By Steve Rafferty
As the summer comes to a close, we as Americans will experience the traditional changing of the seasons. From one “eating season” to another, that is. All the bacon, beer, bacon, brats, bacon, ribs, and cake will be replaced by more bacon, more beer, more cake, Halloween candy, bake sale leftovers, holiday cooking, and several dozen deviled eggs. With a little know how and some good old fashioned self-discipline, you can still enjoy the spoils of the harvest while packing up that beer gut for next year.
The human machine is an amazing thing. It’s been analyzed down to an atomic level so that everything has a story of how it works. The story of losing your gut the natural way, is actually the story of learning how to eat. It would seem that eating shouldn’t have to be taught, but it really helps to know what to eat, when to eat it, and why. Follow these tips consistently and you’ll be more body smart and brain fit.
#1) The Nine O’clock Rule
Everyone has cravings. And almost everyone satisfies those cravings, either with a bag of Funyuns and a tall can or half of a Marie Callender’s chocolate truffle cream pie. You must say no to it all after 9PM. And if you work nights then just remember not to eat anything at least three hours before bed.
The Reason: When we sleep our body is still burning energy from our day, among many other things. So by giving it Slim Jims and Ho Ho’s (Ugh…) late at night, it will store that food much like a piece of luggage that’s too big for the overhead compartment. A good eight hour session of uninterrupted sleep will allow your body the time it needs to kick start the fat burning cycle your about to embark upon.
The Advantage: No bad taste of dried salsa in your mouth in the morning and your body had a chance to burn off all that other stuff you ate during the day. Hopefully it was healthy stuff, don’t worry we’ll get to that.
#2) Breakfast: Eat it
You have heard it all your life, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But ask the one saying it why, and you’ll likely get an answer like, “Uh. Well, because it is!” Thank you Doctor Pancake. Although your findings are conclusive your analysis is quite flat sir.
The Reason: It’s simple really. Breakfast is human fuel. All night your body has been working to process yesterday’s fuel, and is now primed and ready for maximum efficiency. By having something basic like a banana, a bagel, and a glass of milk you jump start your metabolism for the day and will actually burn more calories throughout the day.
The Advantage: More energy, less cravings, better vibes. Have you ever noticed how if you are in a bad mood and you happen to be on the way to dinner, when you finally eat you’re not so upset anymore? Food satisfies emotional states that can be caused or amplified from simply not eating. So please, eat something before you start your day, for everyone else’s sake at least.
Oatmeal, eggs, fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, cereal, yogurt, juice, or a crazy smoothie you concoct combining those things will greatly serve you in your pursuit for dropping those pounds. Mmm, egg smoothies.
#3) Embrace the Snack Attack
Even a good breakfast conscious person suffers the occasional snack attack. So for once give in, just do it wisely.
The Reason: When building a routine for your body it’s good to keep it working at what you want it to do as much as possible. Like blasting away calories as if it was playing an old school game of Space Invaders. Snacking can actually keep your metabolism, our favorite word by-the-way, in a constant state of work. This helps the overall efficiency of food breakdown and will result in longer lasting energy.
The Advantage: You don’t have to feel like you are starving yourself and if you do snack you won’t feel bad. Just don’t make your snack an extra large bucket of movie buttered popcorn and you’ll be on the right track. Try carrot sticks, fruit (fresh or dried), nuts, cheese, yogurt, or any variety of the 100 calorie bags snack makers now have. Add a glass of water when you indulge and you’ll be back to using company bandwidth to book that ‘entertainment’ for the Christmas party in no time.
The most important part of these exercises is consistency. In following any program or adopting new habits you have to be diligent and stick with it before you expect to see results. If your summer consumption montage video looked like something from a Man vs. Food marathon then it will take some dedication, not to mention exercise, to rein it in for the fall. Hey, there’s still eggnog to get in shape for.