September 29, 2009
Quick Fitness Tip
Keep a set of dumbbells by your bed. Do a few reps as soon as you wake up and again before you go to sleep. Or keep a set at your desk and do a few reps between phone calls. It all adds up. Strength training is important as we age because it helps us to combat the body's natural loss of muscle tissue.
September 24, 2009
Losing weight is one thing. Keeping it off is another issue. Too many dieters end up back where they started: regaining the weight they worked so hard to shed.
So what are the savvy secrets for staying slim? Turns out it has more to do with what’s on your mind before you think about what’s on your plate.
Dr. John Foreyt, professor of psychiatry and director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston said, “The keys to long-term weight control are problem-solving on a daily basis, predicting challenges and then planning for them. People may say they want a detailed prescribed meal plan, but what they need is nutrition know-how and the problem-solving skills to use any day of their lives.”
He concludes that it’s the power of mind that keeps the trim people trim — and, boy, do they work at it. “They are eternally vigilant with daily or weekly weighing, they monitor calorie intake and they’re highly active, exercising at least 60 minutes a day,” he said.
The exercise of choice is walking — enough to burn 400 calories a day, according to Dr. Jim Hill’s research from the National Weight Control Registry, a database of more than 5,000 people who’ve lost more than 30 pounds and kept the weight off for at least a year.
“The good news is small changes for all of us, things that take very little time and effort, like walking an extra 2,000 steps a day, about 15 minutes, can burn 100 calories,” he said.
Trimming 100 calories from what you normally eat each day can help, too. Skip the cheese on the cheeseburger, choose the low-fat mayonnaise, eliminate one tablespoon of butter, ask for club soda instead of tonic water in a cocktail, use nonfat milk in a latte.
What else does the slim set do to maintain their weight?
They eat until satisfied, not stuffed.
Try putting your fork down halfway through a meal and ask yourself, using a 1 to 10 scale, how full you are. Take a sip of water. Talk to your dining companions. You’ll give yourself time to gauge how hungry you really are. Eating slowly allows the stomach time to trigger the brain’s sensation of fullness.
They eat more fruits and vegetables.
According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, healthy weight women eat one more serving of fruit and eat more fiber and less fat per day than overweight people. And even though many people associate weight loss with high protein intake, the statistics from the successful dieters in the National Weight Control Registry don’t support the eat-all-the-steak-you-want diet. Their diets were on average 20 percent protein, 24 percent fat and 56 percent carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the best sources of healthy carbs.
They have a plan and stick to it.
Seventy-eight percent of successful dieters in National Weight Control Registry ate breakfast every day. They also consistently monitored their food intake.
According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine conducted by Dr. Rena Wing of Brown University, folks who lost weight and kept it off continued to be careful about consumption of lower calorie menu options and moderated their fat intake.
They’re smart about splurging.
Whether it’s chocolate brownies, french fries or lasagna that you crave, realize you love these foods and allow yourself to enjoy them in sensible portions. Feel the textures and smell the aromas to help you feel more satisfied with a smaller portion.
September 20, 2009
Tropical green smoothie
Prep: 10 minutes Makes: 2 servings
This recipe is adapted from one featured on allrecipes.com. The vanilla yogurt provides a hint of sweetness that helps balance the spinach. If your child likes the tang of plain yogurt, use that instead. The nutrient-rich drink contains about 180 calories per serving.
1 cup green grapes
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 container (6 ounces) low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 frozen banana, sliced into chunks
½ cup pineapple chunks
Place all ingredients in blender; process until smooth.
September 13, 2009
NFL PLAY 60
It's the first week of the football season and a great time to reinforce keeping our kids active! With fall right around the corner, make sure your kids stay active inside or out. NFL PLAY 60 is a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Go to NFLrush.com for more details.
Mindful Eating Tips
* Eat enough but not more - Learn how much food I need to eat in order to be satiated or satisfied, but not so much as to be full. Be aware of what being full feels like and do not eat beyond that point.
* Love my food - Look at it, smell it, savor it. Enjoy every moment of eating it and take my time.
* Don't be seduced - Be aware that I can be influenced by things such as advertisements, being at a party, or being at a restaurants. Take the time to notice if I am truly hungry or just being triggered to crave food because of my circumstances.
* Don't feed the feelings - Don't just eat because of how I feel. Eating a candy bar will not make my stress go away. Moods are impermanent and will pass. Just be patient.
* Just eat - Focus on eating when I am eating. Clear my mind and be present with my food.
September 8, 2009
Special Shoes That Shape? Really?
The thick shoes come with a big promise: to chisel the butt and legs.
Instead of following latest fads, Dr. R. Amadeus Mason advises finding comfortable shoes, regardless of brand.
In a growing trend, "toning shoes" are being sold with claims that wearers can tighten and shape their lower-body muscles just by walking in the shoes. And ads have suggested that they make the gym obsolete.
But these oddly shaped shoes have their share of medical skeptics who say there have not been legitimate, independent studies proving the benefits of these types of shoes over traditional pairs.
Although the designs vary, the shoes generally have pods or curves in the bottom that create instability. That imbalance, shoemakers say, causes about 11 to 41 percent increased muscle activity in the legs, glutes and calves.
But some foot specialists find the shoes to be clunky, heavy and unstable. Dr. Paul Langer, a podiatrist at Minnesota Orthopaedic Specialists, has a pair of toning shoes that he wears as an experiment.
"I can say that after a day in clinic, my legs feel tired and the shoes feel heavy (they are much heavier than conventional shoes)," he wrote. "Because the shoes are unstable, muscles must [work] harder to stabilize the foot and leg. I would never propose that these shoes would replace a conventional fitness routine."
Choosing fitness shoes
When looking for a pair of fitness shoes, the key is comfort. One expert offers these tips:
1) Regardless of the brand, seek the one that's comfortable to you.
2) Check to see that the heel is perpendicular to the sole of the shoe.
3) The shoe should have medium firmess, not too soft or hard. It should be somewhat bendable.
Source: Dr. R. Amadeus Mason, Emory Sports Medicine Center
Skechers markets its Shape Ups shoes to "get in shape without setting foot in a gym." Various companies' claims range from reducing back pain, reducing cellulite and improving posture to promoting weight loss. Reebok advertises its EasyTone sneakers with "nice booty. great sole." Most of the shoes are marketed toward women.
Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said claims that the shoes make a gym obsolete are "definitely far-fetched." But research has shown that the brief moments of instability in the feet cause muscles to work harder, he said.
"If you have a moment of instability, what happens is the muscles counteract by working to create stability -- in theory," he said. "Whether the shoes or soles create a mechanical advantage, that's the marketing hype."
Although there have been small studies showing increases in muscular activity with the use of curved soles, Dr. Bruce Williams, a podiatrist and a past president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, said: "My point is that it's not necessarily beneficial even though there's an increase in muscular activity."
For example, a person who limps may have an increase in muscular activity.
"Their primary complaint at the end of the day after walking around the mall is that they hurt," Williams said. "So is that necessarily beneficial to them? No, not at all. ... I'm not a big fan of people relearning how to walk."
Williams cautioned: "There are lots of claims made by manufacturers of these shoes. Everyone has to take this with a grain of salt."
For years, people with foot or ankle problems have been prescribed "rocker shoes," in which the soles curve like the bottom of a rocking chair to transfer the workload away from joints and bones.
"People use that to rehabilitate ankles and work on your position stance, not your fitness or your strength." said Dr. R. Amadeus Mason, a sports medicine specialist at the Emory Sports Medicine Center. "To think that would then make you stronger or more fit with your regular activities -- I have a hard time buying that."
Dr. Fabian Pollo, director of orthopaedic research at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, said he's also unsure whether the benefits translate to someone who doesn't have a foot problem. The mechanics of the toning shoes could lead to greater muscle activation, but that doesn't mean that tried-and-true methods should be replaced.
"It's not a magic bullet of weight loss or toning your body," Pollo said. "It can lead to some of those possible benefits, but not to the extent you can replace exercise routine or diet."
Fitflops, which are sandals with curvy soles, are described by the maker as "the flip flop with the gym built-in" because, the company claims, the sandals diffuse pressure on the feet and increase muscle engagement. Company representatives said the flip-flops are meant for walking and daily activities, not for use in a gym.
Reebok said independent lab tests showed that EasyTone shoes generated up to 28 percent more butt muscle activation, compared with ordinary sneakers, because of the mini balance balls in the bottom of the shoe.
In an e-mailed statement, Kristen Van Cott, vice president of creative strategy at Skechers, said that users of her company's Shape Ups "should notice your muscles being more toned, an improvement in your core strength, and weight loss." Skechers said it conducted a six-week test that showed Shape Ups users lost an average of 3.25 pounds.
"Everyone's study is really self-sponsored study, so there hasn't been a lot of independent research," said McCall from the American Council on Exercise.
September 4, 2009
September is National Fruit and Vegetable Month
September is National Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® Month. CDC offers 30 Ways in 30 Days to Stretch Your Fruit and Vegetable Budget to help you stay healthy!
There are many ways to benefit from eating fruits and vegetables without breaking your budget. Eating fruits and vegetables are part of a healthful diet that includes whole grains, lean meats and beans, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
The following tips highlight some of our favorite of the 30 ways to get the most out of your fruits and vegetables:
Grow or Pick Your Own Fruits and Vegetables
Grow your own vegetables. Invest a little in seeds, and get a lot of vegetables in return. Try indoor pots or greenhouse growing for the cooler months.
Pick your own at local farms. Late summer and early fall is a great time to pick your own fruits and vegetables. This can be a fun and less expensive way to buy in bulk and freeze, can, or dry for later.
Use Grocery Lists and Plan Ahead for Meals
Create a meal plan for the week that uses similar fruits and vegetables prepared in different ways. Make the most out of the produce that you buy.
Minimize waste by buying only the amounts your family will eat.
Cook It Yourself!
Enjoy the comforts of home more often. Eating at restaurants can increase the amount you spend on food. Include fruits and vegetables in quick, simple meals that you prepare at home.
Cook enough for several meals and freeze leftovers. Place enough food for 1–2 meals in each container.
Stretch your Budget with Discount Offers
Store-brands can be a great budget choice for many forms of fruits and vegetables.
Stock and Store!
Canned fruits and vegetables will last a long time and can be a healthy addition to a variety of meals. Choose canned vegetables that have no added salt and fruit that is canned in 100% fruit juice.
Frozen fruit and vegetables store well in the freezer until you're ready to add them to a meal.
For a full month's worth of tips, see the CDC's 30 Ways in 30 Days to save and be healthy!