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Avoiding Seasonal Weight Gain

Avoiding Seasonal Weight Gain
Apple Pie

    I suppose this article is timely only for those in the hemisphere that is currently approaching winter. All you lucky ducks heading for bright lights and sunshine will just have to file this one away for a few months.

    For those of us moving into the long dark tea time of the soul known as winter, an ominous question presents itself.

    Do you pack on the extra pounds in the long dark hours of winter?

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    Joking aside, many people add extra pounds during the seasons which have less light. This may be due to having fewer daylight hours to be out and about. Or it may be due to people deciding this would be a good time to have another slice of warm pie by the fire. Personally, I believe it has a lot to do with the unconscious snacking we do while sitting in front of the sports network.

    But, whatever the reason most people consume far more calories than they realize, especially in winter. The solution might be a sharpened sense of portion size.

    Understanding the concept of standard serving sizes is essential to good nutrition.

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    Take a look at fast food restaurants. Most chain restaurant employees automatically offer “super-size” or “value” meals when taking an order. These meals which I have named “impulse upgrades” often contain an entire day’s worth of calories and much more than a day’s worth of fat.

    If you figure taking in an additional 148 calories per day (that’s conservative) and adding no additional caloric burn, you get a formula that packs on an extra 15 pounds every year.

    But, even if calories from fat are decreased— we make up for lower fat intakes with larger portion sizes. More calories from larger portion size lead to weight gain, period.

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    But, what is a portion size? You can use the following visuals to approximate portion sizes:

    • A computer mouse = one serving (three ounces) of meat, poultry, or fish.
    • Half a baseball = one serving (one-half cup) of fruit, vegetables, pasta, or rice.
    • Your thumb = one serving (one ounce) of cheese.
    • A tennis ball = one serving (one cup) of yogurt or chopped fresh greens.

    When at Home:

    • Take time to “eyeball” the serving sizes of your favorite foods (using some of the models listed above).
    • Measure out single servings onto your plates and bowls, and remember what they look like.
    • Serve up plates with appropriate portions in the kitchen, and don’t go back for seconds.
    • Never eat snacks out of the bag.

    When Dining Out:

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    • Ask for half or smaller portions.
    • Set the rest aside that which is more than a portion and ask for a take home bag.
    • If you order dessert, share it.

    Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at (elementaltruths.blogspot.com).

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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