Halloween parties, potlucks, and trick-or-treating can break even the most disciplined of dieters. Here are my top 10 tips to survive this annual sugar fest that I shared with KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez.
The Top 10 Tricks
1. Buy trick-or-treat candy you don’t like. Buy a candy that won’t tempt you.
2. Buy candy the DAY OF Halloween. There will ALWAYS be candy left in the stores — unless of course, you’ll looking for your favorite candy! You may also save some money (thanks to clearance sales) as well as save on calories.
3. Eat dark chocolate — 85% or more of cacao.
Milk chocolate contains more added sugar and fat. Due to their antioxidant content, deep dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly 40 percent, and reduce the risk of dementia.
Per a 2004 study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, dark chocolate improved blood flow in arteries.
Eat in moderation as it still packs plenty of calories. Limit to 1/2 to 1 ounce.
Note: White chocolate is highly processed which means it’s lost most or all of its antioxidants.
4. Keep the wrappers. Keep evidence of what you eat in front of you. It’s easy to forget how many times you’ve dipped into the candy bowl.
Two studies showed that people tend to rely on visual cues, such as the number of chicken bones on their plates, to decide whether they’re full or still hungry.
5. Avoid the candy dish. The candy dish encourages eating mindlessly — i.e., “grab-and-go syndrome”.
Scientists believe you make hundreds of unconscious food decisions daily, but seeing food pushes you to consciously decide whether to eat it. Seeing it more often increases the likelihood you’ll choose to eat the food.
A handful (1.5 oz; about 1/4 cup or 1 shot glass) of M & M’s can pack on 210 calories. To burn off just one handful, the average size person would need to do 1,400 jumping jacks which would take about 24 minutes (1 jumping jack per second)!
Occupational and recreational habits have led to real pains in the neck. Tension and poor posture rank high as the most common pain generators. KRON 4 Morning News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, helps me demonstrate the effects of poor posture and how to fight the aching forces of gravity.
Forward Head Posture (FHP)
One of the most common postural problems is forward head posture — for both young and old. Forward head posture is also known as:
Text neck, computer/notebook neck
Book or reader’s neck
Your head should sit directly on your neck and shoulders. Think of a golf ball on a tee. But the head is more like a bowling ball (weighing about 10 to 11 lbs) than a golf ball. Your neck and shoulders have to carry the burden of this “bowling ball” all day. Supporting and moving the human head is a challenging and tiring task.
Carrying your head is an isometric contraction — you’re actually “strength training”. An isometric exercise is a static hold where the joint angle and muscle length does not change during the muscle contraction.
Correct posture: Your ears line up over your shoulder blades.
Incorrect posture: Along with forward head posture, your shoulders also “round” and roll forward.
Causes of Forward Head Posture
Repetitive use of computers, TV, video games, trauma, and even backpacks/laptop bags have forced the body forward. Also, general muscle weakness from illness or aging can cause FHP — that is, you’re too weak to hold your own head up anymore.
You know you need to work out, but wonder how hard you need to exercise and how you can tell if you’re actually becoming more fit. The key is in understanding your different heart rates and what those numbers actually mean.
1. Heart Rate is the average number of times your heart beats per minute. Your heart ‘beats’ when it contracts and pumps blood through your body.
2. Resting Heart Rates indicates your basic overall heart health. The more conditioned you are, the less effort it takes to pump blood through your body and will be reflected in a lower resting heart rate.
To get a resting exercise heart rate, take your pulse after being still for five or more minutes, preferably in the same position you’ll be in during exercise. That is, if you’re going to walk, then stand quietly for five minutes and then note your heart rate.
3. Warm-Up Heart Rate is a heart rate that should be HALFWAY between your resting heart rate and target heart rate. By monitoring your warm-up heart rate, you can assess whether you’ve transitioned properly from rest to exercise with respect to:
Increased blood flow
This will reduce the onset of lack of oxygen (ischemia), chest pain (angina), irregular heart beats (arrhythmias), and other dysfunctions during the conditioning exercise phase.
Consuming the ideal foods and fluids after your workouts is vital for optimal fitness. But figuring out what you should eat and drink can be confusing. I talked with KRON 4 Morning News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and deciphered what to eat — and when.
Recover nutrition has two primary goals:
To replace what’s lost during exercise, such as fluid and fuel
To promote muscle building and repair
General Post-Exercise Guidelines
Consume 1.0 to 1.5 grams carbohydrate (CHO) per kg body weight during the first 30 minutes after exercise and again every 2 hours for 4 to 6 hours.
Consume 15 to 25 grams protein during recovery.
Drink 16 to 24 oz. of fluid for every pound of weight lost during exercise
The Window of Metabolic Opportunity
After exercise, your body is starved for nutrients and quickest at absorbing them during the first 30 minutes after exerciseand at two-hour intervals for 4 to 6 hours.
The earlier you eat carbohydrates within this window, the faster you’ll replenish your glycogen (energy) stores. Once depleted, it generally takes 24 hours to fully replenish these reserves. Waiting too long to eat can impair your performance and function.
Eating Carbs Immediately After Exercise is NOT for Everyone
Carb consumption right after exercise is important if you:
Work out daily.
Train or compete multiple times a day.
Participate in high intensity or prolonged exercise.
Have defined fitness, muscle mass, and performance goals.
If you’re an occasional exerciser or rest one or more days between intense workouts, nutrient timing isn’t critical, but the nutritional components of recovery are still required.
Be sure your intake of CHO is adequate and consumed within a reasonable time after training.
NOTE: In general, consuming a high CHO snack with some protein during recovery is a good practice for athletes and avid exercisers.
Planning post-exercise and post-competition snacks/meals to fit within the recovery window will take some time at first. You’ll need to figure out what, how much, and when to eat as well as how to make the food available after your workout.
Your doctor told you to get some exercise, so you go to the gym, but you end up with more than you bargained for. Fitness facilities can be icky germ factories. I’m armed with tips on how to get fit without getting sick.
Breeding Grounds for a Wide Variety of Germs
Fitness studios or gyms may be places to get healthy, but they’re also breeding grounds for a host of germs — particularly Staphylococcus bacteria or “staph”.
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found 25 different categories of bacteria lurking in fitness centers.
Why Germs Thrive
Cold and flu season will be creeping up on us again soon, so beware of those coughers and sneezers who can quickly spread viruses from one treadmill to the next.
But… the majority of germs that people pick up at their favorite fitness studio are those that affect the skin.
Bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause skin infections thrive in SWEAT. Warm, moist areas are particularly problematic.
Sweat gets left behind on:
Exercise equipment (from rowers to reformers, weights, and boxing gloves to basketballs), mats, and machines
Saunas, showers, swimming pool decks
Locker room benches, toilet/door handles
The Most Common Germs
The following skin problems are the most common ones you can pick up at a fitness facility:
Fungi (pronounced “fun-guy”) reproduce through tiny spores in the air. That means, you can inhale the spores or they can land on you! As a result, fungal infections often begin in your lungs or on your skin. That means they’re easy to get and PASS AROUND.
Fungi, the plural for fungus, live and reproduce in the air, in soil and water, on plants… and on YOU. Those embarrassing health conditions mentioned above are caused by an excessive amount of fungus growing on the surface of your skin. Think of that fuzzy green mold that grows on decaying old fruit hiding in the back of your frig or the mildew that grows on shower walls. Same idea.
Only half of them are harmful, but they can be annoying, ITCHY and difficult to kill. If you have a circulation problem, weakened immune system, diabetes, or take antibiotics, you may be more likely to get a fungal infection. (Antibiotics may disrupt the balance of natural microflora in your system which causes fungi to overpopulate.) It’s important to get treatment at the first sign of a problem.
2. Hot-Tub Rash
When levels of disinfectants (like chlorine) are too low in swimming pools and hot tubs, you can get an itchy red rash from the bacteria that you pick up.
3. Plantar Warts
This virus infects feet, so don’t go barefoot in the locker room, gym showers, or exercise studios.
4. Impetigo (im-pe-TEE-go)
This HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS infection is caused by a staph or strep bacteria.
It gets into your body through broken skin (a cut, scrape or insect bite).
Transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, contaminated towels, and sports equipment.