Category Archives: Health Information

6 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Health

Spring is the perfect time for a fresh start. Don’t just spring clean your home. Here are 6 simple ways you can spring clean your health.

1 | Lighten Up

Goodbye winter comfort foods! Lighten up your diet and enjoy in-season produce like asparagus and strawberries.

2 | Get Outside

Enjoy the warmer weather and longer days. Move workouts outdoors or go for a lunchtime walk!

3| Take a Break

Whether you’re off to the beach or planning a staycation, time spent relaxing and recharging is good for your health.

4 | Freshen Up Your Workout

New season, new workout! Kick workout boredom to the curb. Switch it up and try a new exercise class.

5 | Clean Out the Pantry

Purge the pantry and fridge of unhealthy temptations and stock up on healthier options.

6 | Whole Health Focus

Schedule preventative appointments, manage your stress, and take care of your whole self.

A healthy summer bucket list

The days are longer and the weather is warmer. Don’t let summer slip into fall without checking a few items off Weigh and Win’s healthy summer bucket list. Here’s to a healthy, fun summer.

Healthy summer bucket list:

  1. Visit a farmers’ market and cook a meal with local ingredients.
  2. Go for a hike on a local trail.
  3. Unplug for an entire day. That means no TV, computer or smartphone.
  4. Give morning meditation a try for one week.

Download the full bucket list.

Weigh and Win is a free community wellness program that PAYS you to achieve a healthy weight. For more information or to join the Weigh and Win program, visit www.WeighandWin.com or call 1-800-694-0352.

5 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Health

Winter hibernation is over. Spring is the perfect time for a fresh start. Here are five easy ways you can spring clean your health this year.

  1. Clean Out Cupboards: Purge the pantry and fridge of unhealthy temptations and stock up on healthier whole grains, fresh produce, and good-for-you snacks.
  2. Lighten Up: Say goodbye to winter comfort foods. Lighten up your diet and enjoy in-season produce like asparagus, peas and strawberries.
  3. Get Outside: Enjoy the warmer weather and longer days. Take a lunchtime walk, enjoy a weekend hike or play a sport with your kids! Vitamin D improves mood and supports a healthy immune system.
  4. Watch Your Sugar: Winter = holiday candy overload. Cut back on sweets, drinks and other foods high in added sugar. Fuel your body in a healthier way.
  5. Take Inventory: Be real with yourself. Look at what is and isn’t working with your healthy eating and active living goals. Switch it up and set new goals.

For more information or to join the Weigh and Win program, visit www.WeighandWin.com or call
800-694-0352

5 Easy, Healthy Summer Goals

 

The days are longer, the weather is warm and fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant. Summer is a great time to commit to healthy behaviors. Here are five easy, healthy summer goals to accomplish. Let’s make this summer your healthiest one yet!

1 | Challenge Yourself

Set a health goal outside your comfort zone: join a running group, hike a 14er, try a new exercise class, walk every day – the options are endless.

2 | Cook Colorfully

Strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon – there’s an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make your meals as colorful as possible.

3 | Disconnect for a Day

According to a study, 20 percent of smart phone users check their phone every 10 minutes! Take an entire day and disconnect from technology.

4 | Get Outside Every Day

Don’t let summer slip away, make it a point to get outside every day and do something active. Try a daily lunchtime or post-dinner walk.

5 | Make H2O Your Go-To

Drinking water is a healthy habit to maintain, especially during the summer. Make H20 your go-to beverage of choice. Try a refreshing fruit infused water for a treat!

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!

 

8 Healthy Earth Day Activities

8 Healthy Earth Day Activities-01

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!

6 Steps for Sticking with Your New Year’s Resolutions

2017-new-you-logo

1 | Start Small

Set realistic goals and timelines. Create a goal of hitting the gym 3-4 times a week instead of every day or losing 10 pounds in two months instead of 60 pounds in one year.

2 | Focus on One Thing 

Unhealthy behaviors don’t develop overnight and neither do healthy ones. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a laundry list of goals. Focus on one thing at a time. Once you feel confident in sustainable change with one habit, tackle another.

3 | Seek Support

It’s easier to stick with your resolution if you’re not doing it alone. Encourage a family member, friend or co-worker to join the journey or sign-up for a program like Weigh and Win for support. Our Health Coaches are always available to help you.

4 | Be Easy on Yourself

Did you skip a couple workouts or over-indulge on unhealthy foods over the weekend? Don’t beat yourself up or let it derail you. Missteps will happen. Get back on track and keep working on your resolutions.

5 | Track and Evaluate 

Keep track of your progress and recognize any set-backs. Do you frequently skip going to the gym after work? Start working out in the morning instead.

6 | Celebrate your Successes

Did you hit 10,000 steps every day this month? Did you achieve your weight loss goal? Celebrate those successes in a way that won’t undo your hard work like a massage or new workout clothes!

A Calorie is a Calorie IS a Calorie…or is it?

Many fad diets and outdated studies have suggested that all calories are created equal and that in order to manage weight loss, counting calories is the simple solution to the problem. What this equation has failed to include is that not all calories are actually treated equally in the body. In fact, depending on the macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein), and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber) in a given food, the body will actually digest at different rates. This ultimately will determine how much work the body has to exert to digest the food, as well as, how long food is stored in the body and will ultimately be converted into fat for storage.

While it’s true that all calories do have the same amount of energy (think: fuel), the complex nature of the body’s processes do not see it this simply. Rather, it is important to know that different foods will actually undergo different biochemical pathways to use these calories efficiently. Even the smallest of nutrients in a food impacts the body’s hormonal and brain centers, where the body’s digestive and metabolizing roadmaps are housed.

Here are some ways to use calories to your advantage:

Focus on Fiber

Fiber not only helps to bind to toxins stored in your digestive tract and flush them from your system, but it also helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of other foods such as refined sugars, which are quickly absorbed into the blood stream and in excess amounts, contribute to fat storage and weight gain. While many of us assume that drinking a cup of apple juice has the same benefit as eating a whole apple, this isn’t necessarily true. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have compared the two and note that, “as a food changes form, its fiber content may change, too,” noting how a whole apple has about 4 grams of fiber, compared to the more refined apple juice with only about 2 grams of fiber. Their recommendation: “Enjoy the health benefits of applesauce and apple juice but for the most fiber, go straight to the source—the entire apple!”

Calorie Comparison-01

Don’t Fear the Fats

Generations ago, the health industry raved about how low-fat/no-fat diets are the key to losing weight, preventing heart disease, and mitigating a whole host of health conditions. The problem with this, we soon learned, is that our bodies actually need certain fats and that this tasty ingredient isn’t necessarily the sole reason for our expanding waistlines or ailing hearts! You likely hear facts about how some fats are healthful and others, detrimental. Did you know that fats also play another role in our health? They slow digestion and the absorption of high-calorie foods, especially those that are nourishing—polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acid-containing. Some of these fats include those found in nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, coconut, and even lean meats. Consumed moderately, these fatty foods provide protective and inflammatory modulating factors. So when we look to compare fatty foods and how they help or harm our health, aim for moderate amounts from those abundantly nourishing foods listed above!

Serving Sizes—Sized Up

When you fill up on processed and unhealthier food choices, you might notice that you often struggle to feel satisfied. Maybe you even overeat in order to attempt to reach that point of satiation in your meal, but instead end up overeating because of this failed attempt! Caught in this struggle is something that many folks face even in a daily basis. The best way to overcome this struggle and to avoid overeating is to instead, fill up your servings with nutrient-dense foods. This means, opt for foods that are abundant in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, high-quality protein, and fiber. Without a doubt, you’ll feel full sooner and satisfied for longer! To show the impact of poor versus good food choices, take a look at the example below. Notice how an evening at a local pizza joint can quickly leave you with excessive amounts of calories, fats, and processed carbohydrates, without sufficient fiber and a notable lack of the vitamins and minerals your body yearns for. On the other hand, see the second option, whereby you can actually see MORE options included in the meal, but with substantially LESS calories and fat, with more fiber and variety.  Let this be a reminder at the impact that processed and high-calorie foods can have on you the next time you opt for dining out—or in!

OPTION 1

2 slices of pizza (pepperoni with cheese); 6 hot chicken wings; 1 large Coca-Cola (12 oz)

Calories Fat (g) Protein (g) Carbs (g) Fiber (g)
Pizza 430 18 16 50 2
Chicken Wings 300 19.5 25.5 7.5 1.5
Coca-Cola 143 0 0 39.9 0
TOTAL 873 37.5 41.5 97.4 3.5

 

OPTION 2

1 turkey wrap (lettuce, mustard, tomato); baked butternut squash (1 cup) (sprinkled with olive oil, paprika and parmesan cheese); fresh fruit salad (1/2 cup) with Greek yogurt (1/2 cup- plain; low-fat); 1 large unsweetened sparkling water with lime

Calories Fat (g) Protein (g) Carbs (g) Fiber (g)
Turkey Wrap 354 4.5 28.7 45.8 4.2
Butternut Squash 147 7.8 2.3 21.5 2.1
Fresh Fruit Salad 98 0 1 24 1
Greek Yogurt 130 3 17 7 0
Sparkling Water 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 729 14.8 33.7 98.3 7.3

 

The Bottom Line

Are all calories the same? Simply put, yes AND no. They do have the same energy when it comes to fueling your body, regardless of how these are consumed. Weight is gained through consuming excess calories, yes, but the WAY your body utilizes these calories varies. This is based on the amount of high-quality macro- and micronutrients in the food itself. Focusing on healthful fats and fiber plays a key role in slowing the digestion and provides lower calorie options in place of over processed food products that often wreck havoc when over-consumed.

Reference:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Apples or Apple Juice. Retrieve August 12, 2016. Accessed from:                 http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/apples-or-apple-juice

Cycling to Good Health

Recently Weigh and Win participant Juana Martinez not only lost her brother, her health was also suffering. After months of not feeling well, she made an appointment with her doctor.

“I have a family history of diabetes and have seen first-hand the trouble my family members have experienced as a result of their diabetes. So when my doctor told me I was borderline diabetic, it was the wakeup call I needed,” said Juana.

Juana immediately changed her eating habits and made physical activity a priority by beginning to bike to work every day.

“I love the way I feel riding to and from work. It clears my mind and I get my exercise in for the day. Plus, I’m saving money on parking and a bus pass.”

Cycling has also helped Juana strengthen the muscles in her legs, reducing the pain in her hips and knees.

“I’m able to do challenging hikes now. I even climbed my first 14er.”

In addition to biking, Juana joined Weigh and Win, a free Colorado program that provides technology-based health coaching, progress tracking and cash rewards for weight improvement.

“Every day I read through my coaching email from Weigh and Win. Whether it’s learning about heart rate or portion control – it gets me engaged in my health. The photographed weigh-ins are really beneficial. As I’m toning up and getting stronger, I can go back and compare what I look like now to the old me. It motivates me because I don’t want to be the person I was before.”

Two years later, Juana is twenty three pounds lighter and feels healthier and stronger than ever before.

“I love the way I feel after a long bike ride. I’m always sharing what I’m doing with friends and family, and encouraging them to get outside and get healthier, too.”

5 Ways to Get Involved in Parks & Recreation Month

July is heating up and now is the time for enjoying all that summer has to offer!  July is also National Park and Recreation Month and is a great time to show appreciation for all the many benefits our parks have to offer. Whether at a city, state, or national level, parks play a vital role in the health of any community. Not only can they be the perfect backdrop for beautiful scenery and for providing ample green space, they are great for managing stress, preventing crime, and for providing a safe haven for wildlife. Looking for some ideas of how to enjoy your local parks this month?

Power-Of-Parks-Infographic

Tip #1: Find an All-Inclusive Park

Looking for some scenic trails? Or maybe just some peace and quiet is on your agenda. Maybe you’d like to enjoy some paddle boating or cycling. Whatever you have in mind, seek out a park that offers a variety of activities for the whole family. Many parks offer a large open space that’s great for Frisbee throwing or running about with your favorite furry friend. If playing sports is on your list, look for a park that has a number of sports fields available so that kicking a soccer ball or running in for that touchdown is that much more fun! Finding a park with a BBQ grill is not always easy, but can be such a great way to entertain everyone.  Opting for a park with so much to offer ensures all of your family and friends will have plenty to do—leaving you with plenty of smiles and wonderful memories.

Tip #2:  Plan Ahead

Whether you opt for a quaint local destination or plan to stay for the weekend at a National Park, plan ahead. Many parks require a fee for using their facilities and require you schedule an appointment in advance. And if you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, make sure to include plenty of healthy snacks and beverages. Try:

  • Water
  • Iced tea
  • Fresh fruit
  • Cut veggies
  • Turkey or chicken wraps
  • Casseroles

Tip #3: Wait for Free Days

Many parks, particularly state and national parks will offer free park admission days. Check with your local park’s service to learn more about which days will get you in for a deal. These listings can generally be found on the park’s website. If you’d prefer to call and learn of these days, you can generally reach a representative who can assist you.

To learn more about the parks in your area, visit the National Recreation and Park Association website at www.nrpa.org

Tip #4: Look for Special Events and Festivals

It seems as though there are always activities happening at local parks. Look online for local festivities and mark your calendar so you can be reminded of these events. Some things to consider are cultural fairs, food festivals (opt for the healthier choices, of course!), children-specific events, family picnics, movies or music in the parks, sporting events, and more! Sometimes there is a fee associated with these, however, many are free. This can be an easy way to entertain your family or spend time with your friends, so be daring and try something new!

Tip #5: Get Active!

Regardless of what you choose to do at the park, just know the possibilities are endless. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind the next time you are planning for your park getaway:

  • Go mountain biking
  • Enjoy an easy (or difficult) hike
  • Try kayaking
  • Rent a paddleboard
  • Camp (or try “Glamping” if you’d prefer a little bit more luxury in your outdoor experience)
  • Go birdwatching
  • Visit a historic site
  • Try rafting, canoeing, or tubing for some water fun!
  • Visit an adventure park or obstacle course
  • Go fishing
  • Join a sports team
  • Play on the playground (even if you’re only a kid at heart)
  • Get together some friends for outdoor yoga
  • Walk, run, skate, or ride the trails

According to a recent study by the National Park and Recreation Association, approximately 1,000 American adults were surveyed about their favorite outdoor summertime activities. The top 5 faves were:

  1. Having a picnic/barbeque (55%)
  2. Going for a walk/hike (49%)
  3. Going to the beach (40%)
  4. Exploring nature (36%)
  5. Attending festivals (30%)

What’s your favorite outdoor summertime activity?

 

Source: http://www.nrpa.org/blog/how-americans-will-spend-their-time-outside-this-summer/