Tag Archives: weight management

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!

Small change #8: Eat a little breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast.

I hate eating breakfast.  I have a 0% fat greek yogurt (high in protein low in sugar)  just about every day with a nice cup of tea.  It makes me human.  I highly recommend it.

200 calories will do ya, with another 150 or so at 10 am so your blood sugar doesn’t fall through the floor waiting on lunch.  And obviously more if you’re not a short little middle aged woman such as myself!

Breakfast meeting?  Egg white omelette, a bready item that is NOT a muffin, or half a muffin if it cannot be helped (and sometimes, let’s face it, it cannot be helped!), and fruit, though it always pains me just a little when I order not to say Potatoes!  When possible, I poach a couple of breakfast potatoes off someone else’s plate (um, don’t do this at a meeting — but with the spouse, it’s on!).  Keep it light.  I don’t recommend a Grand Slam or anything that slams in the morning, particularly if you are already worried about over doing it.

In a couple of hours, there must be a snack!  See below for some good options: 25_Healthy_Snacks_Kids_2012_Tearpad

Small change #7: Pack a meal or snack — or both, then achieve balance

Of course you’re busy, I know that.  Do this at night: Pack like your very best self.  You know, what you would pack a kid you wanted to keep healthy.  A sandwich and fruit and a few chips (a few chips means what the recommended serving says).  A salad with beans or a little chicken or something over the top, with carrot and cucumber and a little — 1 Tbsp — container of REAL dressing (not the fat free crap).

Snacks: Carrots with a bit of hummus, or even pretzels with a bit of hummus. A small handful of peanuts and raisins.  A small bag of chips.  And apple or banana.  Or a few.  Don’t be afraid to pack a lot of fruits and vegetables — that’s not what’s bringing this country down, you know?  A little dried fruit sometimes helps a sweet tooth.  A lot will give you diarrhea and well, a lot of gas, so be careful out there.

Do as little or as much of the above as you can.  If you only have time to lay out a little trail mix in a bag and grab that, it’s fine.  But if you can grab a few Cuties (little oranges or clementines or whatever those amazing little things are) or something that will quench your hunger, that will go a long way later when  want something to eat while you’re in front of the computer.  You won’t think it will work, but when you’re hungry you’ll eat it anyway and then be surprised when it does work.

If you need something to eat while you’re busy, make it fruit or a vegetable with a little protein (a cube of cheese — not a BLOCK of cheese, but one the size of a couple of dice), or a few nuts (5 almonds, for example), which will keep you from gnawing your hand off or raiding the doughnut box before lunch.

Make sure lunch, if you pack it, is satisfying.  it’s better to have a little of something you love than a lot of something you don’t.  One slice of that leftover pizza with a bit of salad if you can’t take the idea of just salad for lunch for example.  Or bring a little salad, eat it FIRST, then go get the kid’s size burger from fast food if that’s what you live for (skip the fries, or get a size smaller than what you normally buy.  You usually get small?  Share or throw half away.  Or ignore me and just bring the salad!).  You see?

If you work a little bit of fruit and perhaps a vegetable in there, you will eat less of the stuff you love and still get to have it — just not all at once.  The best way to do that is to pack something and be ready so you don’t raid vending machines or head for sugary drinks at the coffee place nearby.

If you like all of that, pace yourself.  Pack a lunch and allow yourself the sugary drink once a week, the vending machine once a week, and the burger once a week.  Just not all at once.  It will feel painless but it makes a LARGE difference over time.

Small change #6 – learn how to read a food label

Sure you look at these once in a while, but do you understand what you’re looking for?

Take a minute and have a look at this, from the FDA, which is a launch page.  Here is the actual food label guide.

For every 4 g of “sugars” there is the equivalent of 1 tsp of sugar in the product.  If the product contains fruit or dried fruit, some of this total will come from the fruit, but if there is not fruit, it’s likely just from added sugar.

The DV — the % on the label, does NOT tell you the percentage of fat, sodium, etc. in the product.  It tells the percentage of fat it contributes to the overall diet of a person eating 2,000 calories.  I know.  So just learn the 5 and 20 rule: If the % is 5 or less, it’s low in the nutrient — this can be good if it’s fat or sodium or cholesterol — and if it’s over 20% it’s an excellent source.  Most canned soups come in at about 18% DV for sodium — a bit high, right?  The 5/20 rule will help you decide quickly what’s up.

Look at the ingredients.  They are sorted by weight.  If sugar or fat are at the top, don’t eat too much of this product.

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