake.
As the Thanksgiving holiday creeps into view, nutritionists and personal trainers want to remind eaters and particularly overeaters that a little indulgence may be expected this time of year, but it’s unacceptable as a healthy life choice.
Some advocate preplanning in order to maintain one’s weight during what are potentially the most unhealthy six weeks of the year.
“People have to think about what they’re going to eat ahead of time,” said Laura Dick, director of nutritional services at Barton Memorial Hospital.
Dick suggests those who know they’ll surrender to the plateful of goodies may want to start cutting back on calorie intake now. It’s the old reward thyself after undergoing an effort.
It is so you have that calorie deficit already started, she said.
No matter what kind of diet — whether high carbohydrate or high protein — calories make up the key barometer.
But during the party season, how much we eat may take a back seat to the amount we drink.
“We need to watch our alcohol intake,” Dick said.
Party poopers unite. A 12-ounce bottle of beer, 3-ounce glass of wine and 1.5-ounces of hard liquor each adds up to 150 calories.
Dick recommends to those who like to socialize with a drink in their hand to replace the alcohol with soda water once in a while. It will cut down on calories and help the drinker stay hydrated.
She also advises people watching their weight to refrain from standing next to the food table at parties and gatherings.
“It’s hard. The holidays are so important for us in our families. It’s a part of our tradition and culture,” she said.
Recent studies have shown Americans put on a half pound to a pound a year over much of their adults lives. This translates to an excess intake of 10 to 20 calories a day — the equivalent of a Ritz cracker.
To complement what we eat, Dick returned to the simple advice of moderate exercise to control one’s weight.
“We just need to get out and move around,” she said.
But like many things in life, there are no shortcuts to those who make a living at advocating fitness and conditioning. If you’re working out in the month or so between the major year-end holidays, the effort will do little to make a dent in keeping up with the battle of the bulge.
“It’s a lifelong process. You have to be committed, and you have to be consistent,” said Andrea Adams, a personal trainer who works out at Kahle Community Center and Kingsbury Athletic Club.
Adams suggests a cardio workout between 30 to 60 minutes on four to six days a week. This includes walking, as some have chosen to do at Kahle’s indoor walking track. The Douglas County Parks and Recreation program recently formed a walking club for seniors that meets at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays.
“Anything is better than nothing,” Adams said, adding that people over 45 should consult their doctor before undergoing a new exercise program.
When Rose Bevanda, 56, signed on two years ago to work with Adams twice a week, her weight hovered around 165 pounds. Now at 145 pounds, she’s much happier with her health — especially since she’s escaped the full wrath of menopause.
Her personal trainer said regular exercise can decrease the symptoms, which include the hot flashes and irritable mood.
There’s another moivation for women in particular to exercise– bone density.
Bevanda has exercised on a regular basis for four years. She runs and walks for an hour in the woods at least four days a week. In the gym, Bevanda switches between the cardio and weight-training machines and stretches per Adams’ instructions to condition “the whole package.”
The Stateline woman admits she lifts weights as a means of conditioning — not to bulk up. But there’s an advantage to building the muscle.
“The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn,” Adams chimed in as she directed Bevanda to the lat pull machine Tuesday.
Then, there’s the mental aspect one can’t achieve by sitting like a slug after the Thanksgiving meal.
“For most clients — I think they feel better at the end of the session,” Adams said.
— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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