Diet Dispatches

Win a health boost

November 29, 2011 

Carole Tanzer Miller, features editor, writes: Who couldn't use 50 great tips to help you live a long, happy and healthy life? Writer Sophie Keller has compiled them into a new book titled "How Happy Is Your Health?"

We're giving away a copy of this handy guide and two other intriguing titles: "Pocket Posh Dining Out Calorie Counter: Your Guide to Thousands of Foods From Your Favorite Restaurants" by Pamela M. Nisevich Bede; and "You Stress Less" by Drs. Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz.

To enter the drawing, send email to cmiller@newsobserver.com. Put "Giveaway" in the subject line and your name, address and the name of book you want in the body of the email.

Winners will be randomly selected at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Fortify for holidays

Hanukkah, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve and even Dec. 7, National Cotton Candy Day, loom, with all the excess and stress of the season. My health coach, Charity Husk of Take Shape for Life, sent a list of holiday eating tips that might help you avoid a diet disaster over the next six weeks.

Focus on family and friends, not food. It's very easy for food to become the focus at social gatherings - especially on holidays. This season try to move your focus to your friends and family. Instead of double-fisting cookies, sit and share holiday stories with a child or visit with a family member beside the fire. Make memories, not pounds!

Plan ahead: Don't go hungry. It's so easy to overdo it when we are hungry and walk into a dining room filled with large amounts of delicious food. To prevent this, time your meals so that you have a snack before arriving at a party or entertaining.

Drink water! We recommend at least 64 ounces of fluid a day for hydration. Another benefit of drinking water is an increased satiety or fullness. Drinking a 16-ounce bottle of water during the hour before you eat will help you feel more satisfied on less food.

Choose smaller plates and avoid family-style dining. Accept party invites, but let the hosts know you are watching what you're eating. This is perfectly acceptable; you would tell them if you had a food allergy right? If they are concerned that their menu doesn't fit your needs, offer to bring a dish or two to share. This way you can pack diet-friendly dishes to help you stay on track and still get to party.

Ask for a smaller salad plate if they are not provided. If you must use a larger plate, hold it in your hand and fold your thumb over the edge. Then don't let your food pass the tip of your thumb at any point on the plate (think of an imaginary line running from the point of your thumb around the plate).

Move before munching. Hiking, sledding, cross-country skiing, snow angels, building snowmen and the like are great seasonal activities. Don't let the cold hold you back from being active. It's all the more important if you will be partaking in holiday parties!

If you are not a cold-weather person, treat yourself to a new fitness DVD and make it a regular part of your day. Get family and friends involved for a holiday-themed workout. For example: take a Turkey Trot or Christmas Day Cardio!

Consider cutting sugar

Community blogger Alan Foster writes: Starting weight: 225/ Current weight: 202

Over the last couple of weeks, I've paid more attention to the amount of sugar I consume by following the advice of Jorge Cruise's book, "The Belly Fat Cure."

I'm starting to believe this might be the ticket to finally losing these last few pounds clinging to my middle. I've never been one to put sugar in my coffee or on my cereal or even overindulge in high-sugar sweets, but just checking the labels of everyday foods proves I really consume more sugar than I thought. Understanding how our bodies respond to sugar and how it affects the storage or use of fat makes it all the easier to say no to the remaining pieces of Halloween candy or a bedtime snack of seemingly innocent fat-free yogurt (with its 26 grams of sugar in a 6 ounce serving).

Other than a few short walks, I didn't exercise much this past week. So, when I stepped on the scales and saw that I'd lost 3 pounds, I couldn't help but exclaim "Sweet!" Pun intended!

Follow our community bloggers at blogs.newsobserver.com/dieting.

Weight-conscious staffers share stories and tips at blogs.newsobserver.com/turningthescales.

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