Get off the couch and try something new 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays at the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, 1200 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. Each four-week Fun & Fit course includes health and nutrition tips and a workout for $7 per class or $20 for the session. Pre-register for a session with a friend and receive a discount!
Lighten Up SGV continued its free monthy support program for weight loss with “Avoid Vacation Temptations” presented by Sanda Carrillo from Citrus Valley Health Partners Department of Foods and Nutrition July 12. Some of the talk repeated tips we learned during previous chats, but there was also some very good ideas that were new to the series.
A big part of vacations is restaurant dining, so Carillo began her lecture with the obvious- that eating out is not just for special occasions any more. But you can plan ahead to still have a healthy meal and not ruin your diet because restaurants now offer more nutritious choices.
First, remember that you are in control of the meal. You can ask for items to be cooked a certain way, request a substitute side dish or ask for your salad dressing on the side. Be nice – never demanding – to your server, but be clear about what you would like. Ask questions about how the items are prepared and don’t feel rushed to decide on your order.
When selecting your meal look on the menu for key words to its preparation, such as baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted or steamed - these are all good. Avoid steamed, creamed, battered and other fatty preparations.
When you order, request reduced fat dressing (on the side) and no cheese. Don’t be afaid to ask for more vegetables, as the serving size is usually small. Select a regular sized meal or consider opting for a kids’ meal or an appetizer.
Vegetarian dishes may sound like the way to go, but they are not always lower in calories. They can contain cheese, nuts and other non-vegetable ingredients.
Order first so you’re not tempted to make a poor choice when you hear the others’ requests at your table.
Portion control is key to a successful dining experience. Share your meal or take half of it home.
TIP: Dress up to dine out and make it a special occasion or treat rather than an everyday event.
Obviously it is best to avoid buffets, where temptation lurks in a variety of forms- from portion control to diet disasters, but sometimes a buffet makes the most people happy. If you must go to one, try to sit as far away from the food islands as possible.
TIP: Make your buffet a real four-course meal of soup, big salad, entree and small dessert, getting up for each course separately and making wise selections for each bite.
Pack a cooler with fruit and/or cut-up veggies for the road.
Relaxing on vacation may mean a fancy drink, but alcohol ups your appetite and can boast a lot of calories for no nutritional value.
TIP: Don’t plan on dieting after vacation, as it gives you an excuse to eat poorly and overeat. Vacation weight gain is not the result of one or two meals, it is the accumulation of food eaten throughout an extended period.
Most important, make a point to get your exercise. Go for a walk before dinner or early in the morning and plan some activities that get you active.
Carrillo also shared the following websites for more information and tips on dining out:
www.eatright.org/healthy eating on the run: a month of tips
The next Lighten Up SGV program will be “Water is Your Best Friend” 6:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at Queen of the Valley, 1115 S. Sunset Ave., West Covina, free. Call 888-456-2847 or visit www.lightenupsgv.com
We found this story on our health wire and thought it would be great to share with all of you:
Environmental obstacles could slow weight loss
By LeeAnn Weintraub
Despite motivation and commitment to eating right and exercising, there may be things in your physical environment that are keeping you from shedding excess pounds.
Diet-sabotaging triggers are everywhere, and if you want to see weight-loss results consider removing some of these potential barriers to success.
According to the Pantone Color Institute, red and yellow stimulate appetite. Having a dining room or kitchen painted in these warm, exciting colors can have a negative impact on weight-loss progress due to increased appetite.
Blue, on the other hand, is known to suppress appetite because blue foods are not commonly found in nature. It might sound like an extreme measure, but painting your eating area a pastel blue may help curtail calories consumed.
Location of food storage plays into the amount of food we eat on a daily basis. Food placed at eye level in the front of other food in the cabinet, pantry or refrigerator is more likely to be consumed than items tucked away.
This means that if you are trying to curb your bad snacking habit, place healthy choices in plain sight and make less-favorable choices harder to get to, or keep them out of the house altogether. If you open the fridge and see cut-up veggies, fruit and low-fat yogurt, you are much more likely to choose them than if they are out- of- sight and out- of- mind.
The kitchen is often a popular gathering place in many homes for socializing with friends, doing home work or catching up after a long day. However, spending too much time in the kitchen, or even just passing through it regularly, can lead to extra calories consumed.
Move activities that don’t involve preparing for or eating meals into another part of the house. This can help cut down on unnecessary grazing and snacking.
Did you know that dim lighting can facilitate overeating?
This might be why restaurants keep the lights down low — to encourage patrons to eat more. Low lights take attention away from the amount of food being eaten. Consider keeping blinds drawn and lights on during mealtime to encourage increased consciousness about food portions.
Studies show that people typically consume the majority of the food on their plate regardless of how much food is served up. To help cut back on portion sizes without feeling deprived, try eating off smaller salad-size plates instead of regular dinner plates. Eating off a smaller plate can help cut calories, and over time these small savings add up to pounds lost.
Also, avoid keeping serving dishes on the dining table at mealtime, which can encourage going back for second servings.
Even a lack of sleep can be a factor in difficulty losing weight. A Stanford University study found that people who sleep only five hours a night are more likely to be obese than people who sleep seven to eight hours nightly. This is due to changes in hormone levels that affect hunger and food intake.
If you are not catching your Z’s consider what might be taking away from important rest. Avoid caffeine later in the day and create a nighttime routine to help relax before bed.
The way we live our daily lives has such a significant impact on our health and well-being. When it comes to eating right and maintaining a healthy weight, there are many factors we can control if we are conscious and consistent.
Take a look at your lifestyle and environment to see what changes you can make to improve the health of your family and yourself.
LeeAnn Weintraub is a registered dietitian and can be reached at RD@halfacup.com.
Summer is around the corner, so stop making excuses and get off the couch. It’s time to lose the weight and start feeling great! Of course, a little support goes a long way, so Lighten Up SGV will hold a free Community Weigh-In event with opportunities to sign up for the new weight loss challenge, healthy living workshops and activities, free giveaways and more!
Lighten Up SGV Community Weigh-In event
Saturday June 9
Citrus Valley Medical Center – Queen of the Valley Campus
1115 S. Sunset Ave., West Covina
Free for ages 12 and up
9:30-11:30 a.m. Workshops, activities, raffles and vendor fair
11 a.m. Registration for new challengers
11:30 a.m. Awards ceremony for previous Weigh-In challengers
Noon-2 p.m. New challengers weigh-in and screenings, plus workshops, activities, raffle and vendor fair
This was the new and somewhat scary word that began Lighten Up SGV’s talk, “Obesity & Diabetes,” the evening of May 10 at Queen of the Valley in West Covina. Ann Kuns was the featured speaker. She is a certified nurse specialist, certified diabetes educator and the program coordinator for the Citrus Valley Health Partners Center for Diabetes Education.
Diabesity is the combination of obesity and diabetes. The two issues alone can come with a score of health problems and together, they can severely comprimise your quality of life. I was surprised to learn that among obesity’s problems are neurological disorders, such as the loss of feeling in your hands and feet and research has found a strong association between Alzheimer’s and obesity. I did know that obesity can cause sexual dysfunction and polycystic ovarian syndrome, which leads to fertility issues.
Kuns showed us charts – scary charts – that offered statistics over 20 years in the United States that showed how diabetes rates have risen dramatically along with obesity rates. She also shared a photo of herself at age six. She was already overweight, which meant she was already at risk for diabetes. Kuns finally got her weight down to a normal level five years ago and has been able to maintain it. She said that it is more important to maintain the weight you lose than to keep going up and down on the scale.
Did you know that there are often no syptoms in the early stages of diabetes? Fasting blood sugar tests don’t always catch it. If you are at risk (or curious), ask your doctor for a glucose tolerance or glucola test that charts your sugar fasting and one and two hours after drinking glucola or eating a meal. If you have the opportunity to see your lab results, normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100, one hour is less than 160 and two hours is less than 200.
You can reverse your path to diabetes by relying on tried and true methods– move more and eat less. You are best avoiding quick fix drugs or fad diets, which can be hazardous to your health, plus when you stop them your weight jumps up.
One of the biggest blunders is liquids. It’s a liquid, it can’t affect my weight that much, right? No. Calories add up quickly with juices and sodas. For example, a Pepsi is 160 calories and has 42 grams of carbs– from sugar. Fruit is much better than fruit juice, but eat one serving at a time because it is hard for your body to process the sugar otherwise. You should eat 2-3 servings of fruit each day.
TIP: Kuns offered a variation on broccoli and cauliflower. Steam it with low fat, low salt chicken broth and then blend it until it is mashed potato consistency. Yummy!
Another trip up can be nuts. They are good for you, but carefully monitor how many you eat if you are trying to lose weight. They add up fast.
Diabetics, as well as people trying to lose or maintain their weight, do well with 4-6 meals a day and each should include a little lean protein. Now this doesn’t mean a huge plateful of food at each sitting, instead smaller portions and snacks that keep you full throughout the day without packing on pounds.
TIP: One way to start your path to portion control is to split your normal plateful of food into two meals- one for now and one for two hours later. This allows your body to use up the calories better and store less as fat. Also take your time eating– it takes 20 minutes for your brain to react and let you know you’re full. One trick here is to put your fork down after every bite and to take a little break halfway through your meal.
Kuns said not to feel guilty leaving food on your plate. We’ve all heard the “horrors” of wasting food, but “You can waste it in the garbage or waste it on your body,” Kuns said. You decide which is better for you.
On the go? Kuns offers a few good options for eating:
Subway – most of the sandwiches are healthy and you can control what goes on them. Eliminate nearly 100 calories by asking your sandwich maker to cute out the center of the bread (or do it yourself) or throw out one of the pieces.
Chick-fil-a – try the grilled chicken nuggets with fruit and milk
Knudson’s cottage cheese doubles
Trader Joe’s fruit leather– it’s as good as fresh fruit!
Jimmy Dean D-Lites – perhaps not your first choice, but OK in a pinch.
Fruit and string cheese or cottage cheese
Whole grain crackers and 2 tbs. nut butter – peanut, almond, cashew
Hard-boiled egg (eat only the white) and crackers or fruit
Grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side (dip your fork in the dressing each bite rather than pour it over your salad).
Some supplements may be helpful with your health, but be careful, do research and talk to your doctor before using them. Some to consider are biotin (may improve metabolism), cinnamon (may help blood sugar and insulin level), green tea (may increase metabolism), choromium polynicotinate (may improve how insulin works), glucomannan (high fiber), fish oil (may improve insulin sensitivity), alpha lipoic acid (improve blood sugar, reduce nerve pain, may reduce liver fat), Vitamin D and a multivitamin
Exercise is always your best friend. It is more important than what you eat, but check with your doctor before starting any routine. You don’t need expensive equipment or a gym– walk 30 minutes for a minium of three hours a week. Research has also shown 10 minutes of exercise three times a day after a meal is beneficial.
You can also buy workout bands and small weights or use a water bottle as a weight. Light weight training helps build muscle mass and helps with weight management.
And don’t forget to stretch. It’s not all weights and cardio, your muscles need stretching too.
TIP: Kuns says manage your stress:
- Get better sleep. Less than seven hours a night can lead to obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure
- Be assertive, not aggressive. “Say what you mean without being mean.”
- Make a plan for change and don’t procrastinate.
TIP: For success, Kuns preaches using The 4 Ps:
- Process – you didn’t get unhealthy overnight, so you won’t get healthy overnight. You will stumble, but you will also learn.
- Present – you can’t correct the past, so focus on today and now. The past doesn’t dictate what today is, you can choose what you want it to be.
- Positive – stop negativity. Be proactive and have a good attitude, even if you have to fake it. Ultimately you will feel better and become a more positive person.
- Perseverence – changes don’t happen overnight, keep with your program and plan and you will reach your goal.
TIP: Kuns recommends watching some programs on YouTube:
“Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” a 90-minute film
“The Skinny on Obesity,” 8-12 minute lectures on various topics with new ones released every so often.
The next Lighten Up SGV program will be “Back to Basics” on June 9. Visit www.lightenupsgvn.com for more information.
On April 12, we went to the Citrus Valley Health Partners session about exercise and how it helps lose weight. Everyone knows that exercise is an important element of any weight loss program.
Shannon Zamora is joining the conversation with her first entry in The Skinny on Weight Loss. Who can identify with her story?
Shannon is making sure she has fresh fruit handy when she gets stressed out…
.STRESS EATING: This is one of those areas in my life where I tell people “Do as I say, Not as I do”.
I’m a big believer in taking personal accountability for what I do on a daily basis. At home, at work, in my relationships.
But one relationship I’m struggling with is my weight.
Over the past few years, I’ve had a lot of excuses as to WHY my pants have felt a little tighter (oh, I put them in the dryer and I normally don’t do that) or – why I have to leave the bottom button of my shirts unbuttoned (oh, it’s the style). My latest trick is finding really cute long sweaters – they can cover a myriad of flaws if you catch my drift! And they stretch, too!!! BONUS POINTS!
But to be honest – these are not the bonus points I want.
While I take responsibility for what I eat, I find myself lacking in will power. At this rate I’m never going to fit in to the little black dress I’ve had my eye on for – let’s just say it’s been a long long time!
Last week, I watched myself eat an entire bag of Doritos – and it wasn’t the small bag either.
It was the one I typically buy and make small lunch size bags for my son – for 7-8 days.
And guess what – I ate it in less than 30 minutes.
And get this – I even put it in a drawer across the room – thinking to myself – it will be harder to grab.
Not only did I find the will power to get up out of my chair, open the drawer and stuff them down my throat – I did it probably 10 times, until the bag was empty. (There was some amount of physical activity involved).
When my boyfriend came in looking for a snack – let’s just say I was embarrassed when I told him what I had done.
I often like to understand “why” it is people do things – try to look at things from different angles.
So, why was it I ate that bag of Doritos – then ate lunch a short while later? And just didn’t care.
I was using food as a stress reliever – my comfort food.
A few days passed, I looked back at that day as if I had an “out of body” experience. I have replayed that moment over and over and over – just watching my behavior. No one forced me to eat that entire bag of chips. It was ALL me. I was out of control with my eating. And I felt terrible (sleepy, sluggish) as the day progressed. And that’s not what I want for ME nor my family!
So, what did I do about it?
First – I accepted the fact I’m a stress eater BUT am not going to let that rule my life. I’m going to do something about it.
Second – I’m stopping by my local grocery store on my way in to the office (a little retail therapy) and am opting for more healthy snack foods – such as fruit, yogurt, protein shakes, string cheese, hard boiled eggs so that when I do get those cravings the calorie & fat count won’t kill me;
Third – when I feel stressed, take a break. Take a walk. Take a few deep breaths. Change my focus for a moment so I can think clearly and ask myself “why” are you feeling this way and what can I do to stop. I may not be in control of every situation I’m faced with – but I am in control of how I respond! That’s my mantra (for now)!
And finally, the Fourth item – Use exercise as a way to relieve the stress. Last week I went to the gym four times and my 5th workout was a 5-mile walk with my boyfriend all the way up the hill to the Pacific Palms Hotel in Industry- it’s a doozy if you’re out of shape, let me tell you! But once I finished it, i was so proud of myself! And knowing I’m a goal oriented individual – I set a goals for myself with some nice treats as rewards – such as a pedicure at on of my favorite spas or a massage after the tenth time I’ve completed this journey!
So now – the real challenge begins. Keeping up with it!
Until next time- Stay Positive & Believe!
Share your stories with us!
Have you been a stress eater but beat the battle? If so, what did you do?
I’d love to give your ideas a try.
Hey, what’s in your cart?! Have you been “shopping the walls” or just cruising through the aisles of ready-made foods? Before I had an opportunity to even consider slipping on my path to a healthier me, I got some motivation during “Shopping and Cooking Healthier,” a talk and demonstration in Lighten Up SGV’s series at Queen of the Valley Hospital.
Most of the talk consisting of information I had learned during my in-store shopping tour (which I previously blogged about here), so I’ll share some of the things I found interesting:
There are two pieces to the puzzle of weight loss- movement and eating healthy. Part of eating healthy is a bit of work- shopping, cooking, cleanup, etc. and the other part is being prepared- planning menus, making a shopping list and sticking to it, arranging a time to go to the market when you can leave your kids at home and making sure to not shop hungry.
Our speaker gave out lots of tips, including getting free recipes online at www.cookinglight.com The recipes use “real” ingredients, rather than fat-free products and all the information you’d look for on a label, such as calories, sodium and fat, is listed at the end of each recipe.
We know that you must decrease your calories in order to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel hungry all the time. Fruits and vegetables keep you full longer for less- fruit averages 60-80 calories per serving, while veggies are around 25 calories per serving. Of course, they’re best when purchased in season and our speaker encouraged us to check out different markets to find the best prices. Also, remember, plant products help lower cholesterol- yay!
Packaged foods must be preserved, which increases the calories and sodium of the product.
When selecting a cereal, look for whole grains, whole wheat and bran. Also check the amount calories from sugar, which should be 25% or less per serving. To determine this, use the following formula:
Total grams sugar x 4 divided by the total number of calories x 100 + the percent of calories from sugar.
When it comes to meat, saturated fat is solid at room temperature. Fish doesn’t have saturated fat because they swim in cold water and it would solidify. If you lean towards marbled meat or don’t like trimming the fat off of beef, keep in mind that saturated fat does the same thing to your cardiovascular system- just as it is solid in the meat you are eating, it plugs up your arteries.
After age 30, the body stop storing calcium, so people, especially women, need to incorporate calcium into their diet. Dairy is the obvious source, but select lower fat versions.
Watch what you’re drinking! The more calories means the more sugar, which means weight gain. Look for alternatives, such as zero calorie version of favorite sodas or Crystal Light instead of Gatorade, but still try to cut down your intake of these “empty calorie” items and make sure to get your eight glasses of water per day.
Simple switches of items, such as non-fat milk instead of whole milk or salsa instead of guacamole dip, can really pay off. It takes a cut of 250 calories per day to lose 1/2 pound per day, so a little change is a big step to better health.
Now you’re fired up, keep the momentum going by attending “Get Moving!,” exercise tip talk, April 12 at Queen of the Valley in West Covina, free. For more information and to register, visit www.lightenupsgv.com .. And now you’re done reading this, go for a walk.
Had I not already set myself on a path of better nutrition and fitness, the Women’s Wellness Seminar on Feb. 25 would have prompted me. I learned so much and some of the facts are, well, shocking.
The event sponsored by Citrus Valley Health Partners and in conjunction with Lighten Up SGV was held at the beautiful Sierra La Verne Country Club. The lush surroundings included ducks and geese splashing in a pond amid the green golf course outside and curious squirrels peeking in the conference room windows. But inside, although the tone was light, the subject was serious.
The first speaker was Naji Kandalaft, M.D., a cardiac specialist, who spoke on women and heart disease. Here is some of the information he shared:
- More women than men dies of coronary heart disease every year. 1 in 4 women die of coronary heart disease and 1 in 3 women over age 35 has some form of heart disease.
- Women are six times more likely than men to have a second heart attack within five years after their first.
- Women are more aware of feeling heart attack symptoms (they tend to be in tune with their bodies) than men, yet they don’t usually think they are important enough to go to the doctor or the emergency room. It is better to get checked and find out you’re OK, that to ignore heart attack symptoms, as early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to preventing death.
- The signs and symptoms of heart attack in women include: back, neck, jaw or stomach pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, heartburn, coughing, loss of appetite, heart flutters
- Risk factors fall into two categories:
Modifiable – lifestyle, diet, stress, obesity, treatable disease such as hypertension or diabetes, alcohol comsumption.
Non-Modifiable – aging, genetics, ethinity, gender, previous heart attack
This means that you should change what you can, such as increasing your physical activity, stop smoking, use alcohol in moderation
- There was a question about taking baby aspirin as a preventative measure against heart problems. We learned that aspirin is less effective in women to prevent heart attacks, but more effective in preventing strokes. It is only recommended for use by high risk patients and then only when prescribed by a doctor.
The second speaker was Jennifer Curetet, who presented “Life Balance & Stress Reduction Skills.” Here are a few key points from her talk:
- Stress leads to life-threatening illnesses– 89% of doctor visits are related to stress. It has also been found that cancer is connected to stress.
- Cortisol affects the immune system when we are stressed physically, mentally or emotionally. Endorphins are the only hormone that combats cortisol. Endorphins are released when you experience good stress, such as working out, happiness, even planning a wedding or studying for a test.
- Raise your endorphins level by getting 45 minutes of exercise 2-3 days a week, this will also cut your cancer risk in half.
Other ways to release endorphins and lower stress include:
- Vent! Don’t hold your emotions in. Instead have a support system of optimistic people to help you through the tough times.
- Laugh. It feels good, so don’t be afraid to be silly. Add playtime to your list of activities, whether it’s kicking around a ball with the kids or a card game with your friends, even wrestling with your other half is a great way to release endorphins and have a good giggle.
- Sing. Anywhere and everywhere, in the shower, at karaoke or in the car. Curter says that if you sing in the car and make someone laugh because they catch you doing it, you should feel extra good because now you’re a healer too, passing on the stress relief.
- When you’re overwhelmed and too busy to get out for a walk or a little exercise, take a break and just be quiet somewhere for 15-30 minutes to help lower your stress.
- Control what you can and that comes in the choices you make for yourself. The more in control you are, the better your health will be. Think about how you can create options or make changes to lessen stress in your life.
- Think about this: If it’s in you, it comes out. Television, people, anything that influences you becomes a part of your thought process and affects your attitude. Surround yourself with positivity and you’ll feel better.
- Most important! Love what you do, do what you love and love who you do it with.
Overall, I learned how important it is to look for ways to limit and rid myself of stress and to make positive changes in my life, not only with exercise and diet, but in my surroundings and attitude.
Next up for Lighten Up SGV: Shopping and Cooking Healthier, a live demonstration, 6:30-7:30 p.m. March 8 at Queen of the Valley, 1115 S, Sunset Ave., West Covina. Free. Call 888-456-2847 or visit www.lightenupsgv.com