Healthy Lifestyle: Building a Better Breakfast

September 30, 2011 By: consultant 135 Comments

How many times have you heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” All meals are important but breakfast literally means breaking a fast from the night of sleeping. Eating a healthy breakfast can jump start your metabolism and help you power through a busy morning of work, school, errands, or fun with friends. It can also be helpful in your weight loss efforts, as a nutritious breakfast is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Breakfast: Cereal

For a nutritious breafast, have a bowl of cereal with fruit and skim milk.

Skipping breakfast is more likely to cause a weight gain and make weight control more difficult. If your body is still in a fasting mode, your body, mind, and metabolism do not get enough energy. Not eating in the morning may lead to low blood sugar, which makes you feel like you have less energy.

Eating a well balance breakfast can help you lose weight. Eating a well balanced breakfast is like filling up a tank of a car – breakfast is the fuel for your body.

A simple way to make a well balanced breakfast is to put a few food groups into a meal. Many people do not have time to prepare and enjoy a filling, well balanced breakfast of eggs, toast, and turkey bacon each morning.

A lot of times we need something quick and simple in the morning. Don’t just munch on dry cereal. A step to improve a breakfast cereal is to add a cup of skim milk. To make it even better, have whole grain cereal, skim milk, and a banana. Whole grain cereal has more fiber to keep you fuller longer; the milk provides protein, and the banana has fiber and potassium

A simple breakfast like a bowl of cereal will power you through the morning. Other quick and simple, well balanced breakfasts include:

-  Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and fruit

-  Whole wheat english muffin with hummus, tomato, and hard boiled eggs

Healthy Breakfast: Yogurt Parfait

Try a homemade yogurt parfait with lots of fruit for a healthy breakfast or snack option.

-  Yogurt Parfait: Plain Greek yogurt, fresh berries, and almonds

-  Whole grain granola bar (Larabar, Luna, etc) with an apple

-  Whole grain waffles with blueberries and skim milk

-  Healthy trail mix (nuts and dried fruits) with a cup of skim milk

-  Fruit smoothie

-  Cottage cheese with pineapple and slivered almonds

-  Mini whole wheat bagel with almond butter and apple slices

-  Whole grain muffin with fruit and a cup of skim milk

-  Fruit salad with a cheese stick and whole wheat crackers

-  Oatmeal prepared with skim milk and fruit and nuts

Fitness & Weight Loss Tips: Staying Fit on the Road

September 28, 2011 By: afeldman 4 Comments

Whether traveling for work, school or pleasure, it is very easy to ditch healthy lifestyle habits when on the road.  It is acceptable to take a break from exercise and diet every once in a while, however, regular gaps in exercise and nutrition can catch up to you.  Being away from home is not a valid excuse to ditch the routine.  In this article I will share some tips to continue your healthy lifestyle, even on the road.

Fitness Tip: Book a Hotel with a Gym

To maintain your healthy lifestyle fitness routine, book a hotel that has a gym.

Book a hotel with a gym – This one may be obvious to some, but a hotel with a gym is not always easy to find.  If you know that you have to travel somewhere, get online and do a little research.  There are numerous hotel-booking websites that tell you about the amenities that a hotel offers.  The best bet is to get onto a hotel’s website and check out the property features.  If you can’t find a hotel with a gym, call the hotel and ask if there are any fitness centers nearby.  Many fitness centers will offer a day pass for out of town visitors or potential members checking out the facility.

Bring exercise bands - Exercise bands are an excellent way to exercise while on the road.  I stayed in shape during a 14 week backpacking trip by using exercise bands alone.  These can be purchased at any sporting goods store or online for $10 to $20.  They come in a variety of resistance levels for beginner and intermediate exercisers.  These lightweight and portable pieces of exercise equipment can be taken anywhere and used anytime.

Plan Quick Exercises for your Trip

To stay on track with your fitness routine, plan out exercises for your trip that require minimal equipment.

Bring a list of exercises and a plan for each day you are away - If you have a trainer, ask them to list out things you can do while you are away.  If you exercise on your own, make a list of things you can do with minimal equipment and plan out your routine.  Activities on the list can include exercises such as pushups, outside nature walks or swimming laps in a hotel pool.

Plan 3-5 short workouts that you can fit in between various appointments or activities - One of the conflicts of traveling for work is that there is not much time to exercise.  Plan ten minute workouts that you can do periodically throughout the day.  While doing this will not have the same effect as a normal workout, it will still have benefits and keep you active.  A good example is taking the half hour that you have between meetings and squeezing in a ten minute calisthenics routine followed by a quick shower.  Ten minutes can also be spent jogging or walking.

Have workout clothes handy – When packing your clothes, pack at least one set of workout clothes.  When down time does arise, you won’t be able to say that you didn’t bring workout clothes.

Eat a Healthy Restaurant Meal

While on the road, research nearby restaurants that offer healthy meal options.

Research healthy eating places in proximity of the hotel while you are there or ask for healthy eating options off the menu – While researching gym options and hotel amenities, be sure to look at food menus.  Most hotels with a dining area have healthy eating options.  If not available, look into nearby restaurants or grocery stores.  If you can’t find a place that serves healthy food, go shopping for some.  If that is not an option, try to bring a couple healthy snacks from home.  You may not be able to follow a perfectly healthy diet while you are away, but that is no reason to overindulge on the junk food.

If no gym is available, find a good place around the hotel to exercise – There may be an empty field nearby in which you can do total body exercises or some good trails for walking and running.  It is always rejuvenating to find a nice scenic area to do exercises like yoga and pilates.  If there is a beach nearby, that is a perfect place for cardiovascular exercise as well.  One of my favorite things about traveling is being able to explore the area by going out for a nice jog or bike ride.

If a pool is too small for lap swimming, try water running – If you are not familiar with water running, there are many videos online demonstrating it.  Water running is just as it sounds- the art of running in the water.  This can be done in two ways; in a pool where you are touching the ground or in deeper water.  In shallow water, you can run stationary or run from one side of the pool to another.  In deeper water, you will be doing more of a water treading motion, but it is still the same concept.

When leaving home, do not let something like a business trip or a lengthy vacation be a reason for you to regress on healthy living.  A break is okay every now and then, but don’t let workout skipping become a habit.

Obesity and Reducing the Risk of Diabetes

September 21, 2011 By: office 52 Comments

As obesity trends continue to rise, so does the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. The risk can be greatly reduced by making healthy lifestyle choices, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Jennifer Corbett Dorren.

Adults, middle-aged and up, can cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 80 percent by adhering to a combination of five healthy lifestyle habits, according to a new analysis.

The new analysis comes from The National Institutes of Health, which examined the individual factors that can lower the risk of developing diabetes and other diseases – healthy diet, exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, and consuming alcohol moderately.

Link Between Healthy Lifestyle and Diabetes

Healthy lifestyle factors which may decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes include healthy eating, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and moderate alcohol consumption.

The analysis shows that keeping just one of these five healthy lifestyle factors can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. More than 200,000 people who participated in the study were between ages 50 and 71 when the study began in 1995. At the study’s start, participants had no signs of heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

Study participants filled out detailed questionnaires about what kinds of foods they ate, whether they consumed alcohol, and if they were current or former smokers. Other questions asked how much the participants exercised and their weight and height so that body mass index could be calculated. Study participants were followed for about 11 years. During that time, about 10 percent of men in the study and 8 percent of women developed diabetes.

Researchers grouped participants into lifestyle categories ranging from “best” to “worst.” People in the best category had all five healthy lifestyle factors, while those in the worst had none. For diet, participants received a score of one to five based on fruit and vegetable consumption, the amount of and type of fat they ate and other factors. Those who scored in the top 40 percent were considered to have a healthy diet. Exercising three times a week for at least 20 minutes and being a nonsmoker for at least 10 years were two additional healthy lifestyle factors. Alcohol consumption of no more than one drink a day for women and two for men was considered as another factor, along with weight. People with a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9 – a body mass considered normal – were counted as being in the lowest-risk category for weight.

According to the researcher in charge of the analysis, Dr. Jared Reis, the average study participant had two out of the five healthy lifestyle factors. Researchers found body mass index to have the strongest association to diabetes risk, when compared with the other factors. When looking at body mass index in isolation, men of normal weight were 70 percent less likely to develop diabetes than overweight or obese men, while normal weight women were 78 percent less likely to develop diabetes.

Researchers also found that men and women whose diet and exercise were both considered in the healthy range were just under 30 percent less likely to develop diabetes. When being a nonsmoker was added to diet and exercise, those people were about one-third less likely to develop the disease.

Men who consumed alcohol moderately, in addition to the previous three factors, were 39 percent less likely to develop diabetes while women had 57 percent lower odds. When body mass index was added to the other healthy lifestyle factors, men were 72 percent less likely to develop diabetes, while women had an 84 percent lower risk.

Despite all of these findings, Dr. Reis added that even overweight people can lower their odds of developing diabetes if they adopt just one other healthy lifestyle habit such as exercising three times a week for at least 20 minutes each day.

These studies reinforce the importance of a healthy lifestyle. At Shane Diet Resorts weight loss camp for adults, healthy diet and physical activity are just two of the healthy lifestyle factors that guests experience daily and will in turn, impact body mass index. Not only will a healthy weight and lifestyle lower the risk for diabetes, but for other health risks as well.

Proper Planning: The Most Important Part of an Exercise Program

September 16, 2011 By: afeldman 7 Comments

When any big changes are instituted in business, academics or medical procedures, the first thing that happens is the creation of a plan.  Planning is the most important part of any process because without it, everything is on a whim.  The same goes for anything fitness related.  Sure, there are many who go to the gym and do any routine that comes to mind, but if you want to make serious and significant progress toward a goal, planning is necessary.

In fitness, we start our planning process off with goal setting.  Once a realistic goal is decided upon, planning is the next step.  One of the most important things to keep in mind is to keep things realistic.  You cannot set weight loss goals with expectations such as losing 100 pounds in a month or developing “6 pack abs” in two weeks.  As long as you are realistic when making a plan and setting your goal, then there is no reason not to reach it

Weight Loss Goal Setting

When setting weight loss goals for yourself, it is important to be realistic and focus on both the short-term and long-term goals.

When setting a goal, there should be a grand picture of where you want to go and a smaller sub-goal that you can modify or change from week to week.  The main goal should focus on where you see yourself or how you want to feel in the grand scheme of things.  An example of a long term goal is going from a point of being afraid of the water to being able to swim in a triathlon.  All short term goals would then gradually work a person up to learning how to swim correctly.

The idea of a short term goal or a sub-goal is to push you closer to that larger goal.  The large goal can be anything that you want it to be while the smaller goals are easily manageable and integrated into your daily life.  Small goals are changes that are just engaging enough not to throw your entire week out of whack, but still push you towards something.

The mistake that people commonly make is to get overzealous when goal setting.  An unrealistic goal, like one of the ones I mentioned above, is commonly set and when it is not reached, it has disastrous effects on self-confidence.  Below, I will list a couple examples of goals, as well as the right and wrong ways to reach them.

Example Goal 1: I want to lose 100 pounds, which will put me at a healthy body weight.

The Wrong Way: When planning out this goal, most people make the mistake of adding in a timeline.  When a timeline is added, there is added pressure to reach the goal.  One of two things will happen with the timeline: either you will give up after not seeing the progress you hoped for, or you will feel so rushed to lose weight that you will engage in unhealthy practices to meet a deadline.  The latter will usually result in your regaining any lost weight, plus some extra.

The Right Way: The longer a person has been 100 pounds overweight, the longer it will take to lose it in a healthy manner.  Keeping with the big goal/little goal technique from above, the 100 pound weight loss is the grand goal.  As for small weekly goals, start off smaller and once you get a feel for the water, you can start adding things in.  For example, the week one goal could be making it into the gym three times.  Week two could be limiting bad meals to only one per day.  Week three could be eliminating soda every other day and week four could be making it to the gym five times.  The goals will be different for everyone but it is most important to set goals that you are able to achieve.  As you can tell, each small goal will move this participant closer to the 100 pound weight loss.  They may not necessarily be losing weight every week at first but if they keep setting and reaching weekly goals, this person will get to a point where they are shredding through fat like wild fire, as well as achieving a healthy lifestyle.

Example Goal 2: I want to run a Marathon.

Goal Setting - Marathon Training

When training for a marathon, or a similar fitness goal, it is important to gradually train to avoid injury to your body.

The Wrong Way: When setting a performance goal such as this one, most people jump in and try to do everything at one time. At the program’s start, this usually includes running every single day without regards to nutrition. By the time week three or week four roll around, joints start aching pretty badly and the runner becomes restless and very irritable. By the time two months has passed, the body has had enough and the exercise program simply stops.

The Right Way: Since the marathon is our long term goal here, smaller goals contributing to the long term goal should be in place.  More experienced runners can sign up for a marathon that is 6-9 months away while beginners should figure on a year or more.  Some smaller goals can relate to mileage (increasing from five total miles for the week to eight total miles), nutrition (incorporating higher water intake during runs), or exercise in general (stretching for 60 total minutes for the week).  The main thing to remember with running goals is not to increase distance too fast.  When mileage goes up too quickly, that is when injuries happen.

The Final Note

After reading this article, think about some of the goals you have reached or failed to reach.  Did you set a long term goal along with smaller goals to get you there?  Did these goals change?  Did you give up on your goals?  Use this opportunity to reevaluate some of the goals you are trying to reach and incorporate proper planning to get there.  Remember, your long term goal has no expiration date until you assign it one.  Keep your eyes on that long term goal and manipulate short term goals to get you there.  At Shane Diet Resorts fitness retreat program for adults, we teach clients how to incorporate fitness, nutrition and long term weight management into their daily living by using proper planning and goal setting.

Weight Loss Tip: Eat a Lighter Lunch

September 13, 2011 By: office 6 Comments

When you are trying to lose weight, do you find yourself to be hungry often? A new Cornell University study finds that eating a lighter lunch may be the key to weight loss without feeling the hunger, as described in a recent Science Daily article.

Weight Loss Tip - Lighter Lunch

If you are trying to lose weight and keep it off, consider eating light, portion-controlled meals for lunch.

In this study, participants who ate portion-controlled lunches did not compensate by eating more calories later in the day. This leads researchers to believe that the human body does not possess the mechanism necessary to notice a small drop in energy intake.

The study followed the food intake of 17 volunteers who ate whatever they wanted from a buffet for one week. For the next two weeks, half the group selected their lunch by choosing from one of six commercially available, portion-controlled foods, but could eat as much as they wished at other meals or snacks. For the final two weeks, the other half of volunteers followed the same regimen.

The results of the study found that while eating portion-controlled lunches, each participant consumed 250 fewer calories per day and lost, on average, 1.1 pounds.

The findings of this study reinforce the philosophy of Shane Diet Resorts. This weight loss program helps adults to jump-start a healthy lifestyle through portion-controlled meals and regular exercise. It is a simple formula that equals success.

What are your thoughts on the results of this study? Will you try to eat a lighter lunch as part of your weight loss efforts? We would love to hear what you think!

Weight Loss Programs Produce Bigger Results than Standard Care

September 9, 2011 By: office 7 Comments

Have you participated in a weight loss program, such as Shane Diet Resorts weight loss camp for adults or Weight Watchers? If you have, you most likely saw successful results. A new study finds that dieters may be more likely to slim down if they are referred to a commercial weight loss program than if they use a primary health care provider alone, as described in a recent Health Day article.

Weight Loss Programs Produce Big Results

Research finds that weight loss programs produce bigger weight loss results than standard care alone.

Overweight adults in Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom who were referred to Weight Watchers by a primary health care provider lost about twice as much weight over a year as dieters assigned to standard weight-loss care, according to the study funded by Weight Watchers.

In this study, 772 overweight and obese adults were randomly assigned to a year of diet care overseen by a primary care professional or to 12 months’ free membership to a local Weight Watchers group. Of the dieters involved in the study, 54 percent of the standard-care dieters completed the 12-months, compared to 61 percent of the Weight Watchers group.

Those who stuck with their standard diet lost an average of about 7 pounds, while those who attended Weight Watchers shed nearly 15 pounds on average. The Weight Watchers participants were also more than three times as likely to have dropped 5 percent or more of their body weight compared to the standard dieters.

This research suggests that the structure of the commercial program, including group support, weekly weighing, instruction about diet and physical activity, and motivation, can be a clinically useful tool for battling overweight and obesity on a large scale. Further research is needed to see if the gains can be maintained over time.

The researchers also said the findings suggested that overweight people were more likely to lose weight if they were referred to a commercial weight-loss program by a physician or another primary care provider, rather than if they enrolled on their own.

If you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off, consider a weight loss program for adults such as Shane Diet Resorts. Weight loss programs are excellent because they instill good lifestyle habits in the participants through the simple formula of healthy eating in combination with regular exercise. Have you had success with a weight loss program? We would love to hear about your experience!

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