Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

The Healthy Scoop on Frozen Desserts

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 @ 03:30 PM

Take a walk down the frozen dessert aisle. Selecting the best option from an  overabundance of "good for you ice creams" can  give you brain freeze. Here's Nutritionist Sari Greaves RDN scoop on how to cool off this summer without calorie overload.

1) Pay attention to serving size. On a Nutrition Facts label, a serving is just a half cup. If you stick to a serving under the size of a tennis ball, your waistline witll thank you.

2) Avoid super-premium ice creams like Ben & Jerry's or Haagen- Dazs that hit 250-300 calories per half cup. Go for light ice creams with 1/2 the fat and a 150 calorie limit per serving. Fat-free ice creams and sorbets willl get you below 100 calories per serving, but you may run into artifical sweeteners.

3) The rule of 5. An ice cream with no more that 5 teaspoons of sugar is a good target. The sugar value on a label includes natural sugars from milk and fruit along with added sugar. Men and women should aim for a day's limit of 9 teaspoons (38 grams) and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar respectively). For sorbets and sherberts, look for fruit or fruit puree (not juice) as the first ingredient.

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Here are Sari's Healthy Frozen Dessert Selections  that don't exceed 150 calories* and 2.5 grams saturated fat (artery-clogging fat) per 1/2 cup serving.

1. Healthy Frozen Yogurts: Dannon Oikos Greek (except salted caramel), Lifeway Frozen Kefir (tart & refreshing), Trader Joe's 0% Greek Vanilla. Sari recommends cooling off with frozen yogurt because you get a refreshment with the added bonus of protein and calcium.

2. Healthy Ice Creams: Breyers 1/2 the Fat, Alden's Organic Light, Trader Joe's Light Vanilla, Dreyer's or Edy's Slow Churned 1/2 the Fat (except French Silk), Blue Bunny Premium - Caramel Fudge Brownie or Red Velvet, Breyer's Blasts!, Turkey Hill Light Recipe

3. Healthy Non-Dairy Desserts: So Delicious Soymilk Purely Vanilla, So Delicious Cashew Milk- Cappucino or Creamy Cashew Flavors

4. Healthy Sorbet & Sherberts: Sharon's Sorbet- Mango, Mixed Berry, Passion Fruit, or Raspberry, Ciao Bella Sorbetto- Blackberry Cabernet, Peach Sangria, Alphonso Mango, or Raspberry, Trader Joe'es Mango or Raspberry Sorbet

* average values Adapted from Nutrition Actoin Healthletter July/August 2015

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance

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Sincerely,

Dr. Deborah Neiman MD

Tags: low fat, healthy frozen desserts, personalized weight loss

Are You Exercising Hard Enough?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 06, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

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It's true that any exercise is better none.  However, some workout plans are better than others in terms of overall effectiveness. While you may think you’re getting a good workout by spending an hour reading a magazine on the stationary bike, the truth is, if you’re leaving the gym with your make-up still perfectly intact, you’re probably not working hard enough.  In fact, if you're able to read a magazine or book while exercising, you probably need to amp it up.  So leave the reading material at home, and focus on increasing the intensity of your workout to see the results you are striving for.

There are several ways to monitor your workout level. So put your routine to the test by utilizing the following...

CHECK YOUR HEART RATE

Whether you’re on a cardio machine or doing some high intensity interval training (HIIT), your heart rate should fluctuate between 75% of your maximum when you’re just starting out, eventually building to 100%. (To roughly determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220). An easy way to track this is by using a heart-rate monitor that will let you know, in real time, where your heart is at. Some people mistake sweating to be the only indicator of working out hard enough, when in reality some people may just be more prone to sweating than others. A heart-rate monitor is simply the most effective way to gauge your intensity level. These days they’re easy to come by and definitely worth the investment. But if you don’t have one, go old school and stop to check your pulse halfway through your workout.

THE TALK TEST

A leisurely stroll with a friend is a nice way to pass the time, but not if you expect that activity to help you lose weight. To put it simply, if you can hold a conversation during your workout, you’re just not working hard enough. Short phrases, perhaps, but if you’re able to belt out Taylor Swift while jogging, you need to reassess your workout plan (and maybe your level of shamelessness). 

THE SORE MUSCLE TEST

No pain, no gain. A good way to tell how hard you worked out is to wait 24 hours and see how you feel. When you exercise, you cause microscopic damage to your muscles. The muscles then adapt, repair themselves, and grow stronger. Basically, you should feel moderate soreness or muscle tightness after a workout; if not, you probably didn’t stimulate your muscle enough to get results. (But not so sore that you can’t go about your regular routine.) Give yourself a day in between to rest and rebuild those sore muscle groups while you work another, alternating days so you don’t overwork one particular group.

UP INTENSITY

Once you’ve been on a workout plan for a while and aren’t becoming as sore or tired, it might be time to up the intensity. If you want to gain lean muscle mass and definition, start adding more weight; if you’re using lighter weights to tone up, add some extra repetitions (Instead of 10-15 reps, try 25). If you’re doing cardio, try going a little faster or start incorporating more interval training into the mix. Because your body is constantly adapting, if you do the same thing over and over again, your body won’t be challenged enough to make a change. Be mindful that the more you work out, the more effort you’ll have to expend to keep making progress.

CROSS TRAIN, CROSS TRAIN, CROSS TRAIN

Not only do you need to change the intensity of your workout, but also the variety of what you’re doing. Get creative. Fit people don’t stick to one regimen, they cross train. If you’re doing the same set of squats and bicep curls day in and day out, you’re probably creating imbalances in your body (not to mention it’s just plain boring). Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Force yourself to be uncomfortable. If you’re a runner, try adding some yoga and weight lifting. If you only lift weights, try adding -Aerobic Exercise or Pilates into your routine to balance out your body’s ratio of strength and flexibility. You don’t have to do everything all at once, but start by challenging your body to do something it’s not used to doing.

YOU'RE NOT SEEING PHYSICAL CHANGES

That’s not to say if you don’t see results after a week you should give up. After all, how long did it take for your body to get to where it is now? But if you’ve been consistently working out and eating healthfully for more than a few months and you haven’t noticed even a slight physical change—be it a number on the scale or inches lost depending on your fitness goals—then you might need to reassess your routine. It should be a slow progression if you’re doing it the right way, but a progression nonetheless.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, consider hiring a certified -Personal Trainerto get your started on the right track.  A small investment will give you the gains you're looking for. 

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalizedprogram and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance!

Get Started Today!


Sincerely,

 Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ  07931
908-470-2235

www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Tags: medically supervised weight loss center, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, doctor supervised weight loss center, Weight Loss Center, personalized weight loss, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Diet Fact or Fiction?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 @ 11:47 AM

fast weight loss

Fact or Fiction?


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Most of the nutrients of a fruit or vegetable are in the skin, so you shouldn’t peel it.

If you peel fruits and vegetables, recognize what you’d be giving up- the nutrients and fiber that the peel contains. Any pesticide residues in foods you buy are present at minimal levels. It’s safe to say that they probably won’t pose any health risk. You can add more to your safety net by the way you handle your food in your kitchen. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with water to remove residues on the surface and in the crevices. For foods such as carrots, squash, apples, and pears, use a vegetable brush to clean them even more. Rinse well. Avoid soap, (unless it’s a produce wash formulated to remove wax, pesticides, and soil) because it leaves its own residue. Bottom line: Leave edible skins on vegetables and fruits and trim away as little as possible. Most vitamins and minerals are found in the outer leaves, skin, and area just below the skin- not in the center. Peels also are natural barriers that help protect nutrient loss. 
 
Eating after 9pm makes it easier to gain weight.

The truth is simple- a calorie is a calorie no matter what time you eat it. The number on your bathroom scale will start to climb when you consistently eat more calories that you burn off with physical activity. However, mindless munching in front of the television at night can push calorie intake over the edge. The reason why people may feel sluggish after late-night eating has more to do with overindulging in a grease-, beer- and salt-fest, which can cause bloating and stomach upset. Eat at regular intervals to help avoid extreme hunger and plan balanced meals that include a variety of healthy foods. Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites.

Bottom line: No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat. If you want to have a snack before bedtime, think first about how many calories you have eaten that day. Be aware of social situations that trigger eating-such as parties, entertaining friends, dating, talking around the coffee pot at work, and happy-hour business meetings. Create your ways to avoid overeating. Food journaling on your i-phone, blackberry, or notepad can help eliminate mindless eating; it’s like a personal diet GPS, helping you stay on course, and navigate around eating trigger. Make a list of fun “non-food-related” activities: enjoy your garden, choose an active hobby as a stress-buster, surf the internet, treat yourself to a massage, or buy something new to wear or read. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Deborah Neiman MD,

Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

Tags: quick weight loss, doctor supervised weight loss center, personalized weight loss, diet myths, diet fact or fiction

Lose Weight and Keep It Off with Weight Training

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 @ 01:49 PM

 

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So you've lost the weight, and you're feeling great, but are you ready for the next challenge, keeping it off?  Staying consistent with your exercise routine, especially weight training exercise, might be the key to your continued success. 

A new study shows that consistent exercise can alter the body's response to weight loss and potentially stop unwanted pounds from creeping back on.  The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and offers good news about exercise and body weight.  Most Registered Dietitians will agree that to lose weight, you must reduce calories, whether you exericse or not.  Take in fewer calories than your body burns and you will lose weight.  The general rule of thumb is create a 500 calorie deficit in calories in vs calories out to lose on average 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Unfortunately, as you get smaller your body burns less calories because there is less of you.  So after losing weight, your body burns fewer calories througout the day than it did before, because you have less body mass using energy.  Fitness Training becomes imperitive during this stage of the journey.  Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to closely study the effects of exercise during that pivotal time just after someone reaches their goal weight.

They began by recruiting about 100 overweight, sedentary women, all of whom agreed to undertake a strict diet of only 800 calories a day.  The group was divided into thirds.  One third of the women were asked not to exercise at all.  Another third began a supervised cardio program consisting of about 40 minutes of walking/jogging on a treadmill three times a week.  The final third started supervised weight training three times per week.

Each woman, regardless of the group she was in, stayed on the 800 calorie diet until she lost 25 pounds.  At that point, she continued to follow the exercise instructions and transitioned for a month to a customized, supervised diet designed for maintenance. 

The findings... women in the non-exercise group didn't move much at all throughout their days.  The women who did cardio exercise continued moving throughout their days so the calories they burned outside of exercise was significant.  However the women who weight trained moved the most, movement felt easier for them and their bodies continued burning through calories more efficiently.  Overall, the data suggests exercise, particularly weight training, after weight loss prompts people to move more throughout the day thus burning more calories, and with some discipline about food intake, should stave off weight gain.  It seems clear that weight training has a positive effect on weight management overall.

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified trainer, and certified nutritionist.

 Get Started Today!


Sincerely,
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

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Good Mood Foods To Beat Winter Blues

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jan 07, 2015 @ 01:40 PM

You probably have heard the expression “you are what you eat.”  If you find yourself cranky and tired, you may be able to boost your mood by changing what you eat and when you eat. Certain foods are key components in the manufacture of powerful brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine may jog your memory, improve performance, improve sleep and boost your mood.

The following mood-boosting strategies will help jump start your new year health resolutions.

Get Started Today!

1. Limit refined carbohydrates.

Refined white starch like white bread, crackers, bagels and rice are digested quickly, leading to a dip in energy and rebound hunger a few hours later. Concentrated sources of sugar like soda, candy, fruit juice, jam and syrup can also create radical spikes (and drops) in your blood sugar, which leave you feeling cranky and tired.

Good mood foods: To lessen volatile blood sugar swings, include high-quality carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, brown or wild rice and oatmeal. High quality carbs trigger the release of serotonin which enhances calmness, improves outlook, and may lessen feelings of depression. Foods rich in soluble fiber such as flaxseeds, oats, barley, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, peas and beans help slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood, potentially lessening mood swings.

2. Incorporate protein with meals.

The addition of protein to a meal or snack will help slow the absorption of carbohydrate in the blood. Dopamine and norepinephrine are released after eating protein, making you feel more alert and focused for hours after eating.

Good mood foods: Choose heart-healthy lean protein such as skinless poultry, seafood, round or loin cuts of red meat, tofu, quinoa, eggs, and low-fat dairy.

3. Boost your intake of Omega-3's.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can be mood-lifting.

Good mood foods: Choose oily fish (salmon, Atlantic mackerel and sardines), ground flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, soy nuts and omega-3 fortified eggs. Wondering whether or not to take an omega-3 supplement? It's always best to get your nutrients from whole foods as a first-line approach to staying healthy.  Always check with your doctor before starting a dietary supplement. For omega-3's, look for supplements that contain 650mg of EPA and DHA combined.

4. Get your B-vitamins.

Folate and vitamin B12 may influence mood by playing a role in serotonin production. Studies have shown that low blood levels of these vitamins are sometimes related to depression.

Good mood foods rich in folate: fortified whole grain breakfast cereals, lentils, black eyes peas, soybeans, oatmeal, mustard greens, beets, broccoli, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and oranges.

Good mood foods rich in vitamin B12: shellfish, wild salmon (fresh or canned), fortified whole grain breakfast cereal, lean beef, low-fat dairy, and eggs.

5. Don't forget about vitamin D.

Although a link between vitamin D and seasonal affective disorder (winter blues) is still speculative, don't discount this sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D may increase levels of serotonin in the brain.

Good mood food sources of vitamin D: fish with bones, low-fat milk, fortified soy milk and egg yolks. Because vitamin D rich foods are limited, it may be beneficial to take a daily multivitamin to reach the recently updated goal of 600 International Units. Check with your doctor before starting a dietary supplement.

6. Stick to a Good Mood Food Eating Pattern.

Eating every 4 to 5 hours throughout the day provides your brain and body with a constant source of fuel. This eating strategy can dramatically prevent dips in your blood sugar and it's easy to do! Eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up, lunch, an afternoon snack, and a sensible dinner.

Limit short-term mood boosters such as coffee, chocolate, tea, and energy drinks which deliver a quick energy surge followed by a crash. The energy boost you may feel is often short-lived. Additionally, many commercial energy drinks are loaded with added sugar and can be quite calorie-laden.

7. Stay hydrated and exercise.

Dehydration and fatigue go hand-in-hand. The solution is simple- drink plenty of water (fruits and vegetables count towards your daily fluid intake!) or other unsweetened beverages at regular intervals. Studies indicate that regular exercise can relieve depression and trigger physiological changes that make more energy available throughout the day.

If this type of eating pattern is new to you, keep in mind that improvements in your mood may take a few weeks....but you will ultimately feel better!

Make your new year's health resolutions come true. Learn about Step Ahead Wellness Center's personalized weight loss programs created by a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235


Tags: beat winter blues, good mood foods, personalized weight loss