Trimming trees or waists
Today marks the two-year anniversary of when I wandered into Carbon county from Arizona and began working at the Sun Advocate. I always find it interesting how quickly time flies when one is busy and as I age it seems to go by even faster. The other thing I have noticed about time and age is the expansion of my waistline. I heard over the weekend how there is a drive to make obesity a disease. While the medical industry wrestles with that decision I thought it would be a great time to write a column about keeping an eye on our waistlines as the holidays approach.
The holidays mean food and often lots of it. Most of us greet this news with mixed emotions. I salivate just thinking about the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and all the other traditional Thanksgiving foods many of us have grown up with.
Then comes the Christmas parties that always include snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and rich deserts. I use to emerge from the holidays with roughly the same body shape as I went into it but as I grow older each holiday seems to take its toll.
I vow every year that I will not repeat the same gluttony I did the year before, but I also know my ability to resist fattening temptations. In this months Kiwanis International Magazine there are several very helpful tips about staying on track during the upcoming season. It promises that if we follow these tips and exercise just a crumb of self-control, we will enjoy the Thanksgiving through New Year's cuisine without having Santa's waistline by the time it's over.
The article begins by suggesting we not let ourself get too hungry. Willpower goes out the window if we enter a feast very hungry. It's a given that we cannot resist evil foods when we are starving, so the trick is to snack on some healthy foods about a half hour or so before you go to the party. We can all find a healthier snack to taste on our way to the party. I do this when I travel. For some reason I can justify fatty chips and unhealthy junk food when I am driving eight or 10 hours back home, but if I take a sack of carrots and nibble on them the first few hours I tend to eat far less junk along the way as I get tired or restless. The same goes for the parties.
The next tip is way more difficult for me. I remember how my mother always used to tell me to chew every bit of food 20 times before I swallowed it. There was a reason for that. The act of chewing gets certain digestive juices flowing. This helps us digest the food and better absorb its nutrients. However, at a Christmas party I look at those bowls of dips and plates of sweets and I think I am a cow and its open grazing season. The last thing I think of is chewing. They recommend that if we stop long enough to at least be aware of the taste we are better off than just stuffing it down the chute. Taste it, feel the texture and be mindful of what it is you are eating. This may not be 20 chews but its better than nothing.
I recognize that when I am driving or watching TV I am barely aware that I am eating. I am capable of snarfing down fast foods without ever giving them a thought. Holiday eating is typically recreational eating, which means lots of people and lots of distractions. It's more of a challenge to each mouthful under these conditions, but not impossible.
Any article that has anything to do with weight management is going to tell you to do a lot of things you already know you should do.
During the meals eat less food. Take one plate and don't go back for seconds.
Eat healthier food. Look for the vegetable snacks rather than the rum balls. Pass on the gravy or take a much smaller portion of pumpkin pie.
Eat balanced meals. Look around and be aware of what is available and make a conscience effort to eat balanced.
Graze. When you are around food all day and have the choice of eating over several hours, take a small plate of healthy, balanced food, once an hour.
Exercise. Start now with increased walking or attempting to do something that burns a little more fuel. So many people give up their exercising programs this time of the year and say to themselves there's no use, I'll wait and start over in January. Pre-plan your exercise program now and even if you over indulge, don't quit exercising.
Drink lots of water. People often think they are hungry when they are thirsty. Stay hydrated and avoid false hunger pains. I find that if I drink a bottle of water before going to a dinner I will take less food, and since I am conscience of my waistline I do not take seconds.
People tend to eat more when they are depressed, filled with anxiety or overworked. Don't fall into the trap of eating because you are nervous or have the blues. Stay up and have fun, be happy and say no to those extra pounds this year.