THE BLOG
11/08/2012 03:51 pm ET Updated Jan 08, 2013

So Sandy Made You Fat...

I have read a bunch of articles on the web lately about New Yorkers who gained weight while stuck at home with no power. The boredom of life without social media, cable television or even light to read a book took its toll. Sitting and staring at your cat, eating junk food and going without fresh vegetables and fruit for a week doesn't result in a svelte figure. Many of us found out the hard way that non-perishable in bright shiny bags and colorful boxes is not good for us. It didn't help that many of us were scared to go out in streets that had no light for days. Now we feel guilt when we find ourselves complaining about how our jeans don't fit while some area residents have literally lost everything they own.

Well here is a simple solution. What burns calories and relieves you of the guilt of bitching about an added five pounds?

STORM CLEANUP

Even though it has been over a week since Hurricane Sandy smashed into this area and wreaked havoc for all of us, areas like Staten Island, The Rockaways, Breezy Point Queens, Long Island and much of New Jersey have a long road to recovery. Instead of hitting the gym and fighting to get time on a monotonous machine, pack a healthy lunch, grab a friend or a group of friends and find a place to volunteer. You will meet new people, share your Sandy horror stories, help fellow residents and lose weight!

Picking up garbage all day long, helping load supplies in disaster areas, even walking up and down stairs burns calories. I volunteered down at Coney Island USA and was given the job of organizing donated supplies. I probably walked up and down those stairs 100 times in a day. Plus I walked one mile from the last stop on the F train to get there. I have no idea how many calories I burned, or what my heart rate was but my body certainly felt it the next day. I had worked muscles I hadn't felt in years. It was one way of varying my workout routine.

If you want to kill two birds with one stone so to speak and zip up those skinny jeans here is how you can do it.

Theawl.com -- This site contains information on multiple locations around the area that all need help.

New York Cares -- Lists places around the area that need specific hurricane relief volunteers.

Volunteer Match.org -- Specific opportunities for Hurricane Sandy clean-up and support.

UJA Association -- Specific places and events where you can volunteer.

NJ.com -- An article listing specifics for volunteers in the Garden State.

Coney Island USA -- A non-for profit hit hard by Hurricane Sandy home to a museum about the area and the freakshow. If they can't use you, there is an organized relief effort for the entire area, that is only a few blocks away at 29th Street and Neptune Ave.

And of course there are always: