Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

Renew Your Weight Loss Goals for 2013

Exercise Fitness Weight LossThe new year is an exciting time. As 2012 comes to the end, it is the perfect time to renew your commitment to the goals you want to achieve.  Set yourself up for success by following these tips for setting achievable goals.

Tip 1: Set SMART goals

SMART goals are:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-bound

Tip 2: Set a Lifetime Goal

The best goal you can set would be a lifetime goal. Why? Because it is a goal that you can always improve on, and it shapes the way all your other goals are attained. Set a goal that you want to achieve, not what others feel you should accomplish.

Tip 3: Set small goals

Setting smaller, achievable goals will help you reach your main goal by achieving  smaller milestones along the way. By setting smaller goals, you allow yourself to specialize and focus in one area at a time. It is easier to stay motivated when you are accomplishing many small goals rather than falling short on one large, unrealistic goal. Stay positive, smaller goals add up over time.

Tip 4: Reward Yourself

Once you complete a goal, take time to enjoy your accomplishments!  A reward should be something for yourself that you enjoy and deserve. It can be tangible or intangible such a buying a new shirt or going for a walk to clear your mind. These rewards will give you motivation to continue setting new attainable goals since you know there is something at the finish line.  Never reward yourself with food.

8 Ways to Save Money and Eat Healthy!

spendingEvery regular grocery shopper knows that food prices are rising.  This can put a lot of financial strain on people and families who are trying to eat healthier.  It is a common misconception that you have to spend more money if you want to eat better.  This is not always true.  For example, a 5 pound bag of potatoes can cost about the same as a bag of potato chips!  But you will be spending more if you are buying the chips than the potatoes.

  1. Make a Shopping List- Avoid one item trips to the store that waste time and gas.  Fewer trips also mean less impulse buys which are usually more expensive and you probably don’t need them anyway!
  2. Proper Portions- Serve smaller portions of more expensive items like meats and cheeses.   Not only will this help you control your weight, but it will help stretch your food dollar.
  3. Plan Your Menus Around Sales- Don’t throw away those store ads you get in the mail or in your newspaper.  They can be very helpful for saving money and pre-planning.
  4. Stock Up- Buy canned and frozen foods, cereals, and even meats when they are on sale.  Wrap meats in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  5. Don’t Get Coupon Crazy- Only use coupons for the items that you normally buy or are on your shopping list.  It may seem like a good deal, but it’s a total waste if it just sits on your pantry shelf.
  6. High Nutrition / Low Food Costs - Use low cost protein sources like beans, lentils, peanut butter, eggs, canned salmon or tuna instead of pricier meats.  Starches like potatoes, oats, brown rice and barley offer big nutrition with a small price tag.
  7. Grow Your Own- It is surprisingly easy (and cheap) to grow your own food!  Many garden centers have lots of food plants and offer sage advice.  If your thumb is less than green, start off with easy plants like herbs and tomatoes.
  8. Convenience Equals Paying More- The more “processed” a food is, the more you will pay for it. For example, a whole cut-up chicken will cost more than a whole chicken that is not cut-up.  The same goes for cut-up fruits, bagged lettuce, pre-sliced cheese, etc.

Do you have more tips for how to save money while eating healthy? If so, please leave them for us and our readers in the comments below. Happy (healthy) shopping!

Mindless versus Mindful Eating

Mindfull vs. Mindless Eating HabitsOvereating often occurs because we are not aware of how the environment around us affected our eating and what the quantities of food we consume are. Brian Wansink, PhD, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, has written a book called Mindless Eating, in which he describes research studies that reveal how little awareness we often have about our eating and what influences it. Amazingly, even his students, who were PhD candidates in nutritional science, were unaware of how their environment influenced their eating. These are some of his findings:

  • The average overweight person underestimated his or her calorie intake by 30-40% (versus 20% for normal-weight people). The more they ate the greater percentage they were off in their estimates.
  • People ate 53% more popcorn if given a large container versus a small one, even though it was stale and they had just eaten.
  • Even PhD students in nutritional science ate 31% more ice cream at a party if their bowls were big rather than small.
  • When a candy dish at their desk at work was transparent, people ate 71% more candy versus if the dish was opaque, even with the same amount of candy in the dish.
  • If Hershey’s kisses were within reach at a secretary’s desk, he/she ate nine per day on the average, versus four if the candy was six feet away.
  • The more people are around us, the more we tend to eat; if we have 7 or more friends around us, we eat double the food than when alone.

Living in the United States, which has the highest obesity rate of any large country; it is easy to become overweight just following what others in our culture do. Our biggest weapon in being “counter-culture” is awareness: knowing what is in the food that we eat and how much of it we are eating. Wansink’s findings have some clear implications for people who want to lose weight:

  • Think of times when you tend to be least aware. Often these times occur when people are in social situations, when they are served food by another person, and/or when they are tired, bored or stressed. Come up with a plan for controlling eating in these situations.
  • Consider filling out a food diary during difficult times to make you aware of your eating habits and the number of calories you consume.
  • Think of how you can make a 100-calorie change in your eating or exercise per day. Examples would be: to cut out one can of a sugared beverage per day; skip one dessert per day, walk for 15 minutes daily; regularly take stairs rather than elevators, park further away from stores or other destinations, and/or walk while talking on a cell or portable phone.
  • Preplan how much you will eat during parties and social occasions and how you will control your food intake. An example would be to fill up one plate during a buffet, consume a preset number of chips at a Mexican restaurant, or decide to eat half a portion at a restaurant and to ask for a box before you start eating. Consider alternative activities with friends besides those associated with overeating.
  • Control your environment so as to make problem foods less available. Shop from a list and when not hungry so that problem foods are not in the house. Put any such foods in the back of the panty or refrigerator and store them in small containers.  (Many people find it helpful to put pre-measured meals or snacks aside.) Resolve never to take a big box or container in front of you and eat from it. Keep seconds away from reach and serving containers off the table.
  • Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses. For many people, their use saves many pounds each year.

Reference: Brian Wansink, Ph.D. Mindless Eating. Bantam Dell Publishers, New York, 2006.

Helping You Overcome the Exercise Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas

Exercise excusesReasons we are not Exercising and Strategies to Overcome all of the Excuses

Weight loss is not an easy task to accomplish.  Often times it involves a lifestyle change in which we are forced to change habits we have developed over a lifetime. Many of us have trouble incorporating physical activity into our daily routines and come up with a number of excuses as to why we are not going to do it.  It is time to combat these excuses with pre-contemplated strategies so these excuses cannot hold us back.

With that said, these are the top 5 excuses we hear most often for not exercising and tips to help you overcome excuses:

1) I’m Too Tired

  • Wake up 30 minutes early and work out.  It will increase your energy for the rest the day!
  • Choose to do an activity you enjoy instead of “working out.” Garden in the spring or ice-skate in the winter to burn away the calories.
  • Start small; exercise will increase your energy.  Try going on a 5-minute walk and see how you can progress each day!

2) I Don’t Have Time

  • Utilize your lunch break.  Walk outside, or try going up and down the stairs for a challenge!
  • While watching your favorite TV show, do crunches or push-ups during the commercials!
  • Schedule time to exercise in your calendar, phone, etc the same as you would for a meeting or your child’s play date.

3) I’m Too Sore from My Last Work Out

  • Exercise a different part of your body.  If your legs hurt from walking, focus on your upper body.
  • Stretch!  This can help to improve flexibility and reduce the tension in your muscles.

4) Exercise is Boring

  • Experiment! Try swimming or Zumba — find something you enjoy!
  • Bring a book, magazine, or iPod to entertain you while you exercise.
  • Bring a friend!  Ask someone to join you to chat and the time will fly by.

5) I Hate to Sweat

  • Exercise in the pool! Join a water aerobics class or just kick your feet while holding onto the side of the pool.
  • Walk indoors! Ladies try a walk around the mall, and men try a sporting good store to workout and cool off.
  • Try resistance exercises.  Not all exercise makes you sweat.  Try this website for some great strength training suggestions!

So now it is time to stop with all of the excuses, and get moving.  Incorporate one or all of these strategies into your workout routine to keep you focused and motivated on your long-term goals.  It is not always easy, but when you feel the excuses escape your lips, recall these strategies to keep active!

Looking for even more ways to incorporate effective weight management techniques into your daily life? Tomorrow, Meagan Mohammadione, Registered Dietitian from the Emory Bariatric Center, is hosting a free web chat to discuss healthy recipe modification tips to boost the nutrition of your Thanksgiving menu, while lessening the guilt! There’s still time to sign up and join her!