Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Ask the Dietitian: “Are Fiber One Bars Good for Me & My Diet?”

Posted by Sari Greaves on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 03:42 PM

Fiber-enriched cereal bars such as Fiber One bars are rich in dietary fiber, but are they really that good for you?Many Americans simply don’t get enough fiber in their diet. With the prevalence of cheap, fast food and limited time for full-on meal planning, people often find it easier to just grab something form their local food chain or buy heavily processed, prepackaged meals. The problem with this is that many such processed food items are sorely lacking in key nutrients.

Adding fiber to your diet is a great way to promote the health of the digestive system. The question is, how can you add more fiber to your diet?

In response to an increased awareness of the importance of increasing dietary fiber, people have turned to a number of prepackaged and processed food products that contain concentrations of fiber. One of these ready-made sources of fiber would be the variety of fiber-enriched cereal bars such as the now-famous Fiber One Bars. However, are fiber bars really good for you?

Benefits of Eating a Fiber Bar

The primary reason why people eat fiber bars these days is to supplement their dietary fiber. Fiber One Bars contain chicory root extract; an ingredient rich in inulin, which is the primary source of dietary fiber in these bars.

The increase of dietary fiber from these bars can have a beneficial effect on your digestive tract. The inulin in the bars promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, and can help keep your digestion regular. An increase in digestive health can even help you shed a little weight!

While increasing your dietary fiber can be a very good thing, there are also drawbacks to consuming Fiber One Bars…

Potential Risks of Eating a Fiber Bar

Going from the extreme of not eating enough fiber to supercharging your diet with excess fiber can have some consequences. Physical side effects of a sudden rise in your dietary fiber include:

  • Abdominal cramps.
  • A “bloated” sensation.
  • Increased flatulence.
  • Intestinal obstruction (which is rare).

Most of these side effects from increases in fiber intake are temporary at worst, and will fade as your gastrointestinal tract adjusts to the increase in dietary fiber. However, there are other risks tied specifically to inulin.

Inulin, as it promotes the growth of bacteria in the digestive tract, is classified as a FODMAP, which is a category of carbohydrates that can be harmful to some individuals. This is because even as inulin can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, other, more harmful bacteria can develop as well.

As a cereal product, Fiber One Bars contain several allergens, including soy, milk, peanut, almond, sunflower and wheat-based ingredients. If you are allergic to any of these ingredients, it is safest to avoid Fiber One bars.

So, Are Fiber One Bars Bad?

Like many other food items, Fiber One bars are not life-threatening when taken in moderation (unless you’re allergic to them). However, while they’re not really very bad for your health, there’s not much to really recommend them over other sources of dietary fiber.

For example, a Fiber One bar might have only 140 calories (per 40 gram bar) and not much in the way of other important vitamins and minerals, but it does have 10 grams of sugar to go with your 9 grams of dietary fiber.

Bananas, and many other fruits, are an excellent source of dietary fiber.Compare that to one 126 gram serving of a banana, which has:

  • 15% of your RDA of Vitamin C.
  • 1 gram of protein.
  • 13% of your RDA of Potassium.
  • .5 mg of Vitamin B6.
  • No fat, saturated or Trans.
  • No cholesterol.
  • No Sodium.
  • 3 grams of dietary fiber.

(Nutrition facts courtesy of the Chiquita Bananas website).

Now, the fiber bar does come out ahead when it comes to the sheer amount of fiber provided per serving. However, the banana has way more nutrients beyond simple fiber, and fewer calories (even though the serving size of the banana is 3x that of the fiber bar).

Because the fiber content of a banana is less concentrated than that of a Fiber One bar, you can use bananas to help you gradually increase your fiber intake slowly over time, avoiding many of the uncomfortable side effects of a sudden spike in your dietary fiber.

Other good sources of dietary fiber include:

  • Garlic.
  • Onions.
  • Artichokes.
  • Wild yams.
  • Apples (with skin on).

Many of these natural sources of fiber boast not only a significant amount of dietary fiber, but fewer calories per serving and numerous other nutrients needed by the human body.

So, while a Fiber One bar might not be a bad thing to have once in a while when you need fiber in your diet, there are much better sources of dietary fiber that provide other nutritional benefits.

Learn more about dietary fiber and other nutrition issues from the dietitian.

Download the Optifast Tip Sheet

Sources Cited:

Banana Nutrition Facts About Chiquita Bananas. Web. 07/03/14. http://www.chiquitabananas.com/Worlds-Favorite-Fruit/index-banana-nutrition-facts.aspx

Tags: Sari Greaves, Diet and Nutrition, fiber

Top 5 Barbecue-Related Diet Pitfalls

Posted by Sari Greaves on Wed, Jul 09, 2014 @ 03:53 PM

Grilled Summer treats are tasty, but they can be horrible for your diet. Tis’ the season of hot dogs and burgers. The joys of summer are surrounded by food laced with calories and weight gain risks. But, with a healthy eating plan, you can satisfy your taste buds without expanding your waistline. Here are the five most common mistakes people make when eating at a barbecue and solutions on how to avoid popular diet pitfalls.

Diet Pitfall #1. Arriving to a barbecue starving. Are you just going to wing it?

Think again. Attending a barbecue extremely hungry without a game plan is a combination that can lead to overindulgence and diet regrets.

Solutions:

Practice damage control when it comes to your favorite summer foods. Remember that everybody can eat something of everything; it’s just a matter of how much. A small sliver of mom’s apple pie with a side of fresh fruit will do less damage to your waistline than chocolate cream pie a la mode.

Take control of your environment whenever possible. Never engage in conversation while sitting next to a bowl of potato chips. Summer events are a great time for mingling and conversation is calorie-free. Two additional tips that help prevent overeating include wearing snug-fit clothing and chewing on sugarless gum, which can prevent you from returning to the buffet line for second helpings.

If you are starving, you are more likely to eat fast and impulsively, instead of selecting foods based on nutritional value. This can lead to calorie overload—just 1 ounce of potato chips and 2 tablespoons of ranch dip adds up to 200 calories and 16 grams of fat, and that’s before the main course. Take the edge off your hunger before a party. Eat a small low-fat snack such as fruit or low-fat yogurt before you head to a summer barbecue. This will help you avoid rushing to the buffet table when you arrive. It’s also a good idea to eat slowly and savor every bite. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register fullness. Speed eating (usually as a consequence of extreme hunger) can easily lead to excessive calorie intake. Using chopsticks for salads and noodle dishes can slow down your eating pace.

Diet Pitfall #2. Putting the wrong foods on the grill.

While it is true that outdoor grilling allows excess fat in meat and poultry to drip away, it is worth keeping certain foods off the grill due to their high calories, saturated (artery-clogging) fat and sodium content. The culprits: regular ground meats, dark-meat poultry with skin, beef short ribs (just 3 ounces has 330 calories and 31g fat, pork spareribs and sausages (1 link of bratwurst has 281 calories, 25g fat).

Solutions:

Chicken breast meat is leaner than skin-covered dark meat.

Grill lean cuts of meat. Lean protein adds a “satiety factor” to your barbecue meal, keeping you full on fewer calories. Purchase ground meat and poultry advertised as “lean” or “extra lean” on the package*.

Choose white-meat chicken over dark. Chicken breast is lower in calories and fat than is the dark meat found in thighs and legs. A 3-ounce serving of grilled skinless chicken breast tenders has about 110 calories, 3g fat—that’s 100 fewer calories and 12 fewer fat grams than the same serving of chicken thigh with skin.

Add seafood to your grill. Firm, fatty fish like salmon (which contains heart-healthy omega-3 fat) is the easiest to barbecue. Shrimp also serves as a low-fat source of protein. A 3 ounce serving of cooked shrimp (about 12 large shrimp) provides 90 calories and a modest 1.5g fat. Flavoring with lemon juice and herbs instead of an oil-based marinade can save calories.

When buying beef, look for the words round or loin (eye-round, bottom round roast and steak, or sirloin/flank steak). When buying pork, look for leg or loin cuts (pork tenderloin, top loin. A 3 ounce cooked serving of pork tenderloin has only 116 calories and 4.5g fat. Don’t stop at meats. Lean protein can also be vegetarian. Prepare veggie kebabs using cubes of firm tofu on a skewer with your favorite fruits and vegetables (mushrooms, grape tomatoes, pepper, onions, pineapples, apple slices) For a meaty burger without the beef, swap a hamburger for  a Portobello mushroom burger topped with 2 slices of low-fat cheddar cheese (48 calories, 2 g fat, 7g protein per slice of cheese). For added flavor, remove stems and gills of Portobello mushroom and brush with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Non-fat cooking spray (olive oil or canola oil base) can be used in substitution for oil to save calories.

Meaty Tips:

* 4-ounces of raw meat weighs in at 3-ounces after cooking

* Lean beef has less than 10g of total fat, 4.5g or less of saturated fat (the bad-for-your heart-fat that raises blood cholesterol) and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per cooked 3 –ounce serving (about he size of a deck of cards). Extra lean meat has less than 5g of fat and less than 2g of saturated at per cooked 3-ounce serving. 

Diet Pitfall #3. Forgetting to factor in beverage calories.

Beverage calories do not register the same sense of fullness as food calories. As a result, if you drink a high-calorie beverage, you won’t compensate by eating less food.  It’s not just soda that can add extra calories to your barbecue meal- it’s also fruit drinks, alcohol and other sugar-laden beverages (sweetened teas and vitamin-enhanced water included)

Solutions:

Avoid soda and alcoholic beverages in favor of water and milk.1. Eat your fruit, rather than drink it. Whole fruits not only contain the vitamins and minerals found in fruits, but they offer the added bonus of dietary fiber. Fiber adds bulk to your diet, helping you feel full on fewer calories. If you love juice, downsize your portion to four to six ounces daily.

2. Focus on beverages for hydration. For the most part, that means water, unsweetened coffee (limit to two or three eight-ounce cups daily), tea, and diet soda. Coffee and herbal teas also can provide beneficial antioxidants for your health, and can be very refreshing when iced.

3. Try diet sodas and other diet drinks, such as Crystal Light, which have five or fewer calories per serving and are ideal for increasing your beverage options while minimizing intake of added sugar.

4. Don’t be afraid of artificial sweeteners. The majority of research on aspartame (NutraSweet), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin (Sweet 'N Low) shows them to be safe for human consumption. While you only save about nine calories using an artificial sweetener instead of regular sugar, they can definitely add up over time.

5. Skip vitamin water, which contains added sugar. You are better off drinking water and taking a multivitamin.

6. Drink non-fat or one-percent milk. Milk contains nine essential nutrients vital to your health. Drinking milk as a protein source can help prevent loss of muscle mass and promote fullness for individuals trying to lose weight. Soy milk is also a healthy option.

7. Avoid or limit alcohol consumption, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Avoid mixing alcohol with any type of fruit juice or non-diet soda, which add unnecessary calories. Combined with alcohol, these can lead to fat storage. Lower-calorie drinks include light beer and red or dry white wine. Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. Instead try a sparkling water with a twist of lime. If you drink alcohol, practice moderation. (one drink for women, up to two drinks for men per day) 1 drink = 5 ounces wine (about 120 calories), 12 ounce beer (about 145 calories), 1.5 ounces 80-proof liquor (about 100 calories)

Diet pitfall #4: Grazing.

Grab a plate to avoid simply grazing from what's available... but make it a small one to help your portion control.

Grazing can easily lead to overeating.

Solutions:

1. Put together a meal on an actual plate.

2. Use small plates as a built-in way to control your portions.

3. Bring a healthy dish to a summer party. Mixed fruit salad or a spinach salad drizzled with olive oil & vinegar are simple to prepare and easy to carry. Other nutritious pot-luck contributions include shrimp cocktail or vegetables crudités with low-fat bean dip or hummus.

4. Portion your plate wisely. Fill ½ of your plate with steamed or fresh vegetables, ¼ of your plate with lean protein (fish, skinless poultry and lean meats such as sirloin or flank steak). Leave the remaining ¼ of your plate for a “small taste” of high-fat dishes (that includes vegetables prepared with fatty sauces, fried items or mayo-based salads)

5. For dessert, choose the Angel cake instead of the Devil’s chocolate cake. Ice cream and frozen yogurt can pack a nutritional punch, delivering calcium, protein, and phosphorous. Stick to simple flavors like vanilla (1/2 cup provides 140 calories, 7 g fat) or choose low-fat ice cream and frozen yogurt. (1/2 cup Edy’s Slow-Churned Light ice cream flavors provide 100 calories, 3.5 g fat).  Once you start adding cookie dough, brownie chunks or candy bits to ice cream, the calories soar. A ½ cup serving of a premium brand with peanut butter cups packs 380 calories and 26 gm fat. It’s also a good idea to factor in fresh fruit. Top your ice cram with a cup of chopped fruit to boost your fiber intake by 3 grams. Savory additions include diced bananas, mangoes or strawberries. While juice bars and other icy treats may provide some vitamins and minerals, they tend to contain more sugar than nutritional benefits. However, these treats can still satisfy a sweet tooth at a lower calorie level (1 Edy's frozen whole fruit bar provides 80 calories). For a cool chocolate fix, try fat-free frozen chocolate pops or sliced strawberries drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Diet pitfall #5 Assuming all salads are healthy.

A seemingly healthy salad can become calorie laden with ingredients such as fried chicken, fatty dressing, cheese cubes, croutons, bacon bits, or fried wontons. A Caesar Salad Kit sold at your grocery store contains 170 calories and 15g fat per serving (there are 3.5 servings per bag). One bag contains as much total fat as a fast-food cheeseburger! Salads drowned in mayonnaise (potato, tuna, macaroni salads) can add up to nearly a quarter of a day’s worth of fat. (1/2 cup potato salad contains about 180 calories, 10g fat)

Solutions:

1. Salads can easily serve as a nutritious and refreshing summertime side dish or even a main course. Fruits and vegetables are among the best sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fresh fruits and vegetables have fewer calories than anything already mixed in dressing.

2. Do think beyond iceberg lettuce. Take advantage of dark leafy greens which are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, calcium, fiber, and potassium, all for only 25 calories per cup.

3. Do make salad a satisfying dish  by adding lean protein and unsaturated fats (heart-healthy fats).Grilled skinless chicken breast, salmon, cubed tofu, or flank steak hot & fresh off the barbecue serve as low-fat protein sources. One of my favorite diet tricks: When you make vegetables the centerpiece of a meal, it’s easy to keep calories low without counting. Low fat shredded cheese and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) also add a protein punch.

4. You don’t have to give up all fat and flavor. Choose one of the following nutrient-rich fats for added flavor: a few avocado slices, a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, or a tablespoon of hummus.

Don’t dress to kill. If there’s a dressing that you love, try a “light” variety, use 1 tablespoon instead of 2 and dilute it with vinegar. Even better, avoid pre-made salad dressings and go natural with olive oil and lemon juice. (Oily dressings coat vegetables pretty well, so 1 tablespoon (120 calories) will do the trick). 

Download the Optifast Tip Sheet

Tags: diet, Sari Greaves, Diet and Nutrition, summer weight loss

POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH CLASSES IN THE PARK START JUNE 4... call today to reserve your spot!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, May 09, 2014 @ 02:37 PM

Join us every Wednesday evening this summer for an hour of movement that will restore, rejuvenate, strengthen and energize you... after a long day at work or home with the kids/family.

Email our fitness director Noelle Lusardi at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for more info or to sign up!

We look forward to walking and stretching with you!

 

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Give The Gift of Fitness This Mother's Day!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, May 02, 2014 @ 01:44 PM

 

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This Mother's Day, skip the flowers and give your mom something she really needs—the
gift of good health.

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No, you don't have to buy her a treadmill. There are many other things you can
do to give your mom a boost in terms of her physical (or mental) well-being.
Most moms will truly appreciate that your Mother's Day gift is aimed at keeping
her happy, healthy, and in your life for a long time. In case you are drawing a
blank, Step Ahead came up with a great gift for every mom.

Step Ahead
Gift card towards any program.  

*Offer includes a
body composition analysis on our Tanita scale.

* 30 minute personal
training session.

  *Step by Step guide on how to
reach your health goals

 

E-mail
us to receive an e-gift card sent directly to your e-mail or pick up your
custom gift card in our office!

Phone:
908-470-2235

E-mail:
drneiman@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

 

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Weight Loss, Sari Greaves, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center

POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH CLASSES IN THE PARK... STARTING JUNE 4... RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

We are so excited to offer this new weekly POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH IN THE PARK CLASS all  Summer long.  It's been a long winter so now let's take it outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.  Contact Step Ahead Wellness Center's fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for more information and/or to sign up!   

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Tags: jumpstart diet, Sari Greaves, quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, how to lose weight with diabetes, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Noelle Lusardi, Nutrition, lose weight, online nutrition, OptiFast, Yoga classes, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, best weight loss, lose weight fast

Rainy Day Workout!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 @ 09:59 AM

Don't let this rainy weather curtail your fitness routine.  Bring it indoors with this intense 25/50 workout that sure to help you tone up, and burn fat!

For more fit tips, contact Step Ahead Wellness Center's fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.  And check out our weight loss programs and special offers at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

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Tags: Sari Greaves, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, new weight loss drugs, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Noelle Lusardi, OptiFast, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Recipe Corner: Brie Cheese & Avocado Quesadillas

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 @ 04:49 PM

brie quesadillaDid you know that an average restaurant quesadilla packs 1,000 calories!We gave this classic Mexican dish a skinny makeover. Spicy arugula and creamy avocado blends beautifully with the creamy aromatic cheese. For a crunchy & sweet element, substitute the avocado with a sliced Gala apple.

 

Ingredients        

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

3 (100-calorie) whole grain tortillas

3 ounces of Brie Cheese, rind removed and sliced

½ avocado, sliced

3 cups baby arugula

Nonfat plain greek yogurt (optional for dipping)

 

  1. Stir mustard and cider in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread each tortilla with 1 ½  teaspoons of mustard mixture. Place tortilla in pan and arrange 1/3 of cheese slices over half of tortilla. When cheese melts, arrange 1/3  of avocado slices over cheese and top with 1 cup arugula.
  3. Fold tortilla in half and cook 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from pan.
  4. Repeat procedure twice with remaining 2 tortillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve with Greek yogurt as dip.

 

Makes 6 servings, 3 quesadillas (serving size: 2 wedges): 132 calories

Tags: diet, Sari Greaves, HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, quick weight loss, Healthy Recipes, online nutrition, weight loss goals, diet to lose weight, healthy entertaining

Power Walk/Yoga Stretch Classes in the Park... Coming This Summer! Sign up now!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 @ 01:00 PM

Step Ahead Wellness Center is excited to introduce our new Summer Fitness Program... Power Walk/Yoga Stretch in the park!  See below for details!  Email our fitness trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com to sign up!  Visit our website at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for our latest weight loss programs and special offers!

 

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Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Sari Greaves, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, personal training, toning walk, Yoga classes, diet to lose weight, Weight Loss Center, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Don't Let Lack of Sleep Derail Your Fitness/Weight Loss Goals!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 @ 11:15 AM

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Can’t stop snacking? Make sure you’re not skimping on sleep. Research
already shows a link between not spending enough hours in dreamland and weight
gain, but exactly how sleep contributes to weight gain and overeating isn’t
clear. According to some research, the answer lies with the way sleep affects
two appetite hormones that turn on and off the desire to eat.

The Dueling Duo: Leptin and Ghrelin

Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that control appetite control. Leptin is
produced by fat cells and sends a signal to the brain that curbs the desire to
keep eating. It essentially puts a brake on your appetite. Some obese people
don’t respond as readily to the satiety signals leptin sends because their body
is resistant to it, a condition known as leptin resistance.

Ghrelin is produced by cells lining the stomach and pancreas. It’s the
hormone that causes your to stomach to growl and sends you rushing to the
kitchen for a snack. Ghrelin is a hormone you don’t want working overtime if
you’re trying to control your weight.

Together, leptin and ghrelin working quietly behind the scenes in
conjunction with other hormone players to control your desire to eat. They’re a
powerful duo when it comes to appetite control.

How Sleep Affects Appetite

In a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers measured
the effects of inadequate sleep on appetite hormones in 12 healthy young men of
normal weight. They did this by restricting the amount the men slept for 2
night consecutive nights. On those nights, they were only allowed to sleep for
4 hours.

When researchers measured levels of appetite hormones in these
sleep-deprived young men, they found that their leptin levels had dropped by
18% and their ghrelin levels rose by 28%. Not surprisingly, their appetite also
increased, and they experienced more cravings for high-carb, energy dense foods.

Even though this study was small, other research also suggests that lack of
sleep boosts appetite and cravings for carbs. Some experts believe it’s an
underappreciated contributor to obesity.

Another Way Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

If you deprive yourself of sleep, levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down muscle tissue, reduces resistance to infection and boosts belly fat, especially the most dangerous kind, visceral fat. Cortisol is another hormone that can trigger cravings for carbs and send you running to the vending machine for a high-calorie snack.

As you can see, a variety of hormonal players work overtime when you don’t
get enough shut-eye. That’s why sleep should be a priority in the same way
exercise is. If you’re working out regularly and aren’t shedding body fat, keep
a sleep diary for two weeks and see if you’re getting enough sleep. If not,
it’s time to re-prioritize.

To keep your appetite hormones in line, between seven and eight hours of
sleep a night appears to be optimal. Less than that and you’ll have a harder
time reigning in your appetite and may find it more difficult to resist
high-carb treats like doughnuts that usually get passed around the office.

The Bottom Line?

Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep for controlling your weight.
Lack of it can upset the delicate balance between your appetite hormones and
undermine your efforts to control your weight. Next time you’re tempted to
watch a late show on television, head to bed instead. You’ll feel better the
next day, and you may eat less.

For more healthy fitness tips contact our fitness director/certified
personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, directly at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.  And be sure to visit our website at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
for our latest weight loss program special and lose weight fast tips!

 

References:

Medscape CME. “Getting Sufficient Sleep May Help Reduce Weight Gain”

 

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WHAT IS A HEALTHY WEIGHT ANYWAY?

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 @ 06:09 AM

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WHAT IS A HEALTHY WEIGHT ANYWAY?

You’ve seen charts that list a range for ideal body weight based on a
person’s sex and height. Some weight charts also add another variable – body
frame. People with smaller frames should theoretically have a lower ideal body
weight than someone with a larger frame.

A Quick Way of Calculating Ideal Body Weight

Health professionals sometimes use a formula to estimate an individual’s
ideal body weight based on their height. Based on this formula, women who are
five feet tall have a theoretical ideal body weight of 100 pounds. You would
then multiply each additional inch in height above 5 feet by five to get a
person’s approximate ideal body weight. For example, a woman 5 foot 4 inches
would have an ideal body weight of 120 pounds. (100 + 4 x 5). For men five feet
tall, 106 pounds is theoretical ideal body weight. For men over 5 feet, each
additional inch is multiplied by six to get ideal body weight. So, a man that’s
5 foot 10 inches would have an ideal body weight of around 166. (106 + 10 x 6).

BMI: Another Approach to Gauging Ideal Weight

Another way health professionals gauge a person’s weight is by calculating
their BMI or body mass index. There are BMI calculators online, like in our
Workout Manager, where you can plug in your numbers and get your BMI and look
at a BMI chart to see if you’re in a healthy range. BMI uses a formula based on
height and weight.

Both body weight and BMI are quick ways to assess someone’s weight but both
have limitations. They only take into account height and weight. There are a
growing number of people, especially those who don’t exercise, who are
“skinny-fat.” These people fall into the ideal range or under ideal on the BMI
and weight charts, but if you measured their body fat percentage it would be
high. That’s where BMI and body weight as measurements of ideal weight are
limited. They tell you nothing about body composition or how much of that
weight is muscle and how much fat.

The reality is an athlete with a very low body fat percentage and lots of
lean muscle tissue can fall into the overweight category based on body weight
or BMI. At the same time, someone with a high body fat percentage and little
muscle can still be in the “ideal” range. You can’t necessarily assume you’re
healthy from a weight standpoint just because you’re in the ideal range on
weight and BMI charts. A 5 foot 4 inch woman that weighs 120 pounds and has 35%
body fat is less healthy than a woman of the same height that weighs 132 pounds
and has 18% body fat.

 Body Composition Matters When it Comes to Health

A better indicator of health and fitness is body fat percentage. The most
accurate ways to measure body fat is a DXA scan (similar to an x-ray and
involves radiation) or air displacement plethysmography where you get into a
chamber that’s sealed off. Body fat percentage can be calculated based on how
much air you displace inside the chamber.

Another technique called near-infrared interactance delivers an infra-red
beam of light into a muscle and measures how much is absorbed by the fat
tissue. These are all accurate methods for measure body fat percentage but you
can’t do them at home.

What about body fat scales? Body fat scales for home use aren’t necessarily
all that accurate. They work by sending a weak electrical impulse through body
and measuring how quickly the impulse returns. The impulse moves more quickly
through lean tissue as opposed to fat. The reading is affected by factors like
how hydrated you are and when you last ate. Despite their lack of absolute
accuracy, body fat scales are helpful for following changes in body fat percentage.

Calipers that measure skin fold thickness are a low-tech way to estimate
body fat percentage. They’re reasonably accurate if you do the measurements
correctly and measure under the same conditions each time.

Another Measurement of Health and Fitness

When’s the last time you measured your waistline? An old-fashioned tape
measure can tell you a lot. Most importantly it can tell you your waist-to-hip
ratio or WHR. WHR is one indicator of cardiovascular risk and general health as
well. People who have a high waist-to-hip ratio have more visceral fat, deep
waist and belly fat that’s pro-inflammatory.

To measure your WHR, measure your waist at its narrowest point. If you have
a waist that bulges outwards, measure an inch above your navel. Get your hip measurement
by measuring at the widest part of your buttocks. Divide your waist measurement
by your hip measurement to get your ratio.

How did you score? If you’re female, your waist-to-hip ratio should be less
than 0.9. Males should have a WHR of less than 0.8 to place them in the lowest
cardiovascular risk category.

 

The Bottom Line?

Most people use the scale as an indicator of how fit and healthy, but
they’re not getting the full story. If possible, know and follow your body fat
percentage. Be sure your waist-to-hip ratio falls into a healthy range too.
These tell you more than your body weight or BMI.

For more healthy fitness tips and quick weight loss tips, contact our
fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.
And visit our website www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
for our latest weight loss specials and programs, and get great weight loss
coupons!

 

References:

Medical News Today. “What is a Healthy Weight?”

Southwestern Medical Center. “Waist-to-hip ratio may better predict
cardiovascular risk than body mass index”

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