The Sandy 5…and what you can do about it

This morning I heard on the news that the latest buzzword is the “Sandy 5.” Remember the “Freshmen 15” – the weight gained by college students during their first year? Now it’s the five (or more) pounds New Yorkers gained during and after Hurricane Sandy.

Think about it: anxiety, stress, desperation, boredom. Yes, indeed, food will satisfy those emotions. But it doesn’t have to be junk food. (Of course, the fact that many households were stocked up on Halloween candy didn’t help the situation.)

If you can’t quite zip up your skirt, or you have to lie down on the bed to get the button on your jeans to close, relax. Don’t worry about the Sandy 5. Think about the five things you can do to release the weight.

1)      Breathe. Seriously, relax and take a deep breath. Don’t let the stress of the extra weight get you down. Acknowledge that you were really upset about the storm and ate in a way you don’t normally consume food. Keep breathing. Deep, full breaths.

2)      Start your day with warm water and the juice of ½ of lemon. This is an Ayurvedic tradition used to stimulate digestion and release toxins that may have settled in your digestive tract overnight. Also, lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings.

3)      Move your body. Don’t worry, you don’t need to haul your butt to the gym for three hours and do things you don’t want to do. What physical activity do you like? Walking? Running? Yoga? Dancing? Pilates? Pick what you like and do it. Every day. This is good for you whether you want to lose the Sandy 5 or maintain a healthy body, so why not?

4)      Reduce/eliminate sugar. I’m not suggesting you go cold turkey. That’s not necessarily the best thing to do. But be aware, be very aware of the sugar you do consume and reduce it. For example, if you are used to putting two teaspoons of sugar in your coffee or tea, put one teaspoon. I promise you won’t miss the extra sugar from a taste perspective, and your body won’t miss the extra pounds you’ve been carrying around since the storm as they begin to disappear. If you usually add one teaspoon, cut that in half to a ½ teaspoon. You could eliminate the sugar-y mid-day snack you are used to and replace that with a healthy smoothie or home-made trail mix.

5)      Sleep. Studies show that sleeping less than eight hours a night boosts the levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes us feel hungry, while suppressing the hormone leptin, which makes us feel full. In addition, a study at the University of Chicago Medical Center revealed that seven to eight hours of sleep helps to burn twice as much fat compared with five to six hours of sleep. Pleasant dreams.

Hurricane Sandy devastated so many across New York and New Jersey. Please don’t let the anxiety and stress of the storm damage your health. Don’t let the Sandy 5 become 10 or 15 so you feel out of control. Take back your power now. Here’s to your health! And the power of 5.

(If you are really feeling out of control since the storm and want to speak with me about your specific situation, please know that I am here for you. Click here to set up a time for a confidential phone call with me.)

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