10/23/13

Weighty Wednesday -- Hibernation Effect

Holiday season is here, Or as I'm fond of calling it -- CANDY SEASON.

It starts with Halloween and ends with Easter. November and January are lighter months, but the other months make up for it.

And, of course, I make candy.

How can you make candy without tasting the product? 

You can't. Though I don't usually eat a whole piece of the final product, I do take a destroyed one (usually cracked in the freezing process), cut it open to see how the filling holds in the candy, how it looks against the chocolate coat, and then taste a sample of the piece to decide how the flavors meld together.

--this last step is how I decide what type of chocolate covers the filling. If my filling is tart (Limoncello, Key Lime, Bronx Cheer {raspberry}), or pepperminty, and I know it will stand up to the dark chocolate flavor, then I will mold it in dark chocolate. I tend to mold Cup 'o Joe in white chocolate, because who doesn't like vanilla cream flavor in their coffee? Almost all the other flavors I make will go in milk chocolate--the velvety creamy texture combines well with all the other flavors.

And it's not just the fact that candy will be laying around the house for the next few weeks, waiting for Halloween, plus the post-Halloween extras.

--I make a point of having hubs hide the six MONGO-sized bags of candy from Sam's Club, but if he can't hide it, I make a point of 1) NOT OPENING IT, or in a moment of weakness when I open it, I make a point of 2) barely slicing open the end and using my heat sealer to cover the evidence.

Yeah, this old dog has some tricks.

The toughest part of this season is what I like to call the HIBERNATION EFFECT.

With less sunshine, we tend to become sluggish, lethargic, eat comfort food to excess, and not really care about our health. Who wants to exercise?

Only those freaks who live to exercise, that's who.

Okay, I like to walk outside. When it's spitting rain, or the wind is blowing at 50 mph from the north, and it's in the 40's or lower, I don't particularly like to walk on those days, but I still do it.  

It's a habit. And a good one. So I'll keep doing it. . . though I might change the time of day until after the watery sun warms the land just a little bit.

And I hate going to the gym more than I hate freezing my butt off in the nasty weather!

It's a tough time of year when it's dark when we go to work and dark when we get home. We put on our sweats, yoga pants or fuzzy jammies with the expandable waists and go to town in the pantry while we watch TV, or play video games, or sit and read in the evening .

Tis is the season of soups, stews, and all sorts of casseroles. The urge to bake luscious desserts, or just a batch of cookies, is upon us, as the heat from the stove provides comfort along with the food that warms our tummies.

The key to surviving the season is to have a PLAN.

Plan to eat all five servings of fruits and veggies daily. With the modern convenience grocery stores, there is no excuse that you can't get fresh fruit and veggies . . . unless you live in the boonies. A fresh salad before dinner will help fill you up.

Plan to drink plenty of WATER. This is tough since we don't think to keep hydrated in winter, but your skin will thank you. Here's my trick to drinking water on my walks: I fill my aluminum water bottle with HOT tap water. Mile one, the water is very warm, but cools enough by miles two through four to comfortably drink. The container holds 3 cups of water, which is half of the recommended daily amount of fluids.

Plan to make time for exercise. Look, just parking at the back of the parking lot and walking into the grocery store is better than nothing. Walk around your house. Walk the mall a few times before you shop. If you have a second story in your house make a point of walking upstairs to go to the bathroom. Every little movement is better than none at all.

And the biggest challenge of the season is PORTION CONTROL. If you haven't been practicing this little beauty, now is the time to start. I know you want another bowl of stew or soup or another scoop of that chicken enchilada casserole, but do you really NEED it? Are you hungry? Or did it just taste so good that you just want more to satisfy the pleasure center of your brain? Wait a few minutes before you head to the kitchen for seconds. Drink some water. Enjoy family time. Or get more of that lovely green salad instead. Do anything to get past the few minutes of wanting something, but not needing it.

Another trick is to use a ladle that has four or eight ounces marked. Use this to measure your amount of soups or stews. I know WW sells scoops that have specific amounts marked. Buy a set. Oh, and when you measure, don't make it a HEAPING scoop. We're talking level scoop. Use a knife to level it off if you can't trust yourself.

I know the food tastes good--that's what got us into this weighty predicament--but you need to have control over the food, not vice-versa.

This is a challenging season. I know you can do it, because I'm right there with you.

And the sun is up enough for me to change and go on my walk.

Later, Peeps!

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