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PREPARE FOR AUTUMN

 

Wednesday, September 03, 2008.

 

By Tracy Parker

 

September’s back-to-school schedule can mean a hectic and high-pressure time for everyone. Whether you’re balancing your children’s agendas with work or you’re a student yourself, the ever-decreasing personal time can make weight loss a challenge. Simply put, we’re often too tired or too busy to cook a nutritious meal or fit in exercise.

 

Believe it or not, there is a bright side. You can use the routine of this time of year to your advantage. Although you can't make the days last longer, establishing a routine for your health and fitness activities can free up more time in the long run. This can also make you more productive and give you a greater sense of control.

 

So use the beginning of another school year as a fresh start for setting goals.

 

Check out our tips for better planning and turn potential September setbacks into successful solutions.

 

September Setback 1:

 

No time to fit in exercise between helping with homework and football practice.

 

Solutions


· Now that the summer holidays are over, more people are at home. So being active with friends and family is more practical. Plan a special activity, like a bike ride or hiking trip, with a group of people each week. Or set up a daily after-school or after-work walking club.

 

· Fit physical activities into your daily routine. Cycle or walk to school with the kids or to visit friends. Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, work, do homework or watch TV. Climb stairs instead of using the lift, for example. Aim to accumulate a total of 30 minutes of these types of activities every day.

 

· Make weekends your “family time” for getting active. Schedule fun ways to exercise and leave less open-ended time, which might encourage you to sit around and do nothing. Try a class together, go swimming or take up martial arts.

 

September Setback 2:

 

Less time to make nutritious meals.

 

Solutions


· Choose a day each week to plan your weekly meals. Develop a list of recipes (taking family members’ preferences into account) and categorise them according to preparation time, so you'll know which ones are the best options in a rush.

 

· Weekly menus eliminate that nagging "what am I going to make for dinner" feeling and allow you time to cook, not panic, in the kitchen!

 

· Select a time to do your shopping - preferably when the kids are otherwise occupied - and stick to a list. You’ll be able to complete the shopping with fewer distractions or temptations to buy extras. Another advantage of being a member with us is that a shopping list will be automatically generated for you (with the right quantities) according to your meal choices.

 

· Prepare some meals in advance and make enough to freeze them for another night. When those unexpected events crop up, like late practices or last-minute meetings, you’ll be ready and you can stay calm.

 

· Pack lunches the night before. If your mornings are chaotic and you typically end up bringing unhealthy convenience foods for lunch, prepare healthier sandwich fillings the night before. Simply fill your sandwich in the morning and pop in your lunch box with a crisp apple and a bottle of water.

 

· Keep a bowl of fresh, appealing fruit on the table and sliced fresh veggies in a sealed container in the fridge. When they’re at the ready, you’ll be more likely to choose diet-safe snacks - it’s better for you and your family.

 

September Setback 3:

 

Busy schedules that mean missed meals.

 

Solution


· Missing meals can mean that you go for the quickest thing to hand – and that’s more often fast food than good food! Keep a piece of fruit, a cereal bar or a wholemeal roll with honey in your bag, on your desk or in your car to avoid those snack attacks. These should keep you going until you can make a healthier choice.

 

September Setback 4:

 

Starting or returning to college.

 

Solutions


· If you have use of a microwave or refrigerator, you can be minutes away from a healthy meal. Keep your digs stocked with breakfast cereal, pasta, canned fish, yoghurt and fruit. These are ideal for quick meals that won’t break the bank.

 

· Low fat cereal bars are ideal for mornings when you’re running late for class.

 

· Stuff your bag with good-for-you snacks so you don’t go long periods without eating, only to end up eating too much at your next meal.

 

· Watch out for extra calories from alcohol. Always drink in moderation.

 

· Set aside separate times to eat and study. This will prevent eating when you are not really hungry and allow you to focus on your studies and your meals.

 

· Keep up your exercise - 15 minutes a day can keep weight gain at bay! Know your schedule, since you will have times with no classes. Instead of meeting for coffee, make use of the free gym facilities or try a new sport. It’s a good way to make new friends and keep active.

 

Please email comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com

 

 

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