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The Bullhorn, Issue #008 -- Monthly Motivator for November 2006
November 15, 2006

Just the right push to succeed!

Must We Gobble 'till We Wobble?

Well the holiday season is upon us….and if you’re like me…that might just scare you a bit. Here comes two straight months of big meals, constant snacking, and a food barrage like no other time of the year. My willpower crumbles under such forces as left-over Halloween candy, chips and dip, and what seems to be an endless supply of snack foods. So do we just accept the inevitable 5+ pounds…or do we fight back?

Thanksgiving dinner, alone, can easily include 2000-4000 calories. If you’re able to prepare the meal, you may be able to substitute skim milk and low-fat butter and cut down on the calories a tad. My downfall is all of the ‘picky’ foods that I inhale before the actual meal…the peanuts…the chips…the pretzels…the soda…the beer. These junk foods can really send the bathroom scale spinning…and that’s even before you get to the ‘good stuff’!

Personally, I’ve found that spontaneity is a great quality…except when it comes to eating! Sometimes a little planning ahead can save a pound or two…it’s well worth the time. Take a few minutes to see what types of food are worth the girth and which ones are not. Try to burn off some calories before the party…squeeze in an early morning workout before the feast…skip breakfast or lunch…try anything that can help the cause without ‘cramping your style’. To help you plan, here’s a breakdown of some of the typical foods you might consume next week:

  • Turkey breast (4 oz) – 200 cal …dark meat is 100 calories higher.
  • Gravy (1/4 cup) – 80 calories
  • Stuffing (1 cup) – 400 calories
  • Mashed potatoes (1 cup) – 300 calories
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes (1 cup) – 400 calories
  • Buttered Rolls (2) – 300 calories
  • Pumpkin Pie (1 slice) – 400 calories
  • Coffee (1 cup black) – 0 calories
  • Beer (12 oz) – 150 calories
  • Soda (8 oz) – 100 calories
  • Peanuts (2 oz) – 350 calories
  • Potato chips (2 oz) – 300 calories
  • Pretzels (2 oz) – 200 calories

So what can we do? Save yourself for the good stuff. Don’t cut out your favorites, but you may want to be conscious of the ‘fillers’. I can easily consume 2,000+ calories of filler-type snacks during the Thanksgiving football games without even realizing it. If stuffing or potatoes are your favorite, have a second helping…but try to pass on that second buttered roll. By cutting back on the fillers and non-favorites you'll help reduce the holiday belly!

I know there are some folks out there saying things like, “C’mon…live a little!” or ”have some fun!”…and I whole-heartedly agree. But why must we associate over-eating as fun? The difference between deprivation and gorging oneself can be measured in the thousands of calories and there’s plenty of fun to be had in between…before we wobble!

Click here for more Nutritional Data Tables

Get Up and Go!!

Sometime it seems like it takes minimal effort to talk myself out of a workout and maximum effort to take that first step. How many times have we used a myriad of excuses to keep us in our cozy bed or on the couch? I moved my alarm clock across the room to keep me from hitting ‘Snooze’ and going right back to sleep. I don’t know what it is about that infamous “first step”, but once I commit to getting out of bed…the rest seems to be downhill!

A lot of times, we let the fear of discomfort intimidate us. But the truth is that some of the most fun workouts are when the rest of the world stays indoors. Don’t believe me? Try watching the sunrise on a quiet morning jog or feel the refreshing rain as you run through the neighborhood or watch the snow silence an otherwise noisy world. These are some of the best times to ‘get out there’ especially when you have it all to yourself.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate that has 4 distinct seasons – get out there and enjoy the changes that come with each one! A hat and gloves can make a winter run very bearable. A thin wind-breaker will make a light rain barely noticeable. And a small water bottle can keep you going on even the hottest days. Weather can be one of my biggest mental hurdles, but by simply checking the forecast and lying out the right clothes the night before, almost every day is good for an outdoor workout. (**Now Showing in the Northeast US: The smell of autumn and the colorful leaves on tree-lined streets…what more motivation do you need?) It’s tough getting that first foot out of bed…but it’s well worth it!

To truly reap the long-term benefits of exercise, we need to keep getting up and we need to keep going. Some days when the weather, our schedule, or our moods provide an excuse not to exercise…we need to come up with some creative counter-tactics to motivate us. Lay your workout clothes out ahead of time – it’s a small ‘first step’ and it may be that mental push that you need in the morning. There are many times when I go out for a morning run promising myself that I only have to run for at least 5 minutes…knowing full-well that the first 5 minutes will quickly erase my groggy attitude. The chance of me turning back after 5 minutes of running and crawling back in bed are slim to none, and it usually only takes 5 minutes for me to get invigorated with a better attitude and some added energy. Yet it’s still enough to convince ‘groggy-me’ that I have the freedom to quit if I want to. Try it…it works.

Another obstacle that keeps us from starting is the false pretense that we need a piece of equipment or clothing before we can start. I know the hundreds of fitness infomercials out there would like you to think that you need their piece of equipment to look like their chiseled TV models, but think about it….what’s stopping you from going for a walk today? What’s stopping you from doing a short exercise routine? Chances are it would take you less than 5 minutes to be ready to go out for a walk. And morning calisthenics take only a few minutes before your morning shower. These simple exercises will cost you nothing and you can do them almost anywhere. Sorry, QVC!

So as you go through your day, seize those opportunities to fit in some exercise. Get some fresh air. Enjoy the tranquility of a morning walk or run. Do a few sets of calisthenics before you start your day. Enjoy the outdoors when few others do. Get up and go – it’s a great way to start your day. See you out there!

Exercise of the Month:
Body Dips!

Body dips are a great tricep, chest and shoulder exercise that can be done with minimal equipment. Using a stable chair, place your hands on the front corners and place your legs out in front of you. If you’re just starting out, try this with your knees bent (as shown). For added weight and benefit, keep your legs straight with your heels touching the ground. Slowly lower your body weight by bending your arms and keeping your elbows close to your sides. Raise your body back up to the starting position (arms straight) as you exhale. Do a comfortable set of repetitions and take short break between each set. Try to work up to 3 sets.

Sound Off!

Last week, one of our readers mailed us a nice note to let us know how "The Bullhorn" recently helped her regain motivation to get back on track with respect to her health and fitness goals. That’s great news! If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions…and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals. Have a happy & safe Thanksgiving!!

Keep up the great work & stay focused on your goals. Best of luck!

Encouragement to Succeed!

P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!

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