(ARA) – Eating right is often easier said than done. You like what you like, so breaking old eating habits is never easy. That’s why sometimes it can be easier to slightly modify your diet instead of giving it a complete overhaul.
The good news is subbing in healthier substitutes doesn’t have to make your food taste less flavorful. Here are five healthy substitutions to try on your journey to better health:
1. Make things whole. Consider what type of bread, pasta, flour and rice you are regularly eating. Switching to the whole grain versions of these foods not only helps you cut down on calories, but also add nutrition to your diet. Whole grain foods are also packed with fiber, which helps you feel full and aids digestion.
2. Consider beverages. Did you know the average can of soda contains about 150 calories and no nutrients? On the other hand, try opting for tasteful beverages that have a neutral, or even a positive effect on your health. For example, natural teas can provide added health benefits – oolong tea can help lower your cholesterol and green tea can help boost your metabolism. Like soda, tea can also be quick, easy and refreshing – cold-brewed tea from brands such as Teawan come in packages that can be brewed in minutes.
3. Watch where you start in the kitchen. Cooking more at home is a sure-fire way to reduce the calories you take in, but your cooking methods can be another place to make gains in eating healthier. Instead of using butter, vegetable shortening or lard, consider using olive oil, peanut oil or canola oil, which contain less saturated fat.
4. Creamy substitutes. When a recipe calls for heavy cream, try substituting half and half or milk. Or use yogurt instead of sour cream. These simple substitutions can provide great taste for a fraction of the calories and fat.
5. Modify your meat intake. You don’t have to suddenly become a vegetarian, but try a stir fry using only veggies or substitute ground turkey for ground beef in your favorite recipes. By making a similar substitution once a week or more, you’ll consume less calories and fat – and possibly discover some tasty variations on your go-to dishes.
You may find that some substitutes actually make your diet more interesting and give you more options for healthy eating. As you work toward eating healthier, you ultimately have to find options you enjoy to achieve sustainable and nutritious diet.
Here’s the choice we all have. We can either be a part of the 80% of Americans who don’t eat properly, sleep enough, make time for healthy relaxation, don’t spend quality and quantity time with friends and loved ones, and simply live in a delusion of being healthy.
This group is likely ill, overweight, emotionally stretched, take an overwhelming amount of daily medication, watch their blood pressure and cholesterol levels soar and their energy plummet.
Or, we can take the more difficult path, optimizing and reclaiming our own health, fitness and wellbeing, adding years of good living to our lives. It’s up to us to either choose a passive path to illness, only changing when it’s nearly too late, or take the right steps to actively defend our health and keep ourselves on a pathway to wellness. We just can’t do both.
The data is alarming:
- More than 70% of Americans are overweight or obese
- Less than 30% of Americans get any regular exercise
- 50% of adults in our country suffer from at least one chronic illness
- Psychological research points to the astonishing fact that 80% of Americans are “just getting by” when it comes to wellbeing and life satisfaction. Only 20% are “thriving.”
- More than 50% of Americans take at least one prescription medicine at any given time.
- Being healthy, fit and having a positive sense of wellbeing places us in the minority.
One of my regular reads, “Experience Life” magazine, has been promoting a truly remarkable revolution in do it yourself health, ”Being Healthy is a Revolutionary Act.” You can find the “Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed Up World” and “101 revolutionary ways to be healthy” at www.RevolutionaryAct.com
Here are their 10 revolutionary “truths”: 1. The way we are living is crazy 2. There are powerful social, economic and political forces undermining our health 3. The time for complicity is over 4. The resistance is alive and well 5. Being healthy is a revolutionary act 6. This is not about six-pack abs and skinny jeans 7. Inaction is not an option 8. The best defense is a good offense 9. Forget about quick fixes 10. Solutions in the mirror may be closer than they appear
Makes you want to read more and join the revolution, right? Only if you want to repossess your health, (which, by the way, is number five among their 101 ways to be healthy.) Interested in some of their other ways?
Try these: “Practice medicine without a license,” “Aim for 85%,” “Redefine your goals,” “Embrace play,” “Find your fitness edge,” “Say ‘no’ to sodas,” “Identify real hunger and beware of artificial hungers,” “Beware the USDA food pyramid,” “Rest up,” “Invest in your health,” “Go easy on the sugar and flour,” “Focus on action, not outcomes,” and ”Make being healthier easier.” Each one of these, and all 101 of them, has interesting information on their website, too much to include here.
Become a revolutionary and go to the website to download the free 16 page handbook that includes this information and much more. It just might help you make the right choice to reclaim your health, become “healthy, hopeful with high vitality” who gives up fast food, learns to cook, gets more active, chooses health care providers who support health not just cure illness, and teaches children the value of the bodies they were born into. Our society makes being unhealthy far too easy to not join this revolution.
(ARA) – More than just aches and pains, arthritis is a chronic disease that damages joints and can lead to loss of function or disability. In fact, it is the most common cause of disability in the United States, affecting 50 million Americans or 22 percent of the total population.
For years it was believed that people with arthritis should not exercise because movement could cause further damage to joints. Now, physical activity is recognized as playing an integral role in the prevention and treatment of arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, exercise provides relief from pain, improves physical function and quality of life, and delays the onset of disability without worsening symptoms or the progression of the disease.
Unfortunately, the already staggering social and economic impact of arthritis in the United States is set to explode in coming decades. A new government report found that the number of adults with arthritis has increased by almost 1 million since 2003 to 2005 and it’s estimated that arthritis will affect 67 million Americans in 2030.
The effects of arthritis can be devastating, but self-management strategies such as weight loss and increasing physical activity can lessen pain and improve function, and may prevent or limit the impact of arthritis on daily activities. “For every one pound you lose, that’s four pounds of pressure off each knee,” says Dr. Patience H. White, the Arthritis Foundation’s vice president of public health. In addition, losing as little as 11 pounds can reduce your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by 50 percent.
It is important for Americans to make daily movement a year-round goal. While it may seem hard to get started, there are plenty of opportunities for you to move year-round, no matter where you are or what the season:
* Move with others. Enjoy exercise more by making it a social activity you can enjoy with your friends. The Arthritis Foundation organizes events year-round to keep people moving, including the Jingle Bell Run/Walk and Arthritis Walk, which also raise money for important arthritis research and community services. You can get started today by registering for an event near you.
* Take a walk. A stroll around your neighborhood or on a walking path will not only leave you with a trimmer physique and less joint pain, but can also improve your mood and overall sense of well-being. When it’s too cold or hot outside, move indoors by using a treadmill or walking in place. For a walking program that is specifically designed to reduce arthritis discomfort and improve overall health, try the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease program.
* Try Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese exercise with a variety of proven health benefits, such as reducing stress and relieving arthritis pain. Because its gentle movements are easy to learn and do not require uncomfortable bending or squatting, Tai Chi is a great way to move all year. Check with your local Arthritis Foundation office to find a class near you.
To find out about more ways you can move year-round, visit www.letsmovetogether.org.
Fitness Psychology has a great deal to bring to the table, but it’s a table piled high with health and wellness in the coming year, if prognosticators are reading consumers correctly.
The buzzword of 2011 is undoubtedly “wellness.” The American Council on Exercise (ACE) lists “added-value wellness services” as the second highest fitness trend for next year. They predict, “More gyms and clubs will begin to hire other allied healthcare professionals to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members.”
ACE’s third top trend is stress reduction programming. “ACE predicts we’ll see more people turning to exercise to help manage stress and you may even see more fitness programming focusing on stress reduction.”
Members of health and fitness clubs, international exercise associations, and industry trend watchers all seem to agree that the newest perspective on wellness cuts across outmoded “silos” that health care professionals have occupied. From exercise, mental health and nutrition professionals to mind-body practitioners, and from conventional medical professionals to complementary and alternative healthcare providers, 2011 will see the emergence of true synergy to promote health and wellness for mind, body and spirit.
The Sporting Club, with its growing Sports Medicine Team, has been far ahead of this trend and continues to lead the way on the health and wellness continuum among America’s elite fitness and wellness centers, distinguishing itself from traditional cardio and weight gyms in so many ways.
The club’s exercise professionals and Sports Medicine Team work in a synchronized way with each other as therapeutic lifestyle change specialists in order to provide members with opportunities to enhance and preserve fitness, prevent injuries, maintain control of chronic health issues with exercise prescriptions, repair injuries and restore health, and find comfort in daily life. By bringing together comprehensively bundled solutions, members are assured that 2011 will be a year where their specific health, fitness and wellness goals can be met seamlessly.
Industry insiders who look into crystal balls predict that fitness programs for older adults, more focus on strength training, and dealing with overweight/obese adults and children will be prominent throughout the fitness world. It’s likely that goals for overweight and obese people will change using a two-step approach. The first step will be to stabilize weight and stop further weight gain. The second goal will be achieving and maintaining a five to ten percent weight loss, since the primary goal will likely no longer be to achieve “normal” or “ideal” weight for most people. Changing our “obesogenic environments” will be critical.
Ready for more predictions? Forget on-line interactive classes. Consumers want human contact! But Facebook, Twitter, and other social media will be there to add additional motivation from primary support from trainers.
Boot camp, Zumba and fitness dance, TRX, interval training, cognitive fitness workouts, wellness coaching, and prescriptive-personalized exercise are all going to be more prevalent if fitness fortune-tellers are right. And companies are going to have growing recognition of the value of wellness for their employees by offering discounts to employees for club memberships, in-house wellness programs, incentives to employees who work out and corporate weight-control programs.
Taken together, these trends make 2011 a very exciting year to be a part of The Sporting Club—your wellness center–and a professional in the health and wellness industry. Watch for more integrated solutions to meet your specific goals for weight management, healthy living and active aging as well as blending multidisciplinary expertise for overall therapeutic lifestyle coaching.
Fitness psychology has lots to teach the 85% of well-intentioned people who fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions each year. With The Sporting Club as your central address for health and fitness improvement, you are already ahead of the game.
You wouldn’t buy a product that fails 85% of the time, so why do so many stick to a strategy year after year that fails more than four-fifths of the time, especially when it comes to something so important as your overall well being?
Nearly half of all Americans make one or more resolutions, and from my research, it appears that the following are among the top 10 on most of their lists each year:
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Fit in fitness
- Win the battle of the bulge
- Stop smoking
- Enjoy life more
- Drink less-much less
- Get out of debt
- Learn something new
- Help others
- Get organized
As time goes by, here’s how many typical resolutions are maintained: past the first week, 75%: past 2 weeks, 71%: after 4 weeks, 65%; and after 6 months, 46% Yes, for many it seems a New Year’s resolution is something that just goes in one year and out the other, the fact is that people who make resolutions are 10 times more like to reach their goals than those who don’t have any specific resolutions for the new year.
Here’s the best list of tips I believe will put you over your goal line:
- Set one SMART goal: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Make sure you avoid all or nothing thinking, “I will never X again.”
- Have a detailed road map, with short-term measureable goals, and plan ahead of time to deal with obstacles.
- Write it down starting with the advantages of your goal. Be certain to include the obstacles you believe you will face and your solutions to deal with them. Have completion dates for your long-term and short-term goals.
- Pretend it’s a year from now and you have accomplished your goal as a successful New Year’s resolver. Write a letter to yourself describing what you did over the “past year” to accomplish your goal.
- Get someone to cover you back, a buddy, a coach, a trainer. The more people you tell of your goal, the better. Write a check to a friend in advance that can be cashed if you do NOT meet your goal. In other words, enlist as much support as you can.
- Take real action which contrary to popular belief precedes motivation. Don’t wait to feel like getting started—start and then you will feel like doing it. Visualize yourself having accomplished your goal and act like you have. Tracking progress is critical and so are rewards along the way.
- Finally, think of setbacks as pauses, not the end of the season. We all have to crawl before we can walk, so be flexible, positive and kind to yourself along the way.
While many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits, with The Sporting Club staff always ready to assist you in using these 7 tips, you will surely beat the odds and be successful in reaching your goal.
Finally, to put this into context, we have no further to look than at Ben Franklin who wisely said, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each New Year find you a better person.”
(ARA) – Fat is the enemy – that’s the philosophy of many Americans who are trying to lose excess weight. While plenty of proven health risks can be tied to carrying extra pounds, not all fat is bad, experts say. In fact dietary fat is considered an essential nutrient, and some “good” types of fat actually deliver a myriad of health benefits – including aiding in weight control.
“Fat is necessary for many vital functions,” says Susan Berkow, PhD, a spokesperson with the Institute of Food Technologists and an adjunct professor at George Mason University. “Fat aids in maintaining proper function of the nervous system, keeping our internal organs insulated, nourishing hair and nails, and providing the building blocks for many hormones. It is a good source of energy, among other functions.”
With the holidays approaching, many people will struggle to sort food facts from fiction as they try to control the amount of fat in their diet. Berkow offers some insight into how you can separate fat from fiction this holiday season:
Know your fats
By now you’ve probably heard of trans fat, unsaturated fat and saturated fat. But do you know which ones you should avoid and which ones are OK in moderation? “Up to 30 percent of our daily calories should come from fat, with unsaturated fats making up the majority of that percentage,” Berkow says. Unsaturated fats are the “good” fats, and you can find them in plant-based oils such as olive or canola oil, salmon, tuna and many nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
Saturated fats are also a natural fat, but can cause health risks if not eaten in moderation. You’ll find saturated fats mostly in animal products, such as cheese and meat, but some plant oils, like coconut and palm, also contain saturated fats. Holiday foods, which are often loaded with butter, can be very high in saturated fats.
Trans fat is most often found in processed foods. Manufacturers produce it and place it in foods to provide long shelf life and good flavor. Unless a label states “no trans fats” expect to find them in processed foods like baked goods and crackers. Many state and local governments have passed laws requiring restaurants to eliminate trans fat from menu items. Trans fat has been linked to elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
‘Good’ vs. ‘bad’ fats
The right kinds of fats, eaten in moderation, provide a number of health benefits, and can even contribute to weight control by helping you feel full longer. Fat digests more slowly than other types of food and are satisfying, adding texture, taste and mouth feel. So eating a modest portion of saturated fat at a meal can help you feel full, and avoid unhealthy snacking, until the next meal.
In general, people should look for sources of unsaturated fat that offer other nutritional benefits as such as those that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fattty acids. Minimize your intake of saturated fats and avoid trans fats as much as possible.
Federal dietary guidelines recommend about 65 grams of fat per day in a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet. If a food label says 20 percent daily value for fat, it means you will consume about 13 grams of fat in a single serving. Look for foods that constitute no more than 5 to 15 percent of your daily recommended fat intake. If you do indulge in a higher fat food at one meal, balance it with lower fat choices throughout the day.
“To minimize bad fat in holiday foods choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, read labels and keep total per-serving to less than 5 to 15 percent of the daily value,” Berkow advises. “Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with low-fat dips such as low-fat yogurt or humus. Dip your whole-grain bread in olive oil seasoned with garlic or basil, rather than in butter. Try new vegetables such as jicama, which is great for dipping. Bake with margarine rather than butter.”
Watch Susan Berkow discuss fats and labels on www.iftfoodfacts.org.