Monday, August 17, 2009

Natural Abstinence: How to Avoid Weekend Food Indulgences

Food: One of life’s necessities and usually a hot topic of conversation. Whether it is the latest hot chef, food trend, cookbook, or diet craze, food crops up in conversations, news, blogs, and in our everyday lives. The topics of eating disorders, dieting, and health eating have been widely reported on HealthNews, including the obesity epidemic that has hit our nation. Common sense dictates eating a variety of foods, several times a day, without overindulging. However, that is easier said than done.

Forgetting meals, constant snacking, and all-you-can-eat buffets can be the thorns in our side. And weekends can be especially bad; at home with unlimited access to the refrigerator and pantry can lead to unhealthy temptations. Late nights, sleeping in, forgoing exercise, and eating without limits can all pack on the pounds and leave you feeling sluggish and reversing the effects of the good choices you have made during the week.

It’s important to avoid the overindulgence you may encounter during your two days of rest and relaxation. To avoid packing on the pounds during the down time on “S” days (Saturday and Sunday), here are a few tips adapted from fitness expert Joanna Hall’s latest book, The Weight Loss Bible:

Exercise Before & After: Keep your heart rate going and make sure to workout—even if it’s a quick walk around the neighborhood or a few laps in the pool—before and after a day you know you will be making less than great food choices, for example a summer barbeque chock full of meats and sweets.

Stay Hydrated: Continue to drink water, even if you are drinking other beverages throughout the day. The more hydrated you are, the less hungry you will feel and your body will thank you; especially if you are partaking in poolside margaritas, late-night pints, or tropical vacation piña coladas.

Cut Calories During the Week: Hall says that if you cut 300 calories (usually a small snack like a mini potato chip bag or granola bar) out of your daily intake before and after you know you will be eating more, it will curb any guilt you may feel and help stave off too many unnecessary calories.

Pile on the Veggies: Since studies show that eating vegetables with high water content (think carrots, celery, onions, etc.) make you full faster and have more energy, it may be easier to hold off temptation because your brain isn’t signaling hunger. Eating something substantial before a big night out, like vegetable soup, can leave you satisfied longer and keep off any unwanted bulge.

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