Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

How NOT to Gain Weight During the Holiday Season

Keep Weight Off During HolidaysIt is possible to maintain a steady weight during the holidays!  It is difficult but I know many people who indulge in some of the delicious holiday food and enjoy the holiday season but they are also able to brag in the New Year that they did not gain weight!

Take note of some basic things you can do to keep your waistline trim this holiday season!

Use only one plate at holiday gatherings!

It is so easy to go crazy at holiday gatherings but make sure to review the menu or the items first and take a small sample of everything you want but stick to the one plate rule.  This will allow you to enjoy the foods you want but at smaller quantities so you do not overeat.  Dessert calories add up very quickly so include that in your one plate rule as well!

Slow DOWN and taste your food!

Many of us get so excited about all the great foods that are on our plate but many of us just scarf the food down without enjoying it!  Slow down and taste your food.   Your taste buds are in your mouth, not your stomach!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Hydration is important all times of the year but especially important when we are tempted to overeat. Many times when you feel hungry you are actually just thirsty so keep a water bottle with you at all times and when you feel hungry drink 8 oz of water. If you are still feeling hungry choose snacks with high water content such as celery, watermelon or oranges.  You will know if you are hydrating properly by examining the color of your urine.  Clear to pale yellow is good.  Dark yellow means you need to drink more water.

Move that body!

During the holidays it can be hard to get your normal work out in but just because you can’t go to the gym does not mean you can’t exercise.  Grab a co-worker and go for a walk at lunch. Do some sit ups and push ups while watching TV and encourage your family to join you making a fun game of it to see who can do the most. Break up your normal workout into 2 workouts – go for a 15 minute walk at lunch and then another after work with your dog. A bike ride around the neighborhood or a few minutes on that stationary bike in basement is also a good way to burn some calories.

Manage blood sugar

Eat plenty of protein (lean meats like fish and lean chicken are good options) but also include a good amount of fiber (in fruits and veggies) to your diet to maintain proper blood sugar balance.  People tend to overeat when they starve themselves and then say they can eat what they want.  By maintaining consistent meals and snacks you are less likely to overindulge in the holiday goodies!

In summary, it is all about planning and making good choices!  If you decide what you will do before the gathering then you are more likely to stick to that plan.  Get a “party buddy” and hold each other accountable for your food choices.

I know at the time of temptation it can be hard to follow these rules but you will be so proud and thankful you did when the New Year comes and you don’t have to make that resolution to lose weight!  Your athletic goals in 2013 will be easier to accomplish if you don’t have excess weight to lose!

Check out even more holiday weight loss tips from the Emory Bariatric Center!

About Dr. John Xerogeanes

John Xerogeanes MD

John W. Xerogeanes MD, is Chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. Known as Dr. “X” by his staff and patients, he is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University as well as an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State and Mercer University. Dr. Xerogeanes is entering his 11th year as Head Orthopaedist and Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. Dr X specializes in the care of the knee and shoulder for both male and female athletes of every age. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and has his Sub Specialty Certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine.

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The Meatless Workout – Making Sure Vegans Get The Nutrition They Need for Exercise

vegan diet and exerciseIt turns out, a healthy vegan workout diet doesn’t differ much from a healthy omnivore workout diet. Everybody needs the same energy-sustaining fuel, and effective fuels don’t have to be meat, eggs, or dairy products.

People choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for a multitude of reasons, and a meat-free diet can be a very healthy diet. In fact, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, appropriately planned vegetarian diets, whether vegetarian or vegan, may provide health benefits that aid in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

So how do you make sure you’re eating the right foods to keep you going strong during a workout? It’s all about getting the fuel your body needs both during and after working out, whether you’re doing cardio or strength training.

Cardiovascular workouts – High-carbohydrate foods will fuel your body for cardio. Whole-grain oats with nuts and dried fruit are a great start for a morning workout. Some other excellent high-energy vegan options are bananas, dates, potatoes, whole-grain pastas, and mixed-grain salads. Just be sure to give your body about an hour to digest each 200 calories you take in before you go for that run. And don’t forget to hydrate!

Strength-training workouts - Choose foods that are high in protein to give working muscles the amino acids they need to rebuild. A protein smoothie with berries, soy milk, and soy or hemp protein makes a tasty and quick pre-workout vegan snack. Other protein-rich foods include tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans, unrefined grains, and nuts and nut butters (like almond, cashew, and peanut). The one-hour/200-calorie rule also applies to strength training, as does the hydration.

After you exercise, be sure to replenish your body’s energy stores with high-carbohydrate, medium-protein, low-fat snacks and, of course, plenty of water. That goes for the omnivores, too.

If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, what do you eat before you exercise? Do certain foods give you more energy? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

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Can Soda Consumption Affect Your Bone Health?

Cola bone healthOur team gets lots of questions about bone health, ranging from questions like “does  soda decrease my bone strength?”  To “how much calcium and Vitamin D are needed to maintain bone health?” In honor of National Nutrition Month, last week, we shared with you details on the roles of Calcium and Vitamin D in your bone health, and foods you can consume to make sure you get enough of each. This week, we want to share some interesting findings from new research being conducted around soda, and its effect on your bone strength.

There are many activities and behaviors that can serve to either improve or worsen bone health, but many recent studies have been conducted to determine if there is a link between soda consumption and decreased bone health. Check out some interesting take- aways from just a few of those studies below:

  • According to findings from a study at Harvard, 9th and 10th grade girls who consume sodas are at three times the risk for bone fractures compared to those who don’t.
  • Research out of Tufts University shows that “women–but not men–who drank more than three 12-ounce servings of cola per day had 2.3 percent to 5.1 percent lower bone-mineral density in the hip than women who consumed less than one serving of cola per day.”1
  • In a 2010 study from the Journal of American Dietetic Association, 170 girls were  followed from age 5 to 15. Of those, the participants who drank soda at age 5 were less likely to drink milk throughout childhood than those who didn’t consume soda at age 5. Those who drank soda from the age of 5 were also  more likely to consume diets lacking in calcium, fiber, vitamin D, protein, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
  • In a 2001 study out of Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center , researchers followed 32 people for a month and had them drink various  formulations of soda with differing levels of caffeine, phosphorus or citric acid so the research team could take urine samples and determine how much calcium the subjects were excreting. Those who drank caffeine-rich sodas excreted calcium; the others did not.

While all of the research conducted so far indicates that there is more to be done to directly tie cola consumption to decreased bone health, it is clearly a hot topic  for future medical investigation. We will follow up on our blog as more details emerge.


1http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2003-10-26/features/0310260520_1_acid-in-cola-drinks-bone-mineral-density-carbonated

Vitamin D & Calcium – A Healthy Bone Building Partnership (Part I)

Our team gets lots of questions about bone health, ranging from questions like “does soda decrease my bone strength?” To “how much calcium and Vitamin D are needed to maintain bone health?” In honor of National Nutrition Month, we want to share some interesting findings from new research being conducted around Vitamin D and Calcium and suggest few ways to get more of both in your diet, if you need them.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, a division of the National Institute of Health, “low Calcium intake throughout life is associated with low bone mass and high fracture rates.” And while Calcium is critical in building bone health and density, Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb this Calcium. According to findings from the CDC last year, about 1/3 of all Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. So if you’re looking for ways to boost your Calcium or Vitamin D intake, where should you start? Well, first, check out the latest recommendations on Calcium and Vitamin D intake from the Institute of Medicine:

Calcium & Vitamin D Recommendations

Then, after taking a look at your own diet as it compares to these recommendations, determine whether you need more or less of either Calcium or Vitamin D in your diet. If you need more of either, below we’ve listed some sources of both Calcium and Vitamin D.

Good Sources of Vitamin D

  • Sunlight
  • Supplements
  • Food
    • Cod Liver Oil
    • Fatty Fish (Swordfish, Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel)
    • Fortified Orange Juice or Milk
    • Eggs (Vitamin D is in the yolk)
    • Fortified Dairy Products & Cereals

Good Sources of Calcium:

  • Dairy Products
  • Fortified Cereals and Soy Beverages
  • Tofu
  • Spinach, Soy Beans, Beet Greens & Collards
  • White Beans

As is always the case, you should consult with your physician before changing your intake of any vitamin or nutrient, so make sure to discuss your bone health concerns with he or she at your next visit to get advice specific to your needs. If you have additional tips and ideas on Calcium, Vitamin D, or bone health, please leave them for us in the comments below!

Should I Eat Before, or After I Exercise?

exercise nutritionI myself have heard friends make unsupported claims that working out on an empty stomach is more effective, or that people should wait a certain amount of time after exercising to eat. Because I’ve been wondering whether it’s better to eat before or after I exercise, and more specifically, which foods I should be eating to support a physically active lifestyle, I reached out to our own Dr. Amadeus Mason to get answers to my questions.

My first question for Dr. Mason was:  Do you recommend eating before or after a workout? Does your recommendation change whether the workout type is cardio-based or strength training?

Dr. Mason’s answer was extremely helpful, “Eating after exercise is pretty much the standard recommendation now. But what you’re eating is actually more important than when you eat it. For people who exercise often, high carbohydrates, moderate protein levels and increased fluid intake is important.” He noted though, that “carbs are the most important.”

After hearing this, I was curious. I typically like to avoid making my diet too heavy in carbohydrates, but I trust Dr. Mason and knew that he would help clarify this concern. So I asked, what is your daily recommendation for carbohydrate intake for people who work out regularly?

Again, Dr. Mason came through with some great answers, “I recommend 6-10 g/kg/day of carbohydrates.” Wait, I thought, ‘g/kg/day!? What does that even mean!?” G/kg/day is a reference to the grams of carbohydrates a person should intake daily, depending on their weight, in kilograms. I personally don’t know my weight in kg and I’m sure I’m not the only one. If you’re looking to calculate your personal ideal g/kg/day carbohydrate number, you can convert your body weight into kg here.

Once I understood that concept, Dr. Mason broke down the details on when I should be intaking these carbohydrates. “You should consume 1/5g/kg within 30 minutes of exercising and an additional 1.5g/kg within 2 hours of your workout. You should seek to consume remaining 3-7g/kg over the course of the day.”

That’s extremely helpful information. To keep your body functioning at peak performance and make your workouts more effective, it’s really not so much about whether you eat before or after you workout as it is about what you’re eating and how you’re breaking it up. One last cool tip from Dr. Mason? “Try high carbohydrate liquids too, such as chocolate milk, which is great for supporting workouts.”

Thanks Dr. Mason for helping me answer these questions for both my own workout practices and our readers!

More Runners’ Chat Questions Answered

Dr. Amadeus MasonOn Wednesday, I held a live chat on the topic of running to help those preparing for the Peachtree Road Race and to educate runners of all skill levels on injury prevention, nutrition, and technique. It was my first so-called “live chat,” so I really didn’t know what to expect. The questions that I received in yesterday’s chat were fantastic. Not only do I feel like I got to help the 50+ people who joined me in the chatroom, but I myself was able to learn something in the process. Typically when I chat with people who have questions for me, they are my patients, in a one-on-one setting. This really gives me the time to feel them out and learn about them as individuals. Wednesday, I was charged with a new and equally inspiring and fulfilling task– to educate a group, without being able to see them in person or learn about them before we talked. It was an extremely eye opening experience.

I want to thank those who joined me Wednesday for a wonderful chat. It was so successful, in fact, that I didn’t get a chance to answer each and every question. For those who were in the room, I promised to follow up with a blog to answer all questions that were unaddressed, and I have done so below. At the bottom of this blog post, you will also find the documents I mentioned in the chat for your further reference. As an added bonus, to make sure everyone gets a chance to discuss the topic of running and all of its facets with me, we will be holding the next live chat on running on June 15th. PART II CHAT TRANSCRIPT

Larry: I ran a marathon with IT band issues.  What can I do to prevent it in the future?
Dr. Mason: Larry, to prevent IT band problems, you should strive to work on increased flexibility. I’d advise that you watch the rate at which you increase your mileage/distance and start training early enough to allow for a slow and steady progress with sufficient recovery times between training sessions.

Shirley: Dr. Mason, Why does my back hurt periodically when I am tired while running?  Should I bend over to stretch?  I am a beginner.
Dr. Mason: I can’t speak to your specific medical circumstances without seeing you in-person, but generally speaking, oftentimes people experience back pain while running due to hamstring tightness. For these patients, I advise that they avoid the typical stretch that involves bending over, and instead focus on extension type exercises.

M. White: How do I know when it is time for new running shoes?  This will be my first time running longer than a 5k.
Dr. Mason: My recommended guidelines for footwear are if you run more than 20 – 25 miles a week you should change you shoes every 3 – 4months ( ~300 miles); if you run less than 20 miles a week can change shoes twice a year.

Sylvia: Hi. Dr. Mason. Is there any particular type of shoe that you would recommend as best for protecting against injuries; Knees, ankles, shin splints, etc.?
Dr. Mason: Studies have shown that shoe comfort is a more important factor in preventing injury than the actual type of shoe.  I would recommend you get evaluated at your local running store to determine what class of running should would be best for you. After doing that, go ahead and pick the most comfortable one in that class.

Judy: I’m used to walking about 3 miles about 3 times a week.  I am signed for the Peachtree.  Obviously I will be walking it.  I have 6 weeks to step up my training.  How would you suggest I proceed to get to 6 miles in time for the race?  Thanks.
Dr. Mason: Good question, Judy. I’d recommend adding about ½ mile to your distance each week.

Steve: Dr. Mason, I have a chronic hamstring issue.  What can I do to help the issue?  What type of Dr. or therapist should I seek out for help?
Dr. Mason: I would recommend you see a physician with sports medicine training.

M. White: I have been training for a 5k (took 30min) – which I ran a couple of weekends ago.  To train for the Peachtree what should I do?  Increase distance or time?
Dr. Mason: My answer here depends on whether you want to run the Peachtree for time or just for fun.  Since this race is twice the distance of a 5k,  I would start out increasing your distance (1/2 mile a week. Once you get to 5 miles then you can start increasing your pace.

Mac: What are some good lower-fat proteins for vegetarian novice runners?
Dr. Mason: As a vegetarian you should be concerned about getting in GOOD fats as opposed to LOW fat.  To that end eating things like beans, nuts and/or soy would be good choices.

Dawn: When I ran the Peachtree last year, I found it difficult to actually drink water at the hydration stations (did more of a swish-and-spit).  I am concerned about dehydration during the race.  Should I increase my fluids before the race?
Dr. Mason: Yes, in a 10K there is LESS risk/concern for dehydration that in half or full marathons, but you should be starting your hydration process now.  I recommend increasing you fluid intake (electrolyte/water) weeks before you run and incorporating “water stops” in to your training.  You know you are well hydrated when you have to use the bathroom 30 min after fluid intake (when you’re not running).

1st Timer: Are there any weight training exercises you recommend?
Dr. Mason: In order to answer this question in detail, I would need more information from you.  What I can say is that weight /strength training should be a part of any running program. This type of training should primarily (but not solely) focus on lower body strength and be accompanied by a good flexibility program.

Jacqui: How frequently should you increase pace or distance?
Dr. Mason: I normally recommend increasing distance then pace. But, as we mentioned in the chat, it really depends on the goals you’re looking to achieve. If you are looking to run a long distance race, you’ll probably want to focus on increasing distance, more often than pace, and doing so every 2 weeks should work well. Just remember to never increase both distance and pace at the same time.

Shalewa: What about energy enhancers like sports beans or 5 hour energy drink?  Are those bad for you?
Dr. Mason: Most “energy enhancers” are just caffeine or a caffeine derivatives and I would stay away from them as they greatly increase dehydration risk.  Good nutrition that balance carbohydrates, proteins and good fats should give you the energy you need for a 10K.  With marathons, ultra marathons, and triathlons in-competition metabolic supplements (which are very different from the energy enhancers) are often provided and can be helpful.  You’ll want to be careful and make sure that you are using them throughout your training so your body has time to adjust.

Jennifer: Hi, Dr. Mason.  I am an active person who is new to running.  After my training runs I am experiencing some discomfort/tightness in my upper and outer knees.  What can I do to help prevent this?
Dr. Mason: If these symptoms are not preventing you from doing the type/intensity of run that you want, then I would recommend working on the flexibility and strength of you quads and hamstrings.  If you are having to modify your training runs then you should see a Sports Medicine Physician.

Thanks again to those who joined me in Wednesday’s chat. I hope to see you all in Part II on June 15th! Below are the documents I referenced in the chat, please feel free to download them and keep them for reference. If you missed Part I of the chat, you can check out the chat transcript. You can also sign up to attend Part II of the chat, which is taking place on June 15th at 12pm.

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