Tag Archives: small change

Small Change #13: Walk the walk (and the dog and the kid and the coworker)

Walk around the block at work or at home.    It takes about 15 minutes if you really move it like you’ve got somewhere to be.  

Are you really busy, and when you get home you know life will be too chaotic? Walk around the block after work or take a quick break.  Make it part of your lunch hour.  Grab a co worker and make him or her do it too.  Or strap an iSomething to your head and pop some tags or admit you knew he was trouble when he walked in or whatever.  Walking will burn off steam and get your body ready for dinner.

 Or go home and grab that dog and those kids and make them go around the block and find out about their day.  (The dog will always say: “It was good!  It was good!  Wee!  You’re home and we’re walking!  Awesome!”)

Think of it as 15 minutes that will improve your mental state and leave your cells hungry.  Which means you will respond to insulin better.  Which means you will have lower cholesterol and lower risk of diabetes (or better glucose control if you already have diabetes).  Walking daily: It’s a pretty good bargain for the time investment, I’d say.

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Small change #10: Find out how many calories you need in a day

Once in a while I’m asked how many calories a person needs in a day.

It depends on the person’s height, weight, gender, age and activity level.

All of which you can enter right here to find out the answer quickly, along with how much you should eat in a day if you were being a perfect angel.  Click Create profile, and you will be prompted with boxes for the above information before the site will calculate your caloric needs.  If you want a quick estimate without considering exercise or the factors above, look here.

Even if you’re feeling a little less heaven-sent, this will give you guidance.  Moderation in all things, even perfection!

The perils of dynamic pricing

I’ve been doing a lot of running around lately, and I have a tendency when out and about to look around at the prices for the things we buy a lot.  Like food.  Although I can barely remember to pick up dog food before we run out, or to make my kid’s dental appointment, I have a decent memory for prices because I’m genetically engineered to avoid being ripped off.

Today I made my monthly (bi-monthly?) trip to Ralph’s (Kroger).  Let me first say that Ralph’s, you have a LOT of nerve saying you have low prices.  Most of the foods in the store were not just priced a little higher, but a LOT higher.  We’re talking a buck or more in some cases.

Of course, I’m not talking about the foods I was there to buy: Pad Thai noodles, sliced water chestnuts, and ginger (which, at the same price as Trader Joe’s, is refrigerated and of much higher quality/freshness).  In fairness, on my way out I spotted organic chard for the same price as at Whole Foods ($1.99 a bunch) and organic carrots for $.79 a pound and made off with both on impulse (whoo, I really like to live big, don’t I?).

Clearly Ralph’s does all right on some items (grapes, for example, were competitively priced on sale, as were apples), and makes up a lot of ground on others (you can get spanked buying detergent there, and the pasta was at least $.20 more per bag).  Beans in bulk at Whole Foods cost less per pound than conventionally grown dry beans at Ralph’s.  That’s how dynamic pricing works:  They grab you for the sale, and grab you somewhere down south for the rest.

I was particularly peeved by the price of Fage yogurt.

Mmmm. How much are you willing to pay to get your yogurt fix?

Like many of my students, I really like Fage, but probably unlike my students I know what Fage costs nearly everywhere a person can buy it.  Fage has really, really dynamic pricing (pricing that changes with inventory, season, or the whims of some evil genius).  Here is a cost breakdown of normally priced Fage in my ‘hood, per 5.3 oz container as of yesterday, 10/17/12:

  • Ralphs:             $1.69
  • Trader Joe’s:   $1.49
  • Target:              $1.42
  • Costco:              $1.09 – but you have to buy a box of 12 in flavors                  chosen for you

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Put your hands up, and step away from the chocolate…

In the house where I was raised, the pantry looked like the Pepperidge Farm aisle at Ralph’s (we were very popular when other kids visited). This scenario always leads to overeating. Always. When we get hungry, we prowl around the kitchen like a primal animals in search of something. We are visual and scan the vast prairie while licking our chops.

And if the vista includes Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, See’s Candy, a box of donuts and a row of Pepperidge Farm cookies, we’ll probably be ripping apart the package with our bare teeth in no time. Very respectable people such as myself could be found face down in a box of See’s (a cup of black tea spiked with soymilk providing the only interruption).

Not stocking these types of foods in the house encourages the hunting down of healthier foods, because when we are hungry, we tend to get lazy and not want to drive or walk very far in search of something when there’s perfectly good food right in front of us. Continue reading