Holiday binge or holiday bust; maybe right out of your pants

cakes  Lets face it.  We all will probably do a little imbibing and indulging.  After all, tis the season.  Before you step right up to the buffet, or step out for New Year’s Eve, take a look.

Even if the idea of running makes you run the other way, this article from Runner’s World offers some decent advice.
Considering many will gain between 2-5lbs, if not more, between Turkey Day and the Day of the Drink, any attempt to curtail your intake is worthwhile.
EXTRA EXTRA
For me, extra food and or alcohol means extra work.  If you’ve been working diligently to take off the pounds, I’m sure the idea of packing a few back on is disheartening.  I believe hard work should be rewarded; just not with extra calories.  If you keep in mind your taste buds need not be the recipient of said reward, that’s a major step.  All too often, a few less pounds showing up on the scale one day, leads to overloading your plate the next.
If you do find the scale has become stuck on North, take heart.  Consider intermittent workouts during the day.  These need total no more than 10-15 minutes.  The trick here is to make sure you give it your all.  Even if you have completed your normal routine in the morning, nothing revs up the metabolism like a quick kick in the pants.  It might save you from busting out of yours.
Intermittent fasting is also helpful.  I realize this is not for everyone; especially those taking medications dependant upon food.  However if this does not apply, intermittent fasting coupled with sporadic workouts is quite useful.  You might even find your scale is now heading due south.
What keeps you on track during the season of indulgence?  Have a strategy you’d like to share?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Staying fit in….Vegas baby

bicycle man  Would like to introduce something new to my blog.  From time to time, I will be hosting guest posts.  My hope is that those near or in major cities, or rural ones for that matter, will introduce my audience to their venue.  Perhaps they will share a shady path ideal for rugged runs near the Blue Ridge mountains.  Or delve into the desert–for a scenic bike tour.  If you live in or will be visiting Vegas, check out the picturesque description from my first guest blogger, Bridget.

Keeping an Active and Healthy Lifestyle in Las Vegas

I used to get most of my exercise at the gym, and I spent a lot of time there almost every evening. It is not that I was thrilled with being trapped in a room with a bunch of sweaty people. I just figured that it was the safest way and most convenient way to get the regular exercise I craved. I love fitness and indoor-workouts just seemed the best for me. However, once I moved to Las Vegas I quickly learned that my workout preference was probably dependent on the city I was from. You might think that moving to a place like Las Vegas would drive me to seek out another gym as an exercise venue or even abandon my workout schedule entirely. Odd as it may initially seem, this is not true at all. Here is how I went from being skeptical about fitness in Las Vegas to being awed by the opportunities.

When I first arrived in Sin City, I was pretty concerned about being stuck in a gym all the time and not finding any good outdoor exercise opportunities. Walking the strip just does not count. To my relief and delight, I found a huge amount of settings around Las Vegas where I could get a good workout out in the open air.

First of all, the Mojave is stunningly gorgeous and Las Vegas happens to be right in the middle of it. Instead of being a barren wasteland, it is full of miles of beautiful bike trails, thanks to developers. To stay safe, I use this resource to find the best and safest bike trails. The Mojave Desert is not a place to take chances. Use the resource to keep you from getting lost!

You might be surprised to learn that the League of American Bicyclists recently named Las Vegas one of America’s Cycle-Friendly Cities! That is awesome news to all outdoor enthusiasts. Having been here a while now, however, it does not surprise me. The city recently allocated a huge sum of money towards making the downtown area more bike-friendly by installing lockers and bike racks and adding 390 miles of lanes designated for bicycles. How cool is that?

If you are headed here for a vacation or to check out the housing market for yourself, you can also stay on your fitness schedule by choosing fitness friendly activities and accommodations. That website lets you customize your hotel and activity search based on a checklist of your personal preferences. I traveled here several times before relocating on a more permanent basis and I discovered many hotels that had great gyms on site or could, at the least, provide information about nearby outdoor fitness opportunities.

In addition, if you come here you will see more and more juice bars and restaurants catering to the health-conscious crowd. Some of these are even opening close to the strip! If you are still skeptical, I invite you to come to this awesome city to see it for yourself!

Thanks Bridget!

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Want to be a guest blogger?  Share fitness tips, or off beaten paths with others visiting your city?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Working out isn’t working….the lowdown on lowfat

3 piece cakes Overindulgence–I mean the holidays, are upon us.  If you are contemplating your New Year’s resolution, why not start now? If like previous years it includes weight loss, now is perfect time to start.

While this early jumpstart borders on obscene to many, let me explain.  What I’m discussing here has more to do with what is deemed low-fat, and the subsequent choices you make because of this label.  So I’m not asking you to skip the sweet potato pie, homemade fudge, or any of the countless treats associated with this time of year–just yet.  What I am suggesting is if your favorite goodie is being hailed as low-fat, see if it measures up.

WHAT’S IN A NAME

Low fat is a term that can be quite misleading.  Oftentimes, it leads us to believe we can double up on something, because it’s low-fat.  That’s not really the manufacturers’ fault.  It’s what in our head–the idea that is planted is what gets us into trouble.  Well nothing uproots the subjective, like the objective.  So here it is.

COUNT IT OUT

Before we make our fat-free discovery, let’s look at what protein, carbs, as well as fat equals.  This is a calculation I learned from an ACSM seminar for personal trainers.

Carbohydrates and proteins contain the same number of kilocalories.  That number is 4.  Fat equals 9.  So to recap, you might want to remember:

Fats=9 kcal/gram

Carbs=4 kcal/gram

Protein=4 kcal/gram

Let’s suppose you want to buy low-fat RED VELVET ice cream.

According to the label, it contains 5 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 12 grams of fat.  Caloric content per serving is 140 calories/half cup.

By percentage, this is how our ice cream breaks down.

Protein:  5 x 4kcal (protein)=20 calories   20 divided by 140=0.143 or 14%

Carbs:    6 x 4kcal(carbohydrate)=24 calories   24 divided by 140=0.171 or 17%

Fat:        12 x 9kcal(fats) =108 calories   108 divided by 140=0.771 or 77%

If our calculations are correct, our ice cream is almost 80% fat.  Is this still the choice you would make, if you truly want low-fat?

AIN’T NOTHING LIKE THE REAL THING

By now, most of us realize labels touting “low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free,” doesn’t mean “calorie free.”  Artificial sweeteners have been linked to actually making our bodies crave real sugar.  Gluten free foods often substitute fats and sugar to give the food texture and taste, to replace gluten.  Naturally, if you are gluten sensitive or require gluten-free foods, that’s another story.  Low fat?  Well…

If you are going to indulge over the holidays, and let’s face it, few don’t–keep it real.  Better to eat a little less, exercise a little more, and consider an intermittent fast, if you are able.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

There’s an app for that….

tummy of love   Need to count your steps during the day?  There’s an app for that.  Counting calories?  There’s one for that.  Want to run a 5 or 10k?  One for that too.  You get the idea.  Apps–where would we be without them?

While I agree apps make life convenient, they don’t tell us the whole story.  No, to get that, we have to invest a little more time than pressing a button.  I know, that sounds terribly archaic.  Yet believe it or not, there’s something to be said for putting forth a little more effort than required for a download.  Let me explain.

WANT IT? WRITE IT

There’s something to be said for writing down what you want.  Not sure why it works, but more often than not, it does.  Recently, a “wish list surfaced of what my next job would encompass.  With the exception of 2 items, my last job entailed exactly what I’d written.

I’m sure you’re familiar with food diaries.  Yes, you can easily track and input your intake with an app.  Does that app however, do your grocery shopping for you?  Of course not.  This you must do for yourself; or have someone do it for you.   You see, there’s more to battling the bulge than punching up a key.  It requires something called due diligence.  If you are doing the shopping, you now have to think about what you’re buying; becoming physically and mentally engaged.  You may even have to make a second stop, to get what you want. That’s due diligence.

Back to food diaries.  Most of us think about writing what we’ve eaten, after we’ve eaten it.  However, if you write down what you’re planning to eat, before you eat it, now you’ve something to work with.  This simple step may save you more than a few hundred calories; it can save you grief, frustration with your weight, time, AND money.  Much more so, than inputting it into food diary app.  Both hold you accountable; true enough.  However writing it for most implies more accountability.  Why?  Who knows.   But there is something manually articulate about writing vs. typing in data.  Perhaps it just goes with the effort, and the ink.

LET’S TRY THAT ON FOR SIZE

You’ve been holding on to those ultra skinny designer jeans.  You know the ones; that pair that has seen two or three fashion trends come and go.  You’ve decided today is the day.  Time to try them on.   You’re semi-confident–you noticed your clothes are fitting a little looser, and perhaps you’ve had to downsize on a few items.  Now the moment of truth.  You slide on one leg, then the other.  You wiggle them up and over your hips.  First hurdle down.   Now for the second; time to go for the button, then the zip.  Button closed, with maximal exertion.  Zipper? No way.  Exhausted, you take a seat.  As you do, the button which took you 30 seconds to close, pops off in less than two.  Sound somewhat familiar?

So where’s the app for that?

Yes, apps make our lives easier.  That’s their purpose.  But there are some things you must feel, maneuver, get in and get your hands dirty.  Or as in our last scenario, get in, but not all the way.  No app can take the place of that.

The next time you’re confronted with the all too familiar phrase, “there’s got to be an app for that,” take a moment.  Take two.  Perhaps you’ll even respond “I’m sure there is.  But I think I’ll take a pass.”

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com