Cutting Cravings via “Distraction”

Have Something On Your Mind??

Image: Karen Shaw /

I had an interview a couple of weeks ago with an editor at Fitbie (MSN’s health and wellness site) and she asked me to recommend some great “distractions” to prevent cravings, particularly at work where we tend to not have much to do for some reason?!?  Most of the answers and ideas I gave are nothing new…in fact, most people know the answers…it’s just a matter of doing them!  But in case there’s a few you may not have heard of, check it out:

One that may be new for a few readers: Did you know that sometimes we eat when we are actually thirsty?  Our body will look to get water in any way it can, even via food (and unwanted calories).  And pretzels won’t help!  If you snack on dry foods it just feeds the problem…pun intended.

A great way to tell if your hunger pang is actually a water pang is to have a big glass of water and wait 10-15 minutes.  If you are still hungry, then eat something…in fact, use the last 5 minutes of the waiting period to plan out a healthy snack!  If you feel satisfied after the 10-15 minutes, then you were probably just thirsty.

If you find any of the suggestions in the article useful, post and tell us how it helped!

Halloween Tips for You and Your Kids

A Spooky Night

What’s Scarier: Vampires or A Sack Full of Candy? Image: digitalart /

Halloween can be a scary time when it comes to making healthy choices for you and your kids.  No matter what we do, there is an endless parade of sugary snacks available either coming from our homes or that of our neighbor’s.  We know that hiding won’t save us from monsters, just like avoiding the candy will surely mean it catches us in the end.  Instead, face the “candy monster” (no relation to his blue, furry brother) head on with a few tips that I wrote for Halloween Trick-or-Treating Tips.  Have a spook-tacular Halloween!

Tell Me: What are your tips to surviving Halloween with minimal candy consumption?

The Power of 10

Burn 10 LogoCut 10 LogoHow do we go from young and athletic in our 20’s to overweight in our 50’s?  Ten calories a day.  That’s it.  Walking a flight of stairs.  One and a half almonds.  Every day.

The average adult gains about one pound per year and one pound equals about 3500 calories.  3500 calories divided by 365 days a year equals about 10 calories a day.  While one pound does not sound like a lot, that becomes ten pounds a decade.  This means if you are a svelte 180 pounds at 25 years old, you may be facing a hefty 210 pounds at 55 years old.

So…back to the ten calories.  Often we are too focused on our crash diets, multi-hour workout sessions and egregious errors in nutritional (why did I eat that huge piece of cake?) or fitness (I missed my workout today) judgment that we fail to take note of the other, smaller daily decisions (walking vs. driving, elevator vs. stairs, whole vs. low-fat milk) that can have just as much, if not greater, of an impact on our weight.

Our body is usually able to handle and adapt to the big mistakes, because that is what they are…mistakes.  As in, not the norm.  In fact, isn’t it amazing that our bodies, despite all of the crap we do to it, is able to regulate itself to stay within such a narrow weight range?  In other words, sometimes it is worth sweating the small stuff…pun intended.  Because it is the small stuff that ultimately drives how much we weigh 20 years from now.  Not that one big meal you had last night.  Unless you have a big meal every night.

In conclusion, very small changes, done on a daily basis can have a large impact on our long-term weight.  Diets come and go, the latest workout fads will be forgotten faster than you can say “shake weight,” but your body will still need to eat and will still need to move.  If you can take small, sustainable steps to living a healthier lifestyle, then you can harness the power of ten to make sure you are maintaining a healthy weight rather than becoming another “average adult” statistic.

I will be launching an additional area to my blog to promote the Power of 10 by focusing on the small changes we can make in our daily activities (Burn10) and eating habits (Cut10) to prevent the excess ten calories that lead to ten pounds every ten years.  Ideas will also be sent out via my twitter account, @JMachowskyRDFit.

If you would like to share your own ideas, please add your comment here!

Balanced Eating on Vacation – Part 2

One of my previous posts described how to indulge wisely when on vacation.  The two articles I have linked today focus on using a little bit of planning to go a long way in preventing yourself from eating less healthy options on vacation that you did not even want in the first place.

Imagine eating an hour before leaving for the airport, then taking 30 minutes to get there, 60 minutes in line for tickets/security and now a 90 minute wait before a 4 hour plane ride.  That means you will have to wait at least 8 hours between your last meal at home and your first meal at your destination.  Most people do not want to wait to eat for that long (nor should you!) so they typically get something quick at the airport or buy some less-than-ideal food on the airplane that probably doesn’t taste the best to begin with.  Did you really want to indulge in that food, or would you have rather saved the indulgence for when you are at your destination?  Two ways to combat this issue is to either:

1) Bring your own healthy snack(s) from home.  Bring one for the wait at the airport and one for the airplane.

2) Scope out the list of vendors at the airport for healthier options (i.e. places that sell grilled food rather than fried, salads, etc.) and buy a substantial, balanced meal for the trip.  Have half at the airport and the other half on the plane so you can stay satisfied for the entire trip and reduce your cravings for buying/eating unwanted snacks.

Planning can also go a long way during those long, fun vacation days people spend sightseeing or going to amusement parks.  When traveling, try stopping at a supermarket when you first arrive to stock up on healthy snacks and breakfast foods for your hotel room.  If you have a mini-fridge you can even buy perishable items like low-fat milk for cereal, yogurt for mid-day snacks between sites/rides, hummus to dip veggies in, etc.  Just remember to take some snacks with you each morning before you leave for the day!

Check out my articles on Healthy Vacationing Tips: Getting to Your Destination and Planning Long, Fun and Healthful Days for even more ideas.  Happy and healthy traveling!

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