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The danger zone

By Sonia Salfity - Jan 14,2018 - Last updated at Jan 14,2018

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

Being reactive can constitute either a positive or a negative response. If you are accidentally touching the scorching hot burner on your stovetop, then reacting quickly by removing your hand is a positive response. Maintaining a three-metre radius from the stove to prevent yourself from getting burned is a negative response. Both will save your flesh from burning and scarring. Getting burned is just a fact of life if you are going to spend any considerable time cooking in the kitchen, but you can learn how to prevent and reduce harm.

We all have Danger Zones as dieters that need to be identified. That way, when were are near them, we can protect ourselves just like we do in our kitchens. Let us programme our brains to go into protection mode so that we stop ourselves from engaging in harmful behaviour.

Here is a list of protective behaviours I have identified for myself: Put away leftovers as soon as your dinner guests leave. No matter how tired you are, do not delay! Just do it!

Freeze desserts and any favourite foods that are calling your name. You are less likely to indulge if they are frozen. 

Give your restaurant server your order before they even get a chance to tell you about their fattening specials of the day. Unless you are ordering the catch of the day and eating the broiled fish, then order a salad with dressing on the side and forget about that juicy burger in the bun. If you must have a burger, ask your server to bring it without the bread. Tailor your order so it fits your waistline instead of the other way around!

Take that walk as soon as you get home from work. Don’t even pause to think about it. Just grab your ear buds, put your favourite music on and say to yourself, ‘Let’s roll!’

Say no to food pushers. As soon as Um Bassem offers me one of her cupcakes, I know that she’ll offer me a hundred other things afterwards so it’s easier to just say no. 

Make an immediate U-turn to avoid driving by your favourite ice-cream shop, especially during the hot summer days. There are other ways to cool off besides eating hundreds of calories in three minutes!

Give yourself a break! Now! Pronto! Not tomorrow or next week. Stop delaying and start giving yourself the much-needed rest you have been meaning to get. Sleep more and do not feel guilty about it! Research shows people who do not sleep enough eat more and are more susceptible to diabetes. 

If you are unhappy about something, deal with it right away. Do not let it fester inside you. This causes unnecessary stress that will increase your stress hormones and cause weight gain. Learn to deal with stress and process through life’s challenges as they come instead of letting them pile up and become unmanageable.

Stick to the things you enjoy doing. For me, it is walking at a very fast pace, so I walk twice a day and make sure I keep up my speed. The best exercise is always the one that you are going to stick with!

Change your attitude when you are around someone who is discouraging. The number one rule for me is to stay encouraged by remaining positive and never giving up. We cannot afford to give up hope on ourselves, for our sake and for the sake of our families, who desperately need us.

Following these simple tips and learning to react quickly can save us hundreds of calories and lots of headaches down the road. Here is to our health, one day at a time, one quick reaction at a time.


Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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