Healthy Heart

Don’t let a rainy day get you down. There are always healthy activities for rainy days.

During the spring months, you’re likely to be more enthusiastic about going outside to do fun, healthy activities like hiking, running, cycling, or even just going for a walk or bringing your yoga workout outdoors. Unfortunately, along with spring flowers come spring showers, which can make going outside unpleasant. Instead of using the wet weather as an excuse to plop down on the couch, consider doing a healthy activity instead. Here are a few great ideas!  At Doctor for Life we encourage keeping yourself moving for your body but also keeping your brain engaged to maintain your sharp mind helping to make positive nutrition choices.  Give us a call at Doctor for Life and we can always help pick out some of these great ideas that fit your Healthy Lifestyle goals.864-640-0009

Rainy-day workouts.Being stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t do physical activity! Search YouTube. Find a workout routine you’d like to try and do it!

Try a new exercise. If you just want to try one or two new moves instead of an entirely new workout routine

Walk or pace. Is the TV calling? Want to scroll through your Facebook feed? Why not walk in place while you do those activities? It’s a low-impact way to fit in some activity.

Do some chores. Doing chores can help keep you moving! Try catching up on your backlog of laundry; going through cluttered areas of the house to determine what to keep, trash, or donate; or giving your bathroom a deep cleaning.

Dance a little. Beat the rainy day doldrums by putting on some fun, upbeat music and dancing around. (If you’re doing chores like laundry or cleaning the kitchen, combine the music and dancing with these tasks to make them more fun!)

Improve your nutrition

Hey you, with the snack food in your hand, headed in the direction of the TV—why don’t you try one of these ideas instead?

  • Clean out your fridge or pantry. This can not only help you get rid of expired food, but it also provides an opportunity for you to reorganize your kitchen in a way that supports healthy eating.
  • Make a new recipe. Use the indoors time to your advantage by making a healthy dish. Search online to find a new-to-you recipe.
  • Create a meal plan for the next few days. Having a meal plan can help you avoid impulsively eating snacks or spending too much money at the grocery store. In addition to planning out what meals you want to make, also write down what ingredients you need to purchase to make them.
  • Clean the germy areas in your kitchen. Just wiping down the counters isn’t enough! Keep your kitchen sparkling clean and clean the germy spots that aren’t always top of mind.
  • Start tracking your food. Being aware of what and how much you’re eating can help you with any nutrition and weight loss goals you may have. Use a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal (or your other favorite app), or just jot down what you eat (and your portions/serving sizes) in a notebook.

Other healthy activities

Keep your brain sharp and your stress levels down!

  • Read a book. There are so many potential health benefits of reading, like relieving stress, learning new things, and more.
  • Try a puzzle. Puzzles can help you keep your brain sharp and active. Do a jigsaw puzzle, a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or play some word games.
  • Write a letter. Write an email or letter to someone to express gratitude for their friendship. This simple act of kindness will brighten their day!
  • Try meditating. The raindrops hitting the windows will provide a relaxing and atmospheric touch to your meditation.
  • Take a little time for yourself. De-stress by unplugging and focusing on something you enjoy doing. Whether that’s taking a warm bath, watching your favorite movie, or doing a craft project or hobby, give yourself some uninterrupted time to do an activity that helps you feel happy and relaxed.
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The Many Benefits of Weight Loss

Did know you can reduce joint pain and other health risks by losing weight?

Although most people know that maintaining a healthy weight is important for their overall health, actually achieving weight loss and being at a healthy weight are different issues. Being overweight or obese is the number one health challenge facing the United States today.

Despite the fact that over 70 percent of Americans are currently considered overweight or obese, according to study data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the CDC, this health problem can be reversed. Even a modest weight loss of 5 or 10 pounds can provide immediate and long-term health benefits.

It’s important to keep in mind that losing weight is not a race – whether you need to lose 20, 50 or even 100 pounds – and that the benefits of losing weight and being physically active go far beyond how you look in the mirror. It’s a lifelong process to become a healthier you.

This is our specialty at Doctor for Life.  We take the approach of losing weight is only part of the plan for your Healthy Weight Lifestyle.  By combining Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine, our physicians and health care teams are always focused on the total transformation and not just one root issue.  We go beyond the scale with the InBody Test, a non-invasive body composition analysis that provides a detailed breakdown of your weight in terms of muscle, fat, and water. The InBody test provides us results with a 99% correlation to a DEXA scan. Give us a call today to take that first step to achieving all the positive changes following a Healthy Weight Lifestyle can bring to not only you but your family and loved ones as well.  864-640-0009

Benefits

Reduces pressure on your joints.  A 2005 study in Arthritis & Rheumatism of overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritisfound thatlosing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. In other words, losing just 10 pounds would relieve 40 pounds of pressure from your knees.

Eases pain and inflammation. The results of a 2010 study from the University of Paris published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease indicated that weight loss can lessen pain, improve function and lower inflammation levels in the body. Fat itself is an active tissue that creates and releases pro-inflammatory chemicals. The authors of another study titled Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Knee Osteoarthritis noted that exercise, which aids in weight loss, can help manage and lessen the pain and symptoms of arthritis.

Cuts risk of chronic diseases. Data from the CDC-led Diabetes Prevention Program show that a moderate weight loss – around 14 pounds – can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Weight loss can also reduce the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and can help prevent and treat arthritis and related diseases.

Makes breathing easier. Rena Wing, PhD, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School and director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., says that “Weight losses of just 10 percent of a person’s body weight (or about 20 pounds in those who weigh 200 pounds) have also been shown to have a long-term impact on sleep apnea …” Findings in a report from the American Heart Association noted that reducing obesity is the single, most changeable action that can be taken to prevent sleep apnea.

Lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that losing weight can lower your blood pressure into the healthy range. In addition, eating right and engaging in physical activity that leads to weight loss can also lower your cholesterol. Data suggest that even a moderate weight loss of 5 to 10 pounds can help to reduce your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Overall

Weight loss is a tough endeavor, but no single action can provide as many positive effects on the body as weight loss. Its benefits for your body – helping you live longer, and pain and disease free – far outnumber the challenges you’ll meet as you work toward your weight loss goal. Talk to us today at Doctor for Life and ask about starting your weight loss program to gain lasting, better overall physical and mental health.  

Some information in this post was content provided from the Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta, Ga.

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Great benefits of walking for heart health, including lower risk of heart attack and stroke

The benefits of physical activity depend on three elements: the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise.  At Doctor for Life we strongly suggest adding in daily physical activity to round out your Healthy Lifestyle Program.  We not only suggest it, in our programs we test your ability through Fitness Assessments, a written prescription, personal trainers and we are here every step of the way for your success.

Because walking is less intensive than running, you have to walk for longer periods, get out more often, or both to match the benefits of running. As a rough guide, the current American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine standards call for able-bodied adults to do moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes on five days each week or intense aerobic exercise (such as running) for at least 20 minutes three days each week. That makes running seem much more time-efficient — but if you factor in the extra warm-ups, cool-downs, and changes of clothing and shoes that runners need, the time differences narrow considerably. Add the time it takes to rehab from running injuries, and walking looks pretty good. Mix and match to suit your health, abilities, personal preferences, and daily schedules. Walk, jog, bike, swim, garden, golf, dance, or whatever, as long as you keep moving.

Benefits of walking for your health

The cardiovascular benefits of walking offer a great outcome for the effort; like other forms of regular moderate exercise, walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress. And if cardiac protection and a lower death rate are not enough to get you moving, consider that walking and other moderate exercise programs also help protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, colon cancer, and even erectile dysfunction.

Walking the walk

Walking has it all. Simple and natural, it doesn’t require any instruction or skill. It can be a very modest form of exercise or it can demand enough skill and intensity to be an Olympic sport. You can walk alone for solitude or with friends for companionship. You can walk indoors on a treadmill or outside in the city or country, at home or away. You can get all the benefits of moderate exercise with a very low risk of injury. And to boot, walking is inexpensive.

Walking and weight loss

Exercise burns calories. In the case of walking and running, the calories you burn depend much more on the distance you cover and your body weight than on your pace. This table shows calories burned per mile of walking or jogging on the level for people of varying weights:

A hundred or so calories a mile might not seem like much, but they can add up to better weight control. Give Doctor for Life a call today to get your personal fitness prescription and make that first step to better health.  864-640-0009

Walking calorie calculator

Your weight of 120 lbs burns approximately 85 calories per mile

Your weight of 140 lbs burns approximately 95 calories per mile

Your weight of 160 lbs burns approximately 105 calories per mile

Your weight of 180 lbs burns approximately 115 calories per mile

Your weight of 200 lbs burns approximately 125 calories per mile

Your weight of 220 lbs burns approximately 135 calories per mile

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Make Taco Tuesday Healthy

At Doctor for Life, we know it’s important for you to be able to enjoy some old time favorites.  With these tips, you can create a nutritious and delicious Taco Tuesday right at home while maintaining your healthy weight lifestyle program.

Taco Tuesday can be part of a healthy diet plan, if done right. Your upcoming Mexican-inspired Tuesday does not have to consist of a 320 calorie taco found at most famous fast food and Mexican restaurants.

In fact, your next Taco Tuesday can be a whole lot tastier while becoming even healthier. By doing the cooking yourself rather than going out, you can maintain your healthy weight lifestyle. Try these tips for a nutritious and delicious Taco Tuesday right at home:

Skip the chips:  Tortilla chips are high in calories per gram and are filled with saturated fats and high levels of sodium. So if you’re Taco Tuesday must include a chips and salsa course, try substituting those calorie-dense tortilla chips with veggies. One option is to use raw vegetables like celery and peppers as your scoop.

Make Your Own Salsa: Prepared salsa from the grocery store can be laden with extra salt and harmful additives. Making your own salsa is both quick and easy, and allows you to skip the unwanted extras.  For fish tacos, try a tropical flair by combining fresh pineapple, mango, papaya and more. For chicken tacos, try combining black beans, red peppers and corn for a perfect topping. Or, if you are looking for a more traditional Mexican salsa for dipping, try a quick Pico De Gallo using Roma tomatoes, cilantro, red onions and limes. Making your own salsa rather than picking up a jar from the store allows for variety and personal preference, all while providing a flavor-packed serving of fruits and vegetables.

Use Whole-Grain or Corn Tortillas or Lettuce Leaves:  Refined carbohydrates, like flour tortillas, are definitely a caution food. So when it comes to Taco Tuesday, look for whole-grain tortillas to make your meal smarter and healthier. However, be aware of the serving size. Non-fried corn tortillas are an appropriate alternative, too. Or you can skip the tortillas all together by using romaine lettuce leaves. Tacos are easily, and deliciously, turned into salads. Add in a half cup of black beans to still get your serving of recommended carbohydrates.

Choose Chicken or Fish:  Skipping the greasy ground beef does not mean skipping the flavor or satisfaction. There are a multitude of other options like chicken and ground turkey to fish and shrimp. These lean sources of protein, cooked with a mixture of herbs and topped with different varieties, can give you the taco you crave without the red meat.

Another option for a low cholesterol diet is to go with a vegetarian taco. Pinto or black beans can provide the necessary protein, sautéed vegetables like peppers, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes can offer the desired flavor, and fresh, leafy, tasty herbs like cilantro can put your tacos over the top.

No Store-Bought Seasoning:  Herbs are the way to go when seasoning your chosen protein. The average sodium content per serving in a range of regular taco seasoning packs from most brands is 350 to 575 mg. Long story short, stay away from your typical grocery store taco mix and experiment with different combinations at home instead.  A huge problem with many of the store bought packets, they use potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride as a salt replacement.  Potassium consumed in excess may be harmful for some people.  If you have kidney problems or are on medication for your heart, kidneys or liver, it is best to check with your physician before using salt substitutes in place of sodium.

Chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, coriander, ground red pepper, cumin combine to make a great homemade taco seasoning.  Experiment with your mix to find the flavors you prefer.  Lemon or lime can always be your go-to option for spices.  With the right herbs and spices, you can create a taco seasoning that is just as flavorful and far better for your health.

Be Wise About Your Toppings and Sides:  Living by a healthy lifestyle does not mean missing out on the delicious sides and toppings of a Taco Tuesday. You just have to do it right. Instead of sodium-rich boxed Mexican rice, choose plain brown rice and spice it up with some chopped jalapenos, smoked paprika and fresh cilantro.  Guacamole, although a healthy fat option, it is calorie-dense.  You can try the same recipe you usually use – lemon juice, garlic, onion and tomatoes – with blended broccoli stems or edamame beans for a similar, but healthier, concoction. Add cottage cheese as an alternative to shredded cheese.  And feel free to load up on fillings using low-calorie vegetables, the ultimate toppings for tacos.

Remember these tips and reminders this Tuesday. Create a healthy grocery list, experiment with different combinations, cook up a nutritious and festive meal and indulge –   As always, our physicians, coaches and dietitians are here to help you along the way as well at Doctor for Life.  864-640-0009


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Try a Weekend Workout

Other than losing weight, research has shown that working out also helps in the functionality of the brain. It is, therefore, a very useful healthy living activity to engage in during the weekends. Maybe the weekend is the only time you have some free time to go the gym or workout.

Don’t let that time pass you by, get off the couch and get to your home gym or the gym around the corner and workout. Make sure you lift weights that you have been cleared to lift safely by your medical professionals. A good workout will aid in your strength and your endurance. Working with weights is a anaerobic type of exercise that will aid you in your strength and will attack your waist line by chewing up calories. Regardless if your workout is aerobic like running, biking etc. or anaerobic you will want to have proper nutrition, and most importantly stay hydrated. Drink lots and lots of water, before, after and during activities.

If you are not sure about what type home workout is right for you, we are here to help at Doctor for Life. Call us today to schedule a personal fitness assessment with our certified trainers. Our medically based approach will walk you through a program that is custom to your individual health conditions and health goals. 864-640-0009

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Happy Hump Day- Using Grocery Flyers to Plan Meals

If you have ever attended one of the cooking classes at Doctor for Life you have heard Chef Rodney mention many times, one of his most frequently-used methods for saving money on food is to simply create a meal plan each week based on the sales found in grocery flyers. He suggest to then take that meal plan and prepare a grocery list based on it, which naturally includes many of the sale items found in the flyers.  In our area, these sales flyers are published on Wednesdays for the next week.  It’s a great start to Hump Day for the week.

For most of you, this approach to meal planning may be vastly different than the way you do it.  If you are like most people you tend to learn such things through repetition and example, seeing what others have done and simply trying it their self until it becomes natural and normal.  Let’s see how it’s done.

Getting the Flyers
Many grocery store chains carry digital copies of their flyers on their websites. If your preferred grocery store does not, you can often find a copy of that week’s grocery store flyer inside a copy of the Wednesday and Sunday newspaper in your area.

Identifying Interesting Items
As you browse through the flyers for each store, try to look for items that are either on sale low enough that they stand out to you or ones that stand out for flavor reasons, inspiring you to get into the kitchen and cook. Chef Rodney suggest to particularly focus on produce and meat deals.

Finding and Choosing Recipes
We know that you need to plan for five dinners in the coming week, as well as making sure that you have things on hand for breakfasts (like plenty of oatmeal and eggs, for example) and a few items for backup lunches in case you don’t have enough leftovers to cover your lunches.

You can use a recipe search engine like allrecipes.com or cookinglight.com, putting in the interesting ingredients you found above to search for simple recipes you can make that the family would like (with an eye toward your own dietary needs, too). You can also go through your cookbooks and recipe box to see if you have anything interesting that matches well.

Building a Meal Plan and a Master Ingredient List
You should have come up with an actual meal plan at this point, slotting in the various meals for various nights. The biggest reason for doing this is so that you can be sure to use the fresher ingredients as quickly as possible, to plan ahead in terms of tasks that need to be done (like soaking beans overnight or overnight oat jars), and to make sure you can roll over elements easily from one meal to the next, like having both meals with onions close enough together that any extra chopped onion doesn’t go bad in the fridge.

You also prepare a “master ingredient list.” This is basically a list of all of the ingredients in this week’s recipes sorted by the place where you would find it in your kitchen – refrigerator, freezer, top pantry shelf, etc.

Turning the Ingredient List into a Grocery List
When you have a “master ingredient list,” you then need to take it around the house to each of the places you have grouped things by on the list, then you will cross off the things you already have. This also makes you check up on the quantity of stuff you use frequently, like milk, and encourages you to add such things to the list.

Once you are done hitting the spots in our kitchen, the grocery list is ready to go. Conveniently, it’s already pretty well organized, as you marked the sale items on the list so you know what store to buy it in, and all of the refrigerator and freezer stuff is already grouped together for you.

At this point simply hit the grocery store, back home unpack everything, and then just follow that meal plan throughout the busy week to make sure you stay on target for your Healthy Lifestyle way of eating.

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Savor Your Food: 5 Tips To Slow Down While Eating

Eat slowly, eat less. You’ve probably heard it before, but most people still eat too fast. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your body to signal that it’s full. So when you eat too quickly, you end up eating more. A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found eating slowly led to lower hunger ratings in both normal weight and overweight people. So if you have some weight to lose and feel you may be racing through your food, there is a way for you to train yourself to slow it down.

knife and fork with clock plate

Eat regularly. When you’re starving, your eyes become bigger than your stomach, and you want to scarf down whatever food is placed in front of you, regardless of its flavor. Avoid this situation by scheduling meals within four hours of each other. This way, you won’t be ravenous when you sit down to eat and are more likely to focus on your food and savor the flavors.

Sit down. Eating on the go, standing at the counter, or on your couch is a surefire way to eat too quickly. Sitting down at the table allows you to focus on the meal in front of you and keep track of how much you have eaten. It’s harder to keep track of how much you have eating when you’re getting up constantly to go to the fridge or grazing all day.

Turn off the tube. The television is a distraction. One study found viewers ate almost double when watching an action flick than those watching a talk show. Why? The action flick was more distracting. Get rid of this distraction completely by turning off the TV while you eat. You will survive 30 minutes without background noise and feel better about your weight loss progress.

Put your utensil down between each bite. If you’re having trouble slowing down, one technique that may help is putting your utensil down between each bite. This allows you to focus on the flavor while chewing your food before taking another bite, giving your brain more time to signal that your body is full.

Eat on a smaller plate. We’ve all been raised to “clean our plates.” So it should come as no surprise that we tend to finish all food in front us, regardless of how big that plate is. Try this: next time you sit down for a meal, serve yourself on a smaller plate. You’ll get that same satisfaction of finishing your food, but in reality you’ll be eating less than you usually do.

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Use Grocery Lists In Your Weight Loss Game Plan

Going grocery shopping while following a weight loss program can be a lot like playing in a football game. You’re the quarterback and you need to end the play with food selections that will help you reach your goal weight. But there’s a defensive line standing in your way in the form of aisles of tempting, unhealthy food. Without a good game plan, it will be harder to reach the goal line.

Think of your simple grocery list as part of that plan. If you call the right plays (that is, list the right types of food) before you step onto the field, you’re more likely to win the game and see weight loss results.

Research has shown links between shopping with a grocery list and improved diets with healthier weights. For example, a recent study in The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that those who regularly made a grocery list before going food shopping had a healthier weight than those who didn’t make a list. The study surveyed over 1300 participants, of whom nearly 80 percent were either overweight or obese. At the end of the study period, it was the grocery list-makers who weighed an average of five pounds less than those without a list.

One of the reasons why a grocery list might support weight loss is because it may serve as a good tool to control impulse buying. Supermarkets conveniently place dessert displays at the end of the aisle and sweets by the checkout counter to tempt shoppers. A list may be able to keep you more focused, because you’ll know exactly what you need to buy before you walk in. If you just select items based on what you see walking through the aisles, you run a greater risk of putting enticing junk foods into your cart.

So the next time you need to make a trip to the supermarket, take a few minutes to huddle up with the family to create your game plan. And if you need help determining which foods belong in the plan, just talk to a weight loss medical professional who can help you sketch it out. Remember, even though you’re the quarterback, you can lean on your team for help getting to your goal. That is the end game after all.

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