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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Put spring in your step with some tips, alerts

By Charles Stuart Platkin

Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and days are getting longer spring is here to motivate you to break out and renew yourself.

Spring probably offers your best shot for making the life changes necessary to lose weight. Think about it: It's a time of rebirth; the trees are budding; caterpillars are becoming butterflies; it's getting warmer; there's more energy in the air; and you have a sense of renewal exactly why people get the urge to do their spring cleaning. It's the time we get inspired to embark on new beginnings. Here are a few suggestions, tips, revelations and diet-busting pitfalls to be aware of in this season of renewal.

1. Plan now. I'm a big believer in doing some advance planning to gain control of your weight. Set yourself up to know exactly what you're going to do to make your diet a success. Check this out www.dietdetective.com/columns/get-back-on-the -diet-track.aspx and get started.

2. Walk and hike more. There is more daylight, so all you non-morning people out there have no excuse at the end of the day. See: www.dietdetective.com/columns/walk-it-off.aspx

3. Go biking. It builds muscle, particularly in your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. You can control the level of your workout by riding slow or fast on city streets, suburban roads or scenic trails. It's a convenient, inexpensive way to get around town. Parking is always simple, and you can get some exercise while you're running errands. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and do some sightseeing. It helps the environment. And now Google just added a feature that allows you to map your bike route. The mapping feature helps find the most efficient path, identifies bike lanes and can help you avoid big hills: http://maps.google.com/biking.

4. Watch the Easter eating. Easter is coming, and you need to beware of the calorie costs for holiday eating. Traditional honey-glazed Easter ham can be about 150 to 200 calories per 3 ounces, and you will most likely have at least two portions. What about those hot cross buns? Those are about 250 calories per bun. And all that candy in the Easter basket?

• Cadbury Creme Egg, 160 calories

• Cadbury mini eggs candy, 12 pieces (40 grams), 190 calories

• Snickers chocolate egg (1.5 ounces), 200 calories

• Russell Stover solid milk chocolate eggs, six pieces, 230 calories

• Russell Stover marshmallow rabbit (2 ounces), 230 calories

• Reese's peanut butter eggs, 1 piece, 170 calories

• Russell Stover marshmallow egg, 110 calories

• Pez Hippity Hoppities, one roll, 35 calories

• Bunny Peeps, four bunnies, 110 calories

• Jelly beans, 4 calories per bean

• Hershey's hollow milk chocolate egg (570 calories for the shell alone) with four candy-coated milk chocolate eggs inside (90 more calories)

5. Watch Passover eating. Easter is not the only holiday with high-calorie food. Just one coconut macaroon has about 70 calories. Beef brisket, which is often served at Passover Seders, can be particularly high at about 430 to 470 calories for about 6 ounces. Believe it or not, the matzo is not too high in calories 110 calories for one piece and that classic gefilte fish (2.5-ounce piece) is 90 calories.

6. Eat more asparagus. Asparagus is in season tasty, especially if you make it with garlic, and very low in calories at about 4 calories per spear. So add it to your shopping list. It's loaded with vitamin K, which most people don't get enough of. Vitamin K is required to make at least three proteins that are essential for bone formation, and studies have also linked it with a reduced risk of hip fracture in the elderly. Asparagus is also an excellent source of folate, which is important for brain development (essential for pregnant women) and red blood cell formation. In addition, it's a good source of much-needed potassium and vitamin C and contains fiber, thiamin and vitamin B6.

7. Eat more egg (whites). Eggs are the perfect symbol for "new life." In fact, egg sales are highest in the spring. In that spirit, there are many fast, easy, healthy meals you can make with eggs. Most specifically, egg-white omelets with lots of veggies make some of the healthiest breakfasts. Chop up anything you like: peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, and toss them in the center of the omelet. Then fold the eggs over the veggies and cook briefly on both sides. Get creative and try new combinations to keep things interesting. For instance, try mixing salsa and avocado into your eggs for a change. Remember, as you add low-cal veggies, you increase the density and amount of food without noticeably adding calories. Read more about eggs here: www.dietdetective.com/columns/guide-to-eggs.aspx.

8. Watch your body especially your ankles. As the weather gets warmer, many of us want to get out and do more. Being more active is great, but it also means increasing the potential for injuries. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons reports that ankle sprains are among the most common sports injuries. If you do get injured, it's best to seek medical attention and remember the acronym RICE. Rest, ice, compression and elevation can reduce swelling and pain.