Seven Tips to Better Health
Does Your New Year’s Resolution include getting healthier?
If so, here are some easy to implement changes that can make a big difference in your health.
Drink Water instead of any other drinks.
This includes diet drinks. Research has strongly shown that artificial sweeteners actually contribute to weight gain. I remember one coworker who needed to lose about 50 pounds. During a visit to a Registered Dietitian, he reveals that he fixed a gallon of sweet tea to take to work each day. During his shift he would drink the entire gallon. After the dietitian calculated how many calories were in the sweet tea, she recommended that he change to water. He did. Before long the weight just melted away. That was the only change he made.
Another client comes to mind. Our sports med/exercise guy had been the first to have an appointment with this particular client. She was newly diagnosed with diabetes and would not see the dietitian for another five days. So the exercise guy did his usual assessment and briefly discussed some of the changes she could make in her diet until she could meet with the Registered Dietitian in a few days. One of the things we always did was to calculate the amount of water the client needed to drink to enhance weight loss efforts. Hers turned out to be two gallons per day. He made a follow-up appointment to see her in six weeks.
Ordinarily, I (as the Registered Nurse) would do the calculation of how much water the client should drink for maximum weight loss benefit and have that conversation, but on this day, it was the exercise guy. There was one precaution that I always told clients and that is to not drink more than two gallons without permission from their medical physician (due to cardiac and renal issues that may be unknown to us). The exercise guy either forgot to tell her or the patient forgot that bit of caution.
Five days later, the client did not show up for her appointment with the Registered Dietitian nor for her appointment with me (the Registered Nurse) a few days later. At that point, we supposed we would not see her again.
However, we were wrong.
Six weeks later, at 1PM, the door to our shared office opened and in walked a client. I was alone in the office at the moment, so I greeted her and asked how I could help her. She said she had an appointment with our exercise guy. I went a looked on his appointment schedule and realized who this had to be.
I looked at her once…and then again. I tried really hard not to be rude…but this could NOT possibly be the same woman who was here six weeks ago and had been a “no show” for both the dietitian and me! This woman just did not look the same … at all!
Moments later the exercise guy returned from lunch and proceeded with weighing her and the second appointment activities. She had lost 42 pounds in 42 days!!!!!!
During the first appointment, the exercise guy asked her if she had ever tried to lose weight before. She said she had tried everything — Weight Watchers, Tops, South Beach Diet, Adkins diet, etc. They all worked the first week or so. After that, the results tended to vary.
At the end of this appointment, the exercise guy asked what she thought was making the difference this time. Her answer, “the water.” She said that other diets had all said to “drink more water”, but none had told her how much until now. She said the water has to be the difference.
As it turned out, she had been sick enough from the undiagnosed diabetes that she had lost her job. So after her first appointment, she decided her fulltime job was to get well enough to go back to work. Her instructions had been to exercise once a day following the exercise plan the exercise guy had set up for her. She decided if once a day was good, twice a day was better.
When she was told to drink two gallons of water per day, she decided that if two gallons was good, three gallons were better.
THREE Gallons!!! Holy Moly!!!! That’s a LOT of water!
She reported that she drank one gallon between breakfast and lunch. Another gallon between lunch and the time her daughter arrived home from school (about 4pm). And the third gallon between 4pm and 8pm. That way she could get some sleep without getting up to go to the bathroom every hour toward morning.
We did recommend that she cut back to “only” two gallons per day.
The next time she came for a weigh in (six weeks later), she had lost “only” 25 pounds! Still about four pounds per week!
Her results were truly extraordinary. But many of our clients experienced significant weight loss with simple exercises that were done in their own homes with no special equipment, making changes in eating habits, and drinking the right amount of water for their current weight and desired weight goals.
Turn Off ALL Distractions and Slow Down.
Turn off the television and the cell phones and pay attention when you eat. This means to take a bite, put down your fork/spoon, savor the flavors and textures. Pay attention to every bite. Make sure you chew completely and swallow that bite before picking up you eating utensil again. This allows the first bit of nutrients to reach the far side of your stomach so you can be alerted when you have had enough. It takes about 20 minutes for the first bite to reach the part of your stomach that signals that you have begun eating.
Stop Eating When You Are No Longer Hungry.
Notice I did NOT say “when you are full”. Eat just enough to take the edge off your appetite. Then stop. If you are hungry again in an hour, it’s okay to have a few more bites. But you do NOT need to stuff yourself until you are so fuk that you are miserable.
Have the Salad Dressing on the Side.
If you are eating out, always ask for salad dressing on the side. Then whenever you are ready to take a bite of salad, dip the tips of the tines of you fork in the salad dressing and stab that piece of lettuce or tomato or whatever in your salad and eat it. That way, every bite will have the flavor of your salad dressing. However the salad will be long gone and you will have salad dressing left over. That means you enjoyed you salad with dressing for ever bite, but avoided excess calories. You can do this at home, too. Just place a small amount of salad dressing on a saucer. Then simply dip the tips of the tines of your fork in the salad dressing with each bite.
Use a Smaller Plate.
I know this sounds a little crazy. But research support the fact that we want the plate to “look” full. So a smaller plate will look full with less food on it. Also, if you happen to have been raised to be a member of “the Clean Plate Club”, you won’t need to eat as many calories to “clean you plate”.
Eliminate as many Empty Calories as possible.
What do we mean by “empty calories”? The easiest way I have found to think of calories is to draw a parallel to money.
When you have a certain amount of money to spend you want to stretch it to cover as many of your needs as possible, right? You need to make sure there is a roof over your family’s head, clothes to keep them warm, shoes for their feet, and food to stay healthy.
The same it true when it comes to nutrition. Your body requires certain types and amounts of nutrients to stay healthy.
We all need protein to build and repair/replace cells that are damaged or die off each moment of each day. We need little bit of fat to make certain crucial hormones for good health. We need enough carbohydrates to provide energy for all that manufacturing of cells and for energy to walk and talk our way through each day. There are crucial vitamins and minerals that our body would struggle and eventually die without.
Foods that provide multiple necessary nutrients are a “good investment” of calories. Fresh and frozen vegetables, fresh fruit, baked and grilled chicken, fish, pork, and beef would be considered a “good investment” in calories – up to your total max calories. Foods that supply few or none of the necessary nutrients are foods that have “empty calories.” One very common source of empty calories are in drinks. Any drink that has calories and not much else would be one with “empty calories.” Soft drinks, Kool-Aid, fruit-flavored drinks, alcoholic drinks of any kind, i.e. wine, beer, liquor. All are empty calories! When you eat these, you spend calories and get nothing useful in return. In other words, you get ripped off! Another source of empty calories are sweets and desserts i.e. candy, candy bars, cookies, cake, pie, ice cream, brownies, etc. I really hate to admit this, but I love the foods in this category…and the calories are nearly devoid of anything worthwhile.
Take a “good” multi-vitamin-mineral supplement to fill in the gaps in your diet
In today’s world, it is hard to get all your nutrients from food. In theory, it can be done. However, the study that comes to mind regarding how likely it is to happen was done several years ago and the people being studied were dietitians. The study looked a one three-day period…just 72 hours. The dietitians knew the study was trying to see how many people could “eat right” for three days in a row. Even with all that the dietitians knew, and knowing the study was only going to last three day, less than three percent were able to obtain all the necessary nutrients from food alone. LESS than 3 %!!! That means that more than 97% of dietitians — who know exactly how much of which foods they need to eat — were able to actually achieve it. What do you think the odds are for you and me? I am thinking “not so great”!
Finding a good multivitamin
Finding a good multivitamin is not as easy at you may think. I know as a Registered Nurse with a Master of Science in Nursing I was embarrassed at how little I actually knew about nutrition. Many medical doctors know even less because it was rare that a medical school required any nutrition courses outside the one or two clock hours regarding diabetic, renal, cardiac, pregnancy, and a few other not-so-common diets. Mostly they were taught to “consult the Registered Dietitian.”
It was when I was pregnant with my second child that my childbirth educator brought up the question of how prenatal vitamins were made and the source for these vitamins that we were taking so faithfully during our pregnancy. It was also during that pregnancy that I exhibited signs of vitamin deficiency for the very vitamins that were supposed to be in my prenatal vitamins.
As the adventuresome student in the class, I ventured a guess, “from food?” [Seemed logical to me.]
Much to my total amazement, food was NOT the source for my prenatal vitamins. When I found out how the prenatals were (and still are) made, I was totally appalled and stopped taking my prenatals from the doctor immediately! I knew I did not eat right, but I didn’t want “those” getting to my unborn baby either!
If you would like to know more about how most name brand vitamins are made, join me on my upcoming webinar, “Living Healthy in Today’s World” . You will have a chance to ask questions live. There will be special bonuses for attendees of the live webinar that will not be available once the webinar ends.