Tag Archives: exercise

Keep Your Weight in Check During Holidays


It’s that time of year again. Frost is in the air, the football season is in full gear and thoughts of the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year are becoming more frequent.

Some years back, it was said that you can expect to gain 5 to 7 pounds during this time of the year.  Since we were expected to anyway, a lot of us figured ~ what the heck ~ gaining a little weight can always be turned into a New Year’s Resolution to lose it. This 5 – 10 pounds holiday binge-out projection was changed a few years ago; it was ‘trimmed’ down to an ‘average’  5 pounds weight gain BUT only for folks overweight to begin with.

So ~ here’s the new facts for Overweight & Obesity Statistical Fact Sheet;
Adults  ~ Among Americans age 20 and older, 154.7 million are overweight or obese (BMI of 25.0 kg/m2 and higher):  They include:  – 79.9 million men and 74.8 million women.

Of these, 78.4 million are obese (BMI of 30.0 – kg/m2 and higher): ~ 36.8 million men and  41.6 million women.   Is there a good chance anyone reading here is in those stats?

Despite what many people believe, the average adult gains only about  one (1) pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine. The news isn’t all good, however. Other studies have shown that people who are overweight to begin with gain as much as 5 pounds on average this time of year and, in either case, it’s tough to lose that holiday weight during the rest of the year.

The thing is that most people will not lose that one or two pounds and will keep it, especially if they are older (ie, anyone out of college).  And those one to two pounds a year may hang on for a lifetime. Many 40 year olds will tell you that they are 10 pounds heavier than they were in high school.  And they are the average weight people.

Bottom line: You may not be able to get into that little dress or those cool jeans on New Year’s Eve that you bought during the Thanksgiving sale. Along with weight gain, there is some bloat from all the extra salt on prepared foods and dining out. Even more importantly, with all the emphasis lately on diabetes and obesity, it is sensible to curtail the amount of food you chow down during this holiday season.

So is there anything we can do to avoid extra poundage that wants to make themselves at home on you for life?  Yes, there is.

  •  The first and most obvious to-do is exercise. If you are on a daily exercise program and are a good soldier, chances are you will keep up with your routine. If you are traveling or having a house full of company or eat out more than often, then you may not keep up with it as usual. It’s important to move around, especially with all those cookies and goodies around. Try to take a walk for at least 10 minutes in the morning and again in the evening. Walk briskly; pump your arms; it will help keep your metabolism revved up, to work on those extra calories. A 30-minute walk is even better. And stay hydrated – drink water to help clean out your system.
  • The second most obvious to-do is the fact that:  As long as you take in fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. You don’t have to eat from every dish on the table or at a party. It is difficult because you want to sample everything, especially home baked goods. Try to choose from protein dishes – chicken, meats, fish, beans. Fill your plate with veggies – go easy on the dip. Forego the bread and butter and pasta dishes. And potatoes. Go easy on the carbs. Try to graze with your first-made plate; wait 20 minutes for your brain to tell you how full your stomach is – and you may not need that second (or third) plate. And as much as we don’t want to think about it; yes, alcohol – wine, beer and mixed drinks do have calories in them. The more you drink, the more calories you’ll take in.
  •  Dessert can be deadly and you don’t need to ‘have a taste of everything’.  Someone (skinny, of course)  once told me that “you only need one bite of dessert….that bite tells you what it tastes like and every bite after that is going to taste the same.”   Pick something you like (chocolate pudding is my vote here – I make it at home with skim milk) and bring it along as my dessert contribution). I notice all the thin ones go for the pudding instead of the tiramisu.

When I tried a popular diet,  I was allotted 18 points ALL day. You can pick and choose what you eat and you CAN eat a satisfying, nutritious diet within those points. HOWEVER, one serving of tiramisu and one serving of fried calamari = 18 points – and would use up my all-day allotment of food!   I don’t eat tiramisu anymore but I love calamari – but like my skinny friend said — after eating a few, they’re all going to taste the same. Now I have a few and not a whole plate. Portion control is KEY.  Even some fruits, in excess, can be fattening.

Another changed rule for dieting:  they used to tell you to weigh yourself only once a week. Now they are saying that you should weigh every day and skinny down your diet if the scale is showing 1 or 2 pounds over your daily normal weight.

If you find that you overeat at one meal, neutralize your daily intake by cutting back at the other meals. A light breakfast of a poached egg on a light English muffin or a lunch of yogurt with fruit; or a cup of soup or a salad can help keep your calories in check. And it’s good to cut back and give your system a digestive rest rather than overloading it at each meal.  Use common sense.

If you indulge and enjoy more culinary delights than usual during the holiday season, don’t be too hard on yourself.  It is a time of joy, sharing and being with friends and family.  Remember that you can always ‘fix it’ in January and February;  if you watch out for the pitfalls above, you’ll have less weight to lose!

© Marie Coppola Revised November 2016

 

A Life-saving part-time job

Part-Time Position Open for Anyone Interested

  • Wanted:  Anyone who wants to increase their productivity.
  • Skills needed:  Discipline, dependability, and reliability.
  • Responsibilities:  Ability to work alone and produce lasting results.
  • Working hours:  30 minutes to one hour daily.
  • Dress Code:  Casual.        **Bonus:  Life-Saving

In these technological times, many workdays are spent sitting in front of a computer.   Whether you are an information system analyst  or work at home, many hours are spent sitting at your desk answering emails, creating spreadsheets, preparing PowerPoint presentations or attaching business documents in Microsoft Works or Word.  We even ‘do’ our social life online – shopping online,  on medias like Facebook to connect with old friends, reminisce and get reacquainted, make new ‘friends’, and post pictures of our mates and kids.   People complain that Facebook has taken over their lives but  considering how popular it is, it is a choice they choose.  And we all  sit and sit.

If, after hours of sitting in front of a computer screen, the worker may opt for relaxing after dinner to watch TV or spend more time sitting  catch up on personal emails or other PC-related video games.   These folks lives are called ‘sedentary lifestyles’.

Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to denote a type of lifestyle with a lack of physical exercise.  We have morphed into a society that spends many hours sitting down.   Being sedentary makes you more susceptible to diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other health conditions.   Surprisingly, it also makes you tired, sluggish, and mentally inactive.   You need to move around, get your circulation going and rev up your metabolism.

How much time do you spend living your life sitting down ?

Do you exercise regularly?   The part-time job listed above is a mandatory part-time position for all of us who spend a large part of the day  sitting down & working at a desk or on a computer.   The part-time job is important to be performed the same as you perform your full-time one.   You must report to it every day and mentally hit the time clock reporting in and out.  No personal days or sick time.

It is habit forming and more effective if you ‘report’ to your secondary ‘job’ the same time everyday.   If you work at home, tell friends and family that you took on a part-time job every day from 11:00 pm to noon or whenever is convenient to ‘do the job’.   It may be that there is an exercise program on TV that you can work out with; if not, put on your sneakers and go for a walk or dance to your favorite music.

During the day, it’s important to get up from your chair, stretch and walk around for a few minutes – even if it is to get a glass of water.   Don’t leave water by your desk; get up and get a drink.   Exercise your eyes by rolling them from side to side and look out the window at a distance since you have been working close up and in a glare.  You’ll feel better and can continue to work in a few minutes.

You can still have your part-time job at the office – it may have to be on your lunch hour, but it will be more beneficial to you than if you go to the lunch room and just sit again.   If your company has walking trails or an exercise room, discover them on your designated half-hour.  If not, use  your time to walk the halls and if there are stairs, use them.  Don’t stop and talk and chat — look like you are busy and going somewhere in a hurry.  You are.  You are in a hurry to improve your health.   Afterwards, you can always have a yogurt or power bar.

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Forget the cup of coffee or candy bar to keep you going.   After the initial ‘high’, you get the physical and mental let-down and feel even sleepier.    Get up and shake your booty.

Marie Coppola  July 2015

Richard and Me

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You  by Fran Signorino

The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again.  ~  Erma Bombeck

When I tell people that I’ve been “doing Richard” for more than 10 years, they look at me funny. My affair with Richard started the way many relationships begin — I was troubled and depressed. My parents had passed away within six months of each other. After that most stressful time, my blood pressure rose from normal to high. My doctor, believing that the condition was temporary, did not feel that I was a candidate for medication. He suggested instead that I exercise — preferably an aerobic exercise — of the low impact variety.

At that time, the last thing I felt like doing was jumping around. But because I am a lover of dance, I purchased a “swing along” with Richard Simmons tape and so began my daily encounters with him.

Richard’s screaming and carrying-on irritated me somewhat on bad days, but his movements and “c’mon, get up — you can do it — I know you can” soon had me infatuated. Hey, you can’t have everything in a relationship. On the plus side, I didn’t have to travel back and forth to a gym; I didn’t have to force myself to get up early to walk. I could meet him on both our terms. And in my own home. I quickly learned his routines as if I were appearing in a Broadway show. He was a steady and driving teacher.

I even got a perm during this period to save me time not fussing with my hair. Alas, it came out a little too curly, and lo and behold, now we looked alike. I had Richard Simmons’ hair. Not by choice, but there he was looking back at me in the mirror.

The exercise outfits I bought brought me closer to his “look.” My kids started calling me “Richard.”

Within a month, my blood pressure stabilized, although my life did not. My daily workout with Richard helped me vent the stresses piling up each day. It was during one of these “workout” hours, intense on my part, that someone called me on the phone. I answered it, breathing heavily. “I can’t talk now, I’m doing Richard.”

“Scandalous,” the caller replied.

Whenever I answered the phone totally out of breath, my callers would say, “I’ll call you back — you’re doing Richard.” My son gave me a new workout tape for my birthday. He said, “New positions for you and Richard.”

So now Richard and I could move while Sweatin’ to the Oldies, and Dance Your Pants Off! while we were Groovin’ in the House.  And we got down with Tonin’ Downtown.  Richard and I went on company trips and vacations together.  I brought Richard to the shore.  He always wore the same clothes.  We still had matching hairdos.  Richard and I have been together longer than some of my past relationships.

I anticipate his every move and we mutually experience heavy breathing and sweating.  This also beats some of my former relationships. Yes, I admit after all these years, I still “do Richard” and I’m now a grandmother.  He’s always there for me, he’s always in a great mood, he always smiles and boy can he make the moves.

And judging from the assortment of tapes in the stores, it’s been as good for him as it’s been for me.

© Marie Coppola May 28, 2012