Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Counting Calories Can Be Easy

Now that autumn is upon us, unfortunately, we won’t have the opportunity to bask in the sun exercising.  So, we have to turn our attention to fun ways to burn calories while ensuring proper diets.

When you think of counting – and decreasing – your calories, do you automatically think of crunches and restrictive diets?  It doesn’t have to be that way! Lessening your caloric intake can be easy – and fun.
The following simple changes to your daily routine could help get your body to burn extra calories.

·    Exercise before bed.  Do you give into your cravings while watching TV at night?  Try exercising instead. According to an April 2013 study in the journal, Obesity, our circadian system makes us hungriest a few hours before bedtime. But you may feel fuller after working out: A different study in the journal Metabolism found that perceived fullness was higher among participants after 12 weeks of aerobic training than before they were exercising. So a brisk walk after dinner each night may make you less likely to snack before bed.

·    Eat fruit before your meal.  Are you truly hungry or are you just bored? Try this test.  Once you feel hungry, eat a piece of fruit.  If you don’t want the fruit as a snack, you aren’t that hungry and you just saved yourself calories!

·    Snack.  Yes, I encourage snacking.  Eating small meals throughout the day helps metabolize your food and keeps you feeling full throughout the day.  Although, ensure you are eating healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, cheese or popcorn which provide protein and vitamins to your diet.

·    Play with your dog.  As many of my blog readers know, I am an avid pet lover who also believes that pets enrich our lives and encourage us to lead health, active lifestyles.  Researchers at Michigan State University found that having a dog is linked with burning 200 extra calories per week. Registered dietitian Keeley Mezzancello, who’s also a certified strength and conditioning specialist, says people who own and walk their dogs are 34% more likely than people who don’t to meet the American Heart Association's recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Dog-walkers generally strolled about an hour longer per week than non-dog-walkers, which translates to an additional 230 calories burned a week.

·    Have a sit-down, family meal.  Studies have shown that actually sitting down and conversing while eating helps you be more mindful of your portions and the amount of food you are ingesting.  Also, making time for a family meal helps strengthen the bonds with your children and loved ones.  It’s a win-win!

Do you prefer to work out with a friend in order to make fitness more fun?  Fitness for Health offers a one-hour, group exercise program utilizing exergaming fitness equipment which is cutting edge and state-of-the-art.  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn about our Tuesday/Thursday group program from 11am – 12pm. 


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