Stop snacking, start listening to mom’s healthy living advice

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you 100 times…”

Mom always knew what was good for us. Most of the time, her wisdom was simply common sense, and as we know, common sense needs to be challenged.

“Don’t lick the frozen pole.” (Did it.) “Don’t put the pin in the socket.” (Did it.) “Don’t forget to invest early because your money will compound annually and yield dividends down the road.” (Mmm, let’s just say I will be working for a bit.)

Healthy living is much the same. Fads come and go but common sense lays a solid foundation — unless, of course, your common sense tells you that food options with the word chubby or decadent in their name add variety to your diet.

No pills, no tricks. The simplest solutions are the best.

A common challenge facing many people trying to lose weight is a faulty memory. They easily recall the nutritious foods they’ve eaten but seem to forget all of the extras. It’s the extras that pack on the weight, compounded annually unlike my retirement portfolio.

In the end, calories-in versus calories-out is an indisputable reality. The next time you claim to be a ‘healthy eater,’ make sure you didn’t mean “I have a healthy appetite.”

If healthier eating is one of your 2017 resolutions, make sure that you don’t fall into one of the snacking categories below.

The Sampler: Zigzagging from one taste table to another, the Sampler can consume an entire meal before they hit the big box checkout. When recently purchasing my 2017 toilet paper, I counted the following treats: decadent Crème Brulé cake, healthy apple slices (no takers), crackers & cheese, meat, bacon, more meat, pizza (with three meats), yogurt, bread with butter?, chips, moisturizer (don’t eat it), chocolate-covered blueberries and chocolate protein bars (must be healthy if there’s blueberries or protein in it, right?)

Tip: Snacking packs on the pounds. You can lose that Christmas weight without even lifting a finger if you just cut out the snacking.

The Foodie: Masking high calorie consumption in a veiled cloak of artistic expression, the Foodie sacrifices a healthy body weight for his or her art. “I simply appreciate good food.” As long as it’s unreasonably priced, even pedestrian foods such as mac & cheese makes the Foodie’s list.

Tip: Simply put, food is energy. Lately, eating has become a hobby. To stay balanced, divide your meals into fuel and fun. Budget for one to two meals a week that are social and fun. Colour, texture and creativity can be a part of every meal but not every meal needs to be a calorie-loading experience.

The Sommelier: See Foodie. Replace the word food with alcohol.

The Caregiver: Exhausted and deprived of sleep, the Caregiver shifts from breadwinner to social convener to taxi driver. To make matters worse, homework has come back into your life as a constant reminder that you never stop learning (personal growth is awesome!) Friday night can’t come soon enough with its seductive lure of pizza, TV and a couch.

Tip: Never tell the sleep-deprived they should try harder. Balance is the key. Take care of No. 1 and your priorities will change. (That’s why flight attendants tell you to buckle your seatbelt first during an emergency). Carve out time to nap, meditate, be active. It’s much easier to balance your meals when you’ve made an investment in your personal energy.

The Consummate Host: Not an office function or family event goes by without the culinary stylings of the Consummate Host. Even the most stoic health nut struggles to fend off brownies baked at midnight from scratch. “Come on Cheryl, just have one. She baked them at midnight for Pete’s sake. And look, she also made truffles!”

Tip: Ah, peer pressure. Let’s all grow bigger together. This is a tough one because fitting in is what it’s all about. A fitness colleague of mine carried around a half glass of dark soda at functions so that he would ‘fit in.’ The soda seemed to satisfy the critical eye of both Foodies and Sommeliers.

As many people discover over the holiday season, a little bit of extra eating often opens the door to a lot of extra eating. Once a pattern is established, it’s hard to break.

When tackling your resolutions this year, take a stab at the logical, simple solutions before you register for a half marathon. Cut the snacking and stick with what mom said: “Don’t eat that. It will spoil your dinner!”

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