Let the New Year’s Resolutions begin! If becoming healthier in 2012 is one of your goals then read on for five effective tips to help reach your goals.
Limit Sugar Containing Drinks
The simplest way to cut back on calories is by limiting your sugar containing drinks. One 12 oz can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Now 150 calories doesn’t sound like too much but by drinking just one extra can of soda each day above your calorie limit, you may gain 15 pounds of weight in a year. If you drink one can of soda each day, you are eating about 35 pounds of sugar in a year. This also goes for fruit drinks, sweetened tea, Gatorade, or any drink that has roughly the same amount of calories and sugar as a regular soda. When you drink these drinks they are not as satisfying as solid foods and some people do not realize that there are calories in beverages and drinking too many calories can make you gain weight just like eating too much solid food can. But, if you exchange your regular soda drinks for diet-soda, water, or other calorie-free drinks, you would not be adding all those extra calories and sugar to your diet and possibly will not gain the extra weight by drinking those extra calories.
At Least 30 Minutes of Physical Activity A Day
Next, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Sometimes the only way to make time for exercise is by treating it like a meeting, and once exercise becomes part of your daily “To-Do” list, you’re more likely to do it. Often people say they do not have time to exercise but those same people have time to spend an hour checking email, talking on their telephone, watching TV, playing on the computer, etc. You don’t have to spend every bit of your leisure time exercising; you can still get positive results with as little as 10-15 minutes at a time. If you lay out your clothes for work the night before and make your lunch for the next day, then in the morning you just opened up about 10-15 minutes to take a brisk walk in the morning. Then lunchtime or your coffee breaks would be another great opportunity to take a step away from your busy day in order to get in another quick 10-15 minute walk. Then after dinner take another 10-15 minute walk and you will have your 30 minutes or more of exercise in for the day.
Some other tips to sneak exercise in during the day include: during your lunch break you could bring dumb-bells to work, do sit-ups or push-ups or any other office appropriate exercises. Buy a pedometer and wear it while you work and try to get 10,000 Steps/day (The goal of taking 10,000 steps in a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It should be enough to reduce your risk for chronic diseases and help you lead a longer, healthier life). TV watching time can also be exercise time. If you did some exercises during every commercial that would equal about 15 minutes of activity during a one hour show. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; park your car further away; walk a little faster and farther between stores while shopping; or walk on the beach instead of laying there (you will still get your tan and you will get in your exercise at the same time!). Choose whichever way works best for you. The more energetic the activity, the more calories you will use. The main thing is just remember to actually go and do it.
In order to succeed in weight loss or living a healthier lifestyle you need to plan and be organized. Take 5-10 minutes the night before or in the morning and pack your lunch so you are not rushing into last minute decisions or running to vending machines or fast food restaurants. Prepare salads and cut up fruit and vegetables the night before for quick healthy snacks. Check out restaurant’s websites or places you often eat before you go in order to make healthier food choices. Make a grocery list for your planned meals and stick to it. Break the habit of just throwing unhealthy foods into your shopping carts. Bring a healthy snack wherever you go. Carry fresh fruit and vegetables, almonds, pretzels, whole-grain crackers, or whatever healthy snack you like in your bag. When you plan regular meals and snacks it is much easier to eat healthier.
Be Aware of Unconscious Eating
Be aware of unconscious eating. Make eating a single activity. Eat all your meals at the same place and while sitting down at the kitchen table. Do not do anything else while eating, don’t watch TV, read or do office work because this leads to the unconscious eating and extra calories without realizing it. I am sure many of us could agree that we’ve sat there watching TV and just ate out of a big bag of chips without even thinking how many chips we’re actually were eating. Instead of eating out of the bag, measure and package snacks to serving sizes, Ziploc baggies work well; this also helps with the mindlessly grabbing handfuls that may equal more than a portion size.
Watch Portion Sizes
Portion control may be one of the biggest factors causing the rising rate of obesity in this country. The Super-Sizing of American food has caused many of us to suffer from “Portion-Distortion”. The biggest nutrition problem in America is not what we eat but how much we eat. The key to healthy eating is to downsize your portions. Use measuring cups, spoons, and a food scale to help you learn about the portion sizes you eat. Learn to stop eating before you are stuffed. You can still enjoy your favorite foods, just in moderation. Awareness of what you’re eating is what matters. Here is the bottom line: No matter what you eat, no matter how healthful it is, no matter what the label says (low-fat, low-sugar, low-carbohydrate), the bigger the size, the more calories it has. And if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. It doesn’t matter how many carbohydrates you eat but what does matters is calories in verses calories out (energy balance).
Change takes time; pick one or two goals to work on first and once they become habit for you, then you can pick a few more to work on. Consistency is the key to successful weight loss so do not get discourage if you have a road block, just re-gather and find another way around your obstacle.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has just released new recommendations on the quantity and quality of exercise for adults.
The basic recommendations – categorized by cardiorespiratory exercise, resistance exercise, flexibility exercise and neuromotor exercise – are as follows:
In addition to outlining basic recommendations, the following is also emphasized:
- Pedometers, step-counting devices used to measure physical activity, are not an accurate measure of exercise quality and should not be used as the sole measure of physical activity.
- Though exercise protects against heart disease, it is still possible for active adults to develop heart problems. All adults must be able to recognize the warning signs of heart disease, and all health care providers should ask patients about these symptoms.
- Sedentary behavior – sitting for long periods of time – is distinct from physical activity and has been shown to be a health risk in itself. Meeting the guidelines for physical activity does not make up for a sedentary lifestyle.
For the full position stand, visit the following website: http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.aspx
If you have been doing research on what to eat in order to improve your athletic performance I am sure you are pretty frustrated with all the different information out there and want to know what information to trust. I have summarized the basic guidelines from the position paper written by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada. However, even though these guidelines are sound and effective, your individual needs must be emphasized.
Sufficient in fluids to maintain hydration
- Low in fat and fiber to minimize any GI problems
High in carbohydrates to maintain blood glucose and maximize glycogen stores (approximately 200-300 grams for meals consumed 3-4 hours before exercise).
- Moderate in protein
- Composed of familiar foods
Primary goal is to replace fluid losses (drink every 15-20 minutes 6-12 oz)
Provide carbohydrates (approximately 30-60 grams every hour in events greater than 90 minutes) to maintain blood glucose levels.
In events lasting less than one hour, a sports drink that provide 6-8% carbohydrates is sufficient
Eat within 30-45 minutes
- Restore fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat (Drink 16-24 oz of fluid for every lb lost from sweat)
- Refuel with carbohydrates (0.5-0.7 g/lb)
Provide protein to repair damaged muscle tissue (10-20 g for endurance training and 20-40 g for strength training)
For more detailed information, you can find the full position paper at the following link for free:
One of the most common causes for people to give up on their weight loss goal is from hitting a plateau. No matter how hard they try, they feel stuck at a certain weight. Do not get discouraged because a weight loss plateau eventually happens to everyone trying to lose weight. Here are a few tips to help you during this frustrating time and to help you get back on track to your weight loss goal.
·Make sure you haven’t loosened the rules and started increasing your portion sizes or doing less exercise. I strongly encourage recording what you eat in a daily food journal, I personally use http://www.myfitnesspal.com. You can also record your workouts in this journal or write them down on a monthly calendar.
·Reduce your calories further, but do not go below 1200 calories for the day.
·Increase the calories you burn. You can either try increasing the amount of time you spend exercising, increase the intensity of your workout, or add strength training to help burn more calories.
·Increase your general physical activity throughout the day to help burn more calories. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, get up from your desk and walk to co-workers desk versus sending an email and so on.
Whatever you do, don’t revert back to your old eating and exercise habits which might cause you to regain the weight you lost. Be patient with yourself. You didn’t gain the weight over night so don’t think you can take it off as fast.
● Enjoy your food, but eat less.
● Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to Increase
● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
● Make at least half your grains whole grains.
● Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Foods to Reduce
● Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers.
● Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
You’ve probably heard it before, “eat more fiber”, but do you know WHY fiber is so good for you? Dietary fiber is probably best known for its ability to prevent constipation. However, fiber provides so many more health benefits including; preventing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Fiber also aids in weight loss by making you feel full so you may eat fewer calories during the day.
What Exactly Is Fiber?
Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body cannot digest or absorb. All dietary fibers are either soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, citrus fruits, apples, beans and vegetables. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system. Good sources of Insoluble fiber include wheat bran, whole-wheat products and vegetables.
How Much Dietary Fiber Do You Need?
Try to get between 20-35 grams of fiber each day; most Americans only get about half that amount in their diet. To make sure you are getting both soluble and insoluble fiber, eat a variety of foods each day, including fruits, vegetables, dried beans and whole grain products.
Tips To Increase Your Fiber Intake
1. Read food labels, look for the word “whole” before any grains on the ingredient list, and check the number of grams of dietary fiber on the nutrition label.
2. Start your day with a bowl of bran or other high-fiber cereal with 5 grams or more of fiber a serving.
3. Try to eat vegetables with your lunch and dinner.
4. Bring some fruit and vegetables to work with you to snack on during the day.
5. Fiber supplements like Metamucil and Benefiber can also help you meet your fiber needs for the day.
Your muscles break down during a hard workout, but you can stop this breakdown by eating as soon as tolerable after you exercise. Take advantage of the 30-45 minute post-exercise window to repair and build muscles. A 1:3 ratio of protein to carbohydrate is recommended. Refueling with carbohydrates creates a muscle refueling response while protein enhances the process of building and repairing muscles, and reduces muscle soreness. Also, eating protein with carbohydrate after strength training may also stimulate muscle growth by the release of insulin and growth hormone. Even if you aren’t hungry, you don’t need to consume a lot of food to receive the benefits from post-exercise meals. As few as 100 calories can make a big difference.
Guidelines for Recovery
1.Eat within 30-45 minute post-exercise
2.Restore fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
3.Replace muscle fuel (carbohydrate) utilized during practice.
4.Provide protein to aid in repair of damaged muscle tissue and to stimulate development of new tissue.
Weigh yourself before and after competition and replace what you lose.
Drink 2 to 3 cups (16-24 ounces) of fluid for every pound lost in sweat.
Protein after Recovery
After endurance exercise: consume 10-20 g of protein
After resistance training: consume about 20-40 g of protein
Carbohydrates to Restore Glycogen Storage
Consume 0.5 grams of carbs per lb of body weight within 30 minutes of finishing exercise.
Food Ideas for Post Exercise
Low-fat chocolate milk
Turkey sandwich with 2 oz of turkey
Peanut Butter sandwich with 2 Tbsp of peanut butter
1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt
2 oz of low-fat cheese and crackers or piece of fruit
Fruit smoothie made with yogurt or milk
Bowl of Cheerios with milk and banana