How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During Thanksgiving

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During ThanksgivingFirst, let me start off this post by responding to a comment I received the other day. The commenter said that this blog has turned into an Onnit advertisement compared to what it once was. I agree that as my blog posts have become less frequent more have been focused towards Onnit than just general posts about staying healthy.

I have a list of topics I want to write about, and I also have a list of Onnit news that I think might appeal to readers of this blog. I can understand how my enthusiasm for the company, its products, Joe Rogan, and his podcast can seem purely like an advertisement, but my intentions aren’t simply to shill Onnit products.

I started out this blog as a way to answer the questions that I had about things related to health and fitness. Like, what is kale and why is it healthy? Why do my knees make so much noise, and should I be worried? How can I prevent a hangover? I’m going to tone down the Onnit posts and keep them limited to when an exciting new product launches and when the company has a sale on its products. I don’t need to cover the minutia of the company and every little product that it releases. I’ll steer this ship back towards what Tight Lightning once was and answer more of the questions I have about living a healthy life while limiting the posts that feel like ads to my readers. I hope that you guys will continue to visit this blog in 2014.

With that out of the way and off my chest, let’s talk about Thanksgiving. As a Canadian, I’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving. It was last month, I’m over it, and it wasn’t a big deal to me. To Americans though, it’s a whole other beast. It’s essentially the beginning of the holiday season. The family, the friends, the shopping and presents, and of course, the FOOD. I work in the food industry so I know how hard it can be to resist everything that will destroy your diet.

So what can you do during Thanksgiving to prevent yourself from ruining all the hard work you’ve accomplished this year? Here are a few ideas to keep you from gaining too much weight over the next month:

Exercise
If you don’t normally exercise on the weekend, maybe force yourself to, just as an added boost to help burn off the extra calories you consume during Thanksgiving. Do this either before the big meal or the day after, if you can muster up the motivation to do so.

Eat a Balanced Breakfast and Lunch
If you eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and follow it up with a filling lunch, you may be inclined to eat less during dinnertime. For breakfast and lunch, choose protein and whole grains to keep you feeling full right up until Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t Deny Yourself
It’s important that you don’t deny yourself of anything that you want during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. However, as I have talked about on this blog in the past, the key is moderation. Have one cookie, not four. Have a piece of pie, but skip the ice cream. Have a plate of dinner, but not seconds. Keep your portion sizes in control and give yourself a limit and you shouldn’t feel too badly once you head back to work after the long weekend.

Eat Slowly
Everyone knows that the slower you eat, the more time your body has to respond to what you put into it. You’ll feel more full quicker and end up eating less if you don’t inhale your dinner. So slow down, relax, and enjoy the time with your family and friends.

Don’t Get Drunk
Alcohol is not only full of extra calories you don’t need during the holidays, it can crush your willpower as well. The more inebriated you become, the more likely you are to eat what you otherwise wouldn’t, and you’re more likely to wake up hungover. What happens when you’re hungover? You crave more food and you definitely don’t exercise. It’s a slippery slope, so be careful.

Take a Picture
I’ll admit it, I have a picture on my computer of what I used to look like when I was about 20 lbs. heavier. I also have one for inspiration when I was at my prime. Where I’m at now is somewhere in the middle, but I can use both of the pictures to keep myself in check. One shows me what I can turn back into if I get lazy and unfocused, and the other shows me what I’m capable of when I set a goal and accomplish it.

And there you have it. Those are my suggestions on how you can keep your body and your diet in check during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. If you have any tips you’d like to share, feel free to post about them in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Healthiest Alcoholic Drinks

The Healthiest Alcoholic DrinksI’ll admit it, I like to drink. I go out occasionally, drink way too many pints, get bad food on the way home, and wake up the next day hungover. Of course that day becomes a write off as well, mainly because I’m too hungover to get out of bed and do anything, so I mainly lie around and eat even more bad food. As you can see, one night of drinking can lead to days of overindulging and thousands of extra calories consumed that you otherwise wouldn’t have ingested.

With this in mind, there are a few things you can do to bring down the total amount of calories you’ll take in during a night of drinking, or at the very least make some healthier choices. One of my favorite blogs, Gizmodo, put together a list of the nine “healthiest” alcoholic drinks that you can have when you’re going to tie one on. I put healthiest in quotes because there aren’t really (m)any alcoholic drinks that will have a positive effect on your health–especially when you’re drinking a lot of them at one time–but there are definitely ones that aren’t as bad as others.

The standard for anyone who’s watching their weight is the vodka soda. Vodka is a spirit with a low amount of calories (relatively speaking) and the soda has no calories. In my opinion, this is boring and only recommended if you are looking to get drunk quickly. You don’t really sit around sipping and enjoying a vodka soda.

As I said, Gizmodo has compiled a list of other drinks in addition to the vodka soda that will appeal to anyone who’s looking to take a healthier approach to drinking, opting for drinks made with fruits and vegetables–or just straight alcohol–rather than ones made with sugary fruit juice cocktails and soda. Check out the list complete with recipes at the link below.

Via: Gizmodo

Which Alcohol Has the Least Amount of Calories?

Which Alcohol Has the Least Amount of Calories?Have you ever seen an alcoholic or just someone who drinks a lot and thought to yourself “how does that guy stay so thin while drinking so much?” Beer and alcohol—especially when mixed with juice or soda—is packed with calories. Is there any way to drink and enjoy a night on the town while keeping your caloric intake to a minimum?

There are in fact ways to drink while on a diet and consume very few calories, but you need to choose your drinks wisely. First, you need to choose an alcoholic spirit with the least amount of calories. Vodka or gin is a good choice, generally containing 40% alcohol and between 95 and 100 calories per 1.5 oz. serving. Tequila also hovers around the 100 calorie and 40% alcohol per serving mark, with whiskey following close behind with around 100 -110 calories and 40-45% alcohol per serving. Another good option is rum, with Captain Morgan rum and Malibu rum containing 86 calories and 35% alcohol for the former and 81 calories and 21% alcohol per serving for the latter.

If you tend to shy away from hard liquor, there are some beers that contain about the same amount of calories in a 12 oz. serving. Light lagers such as Bud Light and Coors Light have 110 and 102 calories and 4.2% alcohol per serving, with Amstel Light coming in at 95 calories and 3.5% alcohol. Straight lagers like Heineken have more calories and alcohol with about 150 calories and around 5% alcohol per serving. Dark stouts like Guinness, Murphy’s, and Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout pack more calories per serving with anywhere between 128 and 171 calories per serving and 4-5% alcohol.

You will likely want to avoid ciders and other malt beverages if you’re counting your calories and trying to maintain your weight while drinking. Woodchuck Amber and Angry Orchard ciders have about 200 calories and 5% alcohol per serving, with Magners containing much less at 125 calories per serving but with only 4.5% alcohol. Malt-based beverages like Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade come in at nearly 250 calories with 5% alcohol with Four Loko being the worst of all with 337 calories and 12% alcohol per 12 oz. serving.

If hard liquor has too much alcohol for you and beer doesn’t provide enough, a good balance is wine. A 5 oz. serving of red wine has about 14% alcohol and only 120 calories. White wine, on the other hand, has a little less alcohol, usually around 12.5% per serving and around110 calories.

If you’re mixing your drinks, remember to choose your mix wisely. The more complicated the drink, the more calories it will contain. Lime juice will add about 24 calories per serving, and simple syrup will add 54 calories per serving. Juices will add another 100 or more calories per serving, and soda will add another 100-150 calories. As you can see, mixed drinks might go down easier but you’re adding a lot of empty calories.

To keep your calories to a minimum when you’re drinking hard liquor, choose to drink the alcohol straight on the rocks if you can handle it, or use club soda or diet pop as a mixer, as both have zero calories. Furthermore, remember to drink a glass of water in between each drink to keep your body hydrated. It will likely make the next day a little more tolerable since the major cause of a hangover is dehydration.

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How to Prevent a Hangover (And Feel Better the Day After)

How to Prevent a Hangover (And Feel Better the Next Day)Sunday morning after having a few too many rum and cokes the night before while watching the UFC, I started to wonder if there was anything I could do that would help prevent a hangover, or at least reduce the symptoms. As I get older I find that my hangovers are getting worse. No longer do I wake up with a mild headache after a night of pounding back beers. Now the whole next day could be a write-off as I lay in bed sleeping the day away, vowing that I’ll never drink like that again.

Of course I’ll drink like that again, but I’ll take some preventative measures, such as drinking more water. Everyone knows that a large part of the hangover is the dehydration from the alcohol. By having  a glass of water in between each of my alcoholic drinks, I reduce the amount of dehydration. I’ll also chug back a couple more glasses right before bed and hope for the best.

I used to reach for sports drinks like Gatorade the next day, but coconut water–such as Joe Rogan’s favorite C2O coconut water–provides the same benefits while being much healthier for you. Coconut water is comprised of (surprise!) mostly water, it’s low in calories, full of minerals our bodies need, and balanced out with electrolytes. Having a few cans chilling in your fridge for the next day will not only make you feel better, you can recover while knowing that your body is taking in vitamins and minerals that it needs rather than corn syrup, chemicals, and food dyes it doesn’t require.

That covers the hydration part of a hangover, but I also wake up starving. I’m usually craving pizza which works for me because it’s salty so it helps me retain water, lots of meat on top will provide me with protein, and it’s got a lot of carbs to raise my blood sugar to help reduce that groggy feeling. These are the three things you should consider when choosing a hangover meal: salt, protein, and carbs. Fortunately, there are a lot of delicious things that hit all those bases, so just remember to hydrate, eat, and you’ll slowly start to feel better.

What’s the one so-called cure that doesn’t work? Drinking more alcohol. Don’t do it! It will only make you feel worse and dehydrate you further.