Jun
7
2013

Your Food In Miles

If you’ve visited a fast food restaurant of popular chain (with more than 20 restaurants nationwide) recently, you’ve probably noticed that along with the mouthwatering description of the item, menus now are including calorie information on their menus. The aim of this law is to help individuals make better food selections, but for some the information is just a number with not point of reference as to its impact on health.

But, what if instead of 640 calories next to Arby’s Reuben, it were to say, “3 hours of brisk walking?” Would you still order that item, or would it at least make it more difficult to decide?

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Texas Christian University, replacing caloric intake with “exercise labels” can possibly lead to healthier food selections by consumers.

"We need a more effective strategy to encourage people to order and consume fewer calories from restaurant menus," says Dr. Meena Shah, Texas Christian University (TCU).

"Brisk walking is something nearly everyone can relate to, which is why we displayed on the menu the minutes of brisk walking needed to burn food calories," says Ashlei James, TCU.

With this method, instead of 550 calories for a McDonald’s Big Mac, you’d learn it takes an hour of cycling at a moderate pace of about 13 miles per hour to burn the calories consumed, or that consuming a Super Sonic Double Cheeseburger with Mayo (1160 calories) would require three hours of low-impact aerobics.

Restaurants may not be adopting this method anytime soon, since researchers must find a way to account for the different in calories burned can from person to person, but we would like to know: Would you pay attention to what you’re eating if you knew exactly how much exercise you would have to do to work it off? Leave your answer in the comment box below.


Links:

http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/3786-food-calories-exercise.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/30/science/exercise-versus-calories-on-menu-lists.html?_r=0

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/foas-mld041813.php

May
13
2013

Staying Active In the Workplace

For many of us, our jobs find us sitting in an office, behind a desk, in a chair; movement isn’t a requisite to do our daily work effectively. The hope is that, when we aren’t at work, we spend our time being active. But, new studies are starting to suggest that sitting for long periods of time can possibly be harmful, regardless of your caloric intake or other physical activity.

Muscles not in motion for extended periods is never a good thing, so make a point to be as active as you can throughout your work day. How?

  • Talk in person to a coworker.
  • Capitalize on your breaks by taking a walk around the building.
  • Eat at your desk and then spend your lunchtime walking at a local park or mall.
  • When you are sitting at your desk, tap your feet hourly. It may seem simple, but even an activity such as that will keep you active and burn calories!
  • Walk to the water cooler often – you’ll get exercise and hydrate at the same time.
  • When you go to the restroom walk to the furthest one away.
  • After an hour of hard work at your desk, get up and take a walk around the office.

Remember, every little bit helps, so get up and get moving! You will enjoy yourself more and your body will thank you for it later. Have some other ideas about staying active? Leave them in the comment box below.

Links:

http://www.menshealth.com/health/staying-active?fullpage=true

https://www.presidentschallenge.org/motivated/ten-ideas.shtml

 

Apr
12
2013

A Healthier Generation

With over 30 percent of the country being obese, it has become increasingly more important to make sure our youth knows the significance of nutrition and good eating habits. As a whole, children have had decreased caloric intake when compared to their intake a decade ago. However, is that enough? Or are there other things we can do to make sure that they are on the right track?

Outside of home, children spend most of their time in school. Schools are known to not have the best choices when it comes to food for students. We are more accustomed to hearing about pizza or chicken nuggets being served at schools and not much about fruits and vegetables. There are some studies being done, however, to figure out how much of an impact schools can have on the food choices that their students make, and the results have been promising thus far.

In one study, researchers modified a lunch room to have the fresh fruit put in attractive bowls or tiered stands, salad served in see-through (to-go) containers, and a sign that read "Last Chance for Fruit" displayed next to fruit at the cash register. Lunch staff at the schools also asked the students if they would like a piece of fruit. The results from the study, conducted by Cornell University’s Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, showed the amount of fruit that was consumed by students increased by 18 percent, and there was a 25 percent increase in vegetable consumption.

Another method that is being studied out of Australia is schools having a student gardening and cooking program. The program is intended for children to gain a higher interest in healthier foods and hopefully their mindset is more so aimed at making the right food decisions in the future.  The program was also an opportunity for kids to learn about cooking and gardening at an early age.

As parents there are also things that can be done to make sure that your child has healthy options for their school lunch. First, consider what your kids like and don’t like (look over their school menu if you need to).  Then find nutritious healthy alternatives that they wouldn’t mind eating, even when they see their classmates having pizza and chicken nuggets.  Instead of fried chips and snacks, try giving them trail mix, air-popped popcorn, or baked chips. If they like fruit cups and drinks, trying giving them a fresh fruit bowl and 100% fruit juice. If the alternative is close to what they enjoy, it’s more likely that they will eat it.

Let’s make sure that our next generation doesn’t go through the same pitfalls we have. Ultimately, the decision will be up to the person when it comes to what they want to eat, but we have an opportunity now to instill good habits for our youth so that those decisions will hopefully be healthy ones.

You have some other ideas for ensuring a healthier youth? Leave a comment in the box below.

 

Links:

http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/3559-school-lunchroom-changes-fruit-vegetables.html

http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/3556-kids-calories-consumption.html

http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/3592-school-gardens-broaden-kids-palates.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/lunch.html#

Mar
21
2013

Foods That Help You Lose Weight

Nowadays, a big part of dieting seems to focus on the long and ever-growing list of foods we are supposed to avoid in our weight management journey – but what if I told you there are foods that when eaten in moderation can help us burn a few extra calories?

For example, jalapeno, habanero, and cayenne peppers contain capsaicin, which not only makes your mouth hot, but increase the heat in your body, causing you to burn more calories within roughly three hours of consumption.

Lean meats, such as chicken, lean beef, and turkey are high in protein, which the body must work harder to break down, compared to carbohydrates or fats. The harder your body has to work to break down your food, the faster your metabolism will work, resulting in more calories being burned.   

While these foods, when eaten in moderation, can help you to burn a few extra calories, it’s important to note that the extra calories burned cannot replace the positive effects of a balanced diet and exercise plan. And remember, no matter how healthy the food, too much of it will cause you to gain weight or at worse not help you in losing it.

Do you have any other suggestions for foods that can help us lose weight? If you do, leave them in the comment box below and help someone else eat the right foods to help lose weight.

 

Links:

Feb
19
2013

You Weigh In... On the Scale

Every morning, after endlessly hitting the snooze button, I finally pull myself out of bed and begin my morning routine before heading to the office. But one of the first things I do, every single day, is step on the scale. And the number that is shining back at me can sometimes make or break my day, helping me to determine how “good” I was the previous day or if today I need to do be better to make up for the result.

So when I came in this morning, dwelling on a number that seems to have fluctuated in the wrong direction, I took a look at some of the materials we provide to our weight management providers and realized there’s more to being fit then what then the number that’s on the scale. While your weight is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, it isn’t the only part. A healthy diet helps increase your energy level, skin quality, and endurance. These things can’t always be measured by a number on the scale.

I also looked at some other factors that may result in a fluctuation on the scale. Undigested food, lack of sleep, stress, and other factors can cause weight fluctuation. If I want to see the results I want, I’m going to have to make sure that I’m doing the right things outside of exercising and eating right.

But if you do get off track, that’s ok! No one is perfect and the process is easier said than done. It’s all part of your weight loss journey and tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to set yourself up for the win and a step closer to your goal.  Eventually, you will take enough steps to reach your goal!

And, as always, if you find that you need assistance, contact you weight management counselor. He or she is always available to help you understand the numbers on the scale and how to move forward to reach your goals.

Jan
23
2013

23 Days In - Are You Sticking to Your Weight Related Resolutions?

40% of resolutions include a weight related goal

50% of resolutions are deserted by the end of January

Sounds like a good time to evaluate your weight related resolutions so you can succeed.

Ask yourself?

  1. Do you have a plan? There’s nothing better than when a plan comes together. Having a plan to achieve your weight loss goal will add structure to what you’re trying to do.
  2. Is it realistic? Many times when we set unrealistic goals, don’t reach them, and end up stopping our efforts altogether. Make sure your goal is reasonable, then, once you’ve accomplished your goal you can work on setting a new one!
  3. Have you removed temptations? Temptations always seem be around us leading us to indulgence. Do your best to remove your temptations - rid your house of chips, cookies, pies, and cakes and replace them with fruits and vegetables, lean protein items and healthy snacks.
  4. Do you have a support system? Since 40% of New Year Resolutions involve weight loss, chances are you have a friend or someone you know that is in the same boat as you.  Keep your friends involved in your process, or, better yet, have them join you! Hold each other accountable and encourage each other to keep pushing towards the ultimate goal.

And, don’t forget, this should be a FUN experience for you! This is the opportunity for you to accomplish something that you want to do, so why not enjoy it? Enjoy the New Year and share any weight loss tips you have in the comment section below.

 

Links:

http://healthworkscollective.com/psalber/74586/tips-keeping-new-year-s-resolutions-don-t-let-supermodels-derail-train

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/diet.fitness/12/31/lose.weight.new.resolution/index.html

http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/3394-easy-resolutions-to-keep.html

Dec
19
2012

Exercise and Live Longer, Studies Say

Exercising is beneficial to us for many reasons. Most know that exercise helps fight against diseases and other health conditions and has also been founded to put is in a better mood, boost energy, and give us a better quality of life. But did you know that exercise can also increase your life expectancy?

Research by the National Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and other organizations analyzed six different prospective cohort studies of more than 632,000 people ages 40 and older. The study showed that regular, moderate intensity exercise was associated with an increased life expectancy, even when the person exercising had an unhealthy Body Mass Index (BMI).

You don’t exercise moderately? The World Health Organization’s (WHO) studies show that leisure exercise should be 150 minutes a week, or just about 22 minutes each day, to yield a 3.4 to 4.5 year increase on life expectancy.

Due to factors such as self-reporting participants, the study is not full-proof. However, this research reinforces a common theory: an active life is a healthy life. Even finding the slightest time in your week to exercise will be beneficial for you.

But wait. Before you run out (literally) and start or change your current weight management or exercise program, consult with a specialist or your healthcare provider to make sure you are adding activity to your routine in a safe and healthy way. If you have any ideas on how to safely increase activity levels, share them in the comment box below.

 

Sources:

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