Making Time for Exercise

Many people set the goal to exercise more regularly, especially at this time of year with New Year’s resolutions. We all know that exercise is good for us. It can help us manage our weight, prevent disease, sleep better, and feel less stressed.

When you are setting goals for exercise, start small and be realistic. Here are some tips for success:

  • Plan time for exercise into your schedule. 
  • At first, your goal might be to take a brisk walk for 15 minutes, 3 days a week.
  • After a month, increase your workouts by 5 minutes.
  • Work gradually toward the goal of 30-60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, with strength training twice a week.
  • Mix things up. Try an aerobic dance class, join a group workout at a nearby park, or look for workout videos online.

Don’t have time to exercise? You can still benefit from incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle. Do this by finding ways to increase your physical activity throughout the day:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot.
  • Pace around while you’re on the phone.
  • Walk laps around the field or court while you watch your child’s game.

Get creative! Look for ways to be active throughout your day. You will find that ten minutes of activity here and there throughout the day quickly add up to 30 minutes or more.

 

Need help finding motivation? Ask a friend to be your workout partner, go for a family hike or bike ride on weekends, or hire a personal trainer to guide your workouts. Have fun with it!

For more information on aerobic and muscle strengthening exercise, and more ideas for adding physical activity to your lifestyle, follow the link below:

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm

Now, get moving! Afterward, enjoy this post-workout smoothie packed with muscle-repairing protein and replenishing potassium.

Post-Workout PB Banana Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop protein powder, flavor of your choice
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • ½ banana, frozen
  • 1 large handful of spinach, or mixed greens
  • 1 cup unsweetened almondmilk, or cold water

Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth, and enjoy!

Tips: For a thinner consistency, add more liquid. To make it colder, add a few ice cubes at a time.

Nutrition Information:

255 Calories      19g Protein       11.5g Fat      22g Carbs      3g Fiber

Disclaimer: All exercises and other forms of physical activity can be dangerous, especially if performed without medical advice, proper supervision and/or pre-exercise evaluation. The videos, techniques, ideas, and exercise suggestions presented on this website are not intended to be professional training advice. Always consult your physician or health care professional before performing any exercise, especially if you have any chronic or recurring condition, and/or if you are pregnant, nursing, or elderly. All exercises you perform at your own responsibility and at your own risk.

Find Your Healthy Eating Style

Happy New Year!  Many of us have started making our New Year’s resolutions or at least thinking about some changes we want to make in 2018.  One popular goal this time of year is to start eating healthy. This is a great goal, however what does eating “healthy” mean?   Depending on preferences, culture, traditions and budget, we all have our own eating style.  So everyone’s definition of healthy varies greatly, even among dietitians.  For one person, eating healthy means eating home cooked meals instead of eating out every day.  Another person may think eating healthy means eating vegetarian.  I think a better goal is to starting eating “healthier“.  There is room for improvement in everyone’s diet, and making  a few small changes to your current eating style can make a big difference in your overall health.

Trying to overhaul your diet typically doesn’t work and often causes stress and anxiety.  Instead, embrace who you are and how you eat. Then consider these tips to making healthier, long term changes that won’t be overwhelming.

  1. Don’t give up favorite foods. If you are too strict and tell yourself you can never have a cookie, you will obsess about the cookie.  This usually leads to overeating at some point because you are not satisfied.  Instead, eat your favorite foods in smaller quantities and less often.
  2.  Have a plan. Whether you are eating at home or eating out, try to balance your meals.  Eat lots of vegetables, always have some protein and watch the amount of carbs you eat at each meal. Instead of fries or a loaded baked potato at a restaurant, ask for a salad or apple slices.  Here are some more ideas from the USDA’s MyPlate MyWins! website: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/make-small-changes
  3. Don’t eat boring food.  A common complaint I hear from my patients is they are sick of eating the same “diet” foods every day.  My response is always, “then don’t!”  Healthy food doesn’t mean tasteless, dried out chicken breast and steamed plain vegetables every day.  Vary up your protein sources – pork tenderloin, lean ground beef, beans and eggs are examples of nutritious sources of protein.  Roast, saute or use a crockpot to vary how your meats are cooked.  Steamed vegetables, especially microwavable bags are quick and easy, but that’s not the only way to cook vegetables.  Try roasting them in a hot oven drizzled with a little olive oil and your favorite seasonings, this is my favorite way to eat my veggies!
  4. Win 5 out of 7 days.  It is ok to splurge once in a while, just not daily.  Try to eat healthy during the week and maybe indulge a little on the weekends.  Planning for it also helps with spiraling out of control or feeling you “blew your diet” and give up. 

Try this delicious one-pan recipe that is easy, healthy and  full of flavor:

Delicious One-Pan Pork and Vegetables

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 small new red potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped ( or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (4 oz each)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425o F.  Spray cookie sheet pan with cooking spray.  In small bowl, mix Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (and garlic powder, if using).
  2. In a large bowl, mix potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onion and garlic (if using).  Sprinkle with oil and half of herb mixture; toss to coat evenly.  Place in center of pan.
  3. Bake 25 minutes; stir vegetables.  Sprinkle remaining herb mixture over pork chops.  Place pork chops around vegetables. Bake 10-15 minutes or until pork reads 145o F, and vegetables are tender.  

Nutrition Information per Serving

310 Calories        23g Carbohydrates

4g Fiber      28g Protein

The biggest take-away from all of this is to set realistic goals for yourself.  Remember, there is not one right way to get healthy.  Small changes to your diet can bring big changes to your health. 

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2018 for all!

Disclaimer: All exercises and other forms of physical activity can be dangerous, especially if performed without medical advice, proper supervision and/or pre-exercise evaluation. The videos, techniques, ideas, and exercise suggestions presented on this website are not intended to be professional training advice. Always consult your physician or health care professional before performing any exercise, especially if you have any chronic or recurring condition, and/or if you are pregnant, nursing, or elderly. All exercises you perform at your own responsibility and at your own risk.

Why Nutrition Information is SO Confusing

One week eggs are bad, the next week eggs are good.  Coffee is good!  No, it’s bad! There is a lot of contradiction out there when it comes to nutrition advice, often resulting in confusion and mistrust.  I will attempt to explain why there is so much mixed-messages and how we can sift through it all to find the truth.

The Media

Most of us get our information from one or more media sources.  Whether you watch the news or Dr. Oz or read articles posted on Facebook, remember, their goal is to get more views and clicks.  Sensationalizing the headlines sells, but is not always accurate.  The media will take one small study and hype it up as if it is absolute fact.  It is best to find the research article and read it yourself, the authors are usually more reserved in their analysis than the media.

The Research

Nutrition research is actually fairly new, it started at the end of the 19th century.  Many foods, such as trans fats and artificial sweeteners, have only been studied for a few decades.  Good evidenced-based advice takes time and numerous studies.  No one study is the end-all, be-all, so be wary of “new evidence”.

Here are some red flags to look for with health claims in the media or even on products: “fast” results, eliminating whole food groups, or claims one nutrient is the answer to your health problems. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

The Truth

Americans spend billions on health and diet products every year.  We are attracted to the promise of big results with little effort.  Often we are tricked by marketing and half-truth statements.

Recognize that nutritional science is constantly evolving.  Evidence over time will sometimes mean information will need to be clarified, modified or changed.  However, this will not happen over night, and certainly not from one study.

Although the media makes it seem like there is a huge debate among experts there is significant agreement on diet and health.  There are tried and true nutritional advice that has been unchanged for decades, the basic principles of healthful eating – eat lots of fruits and vegetables, limit sugar as much as possible, prioritize whole foods over packaged and processed foods, and cook your own food.

Conclusion

It is our responsibility to be informed consumers.  Here is a summary of tips on how to make healthy food and nutrition choices:

  • Remain curious and open-minded to new ideas, but use common sense and read the study when possible.
  • Realize there is no “quick fix” to health – this is just a marketing ploy to sell you something.
  • Focus on whole foods rather than individual nutrients.
  • Don’t rely on supplements to “save you” from a bad diet.
  • Every body is different, our needs vary, so what might be good or “work” for one person, does not necessarily mean it is for everyone.

As we approach the new year and start thinking about what changes or improvements we want to make, try to keep it simple – simple diet with simple ingredients – don’t overthink it – it’s just food!

Here’s a simple and healthy recipe that shouldn’t create any controversy:

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup diced red potato
  • 1/4 cup diced peeled sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Spread quinoa in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until browned, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Add oil.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper.  Cover and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in garlic, rosemary and cumin, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in stock, potatoes and toasted quinoa.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium; cook 12 minutes.  Stir in zucchini and cabbage; cook until vegetables and quinoa are tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in parsley and salt.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

144 Calories      7g Protein     5g Fat

19g Carbohydrates      3g Fiber

For more great health tips, visit our website at http://figureweightloss.com/category/weight-loss

 

Disclaimer: All exercises and other forms of physical activity can be dangerous, especially if performed without medical advice, proper supervision and/or pre-exercise evaluation. The videos, techniques, ideas, and exercise suggestions presented on this website are not intended to be professional training advice. Always consult your physician or health care professional before performing any exercise, especially if you have any chronic or recurring condition, and/or if you are pregnant, nursing, or elderly. All exercises you perform at your own responsibility and at your own risk.

Vitamin D – “The Sunshine” Vitamin

As we move into colder, gloomier weather, I thought I would try to bring a ray of sunshine to my post. Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” because the body makes vitamin D from exposure to the sun. However, as many as 90% of adults in the United States are vitamin D deficient.  You have a great chance for D deficiency if you spend most of your time indoors,  wear sunscreen when outdoors,  live in northern regions,  are overweight and/or aging.  Most of us fall into at least one of these categories. This means people are supplementing with vitamin D more now than ever.  So I thought I would give some guidance around Vitamin D deficiency, the risks, symptoms, sources of Vitamin D, and supplementation.

Why is vitamin D important?  Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver and fatty tissue in the body.   D helps with calcium absorption and it affects skeletal structure, blood pressure, immunity, mood, sleep, brain function and helps protect against some cancers.  As you can see, it is a pretty important vitamin.

The symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency are non-specific and can be subtle, often getting overlooked as the cause.  Here are the most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:

  1. Getting sick or infections often
  2. Feeling fatigued and tired
  3. Bone and back pain
  4. Depression
  5. Slow wound healing
  6. Bone loss
  7. Hair loss
  8. Muscle pain

These symptoms can be due to many other things too, but having vitamin D blood levels checked by your doctor is a simple way to rule a deficiency out.

There are other ways besides the sun to get more of this important vitamin.  It is found naturally in small amounts in some foods.  The best sources are fatty fish (such as halibut, salmon, swordfish, sardines), egg yolk, cod liver oil and raw milk.  It is fortified in pasteurized milk, some milk alternatives and cereal. Supplementing with vitamin D supplements may be necessary to get enough.

Vitamin D supplements come in two forms, D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).  D3 is much better absorbed and beneficial, so choose D3 when possible.

If you suspect a deficiency, it is important to see your doctor.  They can draw blood to determine your level and prescribe a supplement if necessary. Optimally, you want your level to be between 50-70ng/mL.  Talk with your doctor about how much to  take.  The RDA is 600 IU per day for adults, but most doctors consider that too low and recommend 2000 IU per day.  If you are overweight, it may take more to get your levels up.  Since D is stored in fat, if you have excess fat, the body tends to store more and it can difficult to access the D stored.   Also, since vitamin D is fat soluble,  make sure you take vitamin D supplements with food that has some fat in it, your body will absorb it better.

Vitamin D plays many vital roles in our well-being. I recommend everyone have their D levels checked.  It is simple and easy to make changes to your lifestyle, diet, and supplementing if needed to replenish this important vitamin.

Here’s a delicious and simple salmon recipe that will help you get some vitamin D and heart-healthy fats.

Baked Dijon Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
  • 3 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Italian-style dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted or olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Place salmon skin-side down on foil. Spread a thin layer of mustard on the top of each fillet, and season with salt and pepper. Top with bread crumbs, then drizzle with melted butter.
  3. Bake  for 15 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Nutrition

Amount per serving (4 total)

  • Calories: 331 kcal
  • Fat: 21.5 g 
  • Carbs: 7.5g
  • Protein: 25 g

For more healthy tips, visit our website at http://figureweightloss.com/category/weight-loss

Disclaimer: All exercises and other forms of physical activity can be dangerous, especially if performed without medical advice, proper supervision and/or pre-exercise evaluation. The videos, techniques, ideas, and exercise suggestions presented on this website are not intended to be professional training advice. Always consult your physician or health care professional before performing any exercise, especially if you have any chronic or recurring condition, and/or if you are pregnant, nursing, or elderly. All exercises you perform at your own responsibility and at your own risk.

Vegetarians – Are They Healthier?

I often get asked if it is healthier to have a vegetarian diet.  My answer is, “not necessarily.”  I have met a few vegetarians that don’t like most vegetables, so if your idea of vegetarian is eating potato chips all day, then, no, it is not healthier to be vegetarian.  It really depends on foods choices, whether you choose to be an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, any one of them can be a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle.

The key to a healthy eating pattern is variety of foods and eating the right amounts of different foods. Here are some tips to eating healthy as a vegetarian.

  1. Think About Protein. Protein helps you stay full longer, stabilize blood sugar and maintain muscle mass.  There are many plan options of protein,  such as beans, peas, nuts, eggs, dairy and soy products.  Make sure to have some protein with each meal.
  2. Eat the Rainbow. Vary the color of vegetables you eat.  Each color represents different nutrients that your body needs.
  3. Get Your Vitamin B12.  Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in animal products. Vegans and vegetarians should have fortified foods, add nutritional yeast to foods or take a Vitamin B12 supplement if not eating any animal products.
  4. Don’t Forget About Calcium and Vitamin D.  If you don’t consume dairy products, add fortified milk alternatives, dark green leafy vegetables for calcium and supplements for Vitamin D
  5. Focus on Omega-3’s. High sources of Omega-3’s are found in fatty fish, like Salmon.  The best vegetarian sources are found in ground flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil and soy.
  6. Choose Whole Grains.  Refined grains are low in fiber, iron and B Vitamins.  Whole grains will help you meet your nutritional needs, and fiber will help you stay full longer.
  7. Read Labels and Ingredients.  Just because it’s vegetarian, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  Know what you are eating!

Here is a great recipe that is vegetarian and full of protein, fiber and vegetables.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
  •  1 packet chili seasoning

Directions:

  1. Cook onion, in olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add garlic and  cook for 1 minute.  Add sweet potatoes, carrots and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, turn heat to medium-low and stir to combine well.  Simmer, partially covered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft.
  3.  Serve warm. Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, chopped green onion, and shredded cheese, if desired.

Nutritional Information

427 Calories      72g Carbohydrates      

21g Protein    17g Fiber

289% Vitamin A   65% Vitamin C   15% Calcium   31% Iron

 

Visit our website for more healthy tips at

http://figureweightloss.com/

 

Disclaimer: All exercises and other forms of physical activity can be dangerous, especially if performed without medical advice, proper supervision and/or pre-exercise evaluation. The videos, techniques, ideas, and exercise suggestions presented on this website are not intended to be professional training advice. Always consult your physician or health care professional before performing any exercise, especially if you have any chronic or recurring condition, and/or if you are pregnant, nursing, or elderly. All exercises you perform at your own responsibility and at your own risk.