The holidays are upon us. Here come truckloads of cookies, pies,
cupcakes, casseroles, cocktails, fudge and ginger bread houses (you
know you want to snap some of that roof off). For the
weight-conscious, the next six to eight weeks can be rife with
anxiety, guilt and self-flagellation. So, I'm here to help!
I've witnessed a pattern - and for some it's a dangerous game.
Break your routine (vacation, business trip, etc.) and suddenly
it's OK to eat a large deep-dish meat lover's pizza with a bottle
of wine, order the chocolate cheesecake and call it quits on
exercise. For most people, this equates to a couple of unwanted
pounds. For others, it knocks them hard down a slippery
It's a fact - 66 percent of us are overweight or obese. Chances
are that means you. Don't trivialize it by convincing yourself that
you really didn't need a swimsuit anyway. Just think of everything
you've got to look forward to: Insulin injections (that means
syringes), blood pressure and cholesterol meds, joint pain, reduced
mobility (leading to more weight gain), scooter chairs, dependence
on others and, for some, an early death. Read that again.
Many sedentary people embarking upon a fitness journey encounter
what I like to call "The Deconditioned Paradox." This riddle dawned
on me one day as I struggled to motivate a client to keep going one
more minute. He had been begging to quit for 10 minutes. He'd only
been going for 15.
see you out there taking your long strolls around the neighborhood,
walking with your best friends, having lengthy conversations while
the dog sniffs nearby bushes. After about 30 to 45 minutes, you all
part ways and head home. You feel good. You “exercised” and
secretly hope to see the scale move tomorrow. You scan your daily
to-do list and enjoy a sense of satisfaction as you check off
“exercise.” Now, time to decide on which restaurant for dinner as
you snack on some chips.
In a society of instant gratification and quick fixes, many of
us get unbelievably frustrated during our health and fitness
journey. Our expectations are that once we've made the decision to
"get in shape," the changes should start showing up now.
The holiday season is upon us. Your schedule is filled with
shopping, work deadlines, holiday parties, relatives and
obligations. Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to avoid
holiday weight gain and stay healthy, happy and fit.
Editor's note: This is the conclusion of a
two-part series of submitted columns on holistic approaches to
breast cancer and lower estrogen dominance. All views are those of
the author. The first column appeared in the Oct. 15 AFN.
Marathon training season has kicked into high gear. Injuries
often come when training for a marathon due to the volume of
training. The most common injuries in marathon runners are shin
splints, stress fractures, muscle strains, patellofemoral pain
syndrome, which causes pain under and around the knee and ITB
Syndrome (iliotibial band), which causes to pain on the outside of
the knee and hip.
People of all ages are concerned
about their health – how they feel, how they look, disease
prevention, as well as quality of life. Unfortunately, the majority
of society has been brainwashed to believe in the concept of eating
less fat, excessive exercise, Botox injections or pharmaceutical
drugs as the answer to attain health, vitality, longevity and fat
Every time I recommend eating more nuts, the typical response
is: "Won't they make me fat?" The fact that nuts are perceived this
way is troubling because any food can cause weight gain if too much
is eaten and nuts are easy to overeat. While it is true that nuts
are high in fat and calories, if eaten in moderation, nuts can
contribute significantly to a healthy diet. This is because nuts
contain mostly unsaturated fats. These fats (polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated) can help control cholesterol and aid in the
prevention of heart disease. That is why they are called "good"
fats and saturated/trans fats found in baked goods, ice cream,
fried foods and some animal proteins are called "bad" fats. Nuts
offer one of the best sources of plant proteins and are high in
fiber. Nuts are also high in Vitamin E (an antioxidant) and
As a dietitian, I appreciate the level of knowledge required to
understand the intricacies of food composition in all facets of
life, not just in weight loss. What I really do not need to explain
to one of my adult clients is the blueprint for what you should
base a healthy diet on. Do you know of any adults that could not
identify that a double cheeseburger is much less healthy for them
than a grilled piece of fish and steamed vegetables? Of course not.
Our obesity epidemic has prompted more nutrition information to the
public than ever before, and it isn't working as we are getting
heavier each year.
You may have noticed over the past few years that a popular
cereal brand was taking over almost every corner of your grocery
store. Yes, Fiber One is not just for breakfast anymore. You can
have your Fiber One yogurt with lunch, Fiber One cottage cheese for
a snack, and a Fiber One blueberry muffin with dinner. General
Mills, the maker of Fiber One products, seems intent on adding
fiber to almost everything we eat. The amount of fiber in one
serving of these products is sometimes more than many of us eat in
a whole day! Are our diets so devoid of fiber that a company can
profit from adding it to dairy products of all things? It sure
looks that way.
Researchers at Cornell University determined that we make more
than 200 food-related decisions per day. How many times can you
choose to go the healthier route when faced with these many
decisions? Let's say a co-worker brings in a box of doughnuts to
the office. You think to yourself, "I'm going to reject those
doughnuts and walk away." Great, a victory for you. Ten minutes
later, you discover there are still a few remaining and you again
make the decision to deny yourself the benefit of tasting one of
the greatest sweet treats man has ever produced. Two hours later,
there is one left and before you can blink, it's resting
comfortably in your stomach. It is amazing we get anything
accomplished with all this brain power dedicated to food decisions.
Because of the many times we think about food each day, the key to
success is keeping your environment healthy enough to allow
yourself to make easier decisions.
Have you ever eaten a cup of soup prior to your meal only to
find that you couldn't eat very much of that meal? Obviously the
soup had a hand in filling you up before the main course came. The
principle behind this is called caloric density and it may be the
key to your weight loss.
Hopefully, when making the decision to eat out, most of us at
least try to think we are going to order a "healthier" dish at our
restaurant of choice. The problem is, once we actually get to the
restaurant and find ourselves salivating over the highest calorie
menu item; an irrational decision may take over. The good news is
that many of Ahwatukee Foothills' restaurants have lots of
healthier, great tasting items on their menus that you can plan to
order before you even walk in the door.
For most of us, grocery shopping is a mindless activity. This is
exactly how the grocers like it. The less actual thought you put
into buying food, the more you can be manipulated into spending
more money. Supermarkets and food manufacturers will do everything
within their power to make your wallet lighter. Anything from using
creative labeling to make you think you are buying a "healthy"
food, to the placement of milk the furthest from the entrance of
the store to make you pass all those foods you had no intention of
By now, we all know that fast food is bad for us. We have books,
movies and news reports telling us this almost every day. Most fast
food is loaded with calories, saturated fats, sodium and just about
anything else our bodies could use less of. Why do some chain
restaurants avoid the negative press even though many of their
meals are just as high in calories, fat, and sodium?
What if I told you that you may not be consuming enough of a
nutrient that may decrease your chances of cardiovascular disease
by 50 percent, improves memory and lessens your risk of developing
Alzheimer's disease? You may wonder if it is too good to be true.
In this case, it isn't. The nutrient is omega-3 fatty acid (or fish
oil) and most of us do not consume enough of these each day.
It is universally known that fruits and vegetables are good for
our health and should be eaten every day. In fact, "5-a-Day for
Better Health" encourages consumption of at least five servings of
fruits and vegetables every day. Unfortunately, most Americans
don't even get this much. Have you ever attempted to eat 10
servings of fruits and vegetables in one day? What would this look
like? Think of a serving as the amount that can fit in the palm of
your hand and note this example day of eating: