For presidential candidates, zigzagging across the country month after month can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining. The last thing candidates need is to gain weight and increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer after the election.
Getting votes is a priority, but preventing health problems should be a concern. Here are five helpful tips for candidates who want to look and feel their best and have loads of energy to bring in the votes.
Avoid gaining weight, because it’s much harder to lose weight than to gain it. Who could resist the juicy, slow-cooked barbecue ribs in Memphis? Or a 12-layer dark chocolate cake in Seattle? It seems like there’s some type of deep-fried food offered in every city. Unfortunately, an extra 100 calories a day will add 10 pounds in a year! Once the weight is gained, most people don’t lose it. Older adults need to eat less just to maintain their weight. To be consistent, bring along a small bathroom scale and weigh in 2-3 times a week. Steps should be taken immediately if extra weight starts creeping up.
Stick to a routine with similar amounts of calories per meal. As an example, choose oatmeal, fruit and nuts for breakfast; a salad with some type of protein for lunch; dinner can include a small amount of protein and carbohydrate and fill half the plate with fruits and/or vegetables. Limit fried foods, creamy sauces or decedent desserts for a special splurge. When eating at restaurants, it’s common to consume too much sodium and saturated fat. Find ways to fill up on fruits and veggies!
Watch the calories from alcohol. After a stressful day of speaking, relaxing with a few cocktails can quickly and easily add excess weight. To reduce the risk of cancer, moderation for women is no more than one drink a day and no more than two drinks a day for men. Keep in mind, alcohol is metabolized straight to fat.
Balance a hectic schedule with exercise. It’s important to make time for exercise, which also helps reduce excess weight. If walking around town or working out in the hotel gym is not realistic, bring along resistance bands for strength training and a jump rope for cardio. A few stretches can be invigorating. Physical activity relieves stress, anxiety and improves sleep. There are no excuses for not exercising. Make physical activity part of the daily routine.
Steer clear of emotional eating. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Ha! Human hearts are not carved out of stone. Day after day of hurtful verbal assaults will inevitably take its toll on emotional well-being. It’s important to remember that food may be an escape but doesn’t solve problems. To avoid emotional eating, keep it REAL:
Recognize emotions and the triggers. “When I am exhausted, eating toasted sourdough bread with butter is comforting.”
Express. “When people insult me and call me names, I feel angry.”
Accept the emotions. Accepting and acknowledging emotions relieves the pressure. “I am stressed and that’s okay. I can deal with this.”
Love. Tell yourself what you want to hear. “I am a good person and doing a great job.”
Not many people can eat or drink whatever they want without accumulating unwanted weight. To prevent the extra bites from adding up, hit the campaign trail with moderation and a little discipline. The real winning candidate not only beats the opposition but also stays healthy.