Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions Revealed!

It's that time of year. Endless ads for diet plans, gym memberships, and sales on exercise equipment. Most people have at least one if not more, New Year's resolutions related to weight loss or health improvement, but how many of us actually maintain those resolutions beyond one to two weeks? The honest truth is not many. The problem is we have big expectations and big goals - which is great, but not necessarily realistic. When we slip up a bit, we get discouraged, and give up on these resolutions.

The key is to make small, achievable, realistic resolutions. For example, instead of a resolution such as "I plan to exercise daily" or "I want to lose ## weight this year", make resolutions such as these:

*In 2011, I plan to exercise at least 3 times a week.
--Three times a week is reasonable, however if more EVEN BETTER!

*In 2011, I plan to bring my lunch to work at least 3 times a week.
--Three times a week is reasonable, however if more EVEN BETTER!

No need to go cold turkey. Start with small steps to reduce the unhealthy behaviors. You are more likely to keep to the switch!

*In 2011, I plan to limit my take-out consumption to once/week (or less).

*In 2011, I plan to skip the bread basket and the appetizer when I go out to dinner with friends.

*In 2011, I plan to split an entree with a friend when going out to eat with a group of friends.

Resolutions should have a positive spin... don't just eliminate something, have something healthy to substitute in! See these examples:

*In 2011, I plan to substitute soda from my diet with seltzer with a splash of juice.

*In 2011, I plan to use skim milk in my coffee instead of half & half.

*In 2011, I plan to switch from regular soda to diet soda.

*In 2011, I plan to switch from drinking fruit juice to eating a piece of fruit.

Other resolutions to think about:

*In 2011, I plan to eat slower and savor every bite during each meal.

*In 2011, I plan to take 30 seconds before I eat something I know is not healthy to if I really want it.

*In 2011, I plan to be more aware of my portion sizes. Don't be afraid to cut it in half and save it for later!

Celebrate all successes - no matter how small. You'll be more likely to keep your resolutions and no need to wait until January 1st to make a healthy change!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Question of the week: New Year's Eve

The following question was submitted by a reader, "I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and my wife has pre-diabetes. New Year's Eve we always have a large celebration with cocktails and lots of food. We are growing weary of the party this year given my new diagnosis. Any tips on how we can still enjoy the party?"

It is still possible to enjoy New Year's Eve and any other party that may come your way despite your recent diagnosis. The key is to focus on socializing and moderation.

*Alcohol: If you choose to partake in alcoholic beverages during the party, the equivalent of one drink for women or two for men is the definition of moderation. Keep in mind that alcohol generally reduces your blood sugar levels and can lead to hypoglycemia. If you do have a drink, do so with a meal as the food will help delay the absorption of the alcohol.

*Beverages: If possible, stick with sparkling water with either a lemon, lime, or orange slice for flavor. Save your calories for your meal.

*Small salad plates help you to keep your portion sizes in check.

*Socialize away from the table - You'll be more apt to snack and nibble...... And dancing burns calories!

*Have a healthy snack before the party - Going to a party ravenous can cause you to binge on unhealthy appetizers and treats.

*Bring your own healthy dish: Pick out a healthy and tasty recipe and bring it to the party.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Question of the week: Help with holiday sweets!

The following question was submitted by one of my readers, "I have diabetes and this time of year is the toughest for me. It seems holiday treats/sweets are everywhere tempting me! Is it ok to indulge a little? If not, how can I build up enough will power to avoid holiday sweets? "

The holiday season is difficult for everyone when it comes to avoiding holiday indulgences. Controlling even the slightest instance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your consumption. While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can.

1. Make a mental note of tempting places and try to control them.
*Do you keep candy or cookies at your desk or workspace?
*Do you frequent the dining room table or pantry where you store all your holiday goodies?
Try making a pact with co-workers that goodies will be kept only in the break room, not at the front desk or in various offices. Mentally plan ahead how you will avoid tempting situations.

2. Limit to one-a-day
*Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season. Remember that you may have to compensate for it sometime during the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising. If you aren’t confronted with "holiday" foods that day, just skip your one-a-day – but don’t compensate and double-up on your serving the following day.

3. Never go to a party hungry

*Before you go to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of your favorite fruit, fat-free yogurt, or a low-fat, whole grain (no sugar added) granola bar. When you arrive at the party, you won’t be craving hors d’oeuvres and dip!

4. If you’re going to a potluck dinner bring a healthy dish to share such as a salad, veggie or fruit tray, or a low-fat/low-calorie dessert. This way you know you will at least one healthy choice on the buffet!

5. Use a small salad sized plate - you'll be less inclined to pile the food on it.

6. Skip the caloric beverage -- save your calories for dinner. Water with lemon or lime, diet soda, coffee, tea, or unsweetened iced tea are good choices.

7. Don't socialize near the food - you'll be more likely to snack. Take your plate and move to an area where there are no chips, dip, or other types of appetizers sitting around out of arms reach.

8. Don't be shy about saying "no thank you". Just because it is served to you, doesn't

7. Say No Politely

Many times you feel forced to eat foods because people keep putting it in front of you. Sometimes you feel that you will insult the host if you say no. Learn to say no politely, such as "No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious", or "I couldn’t eat another bite. Everything tasted wonderful". You’ll find saying no isn’t so hard to do after all.

8. Focus on socializing

Don’t stand around the food table when you are at a party – focus your energies on making conversation with others instead of focusing on foods. Conversation is calorie-free. Take a walk around the block with a friend between courses or after dinner (weather-permitting).