Life in the fast lane

Life in the fast lane = weight gain

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Xmas as the social engagements ramp up along with a little too much festive fair…

Herewith some top tips to help you through.

Are you a speed eater?

If your waistband gets tighter with every holiday party, give yourself an infringement notice…for speed eating that is! It’s tempting to blame your aunt’s famous pavlova and that box of Quality Streets in the office tea room for seasonal weight gain, but a compelling new Greek study suggests that how fast you eat may be as important as what you put on your plate (or eat right out of the bag, carton, or box).

Researchers already know that speed eaters are twice as likely to be overweight as those munching leisurely. Now they know why: Scoffing down food faster than a greyhound racer reduces the release of appetite-regulating hormones into your bloodstream. These chemicals normally tell your brain to get your hand out of the bikky barrel, quick smart. You need them more than ever during the all-you-can-eat buffet that is BBQ season. Yes, the one that makes 90% of us gain anywhere from 1 – 3 kgs or more during just 5 weeks or so (I think I may have peaked early this silly season…).

On one day of the new study, volunteers wolfed down 2.5 scoops of ice cream in 5 minutes flat (I guess somebody had to do it). On another, they made the treat last for 30 minutes (can you imagine doing this in Perth weather?). The Athens University scientists measured blood levels of two types of appetite-lowering hormones (PYY and GLP-1) before and after and discovered that when people slowly savoured their ice cream, the hormone levels were 25% to 30% higher.

PYY and GLP-1 are two of more than a dozen hormones responsible for feeling full and satisfied. Other mechanisms, such as stretch receptors in the lining of your stomach, play important roles, too. Fortunately, we know more than ever about how these checks and balances work — and how modern food choices and eating habits can short-circuit them. There’s no better time to help your body’s natural appetite-control system along.

Spoil your dinner

“Spoil” your dinner with a handful of nuts. Munching on the right snack, like 70 calories of nuts 20 minutes before a meal, jump-starts the release of feel-full hormones, so you’ll eat less when you get to the table. That lets you eat for pleasure rather than vacuum down everything in sight because you’re soooo hungry. Great choices: 6 walnut halves, 12 almonds or 4 Brazil nuts (your thyroid will be grateful). Or you could try making my festive nuts (hard to stop at just a few though!).

Begin with a crunch. Like last year’s bathing suit, your stomach can only stretch so far. Filling it with chunky, low-calorie, raw veggies, activates stretch receptors that send a signal to your brain that you’re full to the brim. Studies have found that people who start meals with a large low-cal salad eat 12% fewer calories during the meal than those who skip the strategic bowl of leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and capsicum.

Dine in the slow lane. Leisurely munching isn’t rocket science: Take small bites, chew thoroughly and put utensils down in between bites. Our fast-food culture trains us to do the opposite, gulping at warp speed like a hungry Golden Retriever with a stolen Christmas ham. To really get into slow eating, focus on the whole experience. Fill your senses — notice the colours, aromas, flavours, textures and temperatures of foods before and while you eat them.

Fill your tank to 80%. Ever notice that when you eat ’til your buttons burst, your stomach feels fuller and fuller for nearly an hour afterwards? That’s delayed-reaction satiety. Harness it by stopping your next meal when you’re just 80% full. Wait 20 minutes and…I promise, you will feel fully satisfied. In Japan, they call this trick hara hachi bu and consider it a key to longevity

Keeping calm

The Xmas period is meant to be a joyful time of year, but even the most enjoyable holiday season can be stressful at times. Last minute gift buying, entertaining friends and family and the travel associated with this time of year can get a bit overwhelming.

While a little stress can actually be good for you, it’s important not to let these situations get the better of you. Without further ado, here are my top tips for managing silly season stress.

  • Get plenty of rest – sleep deprivation makes it much harder for you to manage even the smallest stressors.
  • Stick to a budget- nothing like money worries to put a dampener on Xmas cheer.
  • Relax and go with the flow
  • Try not to overeat or drink – the key phrase here is “all things in moderation”.
  • Don’t deny yourself (I may be the mistress of this – not denying myself that is…)- allow some indulgences, relax a little and have some treats. Factor them in so that you don’t resent the situation and you will be far more likely to last the distance and stay in control.
  • Bump up the exercise – we have beautiful long summer days so we can squeeze in an extra 30mins in the morning when we first wake up or of an evening when we get home.
  • Develop an attitude of gratitude. I would just like to take this moment to thank Lesley for being such a rock star (and a rock) over the past 10 years.

If it all gets too much remember Vitamin B is a great thing to have on hand to help with stress and fatigue.

Whatever your plans are for the festive season, we wish you all the very best and hope that 2020 is filled with love, laughter and abundantly good health.

Yours in good health,

Marnie and Lesley.