Portion Size

June 21, 2012 By: office 1 Comment

Everywhere we go there is food. Our environment has a tremendous effect on when we eat and what we choose to eat. It is crucial to become aware of your own triggers to eating, other than true hunger, and exploring methods in which to manage them to achieve healthy patterns.

It is equally important to become aware of and control the portion size of meals and snacks. It is helpful to learn what serving sizes are and to select appropriate portion sizes. Eating mindfully incorporates measuring foods (using measuring cups, spoons and a food scale) which trains the eye to learn what healthy serving sizes look like. Most people greatly underestimate the volume of food that they consume. As a matter of fact, reports show that people often eat almost twice as many calories as they think they do.

It is a critical component of weight loss to eat smaller portions of food. Restaurants often serve 2-5 times the recommended portion size and Americans have grown accustomed to what this volume looks like. This “super-sized” portion has become the new norm. By decreasing the size of meals consumed, the stomach will shrink and adapt over time. This smaller amount of food will lead to satiety.

Remember it is one meal at a time. You can do it!

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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.

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Weight Loss Tips: Eliminate These Four Empty Calorie Ingredients Today!

April 27, 2011 By: office 1 Comment
Misleading food packaging

Sometimes, food packaging can be misleading claiming to have health benefits when it actually does not.

These days it’s hard to tell what’s healthy and what’s not when you enter a grocery store, especially when you are trying to lose weight and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Many food companies are now trying to market their packages to look healthy, to appeal to a consumer.  They have even come up with some smart wording such as “all-natural,” “fat-free,” “vegan,” and “no trans fats.”  Unfortunately, as a consumer you may think you are doing “good” by buying these foods, but in reality, they can often still be very unhealthy.

Close your eyes.  Think of a food that is the symbol for health.  An apple or a broccoli stalk may have popped into your head.  Consider how they NEVER need any marketing schemes or “healthy” labels on them.  The healthiest diet is that of a whole-foods based diet.  Buy foods that underwent the least amount of processing possible, many of which don’t even qualify for food labels.  These are the foods that should be incorporated into your healthy lifestyle.

Now when you DO buy foods that contain a label, it is important to pay no attention to the front of the package. Your eyes should immediately find their way to the ingredients list.  Yes.  The ingredients list is even MORE important than the nutrition facts.  Why?  The ingredients list cannot be marketed to look healthy.  It is the most straight forward part of the package.

Organic Peanut Butter

Stick to an organic peanut butter with simple ingredients for added health benefits.

Take peanut butter, for example.  If we look at natural peanut butter, flip it over to the ingredients label-which may read: peanuts and salt.- that’s it.  If we take a more processed brand of peanut butter, it may read, peanuts, dextrose, hydrogenated oils (AKA trans fats) and salt.  It is your job to AVOID ingredients that you do not recognize, or ones that you KNOW are not healthy!  Beyond artificial ingredients, HFCS, and trans fats, learn to eliminate these four empty calorie ingredients out of your diet.

1.      Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)- Studies have shown increased trans fat intake leads to high LDL cholesterol and Triglyceride levels.  They also impair arterial dilation, which can cause high blood pressure.

2.      Omega 6 fatty acid rich oils (corn oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil)- Not only do these increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol, but too much can lead to an increased inflammatory response in your body.

3.      Refined sugars (maltose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, cane sugar)-Refined sugars send an intense insulin response to the body, therefore raising blood sugar quickly, which then tends to drop quickly shortly after.  This blood sugar rollercoaster can make you lethargic and even hungrier in the long run!

4.      Refined flours (“enriched”)-Many flours are made by stripping the natural plant seed and ridding it of any phytochemicals, antioxidants, or fiber it may have once contained.  This processing also makes the body quickly absorb and metabolize flour like it does sugar.

In addition to eliminating these ingredients from your diet, remember to balance your meals.  Utilize the plate method at every meal.  One quarter protein, one quarter starch, and the other half fruit or vegetables.  And remember these rules go for beverages as well!  Eliminate any added sugars you get from sodas or juices.  Make water your beverage of choice and drink it throughout the day!

Shane Diet Resorts, a fitness retreat for adults ages 18 and up, is a firm believer in whole-foods and portion control.  We serve our guests three portion controlled meals daily, as well as two healthy snacks.  Visit us online for more information about our weight loss program for adults and great healthy recipe ideas.

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Running for Weight Loss: Six Injury Prevention Tips for Your Joints

April 20, 2011 By: afeldman 150 Comments

Find a Decent Pair of Running shoes

Running Shoes

Invest in a quality pair of running shoes for the best workout possible for weight loss.

Asics, New Balance and Saucony are the popular running shoe brands. Many marathon runners recommend Asics as the brand of choice.  If you are flat footed or have high arches, keep in mind that you will need special shoes or inserts.  Some factors to consider when choosing shoes include shoe comfort, proper fitting for your foot’s length and width, good protection from the sole, breathability and shoe weight (you don’t want shoes that are really heavy).  Remember, you get what you pay for.  If you drop $20 on a pair of running shoes, they will not last very long and you will find your joints aching frequently.  Shoes that you will be running and jumping around in are one thing to invest in.  Go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes, get fitted and plan on spending $60 to $100.

Stretch

Stretching is the last thing that people want to do during their workout but hard running and exercise will tighten up your joints and muscles leaving you prone to injury.  One way to remedy this is by stretching to avoid tightness.  One of the more important areas to stretch is the IT band, which is an extension of the muscles in the upper outer hip that extends down through the knee.  Much of knee pain in running can be caused by injury to the IT band and can be prevented by stretching and foam rolling.  The lower back and hamstrings (back of the upper leg) also need to be stretched after workouts since these areas are compressed by supporting your body during high impact exercise.  Incorporate a total body stretching routine after workouts and on off days.

Strengthen Muscles Equally

Muscular Imbalance is another leading cause of running injuries.  A muscular imbalance is defined as one muscle being disproportionately stronger or weaker than its counterpart muscle.  Think of the abdominal muscles in your stomach.  If you work them out quite frequently, but avoid doing lower back exercises, then you have a muscular imbalance.  Muscular imbalances exist in muscles that are on opposite sides such as the quadriceps and hamstring located at the front and back of the leg.  When you have a muscle in the front that is weaker than a muscle in the back, the joints in the middle suffer.  Usually a joint is supported by the muscles, but if it is being pulled tighter in one direction, it is under a lot of stress.  A left leg that is stronger than the right leg is also a muscular imbalance leaving one side of the body to overcompensate.  A way to avoid these imbalances is by strength training all body parts equally.

Build up gradually

The big cause of running injuries that is often overlooked is doing too much too soon.  An individual that goes from running five miles in one week to attempting 20 miles in the next is greatly increasing the risk for an overuse injury.  It is recommended that you increase your running distance or time no more than 20% each week.  That means that if a total of 5 miles were completed in week 1, then 6 miles is a good number for week 2.  It is much better to take your time getting to a 20 mile week, rather than rushing to get there and suffering an injury that takes you out of exercise for six to 12 weeks as a result.

Rest and recover

Running for Weight Loss

Be sure to allow yourself to rest and recover when running for weight loss.

After a hard workout, your body needs rest.  When your body is at rest, the recovery process begins, which involves the strengthening of bones, joints and muscles, as well as the refilling of your energy tank.  Giving your body the fuel that it needs through proper nutrition is also a vital part of the recovery process.  When timed correctly, rest and recovery will increase your exercise performance and healthy lifestyle in general.  However, if joints still feel achy after a rest day, skip running by cross training.  Go for a bike ride or a swim giving your knees and ankles longer time to heal from the high joint impact of running.  Low impact exercises like the elliptical are a good way to stimulate your cardiovascular system without putting additional stress on recovering joints.

Warm up first, especially in colder weather

Some people like to roll right out of bed and immediately go outside to run.  The problem with this is that after a night of sleeping, your body slows itself down.  Cold weather will amplify the slowing of your body’s functions.  To work around this, gradually get your body ready for exercise with a 5-15 minute warm up.  Harder running requires a large range of motion from the muscles.  To reach this level of performance, your muscles need to be warm and loose.  Warm up by doing basic movements like leg swings, arm circles and breathing exercises.  The goal is to gradually increase the heart rate and the heat in the body.  I like to do this by starting with a moderate walking pace, gradually increase my speed into a jog and finally move into my running pace.  Remember, your warm-up should be of low intensity in relation to your exercise levels.  If your workout pace is a jog or speed walk, then gradually work up to that.  A warm up should be included with your workout regardless of the time of day, so always give yourself at least a couple of minutes.

If you’re looking for a great way to lose weight while having fun, consider joining an adult weight loss camp like Shane Diet Resorts.  SDR offers a summer weight loss program for adults with proven success for a healthy lifestyle.

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