The New Year is just three days away. Cheers to that LifeVest friends! We can’t wait to kick off 2015 with you. We’ll be helping you do some goal-setting in the weeks to come, and preparing you for your best (i.e. healthiest) year yet. But first, let’s talk New Years Eve, the day when more bubbles than ever are expected to be poured into flutes, glasses, and other tools for cheersing. Fun fact: 25% of all Champagne sold annually in the U.S. is purchased between Christmas and New Years Day.
Whether you’ll be popping some bubbly or enjoying another favorite beverage, let’s go into the countdown educated about what may be flowing into your glass. If you’re curious about calories like us, check out our comparison chart below. The biggest takeaway here, however, is to remember both mindfulness and moderation.
The best way to not just slim down, but keep that weight off, is to stick to a steady and achievable weight loss goal. Experts say aiming your efforts to lose within the one to two pound range per week is ideal.
So, what exactly will that take? The solution to lose one pound is as straightforward as cutting and/or subtracting 3,500 calories per week. With simple math, we can break that down into a burn of 500 calories per day, and we’ve got you covered with some activities to do just that below. Choose your favorite, and see your way to a slimmer, long-term you.
1. Zumba: One hour, moderate intensity; 536 calories
Love to dance? For many, Zumba helps burn calories without ever feeling like a chore. The fitness activity combines choreographed dance and aerobics to get your heart rate going and your dancing feet moving. You might even learn a new move or two that you can use on your next night out on the town. Find a class near you, here. To ensure you’re reaching a moderate intensity and burning those 500 cals/hour, you should be able to talk, but not sing throughout your workout. For even more of a burn, power it up further to high intensity, which will mean you’ll feel slightly out of breath and unable to engage in conversation during the routine.
This Thanksgiving, we encourage you to give thanks to your health, your greatest asset in life.
Below, find six ways you can be mindful of that, and create a healthier, happier Thanksgiving for you and your waistline.
Make the Most of Your Morning: Yoga & Yogurt
Start off strong by fitting in an a.m. stretch session when you wake up. This will leave you feeling relaxed, yet energized for the day ahead. Then follow it up with a healthy breakfast. Skipping this meal to save calories for later in the day can end up leading to an even higher intake overall, since hunger often results in overcompensation at the main meal. Try adding sliced bananas, cinnamon, walnuts, and a slight drizzle of honey to a bowl of plain, low fat Greek yogurt. Six ounces of Greek yogurt contains around 15 grams of protein, which will not only fill you up but also help keep you feeling satisfied until later in the day.
Between hot dogs on the grill, beer in the cooler, and chips on the picnic table, we all know how easy it can be to take in excess calories at those summer BBQs. But how about shedding a few extra calories instead? That can be easy too, and just as social as clinking glasses with your neighbor next door. With the 10 lawn games below, we guarantee you’ll fit in a few laughs while sizzling away some calories. Do an energetic victory dance once you win, and you’ll burn even more. And probably add another laugh to your day, too.
So as August kicks off this weekend, forget spending summer sitting around stagnate in lawn chairs. Invite a few friends over or meet at the park. And whether you want to become a croquet champ or you’re more of a frisbee fan, let the games begin.
Oh, and if you’re ready to play with the big boys, we also recommend considering this.
10 summer lawn games that burn an easy 150+ calories
By Lizzie Meyers
Sure, a day devoted to eating those savory, homemade dishes we wait for all year seems pretty ideal in theory. However, the unfortunate reality of Thanksgiving comes with the adverse effects the typical feast has on heart health. In fact, the American Heart Association has reported that the risk of a heart attack quadruples in the two hours after eating a particularly heavy meal. Those special holiday dishes are extra delicious for a reason: they tend to be chock-full of fat and sodium, two of your heart’s worst enemies. That’s not to say that the entire buffet table is off limits. Let’s get real, that would be downright torture! Certain Thanksgiving dishes are more detrimental to your heart’s health while others fair relatively safe. To determine what falls where, here’s a heart-healthy guide of dos and don’ts for a happy Thanksgiving:
- Do opt for the white meat of the turkey because it is much lower in cholesterol than the dark meat on the leg and thigh.
- Don’t eat the skin. No matter how crispy it looks, remind yourself that the cholesterol and saturated fats that come with it are certainly not worth it.
- Don’t drench your meat in gravy. This sauce, if made traditionally, essentially consists of the excess grease and fat from the turkey. Needless to say, it can be hard on the heart. Try to resist this topping, or at the very least, limit yourself to just one tablespoon for the whole meal.
The Side Dishes
- Do load up on veggies. The brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and salad are the safest bets in keeping your heart happy throughout the meal. Try to make sure there are more colorful veggies than anything else on your plate, and skip the fat/sugar loaded casseroles.
- Do enjoy some cranberry relish as long as it is homemade. Cranberries have been found to have some heart health benefits, but the amount of refined sugars that tend to be added to canned relishes simply counteract the berries’ health benefits. While the homemade sauces may require some sugar, they likely contain less simple sugar and the real cranberries will give your heart a boost.
- Don’t overdo the stuffing. I know that’s easier said than done, but the chicken broth, white bread, and sausage in the traditional version make for a sodium and fat-packed concoction that can send your cholesterol skyrocketing. Your heart will thank you if you allow yourself just a spoonful with your meal.
No matter how stuffed we are after the huge feast, it’s somehow still impossible to resist the wide selection of desserts that follow. Before taking a slice of (every) pie, remind yourself of these tips.
- Do eat that slice of pumpkin pie, guilt free, if your sweet tooth has you screaming. The pumpkin filling is naturally full of fiber and one slice of the delectable treat is much lower in calories and fat than any of the other contenders.
- Don’t indulge in a big hunk of pecan pie. One slice can contain up to 27 grams of fat and enough sugar to practically supply a household skittles factory.
Are you the chef this Thanksgiving? If so, EatingWell.com provides a few helpful tips and recipes to make this the heart-healthiest Thanksgiving yet!