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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

BLOG POST: EATING ON VACATION


Spending time with family and friends, relaxing, having some fun, and for many ... indulging.  Yup, it's that time of year when hopefully you get to take a vacation.  Maybe this year you should consider not taking a vacation from your healthy habits.  You don't need to deprive yourself, but if historically you overindulge in decadent foods on vacation, this year consider doing things a different way.
When presented with a food choice, you may find yourself saying (as many of us do), "Whatever, I'm on vacation."
This is not a good reason to eat something. 

Good reasons to eat something:
  • You are hungry 
  • It is not available very often and you really enjoy it
  • You have decided (before choosing to eat it) that it is worth eating (worth the calories and their affect on your body weight)
  • It is healthy for you and you are hungry
  • It is something you have never tried before (but don't finish it if it's not as delicious as you imagined)
Not-so-good reasons to eat something:
  • You are on vacation
  • You are not hungry, but it's there
  • You are overtired
  • You are emotional and need comfort, reward, entertainment, etc.
  • You feel like you should because someone made it for you
  • Everyone else is doing it
If you are trying to lose weight, take a vacation on vacation.  Decide not to try to lose weight while on your trip, just try to maintain your body weight while you are gone.  If you are trying to maintain your figure and just don't want to gain weight on your trip, accept that if you are eating differently and in a different routine, your weight may go up, but if you make smart choices it will go right back down (usually within a week or sooner) once you get home and back into your usual routine.

Ten tips for maintaining your weight on vacation:
  • DON'T LET YOURSELF GET TOO HUNGRY - It will make it easier to make poor choices and once you do eat, you will likely eat too fast and too much.  So ...
  • KEEP SNACKS WITH YOU - single servings of almonds, a yogurt, a protein bar, a cheese stick, fruit (preferably something that is high is protein and/or fiber and well-balanced to keep you full longer)
  • CHEW WELL AND EAT SLOWLY - this practice often results in people eating less
  • STAY ACTIVE - if you exercise regularly, keep it up!  Try to workout at least every other day on vacation.  You know you'll feel better if you do!
  • THINK AHEAD - before making a food choice, ask yourself, "Is this really worth the calories?"  "How will I feel after I eat this?"  Also, be mindful of when you may eat next to help determine portion size.
  • DON'T LOSE FOCUS AT THE END - Many of my clients report that they do well for most of their trip and then let themselves go at the end.  Perhaps it's like a reward to them.  However, they all say that they regret doing it, so it really wasn't a reward.
  • STAY HYDRATED - drink plenty of water and alternative a glass of water for every alcoholic drink if you drink it. 
  • CHOOSE LOWER-CALORIE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - If you drink, opt for light beer, wine spritzers, or mixed drinks made with calorie-free mixers.
  • LIMIT SUGAR - Try not to indulge in too many sweets, it will just make you crave more.
  • BE PROUD - Remember that if you indulge less than the people you are with, you are not depriving yourself, you are empowering yourself to make the choices that you truly want to make.
When you get home, get right back into your eating and exercise routine and if you weigh yourself, don't weigh in for a week.

Monday, January 2, 2012

BLOG POST: When to eat around your workouts

Perhaps you have made a New Year's Resolution to begin exercising or start working out more. Maybe you've just always wondered, "when is the best time to eat? Should I eat before I work out? Should I eat after? Both?"

Well, it depends!
The three main variables are:
  • Your comfort level
  • Your exercise goals, and
  • The timing of your work out
When you eat, more blood moves to your digestion system to help absorb and process your meal. Some people experience cramping, nausea, and/or discomfort if they eat before they exercise. If this is you, it is likely best to work out in the morning BEFORE eating. Let your body focus on your heart, lungs, and muscles while you are active. If you feel more comfortable and better fueled for your workout if you eat before, go for it.

If you are exercising to try to lose weight, the timing of your meals doesn't really matter. Do what feels best so that you have strength for your workout and feel comfortable doing it. If you are trying to gain weight/gain muscle, you should try to eat right after you workout. Immediately after is best. The sooner you eat after a workout, the more glycogen you store. By maximizing the amount of glycogen you have stored in your muscles, you increase your endurance for your next workout. Same rule applies if you are an athlete. Eat asap after practice or a game. Keep bars or dried fruit and nuts with you if you can't get to a kitchen right away.

Monday, March 28, 2011

BLOG POST: 3-Day weight loss jump start

They are coming. The first warm days of the year. When it's time to get out your tee shirts, tank tops, shorts, and of course, swim suits. Many Americans (particularly in New England), put on weight in the winter because we tend to be less active and cook (therefore eat) richer foods. If you have been thinking about summer lately and how you really want to trim down, what are you waiting for?

I find that many of my patients know that they want to lose weight and think about it quite often, yet they can't seem to give up their sweets, or get into an exercise routine. Long days at work can be draining and may make it seem impossible to find the motivation to get to the gym. High-calorie comfort foods can seem like the perfect reward for a hard day, but SNAP OUT OF IT! What's really more important to you? Lying on the couch, watching TV, and eating junk food, or getting into a healthy routine and losing weight? If you have ever lost weight in the past, you know that once you get into the swing of things, it gets easier and you FEEL BETTER. So stop the cycle and just get back on track ...

DISCLAIMER

Before making changes to your diet please contact your physician. Pioneer Valley Nutrition and/or Polly Normand, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE are not responsible for changes you make to your diet unless you are an active patient of ours. Call 413-584-2200 to set up an appointment.