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Spring Clean Your Pantry to Help Stamp Out Hunger

Written on May 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm , by

(Image courtesy of Stamp Out Hunger)

The words “spring cleaning” conjure up images of scrubbing floors, washing windows and maybe tidying up the garden so it’s ready for a new batch of plants. But while you’re accomplishing all of these things, why not tidy up your kitchen too? As an extra dose of motivation, if you do so this week, you can help a good cause at the same time (and who doesn’t love to multitask?)!

Just like FITNESS, Stamp Out Hunger, the nation’s largest one-day food drive, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In 2011, Americans cleaned out their pantries or shopped for nonperishable goods to donate 70.2 million pounds of food to Feeding America through the program. We talk quite a bit about obesity here, but it’s important to remember that more than 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. may go hungry today.

Helping out is easy: Simply leave a bag of non-perishable foods (soup and other canned items, pasta, juice, cereal, etc.) next to your mailbox before the USPS carrier arrives on Saturday. Your donation will then be dropped off at a local Feeding America or other food bank to help those in need in your community.

Find out more on the Stamp Out Hunger Facebook page.

More from FITNESS: Learn how to spring clean your life—physically, emotionally and financially.

7 Reasons You Eat When You’re Not Hungry

Written on September 22, 2011 at 9:02 am , by

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

We’ve all done it, and sometimes we don’t even realize when it’s happening: We have all eaten something when we weren’t actually hungry. And while that’s OK from time to time, too much eating without thinking can really hurt your weight-loss goals (and possibly your health).

Take a look at these 10 situations that encourage you to eat when you’re not hungry…and how to solve them!

1. To Cope
Happy? You might eat a treat to celebrate. Sad? You might eat to soothe yourself. It may help to track your eating habits in a journal, noting your emotional state when you headed for that snack. Writing it down may help you make a connection you hadn’t seen before, like the fact that you eat when you’re lonely or angry.

2. Out of Boredom
For many people, eating seems like a good solution when there’s nothing better to do–whether you graze at home on the weekends or entertain yourself with lavish dinners out.  If you know boredom is a trigger for your eating, have a list of strategies in place to keep yourself busy: Catch up with an old friend, write an old-fashioned snail-mail letter, write in your blog, read, or workout! Eating won’t seem as appealing if you have a fun alternative to keep yourself occupied!

3. Because Other People Are Eating
It’s easy to indulge when others around you are eating, too. Research shows that our habits mimic our companions’ actions in situations like these. You don’t have to swear off happy hour with friends to watch your weight though. When your dining companions devour a second basket of bread or chips, or order dessert, don’t automatically follow suit. Check in with your hunger level to see if you really need it to be satisfied with the fun conversation.

4. Because Food is There
Whether it’s party food or an office candy jar, when food is in plain sight, it can be too easy to grab. If you’re unable to nix the trigger food altogether, move the treats out of sight—you’ll be less likely to grab a handful. So if you buy a bag of Oreos, put them on a high shelf in a cabinet—not on the counter. Instead of a clear candy jar, try an opaque one or move it to another location. When you’re already full and food is out at a party, stand with your back to the table or in another room.
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Help End Hunger (While Losing Weight!)

Written on September 19, 2011 at 9:35 am , by

Tidy up your pantry for a good cause. (Photo by Peter Ardito)

On your mark, get set, tweet! Today marks Weight Watchers Lose-A-Palooza event—a one day social media fundraiser to help raise awareness about and money for the weight loss company’s Lose For Good campaign. “Lose-A-Palooza is a one-day social media event, and Weight Watchers will donate one dollar, up to $75,000, to the participating causes for every mention of Lose for Good on Facebook, Twitter or blogs,” says Cheryl Callan, chief marketing officer for Weight Watchers.

The fourth annual Lose For Good program was kicked off by Jennifer Hudson (who was one of our “Best Celebrity Slim Downs” of 2010!) last week and is going through October 15. While Weight Watchers members lose weight, they host food drives that anyone can donate to, which benefit local food pantries. Members also make donations to the campaign, which benefits Share Our Strength (to end childhood hunger) and Action Against Hunger (fighting malnutrition worldwide). And the company donates money to these charities for each pound their members lose.

“Lose For Good taps into the spirit of the 20,000 staff members we have who have all successfully lost weight on Weight Watchers. We love helping others and this program is all about helping others while helping to improve yourself,” Callan says.

Whether you have weight to lose yourself or not, you can make a difference today! Here’s how: