King’s Column

By Stephen King, Sports Editor.
Each week, juicy pearls of wisdom will spray from this column as I delve back and forth into the world of sport and health. This week, some practical ways to slim-down and become health conscious are available. Somewhere, between the stuffing and the mashed potatoes and the cookies and the chocolate, you managed to pack on an extra three, maybe five pounds. Although it may be easier (and more fun) to keep eating, adopt a cozy layer of fat and hibernate for the rest of the winter, remember: you are not a bear. Plus, it’s fairly simple to shed holiday pounds with a few straightforward tips. Stop Cold Turkey: When your body becomes accustomed to fatty foods and sugary treats, it can be hard to stop. Initially you may be dying to polish off the rest of that cake, but if you restrain yourself for a week or so, you’ll find the temptation easier to resist. Drink Water: Most of the time, when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty. According to clinical nutritionist Jennifer Ventrelle, at Rush University Medical Center, the body can often mistake thirst for hunger. This is because the part of the brain that controls the sense of “being full,” called the hypothalamus, cannot distinguish between hunger and thirst. Next time, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes before launching yourself onto the buffet table. Drink Some More Water: One of the easiest ways to cut calories is to avoid drinking them. Soft drinks are loaded with sugar and sodium; even diet drinks have recently been linked to obesity by a Purdue University study. For those who love fizzy drinks, try switching to seltzer water. It’s cheap, refreshing, and free from sugar and chemicals. Sober Up: If your stomach has been looking more like a keg than a six-pack, maybe it’s time you cut back on the alcohol. When the body processes alcohol, it splits it into two compounds: fats and acetates. The fat ends up wherever you typically store fat (usually around the midsection), and the acetates are used as the body’s primary source of fuel. This means that the carbohydrates, proteins, or fats floating around in your body will not be used as energy, but instead converted to fat and stored on your waistline while your body uses the alcohol instead. Plus, drinking makes you hungry, so the cycle is perpetuated. So, let’s not begin 2009 in the same gluttonous way we ended 2008. As students, health should be a paramount concern. A healthy body means a healthy mind.