Wednesday is “GIVE-AWAY” DAY at Step Ahead!
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For more information on Step Ahead Wellness Center's healthy weight loss program and/or personal training/fitness programs, visit www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com. Be sure to click on our special Holiday Giveaway!
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While the weather outside is frightful, indoor workouts are delightful! Check out this killer leg workout you can do wherever, whenever! No equipment is needed.
Let Step Ahead Wellness Center meet all your fitness, healthy weight loss goals... See our website at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for our latest special weight loss offer.
Email our fitness director, certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more fit tips.
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It seems to happen every holiday season.
You attend parties and office gatherings to share a few festive moments with family, friends, colleagues and lots and lots of food. But when the holiday season is finally over, the bathroom scale reveals that you’ve gained some weight again, much to your chagrin.
Research studies show most adults gain some weight over the holidays. But don’t despair because this year can be different.
“I recommend to my patients that they just try to keep their current weight, as opposed to focusing on losing weight,” says Julia Renee Zumpano, RD, LD, registered dietitian, Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation. “Even though it’s hard to resist temptations all around you, there are simple steps you can take that can keep the extra holiday pounds off.”
How can you try to maintain your weight and heart-health during such a tempting time? We’ve conjured up these tips to surviving the holiday hoop-la that is sure-fire success – this season and in the future ones to come.
One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic activity (*).To burn off those extra calories, kick up your exercise. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, move it up to five times a week.
Exercise is a great way to burn those extra calories you may be taking in this time of year (remember those iced reindeer cookies you had with lunch?). Here are some ideas to get you moving:
(*) If you haven’t exercised in at least 6-months, check with your doctor first before starting.
Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level. When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients. What’s more – the fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods. Pack your refrigerator with bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruits. Grab a bag while on the go or at work. Make a pact with yourself that you’ll eat your five-a-day before you snack on any cookies or other holiday treats. You’re sure to take in fewer calories overall.
Controlling even the slightest chance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your intake. While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can. For example, do you keep candy or cookies at your desk or workspace? Do you frequent the dining room table or pantry where you store all your holiday goodies? Make a mental note of tempting places and try to control them. For example, make a pact with co-workers that goodies will be kept solely in the break room, not at the front desk or in various offices. Mentally plan out how you will avoid tempting situations. If you can’t avoid them entirely, see number 4.
While you can’t control every situation, you can control how much food goes into your mouth. If you are constantly bombarded with holiday parties and displays of desserts or candies you can still effectively help prevent overeating and weight gain. One way is the one-a-day method. Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season. Remember that you may have to compensate for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising. If you aren’t confronted with holiday foods that day, just skip your one-a-day – but don’t compensate and double-up on your serving the next day.
Before you go to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of your favorite fruit, fat-free yogurt or a low-fat, whole grain granola bar. When you arrive at the party, you won’t be craving hors d’oeuvres.
“If you’re going to a potluck dinner, bring a healthy dish to share such as a salad, veggie or fruit tray, or a low-fat pudding, Jell-O or fruit dessert,” says Zumpano. “That way, you’ll know you have at least one healthy item on the table spread.”
Many times you feel forced to eat foods because people keep putting it in front of you. Learn to say no politely, such as "No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious", or "I couldn’t eat another bite. Everything tasted wonderful". You’ll find saying no isn’t so hard to do after all.
Don’t stand around the food table when you are at a party – focus your energies on making conversation with others instead of focusing on foods. Conversation is calorie-free.
Remember, the holidays are meant to celebrate good times with family and friends. Enjoy the holidays and plan effective strategies to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Achieving what you sought out for will give you one more good reason for holiday cheer! Happy Holidays!
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Stay fit this holiday season with Step Ahead Wellness Center’s four easy tips…
Set Realistic Goals:
Knowing it's a busy time of year, think ahead and revise your schedule if necessary, and then stick to it! Think quality rather than quantity. If you can’t squeeze in concentrated exercise,
move as much as possible throughout your day and stay away from the sweet treats to maintain healthy weight loss between Thanksgiving and New Years.
Be Creative with your Time:
If you are finding it difficult to keep up with your fitness goals and the parenting demands this holiday season, then work out with your children. Need to go Christmas shopping? Go to the mall for an hour or so before it opens and walk with your kids (maybe bring the hand-weights too
to increase the intensity). Or, go to a local gym and play basketball or go ice skating or swim at an indoor pool with your kids.
Stick to a Routine:
As much as possible, try to have a general schedule for your days. You and your family will be much happier if you do. Don't think you need "to do it all." You'll be surprised how much your kids would love to help with the baking, wrapping and decorating. You may have a little extra time here and there if you let them help, and more importantly, you'll be making great memories with them.
Take Care of Yourself:
It is so easy to get stressed with all the shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, family obligations, parties, but breathe and relax. As much as possible, strive for 7-8 hours a sleep a night, drink plenty of water and continue to eat well.
It's okay to enjoy holiday parties, just don't indulge in all those sweet treats. Have a taste, then move on to something a bit more healthier. Don't forget to set time to exercise; you'll feel much better and will be able to maintain your healthy weight loss goals this holiday season.
For more holiday fit tips, contact our fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at email@example.com or visit us at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com. We’d love to hear from you… which health, wellness, weight loss, fitness topics are you most interested in learning more about.
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Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and it is a time to enjoy family and friends- NOT to worry about your weight loss journey. Here are a few tips to add to your planning that will make it easier for you to put aside your fears and ENJOY TURKEY DAY without any regrets:
STOP looking for the closest spot to the store- NO MATTER HOW COLD it may get. The more steps and activity you can get into the days leading up to the holiday, the better!
Track your steps throughout the days. 10,000 steps a day is ideal, but remember, just DO YOUR BEST- make an effort to increase your steps every day and it helps you burn more calories and feel better. For every 2,000 steps- you have burned 100 calories- keep track, it helps motivate you!
DON’T wait for January to dust off your exercise equipment at home- start NOW. It will make your holidays easier to enjoy and you will be one step ahead of any New Year’s Resolution you may make for 2014. Start slow, 10 minutes every other day, and then work your way up as best that you can.
If you are a member of gym, make sure you sign up for 1 or 2 classes, with the early sunset and cold weather, it is easy to convince yourself out of a trek to the gym. Commit to a class schedule, better yet, do it with a friend, and it will force you to get out, at least 1 or 2 times a week.
There are many community led events this time of year. Check your local area paper or website and look for any walks, hikes or other interesting going-ons that may keep you moving on the weekends. It is a great way to enjoy your town, meet others and keep yourself burning those calories!
MAKE MORE work for yourself- DON’T carry decorations, packages or other things in large bundles through your house- make MORE trips- either up the stairs or through the house. Make a commitment with yourself that you will not overload your arms – it will make your holiday routine more efficient with calorie burning!
OKAY- This is a start- try these steps out to start and look for more tips to enjoy the holidays as the week goes on. If you have any questions, feel free to call, our Personal Trainer, Noelle, is always happy to help with any questions!
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As a dietitian and as someone who enjoys socializing over cocktails, I believe that you don’t have to give up alcohol just because you are trying to lose weight. This is supported by research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that found that light to moderate drinkers actually gain less weight over time than teetotalers, and they also have a lower chance of becoming overweight or obese.
I know this from experience working with my clients who consistently lose weight without abstaining from alcohol. Instead of asking them to cut out alcohol, I help them learn to drink a bit smarter by avoiding unnecessary calories.
Lighten your usual drink
It’s easy to order a less caloric version of your usual drink. For example, have vodka, tequila or other spirits with zero-calorie club soda and a splash of juice instead of an 80 calorie cup of tonic. For nearly the same calories, you can relax over two rum and Diet Cokes or have one specialty cocktail, such as a cosmopolitan.
Make yours a spritzer
Do like the Europeans and have a wine spritzer (half wine, half club soda) that’s refreshing and waist-friendly at about 50 calories a glass.
Beware of mixed drinks
A single margarita or other sugary cocktails can pack anywhere from 450 – 600 calories! Opt instead for tequila with a splash of juice and a wedge of lime, or order a drink made with light vodka in your favorite flavor mixed with zero-calorie soda water.
Sip wine and spirits
Your best bet for low-cal drinking is wine and spirits, because these contain about 90 calories per drink.
If you plan to have only one drink, order one that you will linger over. For example, a martini is practically straight liquor, but shaken with ice and an aromatic splash of vermouth, it is a reasonable 160 calories per 2.5-ounce glass. If you expect to have more than one cocktail, try alternating with a glass of water or seltzer with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Tip: Try my lighter twist on a classic cocktail – Basil Bloody Mary
Published November 06, 2013
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U.S. health officials announced Thursday a plan to phase out heart-harmful trans fats in processed foods and restaurant fare.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said the proposed restrictions on the use of trans fats could prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths.
"The agency has made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils, a major source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not generally recognized as safe for use in food," Hamburg said during a morning news conference. "This is an important step for removing harmful trans fats from processed foods."
Many food companies and restaurants have eliminated trans fats over the past decade, in part because of FDA nutrition label changes enacted in 2006. And some local governments, including New York City, already prohibit their use.
These restrictions have helped reduce trans fat intake among Americans from 4.6 grams daily in 2003 to about 1 gram a day in 2012, the FDA said.
Even so, Hamburg said trans fats "remain an area of significant public health concern." Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The Institute of Medicine concluded that trans fats provide no known health benefits and there is no safe level of consumption of trans fats, Hamburg added.
The medical community welcomed the news about trans fats.
"This represents a very important move by the FDA to help further reduce trans fat dietary intake and improve cardiovascular health in the United States," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, spokesman for the American Heart Association and a cardiology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Many cookies and other baked goods, some microwave pizzas, ready-to-eat frostings and a host of other everyday foods contain trans fats, which are often labeled partially hydrogenated oils.
Trans fats raise total blood cholesterol levels even more than saturated fats, which can lead to heart disease, Fonarow said. They also raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol when used instead of natural oils, he said.
Clinical trials of diets containing trans fats have shown an increased risk of heart attack and premature cardiovascular death, Fonarow added.
Currently, trans fats fall in a category of additives "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA. Under the new proposal, they would be removed from that list and food manufacturers would need to petition the agency before using them. But FDA approval of such petitions is considered unlikely.
Widely used to improve the shelf life, flavor or texture of foods, trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil to solidify it.
Many restaurant chains no longer use trans fats, but smaller restaurants may still get trans fats-containing foods from suppliers or use the fats for frying.
The FDA said it would take public comments for two months before setting a timeline to complete the phase-out. "We need to know how much time would be needed for industry to remove partially hydrogenated oils from processed food products should this preliminary determination be finalized," Hamburg said.
Dr. Kenneth Ong, the interim chief of cardiology at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, said there are "only a couple of reasons manufacturers use trans fats -- maybe the taste and perhaps the cost. But I am not familiar with any health benefits. In fact, there is much more data to show the opposite."
Samantha Heller, senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said the only real way to know if a food contains trans fats is to look at the ingredient list for "partially hydrogenated" oils. "This means there are trans fats in that food. Put it back on the shelf and find another option," she said.
Added Rebecca Solomon, a clinical nutrition coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City: "Nothing good can come from people consuming trans fats. At the end of the day our food technology is sophisticated enough that there are healthier alternatives."
By Steven Reinberg and Margaret Farley Steele
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about trans fats.
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