Turn over a new leaf... HEALTHFUL HABITS TO LOSE WEIGHT THIS FALL
The cooler weather of the fall season is more than just a great time to enjoy being outdoors before cold weather sets in. For many of the 65 percent of overweight Americans, the changing season is an opportunity to establish good eating habits and increase physical activity before the stresses and temptations of the holidays arrive.
Being overweight is about more than how you wear the latest fall fashions; it's about being healthy, which is why the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition (ACFN) is encouraging Americans to regard the seasonal shift as an opportunity to embrace new habits for a lifetime of wellbeing.
Obesity is driven by complex economic, cultural, social and genetic factors. Just as there is no single cause of obesity, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, bringing your weight under control can begin with a single, yet important step -- matching your food intake with your physical activity level. This is known as energy balance. "Those who achieve energy balance by burning off the calories they consume are more likely to maintain a healthy weight throughout the busy fall and winter holiday seasons," says Susan Finn, Ph.D., R.D., chair of ACFN.
Of course, even when we have good intentions to watch what we eat and stay active, real life can get in the way. Demanding schedules mean meals on the run, not around the table. Environmental or emotional triggers like stress or boredom can lead to overeating. Then we find refuge in front of the TV or computer rather than taking a walk or enjoying another calorie burning activity.
ACFN offers the following pointers to help Americans embrace the opportunity for better health this fall.
- Relish the colors of the season. Ravishing red, vivid orange and dazzling yellow don't just belong on the trees -- they belong on your plate. Apples, carrots, broccoli, cabbage and kale are often freshest in the fall. Eating five helpings of fruits or vegetables each day is a great way to keep calories, fat and cholesterol low while reaping great nutritional benefits.
- The air is brisk, are you? Most Americans don't move enough. Let the brisk air of fall motivate you to incorporate a walk into your daily routine. Walking for ten minutes will burn calories and get your muscles moving. Even better, walk briskly for 30 minutes to burn around 100 calories.
- School's in session and it's time for a multiple choice quiz. Today we have more and more options for healthful foods. Many food companies offer convenient portion sizes with specific calorie counts for both snacks and meals. Look for and choose healthy, tasty versions of your favorites -- many now have reduced calories, sugar and types of fat.
- Don't wait for the last leaf to drop -- start raking now! Yard and housework are great ways to stay active. Raking leaves for half an hour can burn 150 calories. Spend 15 minutes washing those windows for a better view of the changing foliage and you'll burn about 50 calories.
- Savor the unmistakable harbinger of fall, the smell of . . . grilling. The tradition of burning leaves in fall is highly discouraged for health and safety reasons, but now an even better aroma -- grilled foods -- can punctuate the crisp seasonal air. Grilling is a delicious and healthy way to prepare meats, fish and veggies, so don't put your grill into storage just yet!
"We all shift our routines in some manner when the seasons change -- the beginning of school, cooler weather and even new pastimes like watching fall sports affect our daily lives," continued Finn. "Seize this opportunity to turn over a new leaf and shed unhealthy habits -- and pounds -- this fall."
Courtesy Of ARA Content
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