"I prefer chocolate cake," my spin instructor, Alex said in class on Monday. "You can have the pumpkin pie, I'll take chocolate."
We were beginning what turned out to be a gruelling 45 minute class. My heart rate monitor indicated that I burned close to 700 calories after we finished. At the 40 minute mark when most teachers start the cool down, Alex threw one last challenge at us. I had geared myself towards cooling down at this point, and during this last push my heart rate burst up to 165 beats per minute. All of a sudden, when I'm seeing stars and gasping for breath, Alex shouted: "Turkey! Cranberry sauce! Stuffing! Chocolate cake!!!" And then it hit me: this is what it's about, for me, anyway. You put yourself in the uncomfortable zone, but not for very long, really. Try not to look at spin class as 45 minutes or an hour of torture. Break it down into small units of discomfort. There are usually a few intervals of recovery, which I savor like chocolate cake. If you do that, you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner free of guilt. When Alex asked if he forgot anything, I yelled "Gravy!!!!"
Wild and crazy Alex
A few hints as promised:
Go for the 1% milk or even skim rather than half-and-half or cream.
Choose non-fat yogurt instead of whole-milk yogurt.
Select low-fat cheeses like farmer's cheese or pot cheese instead of bleu cheese, swiss or Camembert.
For dessert, choose sorbets or gelato. Gelato has fat, but not as much as traditional ice cream. And have a piece of fruit before you have dessert. It helps to satiate your craving for sugar.
Enjoy a salad but watch for things that add calories and fat, such as salad dressings, bacon bits and croutons.
Tomorrow morning I'm taking a special 90 minute boot camp class. The gang I always take class with will be there and Jonathan, the instructor and my good friend, will teach. He keeps things light and funny - even though he just returned from a conference where he learned new techniques to torture us!
After that, I won't feel guilty saying, "Pass the gravy!"