Exercise can’t keep disease at bay if individuals are mostly sedentary

Healthy weight loss tips often include regular exercise. However, even periods of intense physical activity may not help people achieve optimal well-being if they spend most of their time sitting down.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 25 percent of Americans lead sedentary lives, defined as taking fewer than 5,000 steps each day. Moreover, 75 percent do not meet the exercise recommendations, which suggest that individuals engage in 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.

A group of researchers from the CDC, led by assistant professor John Thyfault, found that even regular workouts did not decrease the risk of chronic disease for inactive people.

“If people can add some regular movement into their routines throughout the day, they will feel better and be less susceptible to health problems,” Thyfault said. “In the long term, they may not see big changes in the mirror, but they will prevent further weight gain.”

He and his team suggested that people take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to a colleague’s office rather than phoning them and taking short strolls during the day to help increase the number of steps they take.

Posted on June 26th, 2013


Tips For Successful Diet Programs

There is a lot in the news about the “best” and “worst” diet plans. What is most important are the common mistakes people make when following popular diet plans. These plans are necessarily bad (or good), but the following are some of the unhealthy mistakes people make when they “go on a diet.”

1. Saving all your calories or “points” for one large evening meal.

Often people may skip breakfast and eat a really small lunch so they can have a huge dinner. This is not a good idea because skipping meals can slow down your metabolism and make weight loss more difficult. It’s also problematic because eating one large meal can spike blood sugar. It’s better to eat three similar-sized meals per day with a small snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

2. Eating too much fruit.

Some diet plans allow fruit as a “free” food. Fruit can’t be a free food because it contains a big dose of carbohydrates. Therefore, it is important to watch portion size and count carbs. Also, avoid dried fruit and fruit juice entirely, because they contain a large, concentrated amount of carbs in a very small portion size.

3. Not balancing diet — eating too much from one food group.

Sometimes when people start a new diet plan they think they need to be extreme. For example, they might know that protein foods are good choices, so that is all they eat for a prolonged period of time. They may have an egg for breakfast, a turkey burger without a bun for lunch, and a chicken breast with some green beans for dinner. These are not “bad” choices, but this diet is not well balanced for a long term maintenance plan and is lacking in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You should include foods from all the other food groups too, such as fresh fruit, and healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and beans. Eating a well-balanced diet is not only healthy, but is more satisfying too.

4. Practicing good portion control with pre-packaged meals, but going back to old eating habits after it’s over.

Some diet plans provide only pre-packaged food. These foods can help people learn proper portion sizes (and can be convenient occasionally). If not properly educated and transitioned to change their lifestyle with regular grocery store foods on a maintenance program, they go back to their old eating habits and regain weight. It is a good idea to learn how to eat healthy with proper portion sizes from everyday foods that you can buy at the grocery store. Remember, healthy eating is not a diet, but a long-term lifestyle change.

Here is a great recipe to throw on the grill these last warm days. It’s also a good visual lesson in proper portion size.

Chicken Kabobs

  • 1 pint button mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, slices into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 bamboo skewers, soaked in warm water
  • olive oil

Fresh Ground Pepper

  1. Prepare an indoor or outdoor grill.
  2. Assemble kabobs by alternating mushrooms, onions, peppers and chicken cubes on each skewer (making 8 skewers).
  3. Brush all sides of kabobs with olive oil and grind fresh pepper to taste. Grill over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Serving Size: 2 skewers

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional info (per serving): 200 calories, 3 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 68mg cholesterol, 375mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrate, 3 grams dietary fiber, 27g protein

Posted on June 26th, 2013


Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

You can make it from Halloween through New Year’s and remain on your weight loss plan or at least avoid gaining weight—here’s how to eat right and still enjoy the holiday season.

There are so many temptations during the holiday season—an ever-growing period of time that stretches from before Halloween through New Year’s Eve (and returns for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day).

Giving up great food isn’t an option so we have developed strategies to make sure our waistlines don’t grow along with the festive season. Read on for tips on how to enjoy parties and celebratory meals like Thanksgiving without gaining weight (or having to chain yourself to an elliptical trainer and subsist on air-popped popcorn for a month or so).

Healthy Eating Tips for Holiday Parties & Dinners

Choose Low-Calorie And Healthy Festive Foods

Baked Brie and creamy dips are festive calorie bombs, yet plenty of other party foods are naturally low in calories and seem equally merry. Go for crudités, lean deli meats, chicken kebabs, salsa (instead of using chips, spoon up thicker salsa straight from your plate or with a thin slice of English cucumber, zucchini, or a piece of chicken), steamed asparagus (one large spear has only four calories, boiled shrimp. Skip the cracker when eating hard cheeses.

Bring The Healthy Fare To Parties And Potlucks

To guarantee there’s something healthy on the buffet, volunteer to bring it yourself. Take seasonal salads, homemade bean dip, or a big batch of roasted root vegetables, all of which provide flavorful, filling alternatives to foods higher in fat and calories.

Don’t Hover Around The Buffet Table

When you’re at a party buffet table, choose three or four items you really want to eat, then step away from the table so you’re not tempted to graze. If you’re in the middle of an interesting conversation or standing on the other side of the room from the food, you’re less likely to keep absentmindedly refilling your plate. To entice yourself away from the buffet we suggest trying to meet at least one new person or checking out the decor in your host’s home.

Use A Napkin

An easy way to monitor portion size is to put food on a small plate, or even better, on a napkin. It’s a simple trick: You can’t fit as much on a napkin, so you won’t eat as much. Another option: Take a big plate and fill it up once, taking one spoonful—not multiples—of each dish. Do not return for seconds.

Hit The Veggie Tray

Filling up on high-fiber and low-cal raw vegetables, salad, or broth-based (not creamy) soups is a good strategy. Starting a meal with raw veggies fills the stomach with fiber-rich foods that provide a feeling of fullness. Eating raw veggies also slows down the eating process, giving your stomach the 20 minutes it needs to signal the brain that it’s getting full.

Follow The Three-Bite Rule

When dining at a restaurant, only take a few bites of a dish. Studies have shown that after the third bite, your taste buds don’t register the flavors as sharply, so unless it’s amazing, it’s not worth the calories. You can always take the leftovers home.

Drink Plenty Of Water And Avoid Alcoholic Beverages

Before you eat, drink at least eight ounces of water, tea, or coffee so that your thirst is quenched and your stomach already feels a little full. Drinking water before having an alcoholic beverage (and between alcoholic drinks) is also a good idea: You will be less likely to gulp down the alcoholic drink to quench your thirst. Avoid alcoholic beverages if possible. A diet 7 up or club soda with a lemon or lime in it is much better for you. If you must have an alcoholic beverage, limit yourself to one or two drinks for the evening, and in order to keep to it, tell a friend who can make sure you adhere to that.

Keep Liquid Calories In Check

Eggnog—the famously fatty beverage of the holidays—has a whopping 343 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat per cup. Get the flavor of the season with a shot glass–size serving of nog if you must, then stick to water, drinks made with seltzer, club soda or diet soft drinks. A five-ounce glass of red wine has only 125 calories. Not sure what five ounces looks like? Before a party, measure out five ounces of water and pour it into a wineglass just to remind yourself what a ‘serving’ looks like.

Healthy Eating Rules to Follow Every Day During Holiday Season

Bakers, Beware

If you bake during the holidays, keep one day’s worth of treats and give everything else away—either bring the surplus to work, give it to neighbors or family, or send it to your spouse’s or roommate’s office.

Regift Food Presents

If you get a food gift, share it with others so you can’t eat it all by yourself.

Say No To Junk Food

Don’t blow your calories on low-quality sweets. There are so many good homemade treats to enjoy at this time of year that there’s no reason to buy an ordinary candy bar or take something from the candy jar at work just because you’re having a craving. Try to save your snack “allowance” for better desserts that will really make you feel satisfied. Change dessert recipes to use sugar substitutes and low-fat, low carb substitutions when possible.

Consider Setting A Few Ground Rules

There are a few general guidelines you should try to follow. Avoid anything fried; use vegetables instead of crackers or chips for dips, and dip only every other vegetable instead of every one.

Don’t Turn Shopping Sprees Into Eating Sprees

The holiday season is incredibly busy, and we all are on the go. When shopping or out running holiday errands, try to set aside time to eat and plan what and where to eat. In lieu of fast food restaurants, seek out a healthier restaurant near the shops you’re going to, or eat before you go. Bring a bag of almonds, an energy bar, or dried fruit to tide you over if hunger strikes.

Eat Three Square Meals Every Day And Snacks, Eating Every 2 To 3 Hours

Sure, it might make sense on paper to slash calories by skipping meals during the day when you know you’re going to have a big feast later, but this strategy often backfires and can lead to overeating, low energy, and generally feeling bad. Take the time to have a decent-sized breakfast that includes plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, and some dairy, all of which will help you feel full and keep your energy up. Eating every 2 to 3 hours avoids hunger and speeds up the metabolism. You can accomplish this by eating 3 healthy meals a day and a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

The same advice goes for lunch and pre-party snacks or dinners. If you’re going to a party where you can’t count on a meal being served, eat a healthy, satisfying dinner with plenty of protein, but make the meal a little bit smaller than usual, so you can justify a couple of healthy appetizers at the party.

Add Exercise Whenever And Wherever You Can

Posted on June 26th, 2013


Further Evidence That Eating Slower Reduces Food Intake

Article Date: Nov 11, 2011

Two new studies by researchers at the University of Rhode Island are providing
additional insights into the role that eating rate plays in the amount of food
one consumes. The studies found that men eat significantly faster than women,
heavier people eat faster than slimmer people, and refined grains are consumed
faster than whole grains, among other findings.

Kathleen Melanson, URI associate professor of nutrition, along with graduate students Emily Ponte and Amanda Petty, presented their research at the annual meeting of The Obesity Society in Orlando this month.

In one laboratory study, which validated that self-reported eating rates reflect
an individual’s actual eating rate, Melanson and her lab team found that fast
eaters consumed about 3.1 ounces of food per minute, medium-speed eaters
consumed 2.5 ounces per minute, and slow eaters consumed 2 ounces per minute.
This work is the first to validate self-reported eating rates that have been
used in large population studies, which have shown relationships between eating
rate and body weight.

The researchers also found what Melanson described as “very strong gender
differences” in eating rates. At lunch, the men consumed about 80 calories
per minute while the women consumed 52 calories per minute.

“The men who reported eating slowly ate at about the same rate as the
women who reported eating quickly,” said Melanson, director of the URI
Energy Balance Laboratory.

The second study, which examined the characteristics associated with eating
rates, found a close association between eating rate and body mass index (BMI),
with those individuals with a high BMI typically eating considerably faster
than those with a low BMI.

“One theory we are pursuing is that fast eating may be related to greater
energy needs, since men and heavier people have higher energy needs,” said

In what Melanson called her favorite result, the study also found that the test
subjects consumed a meal of whole grains – whole grain cereal and whole wheat
toast – significantly slower than when eating a similar meal of refined grains.

“Whole grains are more fibrous, so you have to chew them more, which takes
more time,” she said.

According to Melanson, these studies have raised a number of additional
questions that she intends to pursue with future research.

“When you talk about eating rate, you have to talk about eating
techniques,” she explained. “It’s not just about how long it takes
you to eat, but how you eat.”

She plans to study specific slow-eating techniques to see how they may affect
appetite and weight loss. She will also examine other factors that might
influence eating rate in daily life.

“We also want to recruit fast-paced eaters with a high BMI, teach them how
to eat slowly, and see what role that might play in weight management,”
Melanson said.

While the link between eating rate and obesity is still being studied, Melanson said that
her research has demonstrated that eating slowly results in significantly fewer
average calories being consumed.

“It takes time for your body to process fullness signals,” she
concluded, “so slower eating may allow time for fullness to register in
the brain before you’ve eaten too much.”

The latest research follows up on a landmark 2007 study conducted by Melanson
that was the first to confirm the popular dietary belief that eating slowly
reduces food intake. That study found that women who were told to eat quickly
consumed 646 calories in nine minutes, but the same women consumed just 579
calories in 29 minutes when encouraged to pause between bites and chew each
mouthful 15 to 20 times before swallowing.

Posted on June 26th, 2013


7 Simple Weight-Loss Tips by Dr. OZ

You know a question I get asked most? I mean besides, “How do I live longer?” and “Doc, is a cursive-Q-shaped poop acceptable?

Yep, you got it: How do I drop pounds?

And I have to tell you, this time of year, it has to be one of the toughest questions around. You’re faced with the triumvirate of temptations in just a short span—bite-sized Halloween candy by the bucketful, then what seems to a be a 40-million-calorie Thanksgiving dinner, followed by a month of parties, meals, and more sweets than you know what to do with.

So in the face of the furious few months, anybody who’s trying to lose weight has to be up front about goals and expectations. Maybe you’re not going to lose as much as you want right now. Maybe it’s ok to indulge in Aunt Edna’s amazing pie (but just a little). Maybe your expectations should be about winning as many minor dietary battles as you can to get you through a rough stretch.

If that’s the case, as I believe it is with most folks who try to lose weight during the holidays, your strategy should be about finding places where you can make good, smart decisions that will keep you satisfied and ready to take on another day.

Quick Tips to Keep of the Pounds

  • Download an app that allows you to track calories (or keep a food journal). Just that little sense of accountability to yourself will pay huge dividends when you’re face-to-face with 3,000 cheese cubes.
  • Six of you out for a holiday celebration? Order one dessert and six forks. One or two bites? Not the problem. Twelve can be.
  • End a meal with a glass of wine. It’s sweet, it’s not as caloric as some desserts and it lasts longer, helping you feel more satisfied.
  • Pile the plate with turkey. Besides it being a source of lean protein, it also helps increase serotonin, which can help you improve mood and resist cravings.
  • Perhaps your most powerful pre-party weapon is a handful of nuts and a big glass of water. Together, they’ll curb hunger and make you less likely to dive head first into a bowl ranch dip.
  • Change up your snack routine. Instead of a bag of [anything you’re going to eat 50 of], try a cup of Greek yogurt mixed with a few berries a little 100% whole grain cereal.
  • Before a big meal or party, take a 30-minute walk. It’s a reminder to your body that you’ve treated it right—and you’ll want to continue to do so.

Posted on June 26th, 2013


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