Is Your House Making You Fat?

If you keep choosing cheese curls over biceps curls, your home could have a lot to do with it.

“Your habits are more tied to your environment than you know,” psychologist Jeremy Dean, the author of “Making Habits, Breaking Habits,” said.

Eat enough chips on the couch, for instance, and you’ll automatically associate couch time with chip time. Our routines are so influenced by environmental cues that research shows it’s easier to change our habits in a novel setting.

“We see major shifts in behavior when people move to a new house,” Dean said. But you don’t have to relocate to start anew; you just need to become aware of the subtle cues that say “cake!” and replace them with healthy alternatives.

“The typical person makes about 200 food-related decisions a day, but she believes she makes 25 to 30. And it’s those 175 that you’re not aware of that can push you to eat more,” Brian Wansink, the director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab and the author of the upcoming book “Slim by Design,” said. 

Here’s how to help your home help you get (or stay) slender.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/09/18/is-your-home-obesogenic/?intcmp=features#ixzz2fGVMGy69

ReFit 42 – the Fitness Foundation by Jim Johnson

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So here’s the basics of ReFit 42. It’s pretty simple, and that’s why it works. Let’s quickly break it down:

1. Goals/Planning – start off by setting small goals. Goals like “I will lose 1 pound/week”. Goals like “I will do a fast food fast – I will not eat any fast food in the next 42 days.”

To really allow Planning to get a foothold in your life, use an app like My Fitness Pal. You’ll be able to plan your meals as well as record what you ate. You can set your weight loss goals there and MFP will help you determine how many calories you should consume. I find this app to be incredibly helpful. You can use it on your smart phone, tablet, or PC. I’m sure there are other tools/apps out there. Research them. Ask friends what they have used. Using an app like MFP will make planning so much easier and keep you on track. Planning helps keep you from cheating.

2. Healthy Eating – fresh is best. Processed is your enemy. My doctor once told me to shop the exterior of the grocery store where all of the fresh food is located. The interior of the store is where boxed dinners are – boxes of danger! Read about the healthy benefits of eating fresh veggies and fruit. Check out the apps Flipboard and Zite. Both apps can be used to find great articles on healthy eating and recipes. Allrecipes.com is a great resource, too. More on this later.

3. Portion Control – guess what? You don’t need as much food as you may think! Portion control is KEY in losing weight. Drink a lot of water. Keep a water bottle at your desk at work. Keep it filled. Avoid soft drinks (especially the sugar-laced ones). When sitting down to a meal, load up on veggies and eat less meat and starchy foods.

4. Exercise – yes, you need to exercise. So do I. But you’re not needing to act like your training for the Hunger Games. If you haven’t exercised for years, you will have to take it slowly. Walk, ride your bike, swim. Don’t start by trying to run a 5 k.

By exercise, I don’t mean walking from your desk to the vending machine at work. Plan to exercise 4 times/week. Just move. Sweat. Breathe. You’ll feel great.

Over the next 6 weeks, I’ll be sharing more about each of these. I’ll share recipes that are easy to prepare and taste great. I’ll share articles I’ve come across that I think will help motivate you and educate you.

Tell a friend what you’re planning to do. Someone who will encourage you along your adventure.

This Fitness Foundation is simple. And it works…if you work it. Just move, change, determine.

You can do this. You have no limits. You can ReFit yourself. Take the next 42 days to prove it to yourself. Doing nothing will only result in no change.

ReFit 42 – a Do-Over to a New You by Jim Johnson

What is ReFit 42?

Maybe you’ve started a fitness program or you had a New Year’s resolution, but now it’s over 6 months later and you’ve not started. Here’s a second chance to start over – to re-fit your goals, your habits, your life.

I’m calling this ReFit 42 for a reason. You can start over. You can do it. And you can begin new habits and a new lifestyle in 6 weeks – just 42 days.

Here’s what won’t happen in 42 days:

You won’t lose 100 pounds
You won’t be running a marathon
You won’t look like a body builder
You won’t be starring opposite your favorite actress/actor

But here’s what WILL happen in 42 days:

You will lose weight. If you follow this simple plan, you can and will lose weight. When I started this, I lose at least 1 pound/week.
You will feel better because you are eating better, exercising, and achieving goals.
You will enjoy a healthy eating lifestyle.
You will see the tools you use (planning apps) as the path to freedom vs. chains.

Others will notice what is happening in you and to you. You’ll hear “wow, you look great! How did you do it?” type of comments. That alone will make you feel great. You will know you can do this and set more goals which you WILL reach.

If you are already living a fit lifestyle, then turn a friend on to this adventure. Be their cheerleader. Help keep them accountable. Share this blog with them.

If this directly speaks to you, join me! I’ll be sharing over the next several days a plan that you can use as your Fitness Foundation. It works if you work it (you’ll read this a lot, because it’s true).

Please note: I am not promoting a diet of any kind. This is about creating new habits in your life – eating habits, exercise habits, planning habits – that will result in a new you. You won’t suddenly become a beach hunk or babe. That’s not my goal in sharing this with you.

Fitness is just as much about healthy choices and creating a better lifestyle than it is about looks. You WILL look better, but that is not my goal here. My goal is to help you and me to become healthier versions of our current selves.

So, if you’re 20, 30, 40, or 50+ (like me), it’s not too late to start to ReFit yourself.

Why start in the middle of the month and not on the 1st? Why not? You’ve waited long enough. It’s time to start. It’s time to change. Mark your calendar. Here we go.

Tell others about this. I would love to read comments on your progress. Be sure to take a photo of yourself now so you can compare it with the you in 42 days.

Yes, you get a do-over. It’s time to ReFit YOU.

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Testimonial – Amanda M

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I have worked with Amanda for years, and I have been thrilled by her determination, strength, and success. You will be encouraged as you read her story. The after photo was just now taken (7/16/13 at 5 pm).

Amanda M: “My weight has been an issue for me since my late teens. I started gaining in high school and by graduation was considered overweight. Over the years the pounds just kept adding up due to inactivity and excessive overeating and drinking. I’ve had success losing weight a couple times, both times by tracking calorie intake, but I was on a “diet” and as soon as I lost weight I’d return to my old eating habits and the weight would come back.

My lifestyle was mostly sitting, eating and drinking. I rarely got physical activity and when I did every joint in my body would ache. I was to the point where I would grunt and groan just putting on my underwear in the morning. I couldn’t find any clothes that fit and the embarrassment over my appearance had curbed my social activities and affected my marriage. I knew I had to do something but always had an excuse not to start. It was so easy and comfortable to just eat, drink and be merry and I didn’t want to give up that lifestyle.

Finally, at 37 years old, 5’8” and 224lbs, I saw an announcement at work that they would be starting a Weight Watchers group. We’d be able to attend the meetings at work with people we are comfortable and familiar with. I went to my first meeting and was instantly hooked on the program. It really does work. The Weight Watchers app for my iPhone made it so easy to track my food and activity and made me realize what smart food choices were and what foods to avoid.

I started slowly by experimenting with different foods and substitutions for the things I normally would enjoy. Now I’d much rather reach for some watermelon instead of cake or extra green beans instead of mashed potatoes and gravy. I still eat the foods I love, like steak and shrimp, but I watch my portions, load up on protein, fruits and veggies and season with herbs and spices instead of butter and oil.

One thing I realized pretty early on is that I’d have to cut out alcohol. I love wine. I loved a whole bottle of wine with dinner every night. I had to learn to love a glass of wine on special occasions. A day that ends in d-a-y is not a special occasion.

Once you start to pay attention to the nutritional information you see just how bad the average American diet is for you. You have to pick and choose the right time to indulge. The program I follow allows you to do that and doesn’t restrict you from enjoying those treats you crave.

After I changed my eating habits I started to see results within a few weeks and it inspired me to get active. I dusted off the old treadmill and started walking. Just walking. At first it was 30 minutes a few times a week but over the months I’ve increased the speed and incline and now spend about an hour a day working on cardio. I also mix in some strength and core training a couple times a week. It feels so good to be active. I have energy and strength I never knew I possessed and I can finally keep up with my husband and 10 year old son.

The change in the mirror is unreal. I’m amazed by how different I look and feel and my confidence is through the roof. I can’t count the number of people that have told me they didn’t even recognize me. My own mother in law didn’t know who I was when I saw her out in public the other day. It’s still hard to believe that I don’t have to shop in plus sizes anymore. I can actually go into trendy stores and the clothes fit! But wait, it gets better. I used to have so many health problems…heartburn, stomach upset, insomnia, the list goes on. Since I’ve adjusted my lifestyle all of my health issues have been resolved. I can’t remember the last time I had to take an antacid or was up tossing and turning during all night.

When people ask me “How did you do it?” I always answer “Eat right and exercise. You know everything they tell you to do.” I never say the word diet. Diet implies something you’re “on”. To maintain a large weight loss you need to find a healthy balance of calorie intake and exercise that becomes your daily routine. Setting small goals each week helped me to introduce changes gradually. These were just little goals like drinking enough water or eating vegetables with every meal. When you add these changes together they create a healthy routine. Tracking is extremely helpful to me too. Tracking makes me aware of my food and exercise choices and holds me accountable.

I’ve truly gone through a lifestyle change during this process and I will continue to track my daily food and exercise even after I reach my goal. I’ve lost 65lbs so far and have 15 more to go. It takes perseverance. But just keep at it and you can make these changes, too. It’s all up to you.

Remember, no one can do this for you. You have a choice and are in complete control. The ability to change is within each of us. One day I simply believed I could do it and I did. So can you.

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Healthy Eating – Overview

How do you get started on healthy eating?

Healthy eating starts with learning new ways to eat, such as adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and cutting back on foods that have a lot of fat, salt, and sugar.

A change to healthier eating also includes learning about balance, variety, and moderation.

  • Aim for balance. Most days, eat from each food group-grains, protein foods, vegetable and fruit, and dairy. Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.
  • Look for variety. Be adventurous. Choose different foods in each food group. For example, don’t reach for an apple every time you choose a fruit. Eating a variety of foods each day will help you get all the nutrients you need.
  • Practice moderation. Don’t have too much or too little of one thing. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. Even sweets can be okay.

Why pay attention to what you eat?

Healthy eating will help you get the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It will help you feel your best and have plenty of energy. It can help you handle stress better.

Healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control many health problems, such as:

Is healthy eating the same as going on a diet?

Healthy eating is not a diet. It means making changes you can live with and enjoy for the rest of your life.

Diets are temporary. Because you give up so much when you diet, you may be hungry and think about food all the time. And after you stop dieting, you also may overeat to make up for what you missed.

Eating a healthy, balanced variety of foods is far more satisfying. And if you match that with more physical activity, you are more likely to get to a healthy weight-and stay there-than if you diet.

How do you make healthy eating a habit?

First, think about your reasons for healthier eating. Do you want to improve your health? Do you want to feel better? Are you trying to set an example for your kids?

Next, think about some small changes you can make. Pick ones you can keep doing.

  • Don’t try to change everything at once.
  • Set an easy goal you can reach, like having a salad and a piece of fruit each day.
  • Make a long-term goal too, such as having one vegetarian dinner a week.

Where can you get support?

Having support from others can be a huge help. The more support you have, the easier it will be to make changes. Ask family and friends to practice healthy eating with you. Have them help you make meals, and share healthy, delicious recipes and cooking tips.

If you need more help, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. Look online for groups that support healthy eating and share success stories.

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/tc/healthy-eating-overview

 

Am I Going Back? And the Answer Is…

Now that the science fair project is officially over (except for her presentation at Regionals on March 23), people have asked me if I’m “going back”. Uh, no! I’ve lost 20 lbs in 90 days. I feel better. My blood pressure is normal. I’m sleeping better. Besides the pain in my back (I think it’s the new office chair I was given), I feel better than I have in years.

I get the “are you going back” question the most at lunch time at work. I’ve talked with a lot of my coworkers (who have noticed the weight loss). Many of the women have joined a Weight Watchers group. Some of the guys are doing it on their own. Some are taking a radical approach. Some are successful…others are not.

Again, I’m not following a “diet” or reading a fitness guru book. I know this is a repeat, but this is what I’m doing:

1. Planning/Goal setting – I use My Fitness Pal every day, every meal.
2. Healthy choices – I eat more vegetables and fresh fruit. I have really cut back on junk food. I’m even thinking of moving towards a more vegetarian lifestyle.
3. Portion control – I don’t eat for 3 anymore. This has been significant for me. I think it’s been key.
4. Exercise – I exercise at least 3 days/week for at least 1 hour. My routine for now consists of 50% strength training and 50% cardio. I need to make some changes and intensify my workouts.

After all of that, what’s for dinner tonight?

* Steamed broccoli
* Quinoa
* Fruit (perhaps an apple)

Four Tips to Make You Better (SUPER EASY)

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March 1st, 2013

Today I have four tips that I will help you get better. For you that might mean healthier. Maybe shed some pounds. Or at least maintain the pounds you’ve already shed. Regardless of your goals, there are a few simple nutrition tips and strategies that will benefit all of us.
And none of them have to do with eating x or not eating y.

First, learn to cook. There is no single more important factor that will permanently change your health, your body and set you up for permanent results. I admit cooking isn’t the easiest thing. But learning some basics around the kitchen is a must. Maybe try a local cooking class or pick up a simple cookbook or magazine and challenge yourself to try 1 new recipe per week. If you’re relying solely on take out or eating out, though, staying on track will be an uphill battle.

Second, eat what you love!
Eat what you love. I often hear people talk about eating “diet” foods like rice cakes, low fat this and low carb that. But if you don’t enjoy any of those foods, don’t eat them. You should enjoy what you eat. The challenge is eating the right portions of those foods you love. This might mean splitting a dinner with someone or enjoying an appetizer and a salad.

Third, be in charge when eating out. This may seem strange after I just told you to learn how to cook, but let’s face it, you will eat out on occasion. We all will. But be in charge and be smart about your choices. I say be in charge meaning you’re the paying customer; ask for what you want (within reason). Ask to swap the fries for a baked potato. Ask for a side of veggies instead of the rice. Ask for them to not put the bread on your table. You get the idea.

Piggybacking on #3, fourth, spend money on better restaurants when you do eat out. What do I mean by this? Rather than eating out at less expensive, not real high quality restaurants, or spending $10-$20 getting take out several times per week, save that and make eating out a more special occasion. You’ll spend more at that single time, but when saving by not eating out so regularly, it will be worth it in the end. You’ll A) get better food and B) not be eating out at less healthful restaurants the rest of the time.

There you have it – 4 super simple, yet very effective tips when permanently changing your health and body.

Read more at Men’s Health: http://blogs.menshealth.com/bellyoff-nutritionist/four-tips-to-make-you-better-super-easy/2013/03/01/#ixzz2MlBNjzwH

6 RULES OF GOOD NUTRITION

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6. Never Skip Breakfast:

Yes, mornings are crazy. But they’re also our best hope at regaining our nutritional sanity. A 2005 study synthesized the results of 47 other studies that examined the impact of starting the day with a healthy breakfast. Here’s what they found:

People who skip breakfast are more likely to take up smoking or drinking, less likely to exercise, and more likely to follow fad diets or express concerns about body weight. Common reasons cited for skipping were lack of time, lack of hunger, or dieting.

Bad news. Sure, it would seem to make sense that skipping breakfast means eating fewer calories, which means weighing less. But it doesn’t work that way. Consider:

People who eat breakfast tend to have higher total calorie intakes throughout the day, but they also get significantly more fiber, calcium, and other micronutrients than skippers do. Breakfast eaters also tended to consume less soda and French fries and more fruits, vegetables, and milk.

Breakfast eaters were approximately 30 percent less likely to be overweight or obese. (Think about that—people who eat breakfast eat more food, but weigh less!)

5. Snack With Purpose:

There’s a big difference between mindless munching and strategic snacking. Snacking with purpose means reinforcing good habits, keeping your metabolic rate high, and filling the gaps between meals with the nutrients your child’s body craves.

Chew on this piece of trivia: In the 20 years leading up to the 21st century (1977 to 1996), salty snack portions increased by 93 calories, and soft drink portions increased by 49 calories.

Combat portion distortion by eating healthy snacks: Triscuits and peanut butter; string cheese; a sandwich bag filled with homemade popcorn; or that classic of kid’s snacktime nourishment, ants on a log.

4. Beware of Portion Distortion:

Snack portions aren’t the only things that have increased wildly in size. Since 1977, hamburgers have increased by 97 calories, French fries by 68 calories, and Mexican foods by 133 calories, according to analysis of the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey.

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at 63,380 individuals’ drinking habits over a span of 19 years. The results show that for children ages 2 to 18, portions of sweetened beverages increased from 13.1 ounces in 1977 to 18.9 ounces in 1996.

One easy way to short-circuit this growing trend? Buy smaller bowls and cups. A recent study at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas, shows that 5- and 6-year-old children will consume a third more calories when presented with a larger portion. The findings are based on a sample of 53 children who were served either 1- or 2-cup portions of macaroni and cheese.

3. Drink Responsibly:

Too many of us keep in mind the adage “watch what you eat,” and we forget another serious threat to our health: We don’t watch what we drink. In fact, according to research from the University of North Carolina, Americans now slurp up nearly 25 percent of their calories in liquid form—nearly double the rate we used to drink just 20 years ago. One study found that sweetened beverages constituted more than half (51 percent) of all beverages consumed by fourth- through sixth-grade students. The students who consumed the most sweetened beverages took in approximately 330 extra calories per day, and on average they ate less than half the amount of real fruit than did their peers who drank unsweetened or lightly sweetened beverages.

One important strategy is to keep cold, filtered water in a pitcher in the fridge. You might even want to keep some cut-up limes, oranges, or lemons nearby for kids to flavor their own water with. A UK study showed that in classrooms with limited access to water, only 29 percent of students met their daily needs; free access to water led to higher intake.

Another important strategy: Be extra careful about the juice you purchase. Too many “juices” are little more than sugar water masquerading as the real thing. Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry, for instance, has just 15 percent real fruit juice. The other 85 percent? High-fructose corn syrup and water. Make sure the juice you buy says “100 percent Fruit Juice” on the label, and try to choose one made from a single fruit, not a mix of high-sugar fruits like white grapes, which are commonly used in fruit juice blends.

2. Eat More Whole Foods and Fewer Science Experiments:

Here’s a rule of healthy eating that will serve you well when picking out foods for your family: The shorter the ingredients list, the healthier the food. (One of the worst foods we’ve ever found, the Baskin-Robbins Heath Shake, has 73 ingredients—and, by the way, a whopping 2,310 calories and more than 3 days’ worth of saturated fat! What happened to the idea that a milk shake was, um, milk and ice cream? Let’s be grateful that Baskin-Robbins finally pulled this monstrosity from their menus.) The FDA maintains a list of more than 3,000 ingredients that are considered safe to eat, but we’ve found reasons for concern for a number of the additives on that long list, and any one of them could wind up in your next box of mac ’n’ cheese.

According to USDA reports, most of the sodium in the American diet comes from packaged and processed foods. Naturally occurring salt accounts for only 12 percent of total intake, while 77 percent is added by food manufacturers.

1. Set the Table:

Children in families with more structured mealtimes exhibit healthier eating habits. Among middle- and high-school girls, those whose families ate together only once or twice per week were more than twice as likely to exhibit weight control issues, compared with those who ate together three or four times per week.

Of course, the notion of a 6 p.m. dinnertime and then everyone into their pj’s is a quaint one, but it’s hardly realistic in a society where our kids have such highly scheduled social lives that the delineation between “parent” and “chauffeur” is sometimes difficult to parse. While we can’t always bring the family together like Ozzie Nelson’s (or, heck, even like Ozzy Osbourne’s), we can make some positive steps in that direction. One busy family I know keeps Sunday night dinner sacred—no social plans, no school projects, no extra work brought home from the office. Even keeping the family ritual just once a week gives parents the opportunity to point out what is and isn’t healthy at the dinner table.

http://eatthis.womenshealthmag.com/slideshow/print-list/77650