The holidays hit hard. Sweets and rich foods were plentiful. It was easy to eat, eat and eat.
But now they are over and the extra pounds are unwelcome. Filled with rich, calorie-filled food, the body feels unhealthy, heavy and bogged down. Now it’s time to lose extra weight and rejuvenate the body with healthier eating habits and an exercise routine.
In order to avoid becoming one of the many who work out and burn out, it is important to start slow, set realistic goals and not take on too much at once. They key is to be consistent.
You should never say you’re going to make a change you couldn’t live with the rest of your life, said Dawn Clifford, a registered dietitian. “The key is to be able to maintain it every day of your life.”
When creating an exercise plan to lose weight, Brandy Mertz, a CSU personal trainer, said she would start a new client with a simple 10- to 20-minute workout two to three times a week. From there she would gradually increase the time and amount someone worked out each week. It is important to change up the type of cardio as well by using different machines that work different parts of the body and get the heart rate up.
Mertz’s favorite machine at the gym is the Arc Trainer because is works the upper and lower body the best. The Arc Trainer is a type of elliptical that seems to merge with the treadmill as it offers options to increase the incline.
Tamar Cline, associate director of strength and fitness at the Student Recreation Center, suggested students try a combination of group fitness classes to keep from getting bored and get a strong overall workout. Weight lifting a few times a week to strengthen your core is also important, she said.
Dietary suggestions for improving health and weight loss include eating lots of fruits and vegetables because they are low in carbohydrates but high in minerals and vitamins. Moderation and types of ingredients in food are also important. In addition, Clifford suggests avoiding cutting out entire food groups all together.
Just like working out, it is important not to make too many changes to your diet and become burned out. Clifford said that it is not wise to stop eating something completely, because you then start feeling deprived and get discouraged. The key is to modify what you eat and add healthy things to it your diet if possible. It is important to moderate the amount of soda and alcohol you drink as well.
When shopping for healthy foods, Shirley Perryman, a registered dietitian, suggests staying on the perimeter of the grocery store so you get the fruits and vegetables but stay away from the processed foods generally kept in the aisles.
Also, Perryman stressed the importance of looking at labels. Whole grain wheat is a very healthy alternative to enriched flour or wheat flour. This is in breads, cereals, bagels, granola bars, and anything else made with grains. Also, Perryman advised people to be aware of all the different names for sugar – anything that ends with “ose,” along with honey and syrup.
Moderation is crucial to weight loss and staying fit. There are many tips to cut down large portion sizes. Perryman suggested keeping a food journal, which will make you accountable for everything you eat.
Clifford’s No. 1 piece of advice is to listen to your body.
“Your body knows exactly when and how much you need to eat. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are satisfied,” she said.
Clifford also urged people to be selective. You should never just eat something just because it is there or offered to you. If you obey this, you can then allow yourself to splurge on sweets when you are craving them.
Clifford offered other tips for moderation – when eating at a restaurant, put half of your meal in a box to take home before you start eating. She also recommended using small plates when eating at home.
She said focusing on your eating habits is critical. She cautioned against eating in “auto-pilot” – like when you have a bag of chips and are watching TV completely unaware of how much you are eating.
Meal suggestions from Dawn Clifford:
Clifford suggests that you should eat every three to four hours.
Meals for students on the go:
Breakfast: High-fiber cereals and fruit or oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter; a whole wheat bagel and peanut butter; yogurt with granola and berries
Morning snack: Granola bar; yogurt; fruit
Lunch: A sandwich on whole wheat bread, lean turkey or ham, veggies and cheese with baby carrots and ranch with a glass of milk
Snack: Handful of nuts and an apple (The best nuts for you are walnuts, almonds and peanuts.)
Dinner: A source of protein (chicken), a grain (pasta/rice, preferably whole grain), a hot veggie (frozen or canned are both fine) and a salad
Dessert is absolutely fine to have in a small portion.
Healthy and easy meals from the Hartshorn Health Service:
Whole wheat pasta
Lean ground beef or ground turkey
Vegetables of your choice
Cook noodles according to package directions. Cook ground meat in a skillet on medium-high heat until no longer pink. Chop vegetables and add to meat. Cook 5 minutes. Pour sauce and heat one to two more minutes.
Sides: Salad, glass of milk
Jarred pizza sauce
Vegetables of your choice
Chop vegetables and cook 5 minutes in a skillet. Pour sauce over pita pockets. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with vegetable and cook at 500 degrees for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Chili Baked Potatoes
1 can of vegetarian chili or low-fat turkey chili
2 baked potatoes
Wash and poke potatoes. Put potatoes in the oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees, or cook in the microwave for 15 minutes. Heat chili in a saucepan over medium heat. Open cooked potatoes and pour chili over them. Sprinkle with cheese.
Sides: Raw veggies in ranch dressing, glass of milk
Red Beans and Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
16 ounces lean turkey sausage, thinly sliced
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) dice tomatoes, not drained
Bring the rice and water to boil in a pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and green bell pepper, and cook until tender. Stir in sausage and cook until evenly browned. Mix in beans and tomatoes and continue cooking until heated through. Serve skillet mixture over the rice.
Sides: Fruit or steamed broccoli with cheese
The 10 super foods list according to Shirley Perryman.
Super foods are nutritional powerhouses high in phytonutrients – chemicals that occur naturally in food. They protect against cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
1. Avocados. Avocados contribute monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol for heart health. Because they’re high in calories, limit your daily consumption. I enjoy avocado on my dinner salad daily. A recommended serving size is 2 tablespoons, or about one-sixth of a medium-sized avocado. Each serving provides 5 grams of fat and 55 calories. A whole avocado contains 30 grams of fat!
2. Broccoli. Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a phytonutrient that is one of the most powerful cancer-fighting components in food. Broccoli also is high in vitamins A and C, and antioxidants that prevent damage to your body’s cells. It’s a nutritional bargain at only 43 calories in a one-cup serving.
3. Cranberries. Long known for promoting urinary-tract health, cranberries come in several forms. Buy fresh cranberries in season, pop them in the freezer and use them later. I toss dried cranberries into my homemade granola. The “light” version of cranberry juice at 40 calories a glass is just as effective as cranberry-juice cocktail, which has 140 calories in an 8-ounce glass.
4. Dark chocolate. More isn’t better in the case of chocolate. Dark chocolate, rather than milk or white chocolate, can have health benefits. It’s rich in flavonoids, which positively affect heart health and blood flow including reducing blood pressure. Adding less than an ounce a day in a balanced diet may be good for your health. That’s good news for those of us who are chocoholics. However, along with chocolate comes sugar, butter and cream, which translate into plenty of calories.
5. Nuts. Though the evidence isn’t definitive, including nuts in your diet two to five times a week may protect against heart disease by lowering LDL – “bad” – cholesterol. Nuts are high in protein and good unsaturated fat, which contain naturally occurring cholesterol-lowering compounds called plant sterols. Nuts are calorie-dense at 200 calories per ounce. My husband, in the pursuit of good heart health, now substitutes an ounce of walnuts for the high-fat, high-sugar cookie he used to eat for lunch.
6. Pomegranates. Pomegranates may increase blood flow to the heart, reduce LDL cholesterol and be effective against cancer. Each contains about 800 seeds and 100 calories. Sprinkle the seeds over salad or mix them with other fruit. Pomegranate juice, filled with antioxidants, is more convenient and available year round, but it also has added sugar to offset its natural tartness.
7. Soy. High in polyunsaturated fat, soy can benefit your heart health, especially when eaten in place of other proteins that are typically high in saturated fat. Edamame, boiled soybeans, have become a popular snack. Be adventuresome and try them in place of chips at your Super Bowl party.
8. Tea. Black, green or white tea is calorie-free and may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and ovarian cancer. Keep in mind that during processing, decaf and bottled teas lose some of the beneficial polyphenols – antioxidant compounds that act as anti-inflammatories to protect heart health. Sweetened bottled teas are often loaded with sugar. And did you know that herbal teas don’t come from the tea plant? Your best bet is to brew your own black, green or white tea.
9. Whole grains. Oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread, along with other whole grains, protect the heart when they’re eaten in place of refined grains. Don’t be fooled by packaging that touts “multi-grain goodness.” Take the time to read the ingredients label. A whole grain should be listed first. Check the remaining ingredients to see if it’s filled with other less healthful refined grains.
10. Wild salmon. A rich source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon eaten twice a week can reduce the chance of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body. Farm-raised fish are more likely to contain contaminants than those raised in the wild. The bottom line, though, is to include more fish more often.
Cardio machines and what they work
Treadmill: Treadmills are used for running and walking. You can adjust the incline, which gives you more control over your environment. Treadmills have more cushioning than running or walking outside, but they’re still considered a high-impact machine. Treadmills are great for increasing heart rate and good leg exercise. Increasing your arm movement will make it a better overall workout
Bikes: There are two types, but the main difference is just a comfort preference. Bikes are great if have an injury because they are low-impact machines. Riding a bike is a good way to mix up your workout.
Elliptical: The elliptical provides a total body core workout and utilizes both arms and legs. Ellipticals are low-impact.
Row Machine: The row machine provides a total body workout as well. Not as many people use it so it’s a good choice when gym is crowded. You can get a really good, hard workout from the row machine, but it’s also good for warming up because it gets your joints going, along with your arms and legs.
Stair Climber: The stair climber is an awesome leg workout. It’s fairly difficult and provides a good workout. It’s a smart choice if you’re training for a hike.
Arc Trainer: The Arc Trainer is a fusion of the treadmill and the elliptical that provides a great overall body workout. It offers different strides and allows you to add an incline.
Staff writer Michelle Zilis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.