Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Feeling Stressed?

Walk it off....studies show brisk walking can reduce stress and improve your health. Taking a walk can release endorphins, a stress relieving hormone. Endorphins can also help alleviate depression, elevate your mood, and increase your self esteem. Taking a walk can remove you from a stressful situation and help quiet your mind and reduce your stress level. Walking can also increase your energy levels and fight fatigue.

How to Start
Walk at least 15-30 minutes a day
Try breaking 30 minutes into 10 minute walks three times a day
Walk at a brisk even pace 
Start with a slow walk as a warm up
End with a slow walk as a cool down
Increase your speed and duration over time
 Wear comfortable shoes such as sneakers to support your feet

Quick Tips
Park your car in a further parking spot
Take the stairs over the elevator
Wear a pedometer to track your progress
Walk with hand weights
Walk up hills

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Often Should We Work Out?

We all know it is important to be active...but how active should we be to stay healthy? The Department of Health & Human Services recommends both kids and adults to engage in an hour or more of physical activity each day.

For significant health benefits the guidelines are:
  • 150 minutes of moderate-intense exercise each week
    • Translation: 30 minutes 5 days a week
  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intense exercise
    • Translation: 25 minutes 3 days a week
And for additional health benefits.....
  • 300 minutes of moderate-intense exercise
  • 150 minutes of vigorous-intense exercise a week

Ideally exercise should include aerobic conditioning and muscular strength to help form a strong cardiovascular system, strong skeletal muscular system, and promote strong bones. Even people who cannot sustain the recommended guidelines can experience health benefits by staying as physically active as their conditions allow.

So what counts as moderate-intense and vigorous intense exercise?

Moderate-Intense Exercise (breathing increases, you can talk easily to your friends but would not be able to sing, you develop a light sweat after several minutes)
  • Dancing
  • Fast paced walking
  • Moving the lawn
  • Gardening
  • Housework/Building
  • Leisurely Swimming
  • Moderate Lifting

Vigorous-Intense Exercise (breathing is quick and deep, you can say only a few words at a time before needing a breath, you start sweating after a few short minutes)
  • Running
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Cycling
  • Fast Swimming
  • Competitive Sports
  • Shoveling Snow
  • Heavy Lifting
Adults and children can make small steps to achieve the physical activity guidelines. Start by setting goals that are appropriate for your current fitness level. Meet with your doctor and make sure it is safe for you to exercise. Increase your activity level slowly and gradually. Keep well hydrated during exercise. And most important of all....have fun!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Breakfast for Busy People

Are you too busy to eat breakfast? Would you prefer sleeping an extra 10 minutes instead of wake up early and making an omelet?

Maybe you are trying to lose weight and skipping breakfast helps you cut calories and reduce the amount of food you eat...

Whatever the reason, breakfast is really important for busy people to stay well energized and well nourished; and it can even help you lose weigh. When we eat food, carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in our liver and muscles. As we sleep our glycogen stores are depleted and used as energy for our central nervous system, brain, muscles, and for the production of red blood cells. When we awake we are pretty depleted and should eat a healthy breakfast to replenish our supply of energy for the morning.

If we do not eat breakfast our body begins to run inefficiently. We will have less energy since our reserves have been used up. Our brain is missing a fresh supply of carbohydrates so we may not think as clearly. Kids tend to do better in school when they eat breakfast compared to kids who do not. We tend to be more physically active throughout the day when we eat breakfast, and we are less likely to make unhealthy choices later in the day. Studies show people who skip breakfast tend to become too hungry later in the day, consume more overall calories, and select unhealthier foods than people who eat breakfast.

OK......we get that breakfast is important and healthy. So what can we eat when we don't have any time???

  • Single serving yogurt + plastic spoon + sandwich bag with some whole grain low sugar cereal
  • Banana + single serve peanut butter
  • Instant oatmeal in disposable bowl +handful of nuts and raisins
  • Tortilla + low fat cream cheese + piece of fruit
  • Store bought hard boiled eggs + whole wheat toast + piece of fruit
  • String cheese +handful whole grain crackers + tomato juice
  • Store bought smoothie (aim for high protein, high fiber, low sugar)
  • Homemade smoothie-make enough for the week and pour some into a thermos each day
  • Frozen healthy muffins-heat in microwave before eating
  • Fruit cup + plastic fork + healthy granola bar
  • Cottage cheese with fruit + plastic spoon
  • Toasted English muffin + low fat cream cheese + sliced tomato
  • Healthy trail mix with fruit and whole grain cereal
  • Lean turkey and cheese rolled in a tortilla + piece of fruit
  • Microwave eggs mixed with broccoli + whole grain toast
Making a change to any routine can be a challenge, but with a quick trip to the grocery store you can have a healthy breakfast every morning that you can eat on the go. Pick 1-2 ideas and buy enough to last you through the week. Get creative and give breakfast a try; You can do it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grilled Summer Salad Recipe

This healthy summer salad serves 4, is easy to prepare, and incorporates plenty of seasonal produce.

3 Tbs olive oil + extra
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs grainy mustard
1 Tbs chopped chives
3 ears of corn
2 hearts of romaine lettuce cut lengthwise
1 cup grape tomatoes cut lengthwise
20 Shrimp
Optional: Pecorino Romano cheese

1. To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and chives. Whisk together until well combined. Set aside and allow flavors to develop.

2. Place corn with husk still attached into a bowl of water and allow to soak for an hour. Drain water and place corn with husk still attached directly onto the grill over medium heat and cook about 25-30 minutes until tender. If you prefer to boil corn you can do this instead, just make sure you remove the husk and silk before placing into boiling water. Which ever method you use, once the corn is cooked you will remove the husk if still attached and use a knife to cut off the kernels from the cob.

3. Mix together tomatoes and corn, divide equally onto four plates.

4. Drizzle shrimp and lettuce leaves with some olive oil and cook over medium heat. The shrimp will take about 2 minutes on each side. The lettuce will take about 2-3 minutes to become slightly charred and wilted. Once finished place a lettuce half on each plate. Divide shrimp between all four plates.

5. Drizzle each plate with dressing and top with optional Pecorino Romano cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Clean Eating" Race Fuel

While out for a run earlier this afternoon a fellow runner and I were discussing different race fuel. It seems every running and sporting goods store has a gel, goo, chomp, or juice in every flavor under the sun. Undoubtedly sports supplements are effective and aid endurance athletes in achieving maximum performance.

Also true is the number of "clean eating" athletes that eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Clean eaters focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It can be challenging enough finding foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...even more challenging is finding pre workout, post workout, and endurance race fuel. Below are some ideas on how to stick to a clean eating diet while properly fueling for your race, workout, or endurance event.

Pre Exercise 3:1 carbs to protein
Smoothie with Protein Powder
Bread, English Muffin, or Rice Cake with Peanut Butter
Quinoa with Milk and Berries
Fruit and yogurt
Banana with Almond Butter

During Exercise 30-60g carbs/hour
1/4 cup Dried Dates
1/2 Plain Bagel
Low Fat Crackers
Medium Banana
1/4 cup Raisins
4oz Dried Sweet Potato
2oz Dried Mango
Handful Pretzels

Post Exercise 4:1 carbs to protein
Oatmeal with Walnuts and Fruit
Brown Rice and Eggs
Turkey Wrap
Quinoa and Vegetables
Greek Yogurt and Berries
Protein Shake with Banana
Whole Grain Bread with Hummus

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Control Your Hunger

Whether you are looking to maintain your current weight or lose a few pounds, staying in control of your hunger is the most important step in controlling your weight.

A lot of research out there tells us our metabolism will be destroyed unless we always eat breakfast, never go more than 4 hours without eating, and religiously eat small meals throughout the day. Indisputable evidence to the truth of these statements is yet to be seen, however we do know a lot about hunger and how our body reacts to it.

When we wait too long to eat we become irrational. Our body craves fatty, sugary, salty, high calorie foods to quickly satisfy our hunger. Often people do not feel hungry for breakfast, but by lunchtime they quickly become so hungry they over eat less healthy foods. I think of the times I have felt way too hungry, I certainly have never torn apart the fridge looking for some broccoli or kale. Set yourself up for success, learn to identify hunger and balance meals and snacks to stay in control throughout the day.
What Does Hunger Feel Like?
Some people can literally hear their stomach growl and know it is time to eat. Some people get headaches, feel weak or are unable to concentrate. Others describe feeling nauseous, dizzy, and sick. Some people have dieted for so long, or eat so erratically they claim they cannot feel hunger anymore. Spend a day or two really listening to the needs of your body. Try to maintain your usual routine and eating habits but focus on how you feel throughout the day. If you usually skip breakfast and eat a late lunch try checking in with yourself on the hour and assess your energy level. Look for your bodies hunger signals. Notice how you feel when you do eat, do you feel in control of your choices, or do you feel too hungry and overeat? Do you find your emotions and stress drive your eating habits? Do you find distractions like the TV prevent you from enjoying your food and cause you to overeat?

Separate the Emotional Attachment to Food
Realize not all desires to eat are driven by hunger. We tie food to celebrations, social gatherings, stress, depression, and boredom. Food is everywhere and we need to control our interaction with it. When a coworker brings in cookies we may instantly feel the desire to eat one. We may feel overcome by stress or emotion and turn to chips or sweets to find comfort. We may feel bored and snack on something tasty that is in the kitchen cabinets late at night. These desires to eat are not the same as hunger. It is perfectly healthy and normal to indulge in these desires from time to time, however indulging too often can lead to weight gain and displacement of healthier foods we could otherwise be eating. As you become in tune with your body you will learn to identify real hunger from these other desires to eat. You well feel more in control to decide whether you will indulge in these treats or if you are better off waiting until you are really hungry to eat.

Learn How to Eat
When we are hungrier we are likely to eat more, when we are less hungry we should make a conscious effort to eat less. Eating regular meals helps maintain an even distribution of energy and can help prevent crashes in energy and overeating later. We can use a rating system to help identify our hunger and help us to stop eating once we have consumed enough. When you start to feel your hunger signals rate them on a scale of 1-10. Are you starting to feel a little hungry, or are you so starving your mood changes and you feel sick. Do you eat until your feel pleasantly full, or do you feel so uncomfortable your stomach hurts. Eat when your hunger signals are around a 3-4 and enjoy the food you have to eat. Eat slowly and mindfully until you are a 5-6 on the hunger scale.

1-starving, dizzy, unable to concentrate

2-very hungry, grumpy, low energy

3-rather hungry, stomach growling

4-starting to feel a little hungry

5-satisfied, not hungry or full

6-a little full, satisfied

7-slightly uncomfortably full

8- feel stuffed

9-very uncomfortable, stomach pain

10-feel so full you are sick

Eating healthy, mindfully, and regularly is not easy. You will need to be open to change and dedicated to improving your health and quality of life. Making small changes every day is achievable and you can stay in control of your hunger. You can separate the desire to eat from actual hunger. You can learn to eat healthy and resist the temptation of other desires to eat. Stay positive, stay focused, and stay motivated. You can do it!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eat healthy and exercise. Simple advice that is much harder to follow. Fit Nutrition 4 Life works to bridge the gap between fitness and nutrition information, and what is practical for everyday life. All information in this blog is suggestive and may not be appropriate for everyone. Always consult a physician before making lifestyle changes.

The owner of this blog makes no representations to the accuracy or completeness of information on this blog or found by following links on this site. The owner of this blog will not be liable for any information, recommendations, errors, omissions, nor availability of information. The owner of this blog will not be liable for any losses, damages, or injuries from the display or use of any information on this blog.