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Ideas for Burning Off Some Holiday Pounds

healthy living conceptI have joked a few times that I am accumulating some extra pounds in the event of famine, disaster, or food rationing. However, the truth is I’ve just been overeating and not getting enough exercise, and my doctor reminds me that for the sake of my heart, blood pressure and cholesterol, I need to take my weight seriously.

Here are a few things my doctor and some other medical advisors have shared with me that are simple and easy to implement.

First, drink lots of water. In addition to being good for you, water can help you to feel more full. By drinking a full glass of water before you take the first bite of your meal, you might be tempted to eat a little less.

Another simple tip is to eat more slowly. With our busy lives we often eat like we’re in a contest. By focusing on chewing food more slowly, you give your body time to send the signal to your brain that you’ve actually already eaten enough.

Consider using a smaller plate. I know I’m in the habit of using a full size dinner plate and tend to want to cover up that plate with food. Well, it’s probably more than I really need. I’ve started using a smaller plate, and filling that plate up, which is probably 60% of the size of the full-size plate. At first it looked too small but I realized when finishing that I was actually full! It’s amazing what a difference our eyes make on how our stomach feels!

Don’t deprive yourself of foods you love. If you love pizza, like I do, don’t eliminate it from your diet altogether, just cut back. I found that by ordering a medium pizza instead of a large, I don’t eat as much. Sure, I want to eat the whole thing, but I want to lose some weight too, and there are sacrifices to be made!

Try to exercise. I know this is a tough one, and a lot of people this time of year will flood the gyms, only to be back to their normal routine within a few weeks. Make some changes that are permanent and you can actually maintain. For example, make it a habit to walk around the neighborhood every day. Instead of having a cup of coffee or a soda when you need an energy boost, go outside and stand in the sun for a few minutes or spend a few minutes stretching; you’d be amazed how much better you feel.

Something else I’ve started doing is taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. I’m embarrassed to say that even just a few stairs sometimes leaves me winded. I’ve also started parking at the first parking spot I come across, instead of driving around looking for the one closest to the door. Hey, a few extra steps here and there and it all adds up!

Finally, I’ve started keeping some healthy foods around for when I get the ‘munchies’. If you’re anything like me, sometimes you just feel like having something to eat.Instead of trying to fight nature, I’m going to use it to my advantage. I’ve started keeping more apples and bananas handy, instead of chips or other junk food. If the bad stuff isn’t around, I don’t eat it, and I’ll eat the fruit instead. I also like peanuts and cashews, so I keep those around. They’re not as good as Doritos, but they’re a lot better for you and I’m not tempted to eat a whole bag.

If we get into a real crisis situation in the economy or food ever becomes scarce, many of us are going to lose some weight, but I’m going to do my best to shed the extra pounds right now so I’m in fighting shape when the time comes.

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