Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Thin in 2010

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting on December 29, 2009.

In the meeting this week we talked about New Year’s Resolutions and setting goals.
Two of the most common resolutions of every New Year are to lose weight and exercise more.

When setting goals there are a few important things that should be considered:
• Stay positive!- This is your goal what you want to accomplish. Remind yourself how much you want it and how much it means to you to achieve it. Leave post it reminders around for encouragement. Come to the meetings…ha we’re here for you.

• Stay specific!- You can’t just set a goal stating “I am going to exercise more”. You have to have a plan. You also have to start the plan and get the wheels in motion. You could say something like “I want to exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week this year. To accomplish this I am going to practice getting up earlier and working out to dvd’s that I have accumulated through the years. I am also going to play on the wii everyday for atleast 15 minutes when I get home from work 5 days a week.”

• Focus on what is doable!- Be realistic with yourself and your goals. If you set a goal that you cannot ever see yourself physically achieving then you have set your goals too high. Start small. Long term goals are comprised of many short term goals. Pace yourself and learn to reward your achievements at each interval.

• Make sure the goal is sensible for your lifestyle.

• Write down your goal and keep it somewhere that you will see it often. The members that attended the meeting wrote down their goals and I placed them in their folder that they pick up at the front of the room. That way anytime they need to refresh they have access to it.

I want everyone to be really specific and really think about what you think you can accomplish this new year. Take the time to set a personal goal that you want to achieve. Be sure that this goal meets all the above qualifications. Think back to the resolutions that you have made in prior years. Which ones worked and which ones didn’t? What was it that made them not work? Use this feedback to help influence your goal making this year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Celebrate and Recognize Your Success

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting on December 22, 2009.

While you are celebrating the end of a long year I think that it is important to be able to celebrate your own personal success. So often we put aside our accomplishments when they are so important to your success with weight watchers! I want you to make a list of all the things that have changed for the better over this past year.

Here are a few suggestions that you might could add to your list:
*Feel better about yourself- Have you noticed a little spring in your step. Maybe you have caught yourself smiling in the mirror.

*Measure up with a tape measure- Your pants seem to fit a little looser. Maybe you have had to create another hole in your belt. Your christmas clothes from last year fit better. Maybe you even have some bones that are beginning to show (hip/cheek/collar).

*Bought a smaller size?- How glorious is it when you go into a dressing room with your old size…only to find that it is way too big!

*Know when to say “no thanks”- This time of year especially have you found yourself turning down food that you used to consume no questions asked?

*Able to recognize your trigger foods-These are the foods that once you start eating them you can’t seem to stop. When you can recognize these foods before hand it is easier to avoid them or not even buy them at all.

*Order and cook like a pro- When you are at a restraunt you have no problems ordering food just the way you want it. Or when you cook at home have you noticed an improvement in the healthiness of the food you are cooking?

*Actually take time to enjoy your meals- Savor every bite and not just the whole dine and dash concept. Really look forward to each dish you consume. Plus with the points system you get to choose what you want to eat…which is soooo nice.

*Exercise without exhaustion-Maybe you don’t get winded going up a flight of stairs anymore. You might even find that your energy level has boosted.

*Accept compliments gracefully- When someone says “wow you look amazing”… instead of saying “thanks but I still have 40 lbs to go”…you could say something like “thank you so much I have really been trying to focus on eating healthier”

Getting compliments about your appearance can really help motivate you to get to your goals.

Be sure to take time to be thankful for all that you have done this past year. I know weight loss isn’t easy so you really have to decide that this is what you want. Then you have to make it all about you. It is not selfish to focus on your success and happiness. Whenever you start to feel tempted or discouraged over the holidays…read back over your list and remember the transformation that you have been through.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Staying Committed

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting on December 15, 2009.

I know that with all the stress from the holiday season it has been really hard to stay committed to your weight loss plan. Don’t let yourself become victim to the snowball effect of a lapse-> relapse-> collapse! Lets try to push against that huge snowball on our backs! Remember that slip ups are going to happen. What we have to do is learn from each slip up that occurs and use positive feedback to get right back on plan! Here are a few things to keep in mind when you find your tongue licking the bottom of the ice cream carton.

1. Forgive yourself - ok yeah you slipped up you ate the entire tube of cookie dough but it’s not too late all is not lost!

2. Get right back on plan…the very next meal - Do not convince yourself that you will get back on plan tomorrow…because by tomorrow you could have gained yourself another 5 pounds.

3. Use feedback - analyze what just happened. Why did you eat that? What were you feeling at the time? Find a way to learn from each encounter!

4. Figure out the points of what you just ate - Sometimes documenting the amount of points in that pint of ice cream can keep you from splurging on that same item again.

5. Exercise - eeek there is always a way to try to make up for what just happened. Make an attempt to burn off some of those sneaky calories that just appeared in your tummy! Do some extra workouts to make up for it.

6. Ask for help and then accept it - So often we will ask for help from our friends/family…but then get mad when they tell us we shouldn’t be eating something ha ha. If you need help ask for it and then appreciate the help when it is given to you….besides they are probably right…you shouldn’t be eating 3 pieces of cheesecake!

7. Find an anchor - (in the meeting we used a penny to remind us of perseverance) find something that when you see it, it reconnects you to your goals and what you are trying to achieve. Some people use their 10% keychain, others have used newly appeared bones like hip bones and collar bones or cheek bones (bones that you used to not be able to see before the weight loss) Whenever they rub those bones or see them in a fresh picture it can be their inspiration to continue onward!

8. Recommit!!- You have made it this far and there are still 2 weeks left in this month. Do not allow yourself to let it all go and start over in January. We all know how easy it is to gain weight when we don’t try. It’s your choice do you really want 5-10 more pounds on you to have to lose?

Remember that you can do this….one cookie isn’t going to spoil everything. Commit to the plan and finish up this year the right way.

Stress and Eating

Here is the latest email from Dr. Jacobs.

As wonderful a time as Christmas is, it can often be stressful. Here is an article about dealing with the stress and eating:

Food, Stress, and Strategies

“I eat when I’m bored.”

“I eat when I’m tired.”

“I eat when I’m lonely.”

“I eat when I’m stressed.”

Sound familiar? These are all reasons for eating which have nothing to do with actual hunger. It can even be viewed as part of a normal eating pattern as long as it only happens occasionally. It would be a problem if we ate for reasons other than hunger and nourishment more often than not. That’s when weight gain and other health issues arise. With these challenges in mind, we can arm ourselves with knowledge.

It’s important to learn what triggers our eating patterns. The next step is to learn how-to combat the temptation to eat when we are simply over stressed.

Stress can come from many places such as relationship strain, financial challenge, job demands, moving, and even happy stress—like what you might experience while planning a wedding. Your body does not discriminate against different types of stress and it reacts by pumping out hormones. Cortisol is one of those hormones which, over time, will increase your appetite and lead you to overeat.

The experts from the University of California, San Francisco Department of Psychiatry and Center on Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment tell us that cortisol and insulin shift our preferences toward comfort foods. Therefore, we crave high-fat, high-sugar, or high-salt foods. It’s one of the many reasons that we put on weight during the holidays which can be full of stressful triggers.

Lack of sleep is a trigger. Consistently missing the essential eight hours of rest and repair encourages certain metabolic changes that may lead to weight gain. A lack of sleep affects two important hormones that control appetite and satiety—leptin and ghrelin.

According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people who slept only four hours a night had an 18 percent decrease in leptin (a hormone that signals the brain that the body has had enough to eat) and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin (a hormone that triggers hunger), compared with those who got more rest. Overall, study participants reported a 24 percent boost in appetite. The authors of the study also noted that too little sleep could eventually affect glucose (carbohydrate) metabolism which sets the stage for type 2 diabetes.

Here are a few more suggestions to help manage food and mood, according to Dr. Richard Wurtman from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
• Boost your alertness with lean protein. Protein foods are broken down into their amino acid building blocks during digestion. One amino acid, called tyrosine, will increase the production of dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. These neurotransmitters are known for their ability to increase levels of alertness and energy. Consider lean proteins like fish, chicken, turkey, lean red meat, and some vegetarian combinations like legumes with brown rice.

• Choose whole grain carbohydrates but remember to watch your portion size. Eating carbohydrates will trigger the release of insulin into the blood stream. Ultimately, the neurotransmitter serotonin will be triggered and serotonin has the effect of reducing pain, decreasing appetite, and producing a sense of calm. Research has shown that dieters tend to become depressed about two weeks into a diet, about the time their serotonin levels have dropped due to decreased carbohydrate intake.

• Adequate Folic acid can help counter mood. Folic acid deficiencies have been linked to depression in clinical studies. Folic acid deficiency causes serotonin levels in the brain to decrease. In these studies, as little as 200 micrograms was enough to help with depression. You can get that amount from a cup of cooked spinach or a glass of orange juice.

• Lack of selenium can cause bad moods. To help normalize mood, get adequate selenium by adding foods like Brazil nuts, tuna sandwiches, sunflower seeds or whole grain cereals to your weekly routine.

Now, let’s assume there will be “moments of humanity” which will consist of mistakes or lapses. On occasion we succumb to the stress and overeat. Guilt is rarely a positive motivator so consider these hints to get over the aftermath:
• Start with forgiveness – one day does not undo a healthy diet so don’t let one slip become three days or three weeks of excess.

• Start again – they say that the definition of success is falling two times and rising three so begin the next day with some exercise and a healthy breakfast. Try a great low fat breakfast burrito made with egg whites and fresh vegetables sautéed in a small amount of olive oil and wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

• Learn from the misstep – think about what triggered your food frenzy so you can come up with a better strategy for next time.
Remember, normal eating does include the occasional overindulgence—we all do it, but constant stress eating will result in declining health and expanding waistlines. You are unique and your coping strategies may need to be unique as well.

By Meridan Zerner, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D. at Cooper Clinic is a registered and licensed dietitian with a masters degree in nutritional science. She is a certified sports specialist and believes in a balanced, science-based approach to health and wellness.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Get Some Sleep

Here is the latest email from Dr. Jacobs.

Are you in control of your emotions?

Chronic stress, illness, and even fluctuating hormones can all affect how well we handle daily problems. But one culprit of uncontrolled emotions that we often overlook is inadequate sleep. When we don't get enough rest, the emotional centers of our brain become more active. In fact, sleep-deprived people in a U.C. Berkeley study reacted 60% more dramatically to negative images than those who had plenty of sleep. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by minor troubles, first take a look at your sleeping habits.

Get some sleep AND some exercise!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Distract Yourself from Stress

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting on December 8, 2009.

With all the events that take place in December it is nearly impossible to go through one second without experiencing Stress. Learning to control and distract yourself from stress is a key skill to long term weight loss management!

Here are a few of the tips and suggestions we discussed in the meeting last night:

*Listen to music - ha your music, not Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers but your favorites. Sing along and enjoy it. Let it soothe your stress.

*Exercise - Studies have proven that activity relieves stress. Whenever you start feeling tense take a walk, stretch, get your blood pumping. Maybe even dance along to some music.

*Keep your hands busy - Clean, knit, scrapbook, paint, read a book….all of these help to get your mind off your worries.

*Vent - Let it all out…phone a friend and just tell them all about your problems. Everybody feels better after a good vent session. Sometimes just crying…letting all your tension seep out of your eyelids.

*Make time for relaxation and yourself - Take a nice hot bubble bath and lock the door, sip on a glass of wine or even get a message. Reward yourself for all that you have achieved. You deserve it!

*Learn to say no - This time of year it seems like everyone needs something and it seems to be your time! You don’t have to go to all 10 Christmas parties you have been invited to and you definitely don’t have to meet everyone’s demands.

*Enjoy a peppermint - Studies show that something in peppermint oil helps to ease the mind and relieve tension. Also it is a sweet snack that can help curb your appetite and keep you from binge eating.

*Post it note your success - Start placing post it notes around your home/work/car reminding yourself why eating healthy through this season is a priority for you. Congratulate yourself on your success so far. Tell yourself that you can do it!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Get Fit Tip

Here is the latest email from Dr. Jacobs.

Why Less Exercise May Be Enough Exercise

Finding it hard to squeeze in your workout or your walk this time of year? Don't sweat it. Sometimes, less still cuts the mustard.

As long as you pick up the pace, that is. In a study, people who cut back on their walks but turned up the burn when they did get out there still boosted their cardiovascular endurance.

Keeping the Pace

Sure, frequent exercise is still better for you -- for a bunch of reasons, ranging from better cholesterol levels to better weight control. But the new research shows that you can cut back a little on frequency and still keep yourself in pretty good shape if you make some adjustments. And it's a good idea to do so, because then your body will be ready, willing, and able to do more when you get more time.

No Time? No Excuse

Why should you care about your cardiovascular endurance, anyway? Because a 5-year study showed that a mere 10 percent improvement lowered people's risk of mortality by 15 percent, compared with no cardiorespiratory improvement. So don't chuck your workout altogether this holiday season. Cut back if you must, but work harder. Or chunk your 30-minute walks into three 10-minute sessions. Your heart will thank you in the New Year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

1 12 oz bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained (find them in the condiment section)
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt divided
8 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
½ teaspoon pepper
Cooking spray

1. Prepare grill

2. Place peppers, olive oil, cilantro and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add 1/3 teaspoon salt. Set aside

3. Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper on the chicken. Grill chicken 5 – 6 minutes on each side, or until done.

4. While the chicken grills place pepper mixture in sauce pan and heat.

Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast and 3 tablespoons of sauce.; Points: 5

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Award Winning Oreo Balls

Oreo Balls

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pkg Oreos (not double stuffed)
1 pkg Almond Bark

Twist ...Oreos and take apart. Scrape cream from cookies and put into large bowl. Add cream cheese to bowl and cream together.

Put remainder of cookies into a Ziploc bag and seal. Use a rolling pin to finely crush. Add finely crushed cookies to the creamed mixture and stir. Roll into 1-inch balls and chill.

Melt almond bark. Dip cookie balls into almond bark and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Let set and enjoy!

Makes about 3-4 dozen
Points: it depends on the size of the oreo balls, smaller balls less points

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!!

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!! Can you believe that it is already December? I can’t. Time has just gone by so quickly this year, that I feel like I need to just hold on for the ride. Jon and I had such a great Thanksgiving. We actually had two Thanksgiving dinners which made it that much more special for us. I was able to track almost every day last week and even though I ate too much I still wrote everything down, which is important. As soon as the holiday was over I got back on track on Saturday. I made sure that I was exercised on Monday as well. I refuse to let Thanksgiving throw me off the wagon. I hit a few bumps, but they were minor.

I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving. I am glad that we could learn from this experience and will have the opportunity to apply what we have learned over the Christmas holiday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Eating

Here is the lastest email I received from Dr. Jacobs.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, some of us are ready to make new goals NOT to eat so much. If that is you, here is a great article on holiday eating as we go into the Christmas season:

Holiday Eating

Ready or not—the holidays are here. The malls are decorated and the buzz of the season has started. It’s that time that we get to enjoy our friends and family, but often holiday feasting means extra pounds on the scale. The holidays give new meaning to the saying, “eat, drink, and be merry”. Instead of worrying about gaining or losing weight this year, focus on maintaining your weight—be steady on the scales.

Here are some tips to prepare you for your holiday adventures:
• Start the day with a well balanced breakfast. It is not best to “save up” calories for a celebration later by not eating until late in the day when you are hungry and high fat options are awaiting you.

• Make a plan to eat a good variety of healthy foods. If you are going to a party where you can bring a dish, prepare a low fat option of a traditional dish or bring fresh fruit or veggies. Many recipes can be modified to be lower in calories and fat.

• Select a smaller plate. You may need a little assistance with portion control and this trick really helps to build awareness. We know the larger the plate, the more food you will eat.

• Do not deprive yourself. “It is not DEPRIVATION but LIBERATION through MODERATION”. Pick out your favorites and have a small portion, instead of a whole piece or larger portion.

• Eating slowly will help you know when you are full and satisfied. Try sipping a calorie-free beverage between bites. Use more of your time in conversation instead of over eating. Remember that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal you are getting full.

• Stay away from seconds. Before you head back to the serving line, ask yourself if your stomach is hungry or is it just your head.

• Keep your exercise routine at all costs. Without physical activity, you burn fewer calories and it is very easy to take in more calories than we need. Don’t wait until the New Year to start your fitness program.

• Watch your beverages. Avoid alcohol, sodas, and concentrated juices. These add calories without a lot of nutrition. If you are going to have a caloric beverage, alternate with a non-caloric beverage. Water will quench your thirst, cleanse our palate, and aid in digestion.

• Remove the temptations. Pack the leftovers for others to take with them so you can get back to your regular eating habits.
Food and celebrations will always be a major part of the holiday season and there is nothing wrong with that. Remember to eat in moderation and maintain a good variety of foods. Happy Holidays!

By Colleen Loveland, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.D.E., Cooper Clinic Nutrition.


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