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Pre-game for Thanksgiving / The Mom Vivant

From ABC 

Nov 22, 2013 12:50pm

Credit: Getty Images

By  ABC News’ David Zinczenko:

If you think about the latest financial advice you’ve received, it probably all sounds something like this: Stop buying lattes! Cancel cable! Live by candlelight and sleep in your coat! Seriously? When it comes to improving your financial situation, sure, you can spend less. But wouldn’t it be great if you could just earn more?

In a way, your belly is no different than your wallet. Practicing restraint is no fun, especially with the holidays upon us. The average American downs 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day — about 2,500 more calories than he or she does other days of the year. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bank enough caloric goodwill to simply erase those 4,500 calories from your waist, and linger at the table as long as you like?

Here are five painless ways to “pre-game” Thanksgiving. Try them for a week, and you can safely and easily bank 640+ calories per day in the seven days surrounding Turkey Day to make for a splurge that doesn’t inspire a purge.

Pull out your stretchy pants, kids!

1. Get Moving for 2.5 Minutes. The best way to earn more calories for turkey dinner is to increase your heart rate, and interval training has proved particularly beneficial. Research presented at the Integrative Biology of Exercise conference showed that people who did five 30-second bursts of max-effort cycling, followed by four minutes of rest, burned 200 extra calories that day. That’s just 2.5 minutes of work for a metabolism boost that will last 24 to 48 hours. Beginners may have difficulty maintaining the needed intensity for all 5 30-second bouts, so feel free to mix things up with your favorite cardio machine or hit the track. Consult your physician or trainer to make sure any workout plan is right for you.  Calories earned for Thanksgiving Blowout: 200

2. Drink two cups. Research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society showed that people who drank two cups of water before a meal wound up eating 75 to 90 calories less than they would otherwise. This may simply be because water is filling, but the added H20 may well be displacing calories otherwise spent on calorie-laden beverages. Calories earned for Thanksgiving Blowout: 225-270

3.  Eat before you eat. A series of studies at Penn State showed that eating an appetizer of soup, salad or even an apple can reduce total calorie intake over the course of the meal by up to 20 percent. But make sure to choose wisely: Pick low-calorie, broth-based soups, and stick to mixed greens with a simple light dressing of oil and lemon or vinegar. This concept of  Volumetrics, an eating plan focused on getting more mileage from eating low-density foods that leave you full, is based on a series of studies led by Dr. Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State and author of “The Volumetrics Eating Plan.” Calories earned for Thanksgiving Blowout: 134-187

4. Use the dessert plates. Guys, we have a plate problem. Over the course of the past 50 years, the average plate has grown from 9 inches in the 1960s to today’s 12. So what? Research printed in the journal Appetite found that, on average, people clean their plates 91 percent of the time, no matter how much food is on the plate and even if they are no longer hungry. Data from the study suggests that switching from a 12-inch plate to a 9-inch plate may help reduce caloric intake by up to 48 percent. I’ll take it! Calories earned for Thanksgiving Blowout: 275-350

5. Go to sleep 30 minutes earlier. Sleep deprivation has a profound effect on the way our brains respond to junk food. Even though we burn more calories while awake, researchers from the University of Colorado found that dieters consumed 6 percent more calories when they got too little sleep. For someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s 120 calories. Not only that, lack of sleep actually alters fat cells’ biology, aging them over time. Sleep requirements vary per person, but studies suggest a basal need of seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults. Calories earned for Thanksgiving Blowout: 120.

David Zinczenko is ABC News Nutrition and Wellness Editor and the author of “Eat It to Beat It!” To discover more hidden sources of sugar, and how to lose weight by skipping other ingredients in our everyday food, check out “Eat It to Beat It!” here.


A Vote for Conscience

As Secretary of State John Kerry testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, he vowed that authorizing limited strikes because of alleged chemical warfare attacks on children in Syria would not ultimately lead to American “boots on the ground.” Momentum is building and influential Republicans and Democrats are now on board including Sen. John McCain, GOP House Speaker John Boehner and the Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. While Sen. Richard Lugar is admonishing the growing voice of the isolationists within the Republican Party, particularly Rand Paul.

According to a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News, 66% of Americans do not support intervention, twice as many as were earlier opposed.

For her part, Pelosi is saying that Americans should have access to some of the classified information that is compelling members of both parties to do something. The evidence they are seeing, she says, leaves no doubt that chemical weapons were used to slaughter children. This is a fascinating juncture for a country whose financial problems are forcing across the board cuts, including to the military.

Most Americans don’t follow foreign affairs until they reach the crisis stage. The argument will be made that the U.S. is considering action because of her relationship with Israel. But the Secretary of State said today, he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has indicated, in the event that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad makes a “miscalculation” involving Israel, Israel is prepared.  Americans need to remember Israel has been wary of this unstable and dangerous neighbor, Bashar al-Assad, for years.  

The question is can the U.S. ignore a moral imperative? 


From Rosie the Riveter to Frontline Fems

From Rosie the Riveter to Frontline Fems

Newly inaugurated second term President Barack Obama is expected to propose changes to the role women currently play in the U.S. Military as early as Thursday of this week. Coming off a few days of being bashed for appointing too many white men to cabinet positions, the President is expected to announce that military women may be moving from support positions to direct combat positions. Apparently, the changes have been in the works for awhile and could open up 230,000 jobs. And according to a poll conducted by ABC News last year, nearly 3/4 of Americans now support women in direct combat. 

This is fairly radical stuff when you consider that just last year our elected officials were debating our access to birth control.  Access to Afghanistan, well, that’s a whole different story. 

The only other countries in the world that allow women to fight are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Israel. If you’re in Israel or the States, the need is clear. As far as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Norway, my guess is those women are doing more peacekeeping than fighting. 

Not to be left out of forward movement in female progress, even Syrian women are joining the fight. (Bad pun, i know) I just saw an interesting article on how Syrian women are bolstering the ranks of a depleted civilian volunteer force by taking up kalishnikovs in defense of President Bashar al Assad. Not even the Russians who’ve been selling the Syrians those guns are really behind Al-Assad anymore, according to CNN. But, in this article in the Washington Post,, Liz Sly reports, the fight over Assad has descended to the point where these women are pulling Sunni women out of their cars and tearing off their veils. Regardless of your position on US women serving on the front lines, I think we can all agree American gals would never stoop to this kind of behavior! 

We blogged awhile ago about how it might be time to bring some of our military moms home to help figure out how to avoid another school shooting but this announcement certainly provides an interesting twist in that discussion.