Weight Loss After the Holidays
Chef Chuck Kerber debuts his new column with some tips to help you follow through on your New Year's resolutions.
After the holidays, there’s a considerable surge in health club memberships. Everyone is trying to rid themselves of the extra weight they gained overindulging in chocolate, pastries, alcohol and other holiday goodies. So, what is the key to losing the holiday weight? Well, there’s no single answer, but I can give you a few tips to follow to help you shed the pounds, and maybe even become a healthier person in the process.
Don’t skip breakfast!
Remember when your mother told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, she was right. Eating breakfast gets your metabolism going and sets the tone within your body for the rest of the day. Not all breakfast foods are created equally, so be careful. Stay away from doughnuts, (sorry!) sugary cereals, white bread, waffles and pancakes. If you’re used to drinking a large glass of orange juice, try having some coffee or tea instead; you can save yourself up to 180 calories. Enjoy a scrambled egg, turkey bacon, or steel-cut oatmeal for your morning meal and you can fight the hunger pangs for a few hours.
Stay away from white sugar and white flour.
Foods that contain bleached flour and refined sugar have no nutritional value and stimulate your body to produce insulin, which can lead to elevated levels of blood-sugar and send messages to your liver to release cholesterol into your body. Most people can’t completely eliminate these foods from their diets, so try to cut down if possible. Enjoy some whole wheat pasta or rice noodles, which are now readily available in most grocery stores.
Drink plenty of water.
A hydrated body runs more efficiently. Having a continuous flow of liquids will help eliminate toxins and impurities. Drinking eight, eight ounce glasses of water a day is the recommended daily allowance.
Living a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to all types of health ailments. Exercise is necessary to maintain health and burn excess calories that may have been consumed during the day. Try picking an activity that you enjoy like biking, running, skating or walking. Exercising four times a week for 20 minutes is sufficient to get your body conditioned. If you haven’t been active in a long time, consult your doctor prior to engaging in an exercise regimen.
Compared with some European countries, Americans generally consume much larger portions of food during mealtime. A standard serving of protein should be three to four ounces, not eight ounces. When sitting down to a meal, pay attention to how much starch you have on your plate. A standard portion of starch should be between two and three ounces. If you are eating pasta and breads, try eating whole grain. If a recipe calls for rice, make brown or wild; it’s healthier and more flavorful. Try sweet potatoes with your evening meal; they’re full of vitamins and minerals.
Try eating smaller meals more frequently. If you normally have three large meals a day, have five or six. Each meal can consist of a few hundred calories. Snacks can count as one of your meals; have a small handful of raw almonds, some raisins or a hard-boiled egg. Frequent meals will stabilize your blood sugar and you will enjoy a sustained level of energy throughout the day.
Take your time.
Try eliminating certain foods from your diet one at a time. If you want to cut down on sugar, reduce your portions first. If you can’t live without chocolate, have some, just not every day. Pick a day of the week when you allow yourself to have a bar of good quality, dark chocolate; it actually has health benefits! Try not to think of your new eating plan as a diet, rather a change in lifestyle; your body will thank you for it in the long run.
Chef Kerber of Swissvale is the owner and executive chef of Chaz Catering LLC, and specializes in all types of gatherings as well as nutritional coaching. His clients include private individuals, professional sports figures, and corporate entities.
Check out his personal blog and website at www.pittsburghhotplate.com.