Friday, June 29, 2012

6 Health Strategies to Follow this Summer

Let's face it, with the summer now upon us, it makes staying or getting back in shape that much more important. Here are some health and fitness strategies from Dr. Wayne Andersen, a past contributor to this blog, that will help you stay in the game rather than watch from the bench.

1.  Weigh Yourself 1 Time per Day – Many diet programs suggest that you should weigh yourself once a week and look for the trend of weight loss.  This is what I suggest because I don’t want you to focus on the weight loss, but on healthy habits instead. But recent studies now show that daily weighing could be a key to lasting weight loss.  Researchers at the University of Minnesota monitored the habits of 1,800 dieting adults, and they found that those who checked their weight daily lost twice as much as other dieters who monitored their weight weekly. First thing in the morning is the best time to get on the scale. You should expect small day-to-day fluctuations because of water shift (bloat or dehydration).

2.  Watch No More Than 2 Hours of TV A Day – Watching TV keeps you from calorie-burning activities such as tennis, biking, yard work, or walking the dog.  Instead, you become a sitting duck for the junk-food commercials. Studies have recently shown that adults who watch more than 2 hours of TV per day take in more calories than those who watch less than an hour a day.  If you must watch TV, take advantage of the commercials and march in place, jog around the house, do sit ups, or ride a stationary bike while watching your show.

3. Support is so important to your success!  Seek out to find the best support for you. Also find a friend that you can check in with. I have a workout buddy, which I find, helps me return to the gym every day. 

4.  Eat 4 Grams of Fiber in Every Meal or Snack – A high fiber diet can fill you up and lower your overall caloric intake without making you feel deprived.  In a recent study at Tufts University study, women who ate only 13 grams of fiber or less per day were 5 times as likely to be overweight as those who ate more fiber.  Why? Well, possibly because it speeds the passage of food through the digestive tract and boosts satiety hormones.  We are lucky because Medifast meals each have added fiber to them making them the perfect choice!

5.  Take 5 Thousand Extra Steps Daily – The average steps a normal person takes per day between going to work, running errands and doing chores is around 5,000. Studies from the University of South Carolina and another from the University of Tennessee showed that people who took fewer then 5,000 steps a day were heavier then those who took at least 9,000.  Walking 10,000 steps per day have been linked to having a higher (good) HDL, a lower blood pressure, stabilized blood sugar, and lower percentage of body fat and lower weight.  Pedometers are inexpensive and easy to use.  They are a great reminder for you to “get up and go”!   It is easy to get those extra 5,000 steps in daily… you can go for about a 50 minute walk (2 ½ miles per day).

6.  Never Work Over 9 Hours – A recent study found that adults who gained weight in the previous year were more likely to have work many overtime hours. The reason for the weight gain could be that the person is too tired for exercise, works late to exercise, chooses high caloric-dense fast foods for dinner, or the stress of their job is causing weight gain through hormonal changes in cortisol.  Make sure to set firm limits on your work days so that you have time to enjoy life, exercise, and prepare healthy meals.

Dr. Wayne Andersen is the Medical Director for Take Shape for Life Wellness program. He is board certified in internal medicine and specializes in weight management. Dr. Andersen graduated from University of Florida. Involved with Johns Hopkins in collaborating studies to show the efficacy of meal replacements, Dr. Andersen’s goal is to provide simple, convenient means for people to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle

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