Archive | January, 2012

The State of the Union

24 Jan

No I’m not talking about the actual State of the Union which was broadcasted tonight (although I am a political junkie), but I’m referring to the health of our Union. I thought I’d spin off of President Obama’s speech tonight and address some of the top health issues facing America this year.

Smoking/Tobacco

If everyone knows these days that smoking kills, I don’t understand how 46 million or 20.6% of Americans still smoke.  It perplexes me that the tobacco industry is STILL gaining new customers everyday.  Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.  Smoking accounts for approximately 443,000 deaths, or 1 of every 5 deaths, in the United States each year.

80% of smokers begin smoking before they even turn 18. 17.2% of high school students smoke.  Clearly our anti-smoking/tobacco campaigns are not resonating with our students.

Secondhand smoke is even more deadly for those around you than it is to yourself.  Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of those chemicals are toxic and about 70 are known to cause or contribute to cancer.  So think about that before you light up around those you love (and strangers!!! we don’t like it either!).

Smoking and tobacco products lead to many diseases including many cancers, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke to name a few.  It’s a nasty and disgusting habit that you should drop…like yesterday!

Diabetes

Diabetes affects 25.3 million Americans or 8.3% of the population. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness. Diabetes is also a major cause of heart disease and stroke.  Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.  There were 1.9 million new cases of Diabetes last year alone.  Type 2 is a largely preventable disease. It is mainly brought on by lifestyle choices such as obesity due to inactivity and improper food choices.  But is true that genetics do make you predisposed to the disease. So if it runs in your family, it’s even more important for you to watch your weight and what you eat!  It is estimated that 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Left unchecked, pre-diabetes leads to Type 2 Diabetes.

Obesity Crisis

34% of American Adults (considered 20 & older) are obese and an additional 34% of adults are overweight.  This means that 7 in 10 American adults are either overweight or obese. Those are not encouraging odds.  The CDC defines overweight as an individual whose BMI is between 25 & 29.9. Obese is anyone with a BMI greater than 30.  They have recently added Severely Obese and Morbidly Obese to accommodate the growing number of extraordinarily obese individuals in the United States.  We spend an estimated 150 BILLION dollars every year on increased medical bills due to obesity.  This means these costs can be averted if we fix our health and a reduction in spending in healthcare results! 🙂  Now wouldn’t that be nice?  Obesity leads to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, sleep apnea, and death among many other horrible ailments.

We as a nation set goals in the Healthy People 2010 campaign.  Not one state met the goal to reduce their obesity rates to 15% by 2010. In fact, the number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30% increased to 12 states (from 9 in 2009 and 0 in 2000).

About 1 in 3 children today are either obese or overweight.  Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity in children has tripled.  Approximately 17% of children are obese, not overweight, obese.  Overweight kids have a 70-80% chance of staying overweight for their entire lives if they do not correct the course early.  Overweight/obese children will battle more with their weight for the rest of their lives compared to their normal weight peers. Children are developing adult diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.  The OECD projects that by 2020, 20% of girls aged 3-17 and 30% of boys aged 3-17 will be obese.

These are scary statistics I know, but together we can combat and reverse the obesity epidemic.  Will you  help me end it?

Bottom Line

Think about this.  Of the 571,950 cancer deaths that occurred in 2011, the American Cancer society estimates that one third wouldn’t have happened if no one smoked. Another third of the deaths could’ve been prevented by proper weight loss, diet, and exercise.

I admit that there are days when I would I like to be lazy all day, lounge on the couch, and stuff my face with bon bons (okay maybe not, but I’m  making a point). But my health is more important to me than the short satisfaction of these activities (or non-activities).  My generation (gen Y) is the first generation projected to have a shorter life expectancy than our parents, even with all the medical advances!  This projection is driven by lifestyle choices made by Americans today.

You have to make a choice.  I choose to still do the things I enjoy, like watching TV, but I walk up and down my stairs during commercial breaks. Instead of sitting, I choose to stand.  I have cherries instead of cherry pie.  You have to decide what your priorities are. It’s so much more than just about how you look, it’s about what kind of life do you want to lead? What type of role model do you want to set for your children?  No one said it was going to be easy. It’s going to be a tough and lifelong road, but I believe this great nation can do it!

We must end this obesity crisis, but we have to do it together.

Keep Sweating!

~Coach Lindsey

The Importance of the Food Diary

19 Jan

As I promised earlier this week, I’ll be dedicating today’s post to the food diary.  In your weight loss journey what you eat is 80% of it.  If you don’t write it all down, you might be fooling yourself into thinking that you’re eating less during the day than you actually are. The way to avoid that pitfall is to create a food diary.  There are two “types” of food diaries that I typically talk about when I talk about food diaries. The beginner and the beast! I’ll talk about both options, as well as some great online/mobile options that have been popping up over the last year or so.

The Beginner

A food diary at it’s most basic form is simply a list of all the food that you ate over the course of the day.  It can be kept on an excel sheet, in your phone or a little notebook that you carry with you.  Every morsel that passes your lips MUST go down in the diary (or journal if that sounds less girly to you!).  When you’re first beginning a food diary, keep it simple. Write down what you ate and approximately how much you ate (1/2 an apple, three scoops of ice cream). The key here is to be honest about the size and amount.  Most people underestimate how much of one thing they’re eating. So play it safe and overestimate!  This your basic food diary.  Stick with it until you feel more comfortable, then switch up to a “big daddy” version of a food diary.

The “Big Daddy (or Mamma)”

This is where diaries get fun.  Now that you’re used to writing down every piece of food that you eat, now is the time to add more details. I recommend breaking your day into Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Dinner, and Anytime.  Now when you eat at one of those predetermined times, write down the time and your hunger level on a scale of 1-5, 1 being I’m still stuffed from my last meal and 5 is “I’ve been in the desert for three days and I’m STARVING!!!”  As a rule of thumb you should never be eating at any of those extremes. In theory you should be eating before you get to the starving place, but you shouldn’t be eating out of boredom.  It’s particularly important to note that you should also be noting if you’re upset or bored, etc.  Remember this is YOUR diary, no one is going to see it but you, so don’t be embarrassed if you at that pint of Ben & Jerry’s because your boyfriend just dumped you.  Because no one will see it but you. But if you’re an emotional eater, you’ll begin to see patterns and learn how to cope with your feelings/issues without eating.  But I’ve digressed, anyways, you also what to get more specific about how much.  Buy a food scale if you have the extra cash, they’re well worth the investment.  If you don’t want to, that’s fine (it does take extra work), but try to be as precise as you can.  Also begin to write down the caloric content of eat of your pieces of food, as well as meal and daily totals.  This will give you a good idea of where/when you’re calories are coming from. You’ll also get to see if you’re meeting or exceeding your recommended caloric intake. It’s important to not fall too below your recommended intake either, because that will slow down your metabolism.

Now What?

Congratulations, you reached your first week of diary keeping (or big daddy keeping!).  Now you need to go back and look at what you ate over the past week.  Look for places where you could’ve cut out sweets or were eating because you were bored.  A food diary will allow you to see a record that can’t be argued with. It will also allow you to set food goals for the next week. Like, I’ll have dessert 4 times this week instead of 5.  It also gives you something to be proud of when you reach those goals!  Also, decide on rewards (non food related) if you reach your longer term goals (like eating at my caloric intake for 1 month) like a book you’ve been wanting to buy or tickets to an event you’ve been dying to see.  These shorter (and obtainable) goals will incentivize you to continue on towards the larger goal of a healthier you!

Online/Mobile Options

I love the mobile option that has emerged in the last few years. Thanks to smartphones, you can now log your food intake on the go! My favorite is Lose It! It’s a fabulous site that has both a mobile app and you can use it on the web. Plus if you have a FitBit, you can link the two accounts and Lose It! recalculates what you can eat and still lose weight based on activity!  Check both products out! Lose It! is free and the FitBit device costs $99, but the online software is free (and it too has a mobile app).

So bottom line here is log your food for successful weight loss!

Keep Sweating!

~Coach Lindsey

Overcoming the Plateau

16 Jan

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows what I am talking about.  The dreaded plateau effect.  Also known as “hitting the wall”.  At some point during your weight loss journey your body will fail to respond to the previously successful plan.  Your body has adapted to the increased exercise and diet.  Welcome to the plateau! 😦

When people hit the plateau and stop losing weight, they will get frustrated and often give up. DON’T DO IT!  You simply need to shake things up!  This post will cover some tricks I’ve used in the past to successfully break through that wall.

1. Clean Up Your Eating

Now’s the perfect time to reevaluate your eating. If you stopped or never started a food diary…START!  A truthful food diary will provide insights into your eating habits.  Don’t worry, if you don’t know where to start, I will write a post later this week on food diaries.  Examine it to see where you can cut out empty calories or excess sweets/carbs.  Try subbing out processed foods for whole foods.  Now is the perfect time to make the switch from processed flour to whole wheat/grains.  Your slimmer body needs less calories to sustain itself, so if you want to lose more, you have to decrease your calorie count by 100-300 calories per day.

2. Rest Up!

It seems counter-intuitive, but your body might be wiped and need a break.  Consider taking a full week off from your usual routine. This does not mean kicking your feet up and chilling, but do Yoga, Pilates, or some other relaxing form of exercise (like flexibility work) for 7-10 days. This allows your body to heal and reset. Also take the opportunity to get full nights of sleep (read 7-8 hours for adults). Now that you don’t have to get up before the cock crows to get that hour run in before work, you can get a few extra winks and do some restorative yoga in the evening to unwind after the day.

3. Variety

Mix things up a bit!  If you’re a walker try biking.  If you enjoy biking, try a spin class or mountain biking!  Try taking up a new sport that challenges you!  A few personal suggestions are rock climbing, tennis, snow skiing, or racquetball.  The point here is to help break through the plateau, you need to surprise your body and force it to work in new ways that you haven’t asked it to do before!

4. Intensity

Like I said earlier, your body has likely already adapted to your current routine, so now you need to make it harder! Increase your cardio time by 25-50%. (i.e., if you’re walking for 30 minutes, up it to 45 minutes)  If you’re only doing cardio, add some strength.  If you’re walking try jogging or running.  If you bike on flatlands, find a hill to challenge yourself.  If you’re already doing strength, up the weight, reps or frequency (but don’t do all three in the same week).  So put some fire in your workout to torch those calories!

5. Positive Mental Attitude

Hang in there!  If you keep a positive ‘tude and stick with it, eventually you’ll break through the plateau and enjoy more weight loss! Plus think of what a self-esteem boost it will be to know that all your hard work is paying off (again!).  Stick with it gang and it’ll come off!

 

Do all or some of these tricks to help get through the plateau!

Keep Sweating!

~Coach Lindsey

New Year, New You!

13 Jan

So the new year is nearly 2 weeks in and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to write a 2012 Resolutions blog. I’m swamped with work and life, so I’ll try to keep it short & sweet.  Every year millions of people make resolutions to lose weight, eat better, go to the gym more, blah blah blah and they do…for a while.  But then life gets in the way and your resolutions go out the window.  So to make a resolution stick you need to make them two things: specific and obtainable.  Let me give you a few examples:

Bad: I want to lose 50 lbs by summer
Why? 50 lbs is a lot of weight to lose and by bikini season? Forget it.  It will likely require a strict exercise routine and severely limiting your caloric intake.
Better: I am going to aim to lose 1.5 lbs per week until I reach my goal weight.
Why? Doctors recommend to aim to lose between 1-2 lbs per week for not only safety reasons, but you’re more likely to KEEP it off. This is a much more manageable resolution!

Bad: I am going to exercise more.
Why? It’s not specific enough. You’ll never stick with it
Better: I am going to get some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes and at least 4 times a week
Why? This is not only specific, but it’s also totally obtainable.

Bad: I’m going to eat better.
Why? Again not specific enough and how are you going to do it anyways? What is “better?”
Better: I’m going to try to sub one unhealthy snack for a healthy fruit or veggie snack every day.
Why? It gives you a measuring stick to see if you really are eating “better”.  And again, this goal is an obtainable one. It’s super easy to make that swap and you’ll feel so much better that you stuck with your resolution!

So like I said before, in order to reach that resolution it needs to be specific (so you can measure your success) and obtainable (spending 3 hrs in the gym 6 days a week, is NOT obtainable by most of us mere mortals!).  Remember that resolutions don’t have to be just fitness/food based, they can also be spiritual, mental or emotional!  While there is no concrete answer, remember that research suggests that it takes 21-28 days to form a habit, so stick with it!!!

Happy New Year everybody!  What are YOUR resolutions? Feel free to inspire others by posting yours below!

Keep Sweating!

Weekly Fitbit stats

11 Jan

My avg. daily fitbit #fitstats for last week: 9,475 steps and 3.7 miles traveled. http://www.fitbit.com/user/22R3XR

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