Friday, February 20, 2009

Sweet Revenge

I have a notorious sweet tooth! One of the hardest challenges I face is convincing myself I don't really need that little sugar rush after every meal. I tried chewing gum: great, until the flavor wears off, and then I REALLY want something sweet. I've tried cutting out sugar all together. OK for some, but not realistic for me. Then one day I discovered something. If I have something sour at the end of my meal--the last taste in my mouth--I don't want anything sweet. So my secret weapon is a big jar of dill pickles that I keep in my fridge. They have to be kosher dill and they have to be cold. As a writer, I work at home and if I lose focus, I may wander through the kitchen, even though I'm not likely hungry. If I just feel like I have to eat something, I'll get myself a small plate, put a pickle or two on there, and maybe a handful of low fat whole grain Wheat Thins. Having it on a plate makes it look more substantial, and since we eat with our eyes first, this helps me feel satisfied. That sour taste just kills my sweet tooth and I can go back to my work without any more distractions. Pickles can be high in sodium, so don't eat more than a couple. And be sure to drink a little extra water. I figure it's worth it if it keeps me from downing half a bag of cookies in my quest to satisfy my sweet tooth!

Make Family Time Fitness Time

One of our family's favorite weekly activities is gathering to watch The Biggest Loser. Each season we have cheered at our favorite contestants' triumphs, and cried at their lack of success. I think it helps the kids understand that fitness is a commitment each of us must make, and take it seriously. We have followed the show on NBC and in reruns on other networks. Even though we know who's going to be eliminated, we still find the reruns just as inspiring as the new shows. In our time zone, TBL airs from 7 to 9 pm. Usually, I like to have the kids in bed around 8:30, but on Tuesday nights, we make an exception. For the first hour, we exercise during the commercials. Our son loves to do pushups on the medicine ball, rolling it back and forth between hands. Our daughter has her own version of pushups. Not quite the same, but she's only six. I think that at this stage, it's more important for her to get the idea that exercise can be fun, rather than crack down on proper form. She'll figure it out eventually. My husband and I might lift weights or use resistance bands. When the show comes back on, we finish our set. After 8, the kids know they are done exercising for the day. We like them to have the opportunity to wind down. Sometimes we'll pair up and let one team be the "trainers," while the other team follows their directions. My daughter and I might ask the boys to do stair laps or crunches, and then on the next commercial, it's the boys' turn to train us. Everyone works at their own pace, and it's fun.