A Prescription for Better Health & Weight Loss

April 29, 2013 By: office Post a Comment

aaronyoga_page4outof16Most of us spend the vast majority of our time inside. According to one government estimate, the average American spends 90% of his or her life indoors, and as we get older we become even more inclined not to venture out. But is all this indoor time hurting our health and weight loss goals?

Spending time outdoors seems to have discernible benefits for physical and mental health. Granted, some are merely by association and can be achieved by other means, perhaps while indoors, but often only with a great deal more trouble and expense. Here are five potential benefits of spending more time outdoors:

1. Your vitamin D levels will go up

Exposing your skin to sunshine — actually, ultraviolet B (UVB) rays — enables the body to make vitamin D, which is why it’s also known as the “sunshine vitamin.” Research suggests vitamin D may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke.

Of course, it has to be sunny out, and there are some snags. Where you live, the season, and the time of day affect how much UVB reaches your skin. The farther you live from the equator, the less UVB radiation you receive. Vitamin D production is affected by age (people ages 65 and over generate about a fourth as much as people in their 20s) and skin color (African Americans have, on average, about half the levels of vitamin D in their blood as white Americans).

Another problem: sunscreens are most effective at blocking UVB light, the part of the spectrum that causes sunburn, but UVB also happens to be the kind of light that kick-starts the generation of vitamin D in the skin.

The either-or of sunscreen and sunshine vitamin has stirred up a lot of controversy and debate between pro-sunscreen dermatologists and the vitamin D camp. But there is plenty of middle ground here: some limited sun exposure on short walks, wearing a hat and sunglasses to protect sensitive areas and the like, supplemented with vitamin D pills if necessary, and liberal use of sunscreen when you are out for extended periods, particularly during the middle of the day.

2. You’ll get more exercise (especially if you’re a child)

Being outside isn’t a guarantee of being active. Still, there’s no question that being outdoors is associated with activity and indoor living is associated with being sedentary, particularly for children. According to some surveys, American children spend an average of 6½ hours a day with electronic media (video games, television, and so on), time that is spent mainly indoors and sitting down. British researchers found that children are more than doubly active when they are outside.

Adults can go to the gym. Many prefer the controlled environment there. But if you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking, biking, gardening, cleaning up the yard, and doing other things that put the body in motion. At the Shane Resorts we use the local playground for a fitness class. Give it a shot – do push-ups on a bench, pull-ups on the jungle gym, swing on the swing and really pump with your legs and abs, etc.

3. You’ll be happier (especially if your exercise is ‘green’)

Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and unless you live in a glass house or are using a light box to treat seasonal affective disorder, there’s usually more light available outside than inside. Physical activity has been shown to relax and cheer people up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles and laughter.

Researchers at the University of Essex in England are advancing the notion that exercising in the presence of nature has added benefit, particularly for mental health. Their investigations into “green exercise,” as they are calling it, dovetail with research showing benefits from living in proximity to green, open spaces. So pack a healthy picnic in your backpack and go for a hike.

4. Your concentration will improve

A study published in 2008 found that children with ADHD scored higher on a test of concentration after a walk through a park than after a walk through a residential neighborhood or downtown area. Other ADHD studies have also suggested that outdoor exercise could have positive effects on the condition. Truth be told, this research has been done in children, so it’s a stretch to say it applies to adults, even those who have an ADHD diagnosis. But if you have trouble concentrating — as many do — you might see if some outdoor activity, the greener the better, helps. Take a break from work in the afternoon and walk around the block. It only takes a few minutes and it works a lot better than another cup of coffee.

5. You may heal faster

University of Pittsburgh researchers reported in 2005 that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries if they were exposed to natural light. An older study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) had an effect on patient recovery. Of course, windows and views are different than actually being outside, but we’re betting that adding a little fresh air to the equation couldn’t hurt and might help.

Take it from us, at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts we often try to find different fitness routines and activities that can be done outside. So take advantage of the warm weather and take your work and play outside. It will do you a world of good with your health and weight loss goals.

Can Mindless Eating Affect Weight Loss?

April 22, 2013 By: Guest 3 Comments

By: Maggie Pinque – A guest blogger for Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts

Slim By DesignIt’s not a huge mystery why so many of us gain weight and have trouble with weight loss. It usually isn’t because we ate too much broccoli. Nah. It could very well have something to do with portion size though, and maybe chocolate. And these are just a few reasons why we search out weight loss camps.

There is an industry newsletter, Nutrition Action, which we subscribe to. Amazingly, it is not dull and it is jam packed with terrific articles. The article that REALLY caught my attention in the April 2013 edition is called, “Fooled by Food” by Brian Wansink. It’s a question and answer article relating to portion size, the types of food we are instinctively drawn to, food on your desk at work or at the dinner table and a myriad of other examples.

Did you know our brains prefer tall to wide. We are unintentionally tricked into thinking that if something is tall, it contains more. So, if I have an eight ounce glass of water in a short, wide glass versus the same exact amount of water in a tall, thin glass, my brain believes I am having more in the tall glass.

When I plate my food, if I use a standard dinner plate versus a salad plate, the same phenomenon happens. In addition, if I put the food on the table, I am more likely to eat more than if I left the food in the kitchen after I served it.

I began a weight loss and fitness journey in January 2012 working with a nutritionist and a fitness trainer. It was most certainly not my first attempt at such an endeavor. As a yoyo dieter I have a few tools in my arsenal, such as the Weight Watchers serving utensils that are a half cup and a full cup serving size and a mandatory food scale. They have made sporadic appearances throughout the years, but now I was all in. I “know” the tricks for guessing portion sizes while out and about. But, I confess; I will give myself an extra teensy bit if I can.

I began to really pay attention to what I was eating, how much of it, and most importantly, why I was eating it. This worked extremely well for months and months. In November, after hurricane Sandy, I found myself off the wagon. Wansick writes about the stress students are under in college and during the holidays.

“We usually assume that people gain weight over the holidays because there is so much food available, so many parties, so many varieties, and all your favorite foods are out. But I’m, increasingly convinced that some of the weight gain is due to the stress of having family visit, having to buy presents, having to finish up projects.
So, we should all be aware that we may be coming under the influence of stress eating, not just having a jolly old holiday time.”

Eureka! An answer to why I was behaving the way I did…which kept up until literally this past Monday. Stress…it makes us crazy in so many ways.

So, how do I make this all stop? Weigh and measure my food. Put cut up veggies in the line of sight in the fridge. Put fruit front and center on counters and the fridge. If I am buying in bulk, portion it out and then put whatever I am not eating out of sight – like in the basement. Use smaller plates. Create ambiance, dimming the lights and listening to soft music actually makes you eat slower and less. “…french fries taste great when they’re hot, but not so great when they’re cold.” You will be satisfied with what you ate because it tasted so much better when it was hot. Low-fat does not mean, “eat more.” Going for a walk after dinner is not an invitation to have an indulgent dessert.

What are we eating? Why are we eating it? Are we really hungry? Being mindful of all of this is probably the single most important hurdle we all have to clear.

For more information you can read Brain Wansink’s book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life. Seriously though, you can only be mindless if you are being mindful. And if you feel like you need a push in the right direction, Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts is the right weight loss camp for you. We focus on helping you recognize underlying issues of overeating and how to make changes to help you lose weight and keep the weight off.

Get Stepping Toward Weight Loss

April 17, 2013 By: amiller 8 Comments

A lot of us assume that if we go to the gym and workout at least 30 minutes a day, everything will be okay, but what about the other 23 and a half hours of the day? Studies have shown that as a whole Americans have all become more desk bound  meaning that many of us spend the majority of the day sitting down. This is neither helpful with weight loss, nor living a healthy lifestyle.

A study published in 2012 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that watching several hours of TV and YouTube videos, even if participants engaged in seven or more hours of rigorous exercise, was connected to a higher risk of death, including cardiovascular disease.

We need to do more than just workout 30 minutes a day. One beneficial habit to take up is to walk or use the stairs throughout your day in conjunction with your 30 minute workout. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, an increasing number of people have started tracking their movement with pedometers (tracking steps) or accelerometers (rate a person moves and the calories used). And according to the Director of the Center for Behavior and Health at Northwestern University, Bonnie Spring, there has been so much focus on making sure we have our 30 minute workout, that we are not focused on how most of us spend the rest of our day.

According to the American Heart Association, a goal for everyone should be to take 10,000 steps a day, a 2010 study conducted by the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; Americans take 5,117 steps a day on average. By increasing our steps, it can help in modest weight loss and better glucose tolerance for individuals at risk of diabetes.

How many steps is 10,000 steps? Dr. David Basset Jr. from the University of Tennessee compares 2,000 steps to walking approximately one mile and climbing 10 stairs is approximately taking 40 steps on level ground.

It has been shown that states with a higher step count have lower rates of obesity, although there is no proof of cause and effect. The map below show the states color coordinated with their obesity level. For example, Colorado is yellow and their average step count is 6,500. Arkansas is orange and has an average step count of 4,500.

obesity by state map

Getting started is easy. Get yourself a pedometer or install a pedometer app on your phone like Pedometer FREE GPS + for iPhone. Go through your day like you would any other day and track your steps for a week. Then challenge yourself. If you’re under 10,000 steps a day, work towards hitting that every day. If you are over 10,000 steps, challenge yourself to do more. It’s easy to do; take the stairs rather than the elevator, when going somewhere park as far away from the door as you can, and instead of trying to get everything done in one trip, take multiple. Doing so will not only help you reach the recommended number of steps, but it will help you reach your weight loss goals and achieve an overall healthier lifestyle.

A Weight Loss Resort That Knows Green Spring Cleaning Recipes

April 8, 2013 By: consultant 1 Comment

eco-friendly

Here at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts, we know that being “healthy” doesn’t always have to refer to what you put in your body, but what you use in your home. You might be thinking “What does a weight loss resort know about green cleaning?” But we care as much about keeping our environment healthy just as much as we care about getting you healthy.

Try these homemade recipes to make your home sparkle by using products you may already have on hand and give the harsh cleaners to someone else.

  • Drain Openers/Cleaners: Pour boiling water directly down the drain, not into the basin, twice a week to prevent clogs. Use a drain trap/strainer to catch food and hair. To clean clogged drains, use a metal snake or plunger.
  • Floors: Mop with 1 cup of white vinegar mixed with 2 gallons of water to remove dull greasy film. Polish floor with club soda.
  • Whitening Laundry: Use dry bleach, borax, or washing soda to whiten. Borax is a good grease cutter is a good grease cutter. Never mix with ammonia!
  • Microwave: Mask odors and clean quickly by placing a small bowl with a ¼ cup of lemon juice in the microwave and run it on high for one minute. Remove the bowl and wipe down the interior with a cloth or sponge using the condensation that formed. Repeat if necessary, use some extra warm water or scrape to get any baked on residue that might be stubborn. Don’t scrape the window because it might damage it.
  • Oven: Clean often with baking soda or washing soda. Mix 3 tbls. Soda with 1 cup warm water. Wear rubber gloves – washing soda can irritate skin. Rub gently with steel wool. Use oven liners (like tin foil) to catch spills. A small dish of ammonia left in the oven overnight will soften burned spills and can be reused!
  • Shower: If you have hard water ; squeegee the doors after each shower and wipe the rest of the stall with a shammy. If you have build-up, use baking soda dissolved in water. If your shower head with rubber nozzles that gets clogged, soak it in equal parts of vinegar and water. If you have a metal one, place the head in a pot with 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Windows: Use 1 cup white vinegar to 1 cup water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray and wipe with a lint free rag, squeegee, or newspaper. It will minimize streaks because it does not leave anything behind.

We may be a weight loss resort but we have tools and tips for more than just to help with your weight loss. So follow these simple tips and you will have a sparkling home cleaned the green way.

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