White and Fluffy Foods
“Don’t feed him, you could ruin him for life.” I said this about a ground squirrel. We were hiking up near timberline and a member of our group wanted to feed a squirrel. My fear was that the squirrel would have his or her first taste of white and fluffy carbs and it would be curtains for ever wanting nutritious food again.
I was reacting as if the squirrel were a human.
And yes, that first taste each of us has of a sweet treat made with “white and fluffy” ingredients like flour or sugar—think donuts, cupcakes, bread—does ruin us for life. From then on, researchers tell us, we prefer the white and fluffy over essential nutrients: meats, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds. No matter how much we protect our children from sweets or bread, they’ll figure it out once they start going to day care or preschool. (Yes, bread stimulates blood sugar levels and gives us a lift just like cookies.)
At my house, dinner parties and house guests are my excuse for baking (check out my double chocolate low-glycemic brownies) and purchasing cookies and cakes.
The best solution I have for managing my sweet tooth is to be sure I eat the basics and then add in something sweet once a day or so. Total deprivation breeds intense cravings. Not keeping them in the house leads to binges. Carefully eating 0-5 and eating slowly works, too. Any more suggestions? What works for you?
Make Your Own Bug Repellent
If anyone will get bit, it’s me. I’m a mosquito magnet. I read somewhere that spraying one’s exposed skin with a vinegar/water solution works. I tried this yesterday evening after dinner—a good time to garden because it’s cooler, but the cool of the evening is mosquito feeding time. I stayed out about 90 minutes. I may have smelled a bit odd, but not as odd as essential oils or citronella. I had absolutely no bites. Don’t worry about putting vinegar on your skin. It’s pure—no preservatives, no weird chemicals, and your skin likes to be a bit acidic anyway.
Maintain Sunscreen Effectiveness
The “lipstick” sun screen solution: For chemical-based sun screens to be effective, they need to be reapplied frequently throughout the day. Figure that its effectiveness lasts about 1-2 hours. So gals, reapply sun screen about as often as you’d reapply your lipstick—assuming that you want it to look fresh all day long. Fellas, reapply every hour or so. (If you’re sweating a lot or are going to be in water, then reapply even more often.) Sun blocks that use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide don’t need to be reapplied as frequently. Sun blocks include mineral makeup with SPF.
Wiggle Your Metabolism Into Shape
Many people who are overweight don’t overeat—although many do. Plenty of thin people overeat and don’t gain an ounce. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? The reason is people have different metabolisms. If a person has a high basal metabolism, he or she burns more calories sitting around than those who have slower metabolisms. So people with high metabolisms can seemingly eat lots of food and not gain weight. Often, thin folks are fidgeters and wigglers. They don’t sit still well. Some of this could be genetics, but mostly, it’s lifestyle.
The obvious solution for overweight and obese people who don’t overeat is to boost their metabolism quickly. But that strategy can backfire. Starting an intense exercise program can result in the body conserving energy and actually slowing the metabolism even more—so weight loss doesn’t happen. Try this instead: start slow, move more throughout your day. fidget, stand, take walks, wiggle. Don’t sit still for even an hour at a time. Do slow weight training. Rather than rev up fast, go slow to rev up for the long term.
Yes, do strength training and work yourself up to an hour of active exercise a day. Cut out the white and fluffy foods and focus on nutrition basics: fruits and vegetables, animal protein, nuts, seeds, good oils. And never overeat.
Combining this with added movement throughout the day will kick your metabolism into gear.
Boost your mental power
Before an important mental task, get on the treadmill or the exercise bike for 20 minutes. Exercise increases your mind’s processing abilities. And if you feel moody or sad, exercise vigorously for 20 minutes or so. You’ll be amazed at how happy you feel.