Shed the Soltice Seven!
I recently heard that the average American gains seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years'. I think that's made up; no one actually weighs people before and after. Still, everyone seems to have a New Year's resolution to lose weight.
I know a little about weight loss. During my peak year in running, I weighed 20% less than I do now; I probably had an undiagnosed eating disorder - I had been dating an anorectic the year before and there's a picture of me looking skeletal. I'd post it, but this would then look like a pro-anorexia site... and I never bought a digitizer. Trust me: 6 feet and 128 lbs. is scary, even if I was running 32 minute 10Ks.
Adam Harmer's got a little weight-loss contest on his site, but I won't be joining. It's one thing where my competitive spirit is not a good thing. But I do have a couple of ideas for those who are looking to drop a few:
1) Keep active. This is obvious, but we all tend to slack a bit when the temperature drops. You might have to be creative. During the latest cold snap, I scrubbed my kitchen and bathroom floors and counted it as a workout.
2) Watch caloric density. Try to eat foods with the fewest calories per gram; this means high water content and low fat content. A glass of water drunk before eating is an old trick that works, as it lowers the overall calorie density of a meal.
3) Watch glycemic load. There are sites where you can find the glycemic index of foods - basically, how fast the calories from the food enter the bloodstream. Glycemic load is the glycemic index times the number of net grams of carbohydrate (net= total minus fiber). If you eat a meal with a high glycemic index, your blood sugar spikes, you release insulin to lower the level, your blood sugar plummets and you get hungry again. Essentially, this means to avoid large amounts of sugar, refined starches, potatoes and corn.
Exercise and a diet high in fiber and water, though healthy, will have you spending a lot of time in the bathroom until you're used to it.
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