Recently I was looking at a few health articles and in one it blatantly stated that the success of certain health programs are subject to participants’ motivation. While this is not a life shattering revelation, it did get me thinking. Motivation can be fleeting, so how do you continue on when you really just want to give up. Healthy living can be one of the easiest things or one of the most challenging. What I have come to realize is that your outlook on it all is the game changer, your will to be healthy and in shape will only begin your journey. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category
Salt has received a bad rap. Or has it? The American Heart Association and 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend reducing your sodium intake to less than 2300 mg per day. For high risk populations and individuals over 51 years of age, a further reduction to less than 1500 mg per day is recommended. Do you know how much sodium is in a single teaspoon of salt? (2325 mg of sodium per teaspoon) How much sodium does an American actually consumer per day? (Approximately 3436mg per day)
However, research studies are ambiguous regarding whether sodium is detrimental to our health. Experts cannot even fully agree whether we actually need to be so restrictive. A few studies suggest that limiting sodium in the diet helps reduce high blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease. What should we believe or even practice?
First and foremost, higher sodium products are more processed; therefore, the nutritional content is compromised. Although sodium accentuates the flavor of foods, other spices can be even more flavorful and provide health promoting phytochemicals in the diet. Sodium content is also very high in processed meats, which should be avoided according the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Furthermore, sodium displaces potassium in processed products, reducing a valuable dietary mineral that is healthful. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet promotes a diet rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium for management of blood pressure. These blood pressure lowering minerals are provided by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein.
Although sodium is an essential electrolyte (mineral) needed by the body, it is not one we need in large amounts. There is no health advantage to extra sodium or salt. If you are an avid exerciser though, then you may need a bit more than the average person. For the average person, it would not be harmful to follow the current recommendations. Your diet will be more healthful by selecting lower sodium foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
For sodium sensitive individuals (like myself), it is imperative that you follow the guidelines to reduce your bloat and control your blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is a silent killer affecting 1 out of every 3 Americans, while prehypertension (precursor or warning sign) affects close to another 30% of Americans. The CDC reports that following the sodium guidelines would reduce the incidence of hypertension and subsequent annual health care dollars spent on treating it. Isn’t watching your sodium intake worth it?
-Larissa Brophy, MS, RD, LD
It is February again, which means it is time to remind you about your heart health. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women. Hopefully, everyone wore their red on February 1st in support the women’s heart health initiative. I am, however, going to focus on overall hearth health for EVERYONE.
Your lifestyle is important to prevent heart disease as well as control it. Here are recommendations from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC):
1) Eat a heart healthy diet
2) Maintain a healthy weight
3) Exercise regularly
- Goal is 30 minutes 5x week
- Include strength training 2 to 3 times per week
- Work on flexibility everyday
4) Know your numbers
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Have your cholesterol checked yearly
- Manage your diabetes
5) Use alcohol in moderation
- Women: Up to 1 drink per day
- Men: Up to 2 drinks per day
- One drink = 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounce of 80 proof hard liquor
What is not included on the list and just as important is stress management. When stress levels are consistently high, it can take a toll on your heart health. Remember, exercise is a great stress reducer and helps strengthen your heart while lowering blood pressure.
Stay tuned….my next few blogs will cover the components of a heart healthy diet. Until then, I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes this month to improve your heart health. Make an appointment with your physician to have your numbers checked, try a heart healthy food, or take a walk a few times per week. Remember, it is one step at a time….
-Larissa Brophy, MS, RD, LD
As you formulate your New Year’s resolution, consider your short-term and long-term goals. I know after the gluttonous holidays, most people desire weight loss. Should the goal be just to lose those extra pounds you gained or overall health? I vote for the latter of course.
Try these strategies on for size: (more…)
As we approach Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year Day, you may want to consider your food bites. There is an abundance of goodies at work, home, potlucks and holiday parties. Which bites are “right” for you? All of them in moderation.
Keep these ten strategies in mind:
- Eat a healthy snack or mini meal before you head out to the party. Never arrive famished. You will always make worse decisions and eat too much when you are overly hungry.
- Never skip a meal as you cannot “bank” your calories for the day; you will metabolize what your body can use and store the additional calories. Yes, a calorie is a calorie in this sense.
- Bring a healthful dish to the potluck or party; at least you know there is something good for you to eat.
- Take mini or bite size portions; this way you can try more dishes without the guilt.
- Skip the foods you know that you do not like; you still will not like it regardless of who made it so save the calories for something delicious.
- Do not deprive yourself; ENJOY! Just try a smaller portion so you do not regret it later (either not trying it or trying too much).
- Focus on fruits and vegetable dishes; fill up on these items first, then splurge on the goodies.
- Chew your foods thoroughly; savor eat bite as if it is going to be your last. This strategy will help you eat slower. It takes the stomach 20 minutes to tell the brain you are full. Be sure to listen to your cue and stop eating when you have reached full.
- Limit your alcoholic beverages, especially the mixed drinks. These beverages add non-nutritious calories and can contribute to mindless (uninhibited) eating.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is calorie free and helps fill the stomach, signaling the brain (hopefully) that you are filling up. Add some fruit to flavor your water.
The last question I want to ask you, “Does your food taste any different at bite 3 than at bite 20?” It is important to remember that it is not the number of bites that make the food taste good, but the food itself, which can be accomplished in just one bite. So what is your “right” bite?
By Larissa Brophy, MS, RD, LD
It is estimated that one third of the U.S. population is considered obese. In the state of Ohio alone it is estimated that over a quarter of residents are self proclaimed as being obese (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html). If you are like me, weight is and has been an issue for a long time. You hear professionals lay out what you are supposed to do and eat and how often and think it all sounds easy enough. Of course that is until it’s ten at night and you’re rooting through the cabinet for the least healthy thing possible because your starved and craving everything you’re not supposed to have just because. (more…)
More physicians are prescribing exercise for their patients. Let’s face it; we can be a sedentary nation. Technology, convenient transportation, and busy schedules (just to name a few) contribute to this lifestyle. Yet, we know that exercise is good for us. Exercise helps decrease health risks such as obesity, hypertension, abnormal lipid profiles and insulin resistance. An individual can prevent and/or delay the development of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus with consistent, regular physical activity.
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the first published guidelines by the government, provide specific recommendations for adults. Keep in mind, children under the age of 18 years need at least one hour of physical activity daily.
These published guidelines for adults are:
Intensity of Exercise Minimum Recommendation Recommendation for Optimal Health
Moderate: 2.5hrs per week 5hrs per week
Vigorous: 1.25hrs per week 2.5hrs per week
*At least 2 days per week, you should include strength training
**Always stretch after the muscles have been warmed up and loosened.
So once you are on the road to exercising, can you get too much? YES. The three components of physical fitness include flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, and cardiovascular endurance. Keep these three principles in mind when establishing a exercise regimen.
Excess exercise can lead to injury and possibly stress fractures, especially if your nutritional intake is inadequate. Additionally, recent research suggests that too much exercise, just as too little, can be detrimental to your mental health. The conclusion of this self-reported data was that between 2.5 and 7.5 hours of exercise is key to optimal mental health. Anything less or more may be associated with increased depression and anxiety symptoms.
-Larissa T Brophy, MS, RD, LD
I’m about to break every cardinal rule of sales, marketing & self-promotion, and tell you something most trainers would dare to admit:
You don’t need us. (more…)
I have been an instructor and trainer in the fitness industry since 2002. More than 10 years of experiences has allowed me to observe a multitude of reoccurring trends, excuses, failures / successes and taught me life lessons. These experiences inspired me to start this blog segment. I wanted to share some of what I have taken away from my profession so far.
In The Rite Bite’s new blog segment, “Trainers’ Talk,” we will have a community of fitness instructors and trainers contributing to discuss some of the topics we see often in our field. These posts will be updated every Monday, so check back for our first post!
The newest statistics rank Ohio as 11th for percentage of its population being obese (tied with Kansas). Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 to 30. A desirable or optimal BMI range is 18.5 to 25. Individuals with high muscle mass, such as athletic men or some Olympians, may have difficulty achieving a BMI of 25 though. The BMI is your height to weight in a ratio that can be interpreted as a potential health indicator. What is your BMI?
According to the latest statistics for 2011, 29.6% of Ohioans are obese. How does Ohio compare to previous statistics? It is hard to say since data collection has changed and a better system for data analysis is being used. We will be able to compare in the future, but not to our past. However, Ohio’s percentage did not change much from 2010 (up slightly from 29.2%). As obesity rates increase in youth (has almost tripled since 1980), the expectation is that adult obesity will also rise. An overweight or obese child is much more likely to become an overweight or obese adult. As of 2008, approximately 17% or 12.5 million of children/adolescents aged 2 to 19 years are obese. In children and adolescents, obesity is defined as a BMI greater than the 95th percentile when plotted for age on the CDC Growth Charts.
Did you know that every 1 in 3 American adults are obese? That is 35.7% of our nation. And every 1 in 3 low income children are overweight or obese before their 5th birthday. Health risks associated with adult obesity include cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol), stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Overweight and obese children are susceptible to some of the health risks as well.
So if your BMI is a bit higher than recommended, you may also want to evaluate where you are carrying your extra weight for a further indication of health risk. A good measurement is your waist circumference (WC). Women should have a WC less than 35 inches and it should be less than 40 for men. Even if your WC is under recommendations, you may also want to consider if your WC has increased over the years. Carrying extra fat in the abdomen is harmful to your cardiovascular health.
Bottom line, a high BMI is not good for your health or Ohio’s ranking. Come on Ohio, we don’t want to reach the top ten. This is the one time we do NOT want to be better!