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The Holidays are Busting Out All Over, But You Don’t Have To Be

It’s a balancing act to enjoy holiday festivities and foods without feeling the pangs of regret when you step on your scale on January 2nd, but you can do it.

What’s your holiday eating style?

Do you eat in moderation most of the time?

Do eat first, then think about what you should or shouldn’t have eaten, or do you think about what you want, choose and then eat?

Do you have little or no self control?

Do feel in control of what you eat?

Do you eat in excess – certain foods, all foods, at certain festivities, at all festivities?

Do you stuff yourself – some of the time, most of the time, all of the time?

Do you overeat – all foods, certain foods, no foods?

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it

If you’ve selected phrases above that indicate you are in control, most likely last year you successfully managed to enjoy the holidays and partake of some of your favorite foods and desserts without gaining holiday weight.  Whatever you did right last year will work this year, so keep on doing what you did.

If it is broken, fix it

On the flip side, if you’ve selected phrases that indicate you did overindulge, and you   suffered the consequences of gaining those hard-to-lose extra pounds, then this article is for you.

Insight – the first step towards change

There are myriad reasons why we overeat during the holidays. First and foremost – we are inundated with a host of foods that smell good, look tempting, and (if I didn’t cook it) taste pretty good.   These cues trigger overeating. The sight, smell, and memories associated with holiday foods are definitely challenging, but if you understand that these powerful cues can override your good intentions, you can change the outcome. You can determine which cues you want to respond to and which ones you will avoid or overcome, but you will need a plan.

How to outwit holiday food cues

1.   First and foremost don’t go to holiday events on an empty stomach. Hungry people are more susceptible to sensory cues. If you think saving calories by not eating all day is a good strategy think again. You’ll eat all the calories you saved and hundreds if not thousands more.

Never go into a holiday food zone hungry or thirsty.  Drink a glass of water or two and eat approx 200 calories containing protein and/or fiber within an hour.  Hungry people don’t make good eating choices. If you are not hungry, you’ll be better able to pick and choose, instead of acting on impulse in response to food cues.

2. Before you go, decide what you want to eat. Be selective. You really don’t have to taste it all.  In fact, research indicates that eating small portions of everything is not a good strategy because you never feel quite full or satisfied, so you eat more and more.  Choose a few foods and desserts and eat reasonable portions.

3.  Adjust your attitude. If you tell yourself you are depriving yourself, most definitely you will overeat.  Instead, tell yourself that you are making informed choices.  Let’s face it, you can eat whatever we want to, but there is a price in gained weight. Armed with this knowledge, you are more likely to make wiser choices. When deciding which foods to eat and how much of them you will eat, think about how difficult it has been to lose those excess holiday pounds. Ask yourself if it was worth it. Only you can be the judge of that.  Remember, it’s always your choice.

4. If you didn’t pay attention to tips 1, 2 or 3 and you wind up eat everything that isn’t nailed down, take a few minutes before the day is out to count calories and fat. Use the CalorieKing Food & Exercise Journal along with the 2013 CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter, or use CalorieKing online tools.   You will be so shocked at how much you ate, it will motivate you to make wiser choices the next go round. In fact, the best defense against weight gain is to maintain a food and exercise journal especially during the holidays.

It’s not just the food, It’s the Big Excuses

Excuse #1 “The holidays only come once a year, so why shouldn’t I eat everything I want to?”

To be very clear, the holidays do not come only once a year.  We are always celebrating some holiday or other -– birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Easter, Passover, Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Week End – you get the point. Even week-ends are high on the holiday excuse list. Add it up – counting weekends, holidays, etc there are approximately 126 days you can find reasons (excuses) to overeat.  Granted, this is a very special time of year, with unique circumstances, but don’t use that as an excuse.

Excuse #2 it’s really not the holidays if we don’t eat and drink and make merry (with lots of drinks, desserts, candy, cookies, etc).

Now, even you don’t believe this one really – do you? Isn’t there more to the holidays than food?  Don’t get me wrong. I look forward to holiday dinners and desserts, but I always keep in mind the years that I’ve gone overboard.  I enjoyed the food during the short period I ate it, but I suffered months afterwards kicking myself and trying to lose the extra pounds. Shift your focus from food (when you can) to the other aspects of this season.  It is not all about food.  It s about sharing and giving and loving and socializing and spiritual growth and being thankful.

Bottom line, I’m not saying don’t eat holiday foods.  Just don’t eat them to excess.  You’ll enjoy what you do eat more and you will be happier on January 2nd than you would be if had no self-control.

Give the Gift of Health

The holidays are coming and while it can be a time of feasting for many, others are focused on their health needs – either now or for their New Year’s Resolutions.

If you know your giftee is interested in healthy living and well-being but they haven’t told you what they might need, here is a handy little list of some gifts they may appreciate.

After you’ve landed on an idea, make sure you take your giftee’s health or experience level into consideration (are they starting out or a workout veteran?). Then head do your research to find out the best model for their needs – you can ask questions in forums or go to a trusted source like Consumer Reports for unbiased, tested information.

You’ll love the light that comes into the gift recipient’s eyes when they realizing you are thinking beyond just material gifts by getting them something that will help their commitment to healthy living.

Electronics:

Consider step counters, heart rate monitors, new bathroom scales, kitchen scales, fitness DVDs or a Wii Fit as a surprise!

Apps:

With dozens to choose from ranging from exercise tracking and pacing, or all over fitness monitoring like Nike Fuel Band there is something for every exercise level. Plus, CalorieKing has several free apps to help you track calories in your every day foods or uncover how much your next fast food meal will set you back.

Workout Clothes:

Everyone with a fitness regimen needs the right kind of clothes. Everything from comfortable yoga pants to properly insulated outdoor running jackets, or a new pair of shoes is sure to be appreciated. Not sure of the size or style? Cut out a picture of the item you intend for them to buy and enclose it with a gift card.

Workout Equipment:

There are plenty of things that can help a workout along. Think of fitness balls, hand weights, stretching bands or yoga mats. Even if your giftee already has one, it could be they are due for replacement. Again, a gift certificate can help if you aren’t sure what they might need most.

Music:

Nothing helps a workout along like a good playlist. If you know what they like, just pick up a cd as a stocking stuffer. Otherwise a gift certificate to your favorite MP3 site will be a huge hit.

Gym Membership or Personal Trainer:

If you know the gift recipient would like to step up their routine or needs individualized instruction to get started a gym membership or personal trainer would be a truly thoughtful gift. Tour gyms in advance to decide what may be right, get recommendations on a personal trainer from friends or get a recommendation from the American Council on Exercise via their trainer finder tool.

CalorieKing Membership:

If your gift recipient is just starting out on their journey towards healthy living and would like a greater understanding of nutrition and fitness – along with a diary, expert advice and supportive community you can always purchase a CalorieKing membership. We would love to have both you and your gift recipient become join our program.

Have a happy, healthy holiday!

Reader Question Answered: Fall/Winter Workouts

We love to take reader’s questions and try to provide resources and insights to guide you on your way. We’ve fielded this very timely question from one Facebook Fan:

Q: When the weather turns to fall and winter, should I workout at a gym or at home?

A: Great question! We’ve done some research to get to the bottom of wintertime workouts. Depending on what fitness level you have, and your personal preference will determine whether you work out at a gym, at home, or even outside! Each form of exercise will have its pros and cons – the key is to pick one which most appeals to you so you’ll keep moving!

Here’s are some tips to help you decide:

Workouts at Home:

• It can save time. If you don’t have the time to pack a gym bag and drive to the gym, popping in a DVD, downloading a video or firing up the Wii Fit could be perfect for you. You’ll have more time to fit in your workout if you can roll out of bed, stretch and get started!
• It’s private. If you aren’t ready to face a crowd of gym bunnies or stand in line for a treadmill, you can get started on exercise in your own home until you are ready to hit primetime.
• It gives you options. Today’s fitness market is full of items that help you exercise at home. Everything from yoga mats and hand weights to treadmills and resistance trainers are available for you to choose from.

Workouts at the Gym:

• It can keep you motivated. The gym can be perfect for those who might want some extra motivation. A trainer can set you up with a plan for you to follow and improve upon. Don’t forget you are also making a commitment by paying fees that you wouldn’t want to waste, and you will also be focused environment dedicated to exercise to keep you on track.
• You can benefit from specialized equipment. If you are looking to maximize workouts, or feel like you aren’t sure if you are performing a move correctly you can find someone to help guide you with the specialized equipment on hand.
• Join a class: Going to the gym can be great for finding a class where you can try something new – yoga, Zumba, you name it. There are plenty of organized activities you might love.

Workouts Outside

• You can enjoy nature. As fall descends your workouts on your bike, trail or in your park can be enhanced by the beautiful scenery and brisk weather.
• You can take up a new sport. If you need a change in your routine, winter brings unique sports with it that are generally around only once a year. Skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating and sledding are all things you can try with your family and friends; you’ll have some fun while burning off calories. Just remember to be careful to dress to avoid hypothermia and be aware of the time spent outside.

Hopefully these tips will help get you thinking about where you’d like to get started with – or even make a change to your fitness routine. The most important is pursing fitness where you’ll be able to start at a level that is most comfortable to you physically and emotionally.

Perhaps the most important tip for starting exercise is to consult a fitness trainer if you are able. They can assess your individual abilities, make a plan and track your progress. Plus, you can usually meet with them anywhere that suits you.

Be sure to check out our resources below to find tips on finding a trainer, tips on staying healthy while exercise during the fall and winter weather and more!

Holiday Meals Calorie Guide

Appetizers

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Vegetable Sticks, 3 oz. & Fat Free Ranch Dip, 1 oz. 55 0 12g
Regular Potato Chips, 1 oz. & Regular Ranch Dip, 1 oz. 280 20g 17g
Mixed Nuts, Roasted, 1 oz. 170 15g 7g
Chex: Party Blend Snack Mix, ½ cup 120 4g 20g

Turkey

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Light meat (breast/back) roasted, meat & skin, 4 oz. 185 5g 0
Light meat (breast/back) roasted, meat only, without skin, 4 oz. 155 1g 0
Dark meat (leg/thigh/wing) roasted, meat & skin, 4 oz. 205 8g 0
Dark meat (leg/thigh/wing) roasted, meat only, w/out skin, 4 oz. 185 5g 0
Tofurkey, Holiday Roast, 5.2oz. 250 6g 13g

Stuffing

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Bread Stuffing, dry mix, prepared avg., ½ c./3.5 oz. 180 9g 22g
Stove Top, stuffing mix, chicken or turkey, prepared, ½ c./4 oz. 150 6.5g 20.7g
Tofurkey, Holiday Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing, ½ c./3.5 oz. 250 6g 13g

Gravy

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Turkey gravy, homemade, little fat, ¼ c./ 2 oz. 40 2g 6g
Turkey gravy, homemade, thick, ¼ c./ 2.5 oz. 100 4g 18g
Turkey gravy, canned, ready to serve, ¼ c./ 2.1 oz. 121 5g 12g
Tofurkey, Holiday Giblet & Mushroom Gravy, ¼ c./ 2 oz. 30 1g 3g

Potatoes

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Mashed Potatoes, home prepared, w/whole milk & margarine, ½ c./ 3.7oz. 180 9g 22g
Sweet Potato, mashed ½ c. /4.5 oz. 120 4.5g 18g
Sweet Potato Casserole (Boston Market) ½ serve /3.5 oz. 263 8g 38.5g
Candied Yams (Old Country/Hometown Buffet), 1 spoon, 4.2 oz. 140 1.5g 33g
Scalloped Potatoes, dry mix, prepared w/ water, whole milk, butter, 1/6 pkg. 4.8 oz. 125 6g 17.5g

Cranberries

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Cranberry sauce, whole berry 1.4 c. / 2.5 oz. 110 0 25g
Cranberry Sauce, jellied, canned ¼ c./2.5 oz. 110 0 25g
Cranberry Sauce, low-sugar, canned, ¼ c./ 2.5oz. 30 0 10g

Sides

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Green Bean casserole (Old Town/Hometown Buffet), 1 spoon /3.9 oz. 110 7g 10g
Green Beans, Steamed 1 c. / 4.4 oz. 44 0.4oz. 10g
Pearl Onions, in cream sauce (Birds Eye) ½ c./4.4 oz. 60 2g 8g
Gelatin/Jello, regular all flavors, 3.5 oz. 70 0 17g
Gelatin/Jello, sugar-free, 3.2 oz. 10 0 0

Bread

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Dinner Roll, 1 roll/1 oz. 88 2g 14.8g

Spreads

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Butter, 1 pat /0.2 oz. 36 4.1g 0
Smart Balance, regular, 1 Tbsp./0.5 oz. 100 11g 0
Smart Balance, light 37%, 1Tbsp./ 0.5oz. 45 5g 0

Desserts

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Pumpkin Pie, 9”, 1/8th pie/5.5 oz. 316 14.4g 41g
Pecan Pie, 9”, 1/8th pie/4/3 oz. 503 27g 64g
Apple Pie, 9”, 1/8th pie/5.5 oz. 411 19.4g 57.5g
Ice Cream, Vanilla, regular 10% fat, ½ c./4 fl. oz. 235 13g 27g
Frozen Yogurt, Vanilla, non-fat, hard, ½ c./4.oz 110 0 24g

Whipped Toppings

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Heavy Cream, 37% fat, whipped ¼ c./ 2 oz. 105 11g 1g
ReddiWhip® topping, fat-free ¼ c./ 2 oz. 10 0 2g

Calorie Counts By Joan Bushman, RD 10/2012

Halloween Top 15 Mini Size Candy Bars

Halloween Candy BarsHalloween is a tempting time with literally hundreds of candies out there to buy. While you may have the best intention to pass them out to the kids, sometimes you can’t help but sneak a few in for yourself. We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular candy bars so you can be aware of the calories they could add to your daily plan. Everyone here at CalorieKing wishes you and your family a safe and healthy Halloween!

Halloween Candy Guide – Top 15 Mini Size Bars

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
3 Musketeers, fun size, 3 bars, 1.6 oz 190 6 24
Almond Joy, snack size, 1 bar, 0.6 oz 80 4.5 10
Baby Ruth, fun size, 2 bars, 1.3 oz 170 8 24
Butterfinger, fun size, 1 bar, 0.75 oz 100 4 15
Heath, snack size, 3 pieces, 1.5 oz 230 14 27
Hershey’s miniatures assortment, 5 pcs, 1.5 oz 210 13 25
Kit Kat, snack size, 6 pieces, 1.48 oz 210 11 27
Milky Way, fun size, 2 bars, 1.2 oz 150 6 24
170 8 24
Mounds, snack size, 1 bar, 0.6 oz 80 4.5 10
Nestle’s Crunch, fun size, 3 bars, 1.34 oz 180 9 26
PayDay, snack size, 1 bar, 0.7 oz 90 10 24
Reese’s PB Cups, snack size, 1 cup, 0.75 oz 110 6.5 12
Reese’s Sticks, snack size, 1 stick, 0.6 oz 90 5 10
Snickers, fun size, 2 bars, 1.2 oz 160 8 21
Twix, 3 mini pieces, 1 oz 150 8 20

Ten Tips on Cancer Prevention

Breast cancer is a disease I feel very personally connected to. My sister and aunt are survivors. I have friends who are fighting and losing the battle as I write this. In following their experiences it occurs to me that breast cancer is a subject people tend to not talk about until it hits them in some way. Cancer isn’t pleasant, but it is important to talk about and arm yourself with information on prevention. Read More »

How to Have a Fun and Healthy Fall Season

There’s a certain smell in the air, kids have gone back to school and we’re all starting to hunker down as the chilly weather begins. It’s a time where some of us on our journey start to worry about being tested by the comfort foods of fall and a change in our exercise habits.

We know the change in seasons can be hard, so to help we’ve compiled some ideas on how to have a fun and healthy fall!

It’s A Great Time For Healthy Eating!A Day in the Pumpkin Patch

  • Pumpkins are in season and they’re not just great for carving! They are rich in beta-carotene and potassium – and don’t forget the seeds which are loaded with magnesium and taste great toasted!
  • Fall means the apple orchards are bursting. Apples are rich in vitamins such as, beta-carotene and B complex vitamins, as well as protective antioxidants. Include them regularly in your meals. They are also perfect for your lunch boxes and afternoon snacks.
  • Don’t forget your greens! Kale is packed with vitamins A, K and C. It’s also high in potassium and iron. Looking for a new healthy fall green to try? Make it Brussels sprouts. They are a virtual storehouse of nutrients and antioxidants including vitamins K, A and the B complex, not to mention iron.
  • Winter spices add comforting flavors to food, and researchers are finding they can be good for you. For example, scientists are studying turmeric – that yellow spice often found in warming curries for its potential to help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s. And, a recent study from Penn State University found those who consumed two tablespoons of cinnamon in their meals had 30% lower levels of blood fats! While you may not be able to include two tablespoons, just remember it as a key flavor for your fall recipes.

Resources:

Are you wondering how these nutrients and antioxidants help your body? Visit Nutrition.gov

To find out more on spices, WedMd has a handy guide and tips for including them in your recipes: Spices and Herbs Health Benefits

Looking for healthy fall food recipes? Visit Calorieking.com’s Recipe Library for some brand new fall recipes  or look to Eating Well for everything from healthy crockpot meals to comforting casseroles.

Fun Fall Exercise

  • Remember the pumpkins you will be adding to your healthy but comforting diet and carving into jack-o-lanterns? A great way for you and your family to have fun is to head to the pumpkin patch yourselves. Walking around searching for the perfect pumpkin is a fantastic way to sneak in some exercise.
  • Why buy apples from the store? If you live near an apple orchard it’s another opportunity to take the family out for exercise disguised as a great adventure!
  • There’s nothing like enjoying the fall colors. Take the entire family for a trail hike, or perhaps get away from it all on a special date walking through your local park.
  • The cooler weather is also a great time to pursue some of your favorite activities outside now that you can do so without the uncomfortable heat. Hiking, cycling, jogging, walking the dog, tennis, yoga – you name it and a sunny, fall day is perfect for it.
  • Even if your schedule has you too busy for a planned activity, try stepping out at lunchtime and walking about the block or your office complex.

Resources:

Here’s a great resource from the National Park Service to help you find your local park: Find A Park

Looking for a park specifically for the kids? Here is a “Map of Play” to help you find some safe, fun and unique playgrounds near your neighborhood: Map of Play

So You’ve Had A Slip Up. Now What?

We all work hard to stick to our calorie recommendations, log our food and keep up with our plan to get healthy. Sometimes, despite best laid plans life gets in the way. There’s an office birthday, you’ve had an argument with your kids or you’ve gotten caught in the rain. Any number of things can have us reaching for food to give us comfort. Read More »

Exercise and Learning To Pace Yourself

Many of you know that I’m on the healthy living journey right along with you. I was hit with a brain tumor a few years ago that has changed me fundamentally – and one of those things is my weight and exercise.

I used to be about 30 pounds lighter and loved getting out on a hike with the dog. But due to medication and lack of exercise due to pain, I’ve packed on the pounds and I’d love to get rid of them. That’s really an understatement…I’d love to blast that weight to oblivion. Read More »

New Study Confirms Keeping a Food Journal Helps You Lose Weight!

It’s been core to the CalorieKing Program since its inception – keeping a food journal. By recording what you eat you are accountable for the calories you eat and over time you gain CalorieKing Blog Food Journalsinsight into your cravings, triggers and general habits. It’s so important we’ve built the diet and exercise recording feature directly into our online program. Now a new study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center validates the concept of keeping some record of your food intake does help you lose weight.

Allan Borushek, dietitian and founder of the CalorieKing Program notes: Read More »