Shopping to Stay Fit

Cathy Hamilton Health Guide
  • Well, the scale is holding steady and, given my social schedule of late, I'm elated not to be showing any gain.


    I've been busier than usual this year so I've been doing most of my shopping online. Let's face it, clicking buttons on a on-screen shopping cart is easier and faster than fighting the throngs at the mall.


    But, by doing so, I've found I'm missing out on certain benefits.


    There's no doubt I'm missing out on the exercise. Walking for miles to the stores from the far reaches of the parking lot. Lugging heavy packages back to the car, trudging through the snow. Carrying the packages back into the house, heaving them under the bed. Hey, it all burns calories!

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    But I'm also missing the human interaction. Most of the shop clerks in our town tend to be super-friendly this time of year. Their cash registers are ringing. Customers are in the giving spirit. There's a bonding that goes on in store aisles during these last-minute days before Christmas. And bonding with people - making new friends, if just for the moment - promotes the production of serotonin, the "feel good" chemical that works in the brain.


    I've just received a copy of "The Serotonin Power Diet" by Judith J. Wurtman, PhD and Nina Frusztajer Marquis, MD. The authors contend that most popular diets (especially the low-carb variety) deprive the dieter of the very foods that produce serotonin. And without serotonin - otherwise known as the satiety chemical, the "switch" that turns your appetite on and off - you tend to get cranky, experience food cravings, and never feel satisfied.


    30 to 60 minutes before a dieter's next meal, the book recommends munching on a serotonin soothing snack: pretzels, cheerios, popcorn, or cherry licorice bites with NO accompanying protein or fat. The authors claim it will takes the edge off your appetite and energize you.


    As a lifelong dieter with a propensity for low-carb programs, I must admit I'm a bit skeptical. But it makes certain sense.


    I haven't read "The Serotonin Power Diet" yet but I promise to dig in soon, try the techniques and report to you my results.


    In the meantime, I think I'll head downtown for a little human interaction and some serious shopping bag lifting.

Published On: December 30, 2007