I needed some picture frames. I went to a local craft store for a quick in-and-out, except I got stuck behind someone blocking the parking lot "flow," blinker flashing left-left-left, waiting an inordinate amount of time for a pole-position parking spot. I felt the itch to give the driver a "move it" honk, but this is the West and we don't honk out here. New Jersey - now there's a honking state.

You might think I was being impatient, but THE REST OF THE PARKING LOT WAS EMPTY. And, no, there wasn't a handicapped emblem on the car.

That set my mind to spinning. All the ways we cheat ourselves. We complain of weight gain, no time for exercise, you name it. But when an opportunity is staring us right in the face to burn a calorie, we don't choose it.

Which brings me to the holidays. Most everyone will talk about gaining weight, worry about gaining weight, wonder how not to gain weight, wish there was some easy way avoid it, and still eat a whole pie. There's not, but I've got an idea. How about this holiday season, as we are shopping and freaking out - we burn an extra calorie!

Don't bother repeatedly weaving your way up and down parking aisles looking for a good spot. Save some gas, drive straight to the way-back, and WALK to the mall entrance - just be done with it. You'll probably save some time, too, and have pumped a little blood to your feet.

Did you know you can walk and ride the escalator at the same time? I know - who would have thought? Remember: Stand to the right, walk to the left. And if you have to say "excuse me" as you elbow your way past the standing masses - don't sweat it. You might get the stink eye, but you'll get over it, and so will they.

Here's another: Walk to look at the pretty, neighborhood, light displays. How's that for taking a bite out of your carbon footprint?

How about decorate your own house, clean your own house, put up your own tree, and cook your own big meal? Ask anyone who's set out an entire holiday meal, complete with homemade rolls, pies, a giant turkey crammed in the oven at 4 a.m., and gravy - it's a lot of work. Or try climbing up and down a ladder a ka-billion times putting up lights that only have to come back down in a few weeks (at least their supposed to). And you can spend an entire weekend, if not longer, preparing for out-of-town guests - spring cleaning's got nothing on a holiday, mother-in-law visit.

Wonder if any of this applies to you? Well, if you do everything yourself, park and walk, and climb the stairs, then, no. If you get dropped off at the front, ride anything to another mall level, or hire it all done AND complain you can't lose weight, then guess what?

I know. Half of you just got mad. That just means I'm on to something. Ho, ho, ho!

• NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.

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