Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall into a Healthful Season

As the weather gets cooler, we typically tend to stay inside more, eat heavier and richer foods, and sit on the couch watching football and all the new fall television shows.  Also, the cooler weather allows us to hide any extra pounds with sweaters, jackets, and long pants.  And this is only the beginning of a very extravagant few months starting with Halloween going into Thanksgiving and ending with Christmas and the New Year.  But, we don’t have to automatically give in to the abundance and allow our health to go by the wayside.  If we focus on our personal health, we will start 2013 without the regret and extra weight. 

I encourage everyone to take advantage of the abundance of fantastic fall produce and gorgeous autumn weather.  Here are some ways to get the benefit of this season and have a happy Halloween without the wicked weight gain:
  • Some of the most nutrient-rich foods are in season during the fall months.  Opt for squash (of any variety), sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, pears, apples, and plums.  It’s easy to eat for this season because all the colors that remind us of fall are the ones to eat now – bright orange, deep red, and rich green.  Remember that the darker the vegetable or fruit – the higher the antioxidants and more vitamins it has.  For you Hairspray fans or those who listened to Tupac in the ‘90’s, then you know “the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice”!  Since the produce is in season, it is cheaper and will taste better, so you don’t need extra butter or sugar to make them taste good.
  • Enjoy the fall weather as much as you can – the days are only getting shorter.  So, take advantage of any daylight we have now before we lose that hour of daylight in the evenings (DST ends November 4th).  Go out and take a walk to watch the sun set, rake leaves just to let your kids (or grandkids/nieces/nephews/neighbors) jump into the pile, walk through a pumpkin patch, winterize your house by cleaning up the yard, windows, basement, and attic.  Getting rid of some of that clutter will burn calories – and reduce your fire hazards! 
  • Commit your extra hour to your health.  As I mentioned, Daylight Savings will end November 4th.  While we miss the daylight in the evening, we will enjoy an extra hour that weekend.  So, make a commitment that you will dedicate that extra hour to doing something healthy – get in some extra physical activity, plan your family’s fitness calendar for the entire month, plan and post your family’s home-cooked meals for at least one week, go to a farmer’s market and pickup fresh, nutrient-rich produce, or cook a healthful meal with your loved ones. 
  • Watch eating too many empty calories around Halloween!  I always buy candy that I don’t like for the trick-or-treaters.  That way I’m not tempted to eat what they don’t.  Also, if you happen to have candy in the house that you like, don’t open the bag until the night of Halloween, or wait until the last minute to buy the candy. 
  • Allow yourself 3 or 4 pieces of candy on the night of Halloween.  Spread out each piece so that you have a treat planned throughout the night.  Some of your best bets if you do eat candy: twizzlers, tootsie rolls, junior mints, york peppermint patties, jolly ranchers, and dum dums.  Remember that your teeth suffer just as much as your belly with too much candy.  So spare your doctor and your dentist and limit your intake of the sugary treats.  I suggest popping some popcorn and snacking on that throughout the evening rather than candy.  Also try brushing your teeth or chewing a piece of sugar-free gum before the trick-or-treaters start arriving – the candy won’t be as tempting with a minty fresh mouth. 
Autumn is a beautiful season that brings many changes and opportunities.  Don’t let this be a season you fall into poor health habits – fall into a healthful routine that will keep you healthy this season and many more to come.  Want more tips or help falling into your healthful season?  Go to http://www.coachdconsulting.com/Services.html to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and it’s the season to avoid wicked weight gain and fall into health!