Health Benefits of Gardening

1 | STRESS RELIEF

Studies show that those who garden show lower cortisol levels (stress hormone) directly afterwards.

2 | EXERCISE

Digging, planting, weeding – all these activities help get your heart pumping!

3 | BETTER MENTAL HEALTH

Gardening has been shown to help improve depression symptoms.

4 | NUTRITION

The food you grow with your own two hands is the freshest, healthiest food you can eat!

 

From Walking to Running a Marathon, to Losing 125 Pounds!

Kristin Arnold is proof that baby steps add up – to 52,400 to be exact!

“Two years ago, I was sitting at the Paramount Café eating with my kids. I was close to 300 pounds. I remember seeing all the people who just ran the Colfax Marathon and feeling so proud for them and a little bit envious,” shared Weigh and Win member Kristin Arnold.

Arnold-Personal-Before

“Little did I know, that two years later I would be 125 pounds lighter and running the Colfax Marathon myself!”

In January of 2016, Kristin Arnold joined the free Kaiser Permanente supported Weigh and Win program and began her transformation to better health.

“What I like about Weigh and Win is that it keeps me accountable. With the photographed kiosk weigh-ins, I knew that if the scale didn’t move or went the wrong way – I needed to make new changes. The cash rewards for my weight loss keep me motivated too!”

Kristin started improving her diet and eating more nutritious foods. Then, she began walking to incorporate exercise into her weight loss plan and starting running a few months after.

“I have never been able to run around a track once in my life without stopping. And now to run a marathon seven months later at the age of 43 blows my mind!”

Kristin had been losing weight consistently, but as soon as she began running she noticed a drastic weight change.

“I have lost 125 pounds, gone from a size 24 to a size 8 and I feel amazing. I have energy to do anything I want. I made my daughter run with me in the beginning and I have inspired a love for running in her as well. All I want in life is to be an inspiration to my family and to be healthy enough to lead a long life and enjoy every minute of it.”

Arnold-Running

Kristin’s advice to anyone thinking of improving their health and starting their running journey: “Take it one day at a time. You may have bad days. The important thing is to start again the next day and never give up.”

“I am running the Colfax Marathon this year as a reward to myself. A reward for how far I have come. Hopefully I will keep my daughter motivated and she will run it with me as a reward to herself next year.”

8 Healthy Earth Day Activities

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1 | Plant a Tree

Trees absorb pollutants making the air we breathe cleaner. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.” Trees can also provide shade on a hot summer day.

2 | Go on a Hike

By enjoying the outdoors, you have firsthand exposure to oxygen and vitamin D. You can also get your heartrate up while enjoying the views.

3 | Cook a Healthy Meal Over a Fire

Build a small fire and grill your favorite veggies and lean meats to enjoy a healthy, fresh cooked meal.

4 | Visit a Farmer’s Market

Farmers markets showcase the freshest seasonal produce from your local farmers in a fun and festive open-air shopping experience.

5 | Unplug for an Hour

Put down your phone and pick up a book! Even better, leave your phone at home (or in the car) and take your book to a local park so you can enjoy the benefits of being outside.

6 | Bike to Work

Combine the benefits of less pollution with more physical activity!

7 | Plant some Fruits and Veggies in Your Garden

You will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor in a few months when you’re consuming your own freshly grown produce.

8 | Volunteer to Pick up Trash in Your Community

Make your neighborhood a better place!

Is Stress Eating Interfering with Your Healthy Weight Progress?

STRESS EATING-01
Playing a major role in every aspect of life, negative stress is a result of everything from mundane daily life tasks, to feeling ill; or in the most severe of situations- major career shifts, lost loved ones, and even difficulty with managing weight. So what’s the toll this constant bombardment of stress can have on us? Well, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, some common effects of stress include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Anger
  • Depression

What we don’t always consider are the impacts that stress can have on our lifestyle choices and daily behaviors. Stress, especially when chronic, can lead to episodes of over-or undereating, drug or alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, and a decrease in physical activity.  These factors not only interfere with achieving a healthy lifestyle, but these are particularly impacted when trying to lose weight.


The Food + Mood Connection

Eating comfort foods (i.e., sweet, salty, and fatty or fried foods) during times of stress can not only pack on unnecessary pounds but it can further impact mood and raise the risk for anxiety, guilt and even depression. In fact, reaching for your favorite comfort foods can become such a common response, that it often deviates from allowing you to cope with stress in a healthy and meaningful way.  Instead of opting for food during times of stress, try out some alternatives.FOOD MOOD-01

Healthy Alternatives to Comfort Foods

1 | Learn the signals of stress

Become familiar with stress and how you typically respond to it. Instead of allowing the element of surprise to increase your stress and hinder your ability to cope, anticipate when something may become stressful and learn ways to adapt.

2 | Go on a walk

Rather than making a mad dash for that pint of ice cream in your freezer, opt for a 20 minute walk outside. Even if the weather is not optimal, the fresh air can really help to clear your mind, allowing for you to think of positive ways to overcome the situation; not to mention, exercise stimulates blood flow and stimulates the feel-good endorphins in your brain!

3 | Keep healthy snacks on hand

Instead of having those foods that interfere with you being healthy, opt for fresh cut fruits and veggies, whole-grain granola, Greek yogurt, low-fat string cheese, and sparkling water. It’s far easier to choose these foods when the junk foods aren’t easily accessible, so replace those unnecessary foods with those your body can really benefit from!

4 | Find an alternative to boredom

Tend to reach for comfort foods out of boredom? Seek out an alternative, such as reading, journaling, meditation, walking, stretching, talking with a loved one, spending time with a pet, or listening to music. Allow these positive distractions to help you overcome the fear of boredom and any stress that comes along with it.

5 | Identify setbacks

This happens to us all! Instead of beating yourself up over giving into that tempting pizza because you just had a rough day, accept that it was just a bad day and it was just pizza. Tomorrow is a new day and full of opportunities to focus on making healthy choices.

Above all else, be patient with yourself and learn that creating new habits takes time. When you learn positive ways to overcome stress, it’s pretty incredible the possibilities you begin to create!

Source:
Healthy Lifestyle: Stress management. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987 Accessed Apr 10, 2017.

 

Six Tips for Healthy Grilling

six healthy grill tips-01

1 | Grill Leaner

Choose leaner cuts of meat for grilling. Make sure excess fat is trimmed to reduce the amount of fat dripping onto the grill. Select meats like skinless chicken breasts, ground turkey instead of ground beef or even fresh fish like salmon and mahi mahi.

2 | Marinade, marinade, marinade!

This gives flavor to leaner cuts of meat without adding more fat. Choose healthier marinating options like the use of less sodium sauces, vinegar, or even fresh citrus juices like lemons, limes and oranges.

3 | Go Whole Wheat

Pick whole wheat or multi-grain buns. Or, skip the buns all together and make kebabs alternating pieces of onion, peppers and your choice of lean meat on a stick.

4 | Healthier Sides

The calories and fat content in sides can add up quick. Swap mayo-based salads for oil and vinegar or Greek yogurt versions. Ditch the salty potato chips and dip for veggies and hummus.

 5 | Add Some Color

Add more fruits and vegetables to the grill to get more antioxidants out of your typical barbecue meal. Try grilling zucchini, onions, bell peppers, pears and pineapples to add some unique and healthy flavors to your plain old burgers.

6 | Fruit-Filled Desserts

Cure your sweet tooth with sweet, in season fruit. Make a fresh berry cobbler with granola and Greek yogurt or throw a slice of watermelon or pineapple on the grill for a post dinner treat!

 


lemon thyme chicken-01

  • 1 Pound Chicken Breast, cut into one inch chunks
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Yellow Squash
  • Cherry Tomatoes
Marinade Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme (or your favorite fresh herbs!)
Instructions:
  • Combine marinade ingredients in a sealable bag. Add cut chicken and vegetables.
  • Marinade for four hours.
  • Thread items onto skewers and grill until it is meat is cooked and vegetables are tender.

Dessert: Grilled Coconut Pineapple

Lightly brush pineapple rings with coconut oil and grill. Enjoy with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

 

Nike Gift Cards for April HEALTHpoints

Do you want to win a $100 Nike Gift Card? Earn 300+ HEALTHpoints in April and you will automatically be entered to win one of three $100 Gift Cards.

To learn more about HEALTHpoints, login to your Weigh and Win account and click on the ‘HEALTHpoints & Prizes’ tab from the top menu.

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Congratulations to the March HEALTHpoints winners of iPod Nanos:

  • Maverick – Thornton
  • Calina – Denver

*All winners are randomly selected from the list of all participants earning 300+ HEALTHpoints.