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Archive for June, 2009

Presidents Challenge

Remember in grade school PE class when you were asked to participate in those physical ability tests to determine your fitness and strength?  I clearly remember hanging from the pull up bar, and watching in disbelief as my fellow classmates struggled to reach the top of the rope climb.  How can I climb that rope when I cant even get my fingers around it?! 

Replace those grueling memories with new happy memories!  The National President’s Challenge aims to encourage people of all ages and abilities to find activities they love and to live a healthier lifestyle.

The  Challenge is a nationwide call to action for a healthier America. It’s fun and it’s free! All you have to do is be active five days a week for six out of eight weeks, and log your activity. 

Setting a goal is the first step in changing your lifestyle and adopting the habit of regular physical activity. Although we are half way through the challenge, its not too late to register.  Join our team, Trimwithkim!  See the “Are you a Champion?” page on  the left of my blog for more info.   Or:

Go to http://www.presidentschallenge.com/national_challenge/index.aspx  to register and for more information.  Estimate your total hours since May 29th for each activity (an activity list is provided), and then add your new activity each week. 

Aside

Food Journaling

What are you eating?

Food journaling is the best way to find out.  Do you pay attention to when, how much and what you eat?  When you decide to lose weight or eat a  better diet, you have to begin with an understanding of what your “normal” diets consists of, when you eat, and how much.    Its  important to start today!  Waiting until you have the time or when you think you have a normal week will only delay this important step to managing your weight.  With the exception of major life events, such as your wedding or the loss of somone close to you, every week is a normal week.  Therefore, you need to write down all meals, drinks, and snacks – everything you put in your mouth counts!

Begin by selecting a notebook or calendar and keeping it in your car, at your desk at work, or in the kitchen – whichever place will give you a few minutes each day to write down your diet.   You can follow a very easy tracking system at http://www.mypyramid.gov.

 

If just using a simple piece of paper, make four columns: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.  Days go on the side bar. List each day’s intake  across the sheet, one row per day.

Start with the first thing you ate or drank, and again, include everything else throughout the day, including the handful of chips or the sugar for your coffee.  Be sure to include how much water you drink.  Include the size of the portions and estimate by using common items you can relate to, such as size of my fist, or the size of a tennis ball.  Once you know the average portion sizes you eat, you can begin to compare them to actual measurements ie. 1/2 cup = tennis ball.

Write down descriptions of the food  such as “whole wheat” toast, and “diet” soda so you can see how much this item factors into an overall nutrition plan.Keep the journal for 7 days before reviewing, and use this information to cut back on bad (sat) fats, sugars, salt,preservatives; and increase good foods of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fats, and eating smaller portions.

Lastly, note the amount of physical activity you are performing to best determine your overall nutritional needs.

Did you burn any calories today?

Burning calories is one way to lose weight, but its not just working out to works off those excess calories.  Any moderate to vigorous physical activity can burn sufficient calories toward weight loss or maintenance .  Calorie expenditure is determined by many factors:  body weight, muscle movement, body temperature, food for fuel.  Recently, Colleen shared her daily calorie expenditure that she tracked using her new Body Bug, a calorie tracking device, on different days at various activity levels.  Here’s a sample:

Day 1 = Resting at home, little to light activity         

1,500 calories

Day 2 = Workday, mostly sedentary + one hour cardio on elliptical trainer                                                                                        

2,100 calories

Day 3 = Workday, mostly sedentary + one hour cardio/strength intervals with Trainer                                                                               

2,300 calories

Day 4 = Home day, five hours heavy household chores/gardening

  3,500 calories

As she stated, its not just the event or period, but a total of the day’s activities that determines total calorie expenditure, and as a result, weight loss.  While convenient, you don’t have to have a techy tracking device to determine your ability to burn calories, just an awareness of how active you are. 

Try this:  Keep a weekly journal and jot down your general activity to see how each day compares.

Low-Carb Sports Drink

Check out this easy recipe for a low sugar drink I found online:

How to Make Low-Carb Sports Drink

It turns out that two tablespoons of lemon juice contain almost exactly the amount of potassium in 8 oz of a typical sports drink. So, if you want to make your own low-carb sports drink, it’s quite easy. Just mix together:

  • 1 cup (8 oz) water (not carbonated)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • small pinch of salt
  • Flavoring and sweetener to taste

Flavoring Ideas:

  • Crystal Light Drink Mix
  • Unsweetened Kool Aid (with sugar substitute to taste)
  • Sugar-Free Flavored Syrups such as Da Vinci or Torino

Eating Healthier

 Not sure what you can do to eat healthier?  Here are some suggestions:

 Eat 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. 

Incorporate more whole grains into your diet to include foods that use words “whole grain” or “whole wheat”. 

Minimize your consumption of the bad saturated and trans fats by eating fewer processed foods.

 Take extra time to create your eating plan and food shopping to include a balance of foods groups. 

Finally, space your calories out throughout the day, and avoid fast food and sugary snacks. 

What does healthy eating do for your health?  

Eating healthy meals and snacks that include foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants are vital to bolstering your immune system and improving our body’s functions.   Not to mention helping to maintain your figure!

Get Active!

Take time to make physical activity a regular part of your day.

Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy—and your can achieve health benefits from just 10 minutes at a time. Keep it interesting by trying something different each day.

 Take the dog for a walk, join the office softball or bowling team, get off the metro one stop early, or do stretches, basic exercises, or dance while listening to your favorite radio program or watching tv.

 Be ready anytime, by keeping some comfy clothes and a pair of walking shoes in the car.  What’s important is to be active most days of the week, and remember to have fun.

 For additional benefits and resources, go to mypyramid.gov.

Benefits of Physical Activity

Why be Active? With over 65% of American adults figured to be overweight, major health organizations report that physical activity stimulates weight loss, and weight loss can affect overall better health. 

 Physical activity involves consistent movement of the body. This could mean 30-60 minutes or smaller blocks of 10-15 minutes each day.  You gain the most health benefits from moderate to vigorous daily activity –  which means it should feel “somewhat hard to hard” to perform.  What exactly does this hard work do for us?

 It can reduce the risk of developing or dying from the major illnesses that affect our society today.  This includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.  It can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps prevent or slow osteoporosis and symptoms of arthritis.

  Due to the release of feel good hormones like endorphins it helps you reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, gain self-confidence, sleep better, and improve strength and endurance for other activities. Simply, you just feel better!