Archive for March 24, 2010

What a Difference a Night Makes and Super Soups to the Rescue

   With March 20th marking the first day of spring, ads nagging us to get into shape for bathing suit season can’t be far away.  For me personally, that concept no longer computes.  Glute-lifting lunges aside, unless I hear about a dirt-cheap, non-invasive route to a thigh and derriere lift, this body isn’t likely to experience public bathing suit exposure again.  Ever.  But there is the thought of Capri pants and skinny jeans to be considered, so maybe it is a good time to talk about leaning up the cuisine a bit.

 Helpful hint number one:  no matter how nutritious our year-round food choices, northerners’ portion sizes tend to expand in inverse proportion to winter’s shortened days.  If we reverse that trend and pay attention to a few basic slimming guidelines, we’ll have it made in the … sun.  (Don’t forget to use a smaller plate when you are cutting portion sizes.) 

Hint number two:  a good night’s sleep is a vastly under-sung element in weight control.  Just think about how crummy the “spring forward” daylight savings changeover makes you feel.  I walk around crabby for three or four days until my sleep patterns adjust, and then I still feel tired for another week or so after that.  It all makes sense when you consider the powerful effects of sleep-related hormones:  people who sleep less generate more ghrelin, which signals an empty stomach, and less leptin, generating a false message that fat stores are insufficient.  No wonder I’m cranky.  I eat, but still feel hungry, and my sleep-deprived muscles – affected by higher cortisol levels and less efficient glucose metabolism – make working out feel like treading quick sand.  Nix these negatives by getting at least 7-1/2 hours of sleep every night.

 And number three:  fill up on soup.  It’s a great antidote to hunger, whatever its cause, and when you make your own, you can load it with low-fat broth and veggies, lean meat, and beans for fiber and satiety.  The high liquid content leaves you full to capacity, with no guilt attached – as sure-fire a formula for satisfying a grouchy brood as ever there was.  Two of my recent favorites are a variation on the same theme:  Slow-Cooked Pulled Chicken, Black Bean, and Vegetable Soup or Quick Turkey Cannellini Soup.  Add a slab of Dense Whole Grain Bread with a dab of Homemade Almond Butter and a small Hawaiian Sundae for a feast accompli.  Even that enticing commercial with the office full of Kit-Kat munchers won’t have any power over you after this comforting repast.  (more…)

March 24, 2010 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

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