Trick or treat? Where is it written this is a binary choice? Why can’t our tricks help manifest our treats? As we approach Halloween, the following hacks, or should I say tricks, are offered to help you navigate the scariest time of year. Oh, this is a scary time, not because of things that go bump in the night. But rather it’s the start of the pre-holiday eating frenzy that causes your weight to bump up on the scale. The following benefits, or should I say treats, will help you to stay healthy and fit this fall.
Trick: Eat Breakfast Every Day
Treat: Having adequate calories at breakfast will increase your morning energy level and decrease your need to have a massive lunch or a calorie-laden snack beforehand. A joint survey by The American Association of Working People and The Institute for Health and Productivity Management indicated 32 percent of American workers did not eat breakfast or lunch most days. Eighty-nine percent of them snack, with over 50 percent snacking primarily on chips, candy, cookies, or donuts. A nutritious breakfast is worth getting up early for. It is a proven way to maintain a healthy weight and keep your energy level up all morning.
Forget eating eye of newt and toe of frog. A breakfast including a combination of proteins for long-term satiety, complex carbs for short and intermediate energy availability and healthy fats for slowing nutrient absorption would be an ideal witch’s brew to start your day.
Trick: Do Strength Training Twice a Week
Treat: Exercising with weights increases strength and muscle tone. What’s more, muscles burn between thirty and fifty calories per pound per day, even when you are not exercising…even when you are sleeping! This boost to your metabolic rate partially offsets the effects aging has on your body. Lifting weights increases your energy level, attenuates osteoporosis, reduces stress, and helps improve balance. A strong back and solid core also helps to improve posture.
Concentrating on the large muscle groups of the core and legs will provide a time efficient workout. Focusing on the go muscles rather than the show muscles is a sure-fire way to avoid “…pondering weak and weary if you ever come upon a midnight dreary.”
Trick: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Treat: Numerous studies have shown eating a combined minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables each day reduces the risk of cancer as well as other diseases. By consuming these low-calorie, high fiber foods, you will be less likely to eat high-fat, calorie dense foods. This will help you maintain a normal body weight as you age.
One sure-fire way to fit this many servings into your meal planning every day is to increase the serving size of each portion by 50 percent. At breakfast, replace a four-ounce serving of fruit salad with six. At lunch, add four ounces more veggies to your salad. At dinner, replace a four-ounce serving of carrots, with six ounces. Your Mummy would approve of this easy way to improve your diet.
Trick: Drink More Water
Treat: Drinking about eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day will supply your body with its most important nutrient. Just as running your car with a quart less oil will impair its performance and possibly damage the engine, living in a body a quart down on water may have deleterious effects.
Adequate hydration maintains mental acuity, sustains energy levels and helps the digestion process by transporting nutrients and removing waste by-products. To get your fill, you can include milk, soup, seltzer, juices, coffee and tea. No, Dracula, drinking blood doesn’t count.
Trick: Do cardiovascular exercise on most days
Treat: A twenty-five minute walk, done six days per week, will induce a weight loss of about a pound per month for the average person. In addition to preventing creeping weight gain, cardio has been proven effective at reducing cholesterol, decreasing blood pressure, elevating positive brain hormones and reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
A no-pain way to fit in your 150 minutes of cardio each week, which is the Surgeon General’s recommended minimum amount, is to break up the bouts during the day. For example, doing 15 minutes in the morning before you start your day, then 15 minutes after work will yield nearly 30 minutes of cardiovascular training benefits. If you stick to this plan, your Tell-Tale Heart will thank you.
Undertake these tricks now
If it’s health you’re striving for.
Otherwise, on New Year’s Day
You’ll be quoting the Raven, “Nevermore.”
These are some of my strategies…what do you do? Please let me know what’s in your bag of tricks to fend off the ghosts, goblins and ghouls of ill health.