Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Is Your Desk Job Making You Unhealthy?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 @ 12:27 PM

If you have a desk job or sedentary lifestyle outside of the gym, you may be jeopardizing not only your weight loss/fitness goals, but also your health.  For many people, sitting at a desk all day or collapsing on the couch at the end of a long day, are the norm.  However these habits could be putting not only your waistband but your health at risk.  People who are too sedentary, even if they do exercise frequently, are more likely to develop heart disease, cancer and diabetes, a new report says. Sedentary time and exercise time are two distinct factors when it comes to health.  Just because one does their 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day doesn’t ensure their good
health and fitness.  In short, we need to move more and sit less throughout the day regardless of your Fitness Training.



Researchers recently analyzed 47 studies that tracked groups of people as they reported roughly how much time they spent sitting around and not expending much energy, as well as how often they exercised.  The findings… People who were the most sedentary were more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, breast, colon, ovarian and other cancers, and cardiovascular disease than people who spent less time sitting.  Regardless of physical activity level, prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with bad health outcomes.

It’s important to stay in motion.  There are some very simple things we do to increase movement, burn calories and stay healthy.  Every half hour get up for 2-3 minutes.  This will equal nearly less than an hour of sitting each day!  Additionally standing burns twice as many calories as sitting.  You can stand during commercial breaks while watching TV, during conversations with
co-workers or during the last 15 minutes of your child’s sporting events.  These strategies do not replace daily exercise but they will help decrease sitting.

“The body was made to move and it craves physical activity,” said Noelle Lusardi, certified fitness trainer at Step Ahead Wellness Center, Far Hills, NJ.  “This is one craving I encourage everyone to give in to!”  Wearing a pedometer and participating in the 10,000 Steps Program per day is a great way to calculate your movement and to keep you “on your toes” instead of in your chair.  Move your body = be healthy/fit.

Interested in a more sophisticated activity tracker?  We at Step Ahead recommend any of the Fit Bit models!

 FREE FitBit for Fitness



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

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

Tags: living with diabetes, Fitness, personal training, Lifestyle tips

Outdoor Exercise... Safely Brave the Elements this Winter

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 07:04 AM

There are so many benefits to outdoor exercise so don't let harsh winter weather push you off your exercise bandwagon this winter.  You can safely exercise outside by following these Fitness Training cold weather tips.

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Winter can frustrate the most motivated exercisers. And if you’re not so motivated, it’s all too easy to pack it in when the weather gets cold.  But keeping up your exercise routine in cold weather can be rewarding and keep you feeling energized and healthy all winter long. 

For one thing, outdoor exercise is a sure cure for cabin fever and the winter blues.  For many of us, lack of sunshine and fresh air lowers our energy level and leaves us feeling a little depressed and unmotivated.  Aerobic Exercise outdoors combats the winter blues, increases energy and elevates our mood which is often times sapped by gloomy weather.  Exercise also bolsters your immune system — studies show that moderate exercisers get 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than nonexercisers do.  So staying on track with your Fitness Training this winter is a win-win!

Taking it outside...
Here’s how to safely get the most out of your cold-weather workout:

* Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, try fleece for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer
layer.  If it’s very cold or you have asthma, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth.

* Protect your extremities.  Try wearing a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. You might want to buy exercise shoes a half-size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat or headband.

Remember sunscreen. It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer

Head into the wind. You’ll be less likely to get chilled on the way back if you end your workout — when you may be sweaty — with the wind at your back.

Drink plenty of fluids. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout — even if you’re not thirsty. You can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat.

If you prefer to stay inside this winter but are feeling bored with the eliptical or treadmill, check out your local gym's group exercise class schedule.  Group exercise classes are a great way to make new friends, burn a ton of calories and have a lot of fun.  Some great high calorie burning, energizing classes are spinning, hot yoga and bootcamp.

To make sure you stay on track, use a pedometer to count your steps and calories burned throughout your workout and your day.  Following the 10,000 Steps Program is a great way to ensure you burn approximately 500 calories every day through physical activity.  This a great benchmark number to hit as you continue on your fitness journey.

The bottomline... stay motivated. When it’s cold outdoors, there’s no need to hit the couch. With a little knowledge and fortitude, you can meet the challenges — and reap the rewards — of winter exercise. For many people, the solitude and quiet alone are reason enough to brave the elements.

 Learn more about how you can make lifestyle resolutions with our personalized program. Click below to start the journey to a healthier, new you with the support of a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.

Optifast 4 Week Membership



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

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



Tags: medical weight loss solutions, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, winter blues, Lifestyle tips

Weigh Yourself Without A Scale

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 @ 04:44 PM

When it comes to finding your happy weight, shift the focus away from the scale and re-define personal success. With the following lifestyle tips, you can experience improvements to health and quality of life, independent of weight loss. Instead of worrying about how much you weigh during the holiday season, set realistic lifestlye goals that you can stick with on a daily basis.

What's so special about our lifestyle tips? We will help you target hormones that influence appetite, eating behavior, and energy balance.

Lifestlye Tip #1: Reduce intake of refined carbohydrates. In other words, strike out white flour foods. Whole grains are a more virtuous choice for your personal health, but make them the side show to your meal versus the main attraction. Use the Plate Model as a guide for which foods to eat and how much to eat. The Plate Model is divided into three sections: 1/4 whole grains, 1/4 protein (including animal and plant sources) and 1/2 primarily non-starchy vegetables and some fruit. Healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil should be included in "condiment style" (as a small dollop) with each meal, since they contain more calories per serving but offer nutritional benefits that protect your heart. Here's a sample meal using the Plate Model:

1/2 plate: steamed broccoli sprinkled with 1 teaspoon of slivered almonds

1/4 plate: grilled 90% lean turkey burger or salmon, topped with with a tablespoon of sliced avocado and salsa.

1/4 plate: Wild rice pilaf mixed with chopped spinach and apples. 

Tableware Tip: Try serving meals on smaller (9-inch) plates instead of large dinner plates. You'll satisfy that psychological need for a full plate of food, but you'll be eating more reasonably sized portions. Opting for reasonable portions allows you to eat the foods you enjoy and still improve your personal health.

Retrain your eyes to recognize the difference between a healthy serving and a hefty one. Take a look at this visual-comparison table to get a better sense of what proper serving sizes look like:

Healthy Serving Size   Healthy Serving Size
3 ounces lean meat, chicken, or fish; = A deck of cards
1.5 ounces of cheese = 4 playing dice
Baked potato = Your fist
1/2 cup of ice cream/frozen yogurt = 1/2 tennis ball
1 pancake = A compact disc (CD)
1/2 of a 3-inch bagel = A can of tuna

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)


Lifetsyle Tip #2: Eliminate sugary beverages.

Food calories register a greater sense of fullness than liquid calories from high-sugar beverages. Stick with water or unsweetened beverages for hydration, and save your calories for lean protein foods that will help keep you full. 

Lifestlye Tip #3: Increase fiber intake.

Among fiber's numerous health benefits, it promotes satiety by creating bulk in the digestive tract, helping you feel full sooner and for longer. In addition, fiber helps create a slower, more controlled rise in blood sugar and the hormone insulin, which can help reduce the drive to overeat. Eating foods such as fruits with their intact fiber, versus consuming juice, increases feelings of fullness; it is difficult to overeat the sugar that comes in whole fruits because of the satiating effect of the fiber. Additional natural sources of fiber include whole grains, vegetables and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils). You don't have to count calories to make savvy high fiber choices. Follow the Plate Model and fill 1/2 your plate with lots of green, non-starchy vegetables for a fiber boost that is skinny on the waistline. 

Lifestyle Tip #4: Incorporate more physical activity.

Start by adding a little more movement to your usual daily routine and work up to a goal of  60 minutes of activity per day. Exercise is absolutely essential to help turn back your body clock and improve your long-term health. It's a good idea to consult with a medical doctor before starting a new exercise program. Exercise reduces stress and cortisol levels, factors that have been shown to increase food intake and fat gain around the midsection. Do activities that you enjoy!

Learn more about how you can make lifestyle resolutions with our personalized program. Click below to start the journey to a healthier, new you with the support of a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.

Optifast 4 Week Membership



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

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

Tags: Weight Loss, hormones that influence appetite, energy balance, Lifestyle tips, Plate model