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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Christmas Fitness
by Jason Meuschke

The Holidays are here again. Time for family get-togethers; gifts, holiday cheer, and . . . all the food you can eat! Of course the latter isnít exactly the best idea, especially for us writers who spend the greater part of our day sitting at a desk.

Itís almost like our ancestors purposely planned Thanksgiving and Christmas to be close together so instead of maybe one "fat day" per week, we get a whole month! Or maybe you plan to gorge yourself at Thanksgiving feasts, then work it off before Christmas so you start over again. That never works because New Years is just a week away and itís so easy to replace exercise with leftovers and plan yet another resolution.

"Whatís wrong with that?" some might say. Nothing really, IF you honestly stick to the resolution. Last November I not only celebrated my 30th birthday, but also a total loss of thirty-five pounds throughout the year and was in the best shape Iíd been in since high school.

I canít tell you how many people asked how I did it sitting at a desk and spending all my time at home. "What magic pills are you taking?" Then there was the disappointed look on their face when I told them there was no secret. Everything I did to lose weight Iím sure weíve all heard at some point.

First thing, is to evaluate what youíre eating. Is it soft drinks, chips and fast food, or are you eating wisely like lean meats, and plenty of fruits and veggies? A quick way to lose five pounds is eliminating things you donít need like sodas, snacks, and extra desserts. Plus I noticed drinking sodas still left me feeling thirsty, but once I switched to water or tea (minimal sugar only if I needed it) I wasnít feeling that way.

Second, eat smaller meals more often. I know this sounds silly but itís absolutely true. I went from the basic three meals a day to four and sometimes five! Now Iím not talking about the big family meals, I mean smaller, like a light sandwich with an apple kind of meals. Sometimes Iíd even have one of those little Slim Fast meal replacements instead. At 220 calories theyíre perfect for mid-day meals.

Let me explain; when you eat three meals a day, typically theyíre on the medium to large size. By the time you have lunch or dinner youíre feeling the hunger so you eat your fill. Your body may be hungry at that time but it will only process a portion of that meal and the rest gets stored as fat. Especially those with slower metabolisms.

Your metabolism, in simplest terms, is your bodyís treadmill. It can go slow or fast and it burns stored fat for you even when youíre resting. How much fat it burns depends on itís speed. Hereís where the smaller, more frequent meals come in. Remember I said your body will only process so much of your meal if you eat big, the rest gets stored. So if you have smaller meals, the body can process it promptly thereby allowing your metabolism to get into the stored fat quicker. Of course you might feel hungry again in a few hours but thatís another reason you have more meals, but the main reason behind this is that eating less more often will in fact raise your metabolism! With a boosted metabolism, your body will burn more fat more often and you gain more energy to boot! Strangely enough I found that by eating this way I rarely felt hungry and after a while I COULDNíT eat as much as I used to.

Third on the list is the always dreaded word, EXERCISE! Relax, you donít have to kill yourself in the gym for hours on end to get the results you want. Not all of you will have access to a great gym like I do here on an Air Force base, but surprise surprise, I rarely go! I just donít have the time (or make the time) to get there so I have my own home gym in the basement. Hereís another surprise for you; you donít have to have a home gym either!

In fact you need nothing to start out but some loose clothing. Hereís the key so pay attention. Just 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day, at least three times per week will get you on the road to slimming down. So if you donít have any equipment or access to some, go for a walk or jog, itís that simple! If you have a little money you can spend on equipment I recommend heading to your nearest Wal-Mart (Wal-mart are you listening?). For about $100 you can get a fantastic machine called a Recumbent Bike. This bike differs from traditional exercise bikes in that instead of a small, uncomfortable seat, you get a chair-like seat that you sit back in with the pedals in front, rather than below. It also features an arm on each side of you, in-which tension can be lowered or raised, to work your upper body at the same time. I got one of these last summer and itís a great cardio exercise as well as comfortable, and it fits in my office!

Doing any of these three points will help your overall health as well as reducing body fat, however doing all three is best. Also, if youíre serious about dropping some pounds and getting into shape and staying that way, adding weight training is a must. Donít fall into the myth that if you work with weights youíll turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger over night. Hands down the absolute best way to burn body fat is a cardio-weight training mix. Donít worry about time, you can do plenty of exercise in only 30-45 minutes or even split it into shorter 10-15 minute intervals throughout the day. Thatís not too long to be away from what youíre writing, now is it?

Bottom line, a healthy lifestyle IS POSSIBLE even for writers during the holidays. Itís okay to cheat a little now and then on your diet, and itís recommended to take a break from exercise periodically to rest the body (a few days to a week every 6-8 weeks of training), but stick to it. Besides, through eating right and exercise, the blood can flow better through the body which includes bringing oxygen to the brain. So youíll not only get in shape, but you might just tap into that award winning story just waiting to get out!

About Jason Meuschke: "A veteran of the US Air Force, I married my high-school sweetheart, Holli, and am the father of three, Devin, Anni and Kayli. After years of searching for 'the right job', I decided to pursue my dream of being a writer. My wife joined the USAF, in part to free-up my time to study through home-courses with the Institute of Children's Literature. I graduated in May '01 and am feverishly working to finish my first book. In my spare time I work on other book ideas and also write a commentary-type column for http://www.maddogschiefs.com. My dream is to be able to give my wife the same opportunities she gave me so that she too can reach for the stars. I love you, Holli."









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