New Weight Loss Drug Approved by FDA

Talk with your health care provider before taking any diet pill (source: cohdra/morguefile)

It’s been over 10 years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a weight loss pill.  But this week, the FDA approved a new product called Belviq to help patients lose weight and improve their health.  But is the drug right for you?

How does Belviq work?

Mark Bixby, MD, medical director of Clinic Services at North Memorial explains how the new diet pill works.  “Belviq activates a brain chemical that makes a person feel full after eating smaller amounts of food, thereby helping them to lose weight.”   He adds that the medication is designed to be used as part of a comprehensive program that includes a healthy diet and exercise .

Who should take Belviq?

Belviq is currently approved for the weight management of patients with a body mass index of 30 or greater, or for those with a BMI of 27 or greater and who have a weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.  Dr. Bixby suggests that anyone who might be interested in taking Belviq should start by having a discussion with a medical professional.

“There are reasons some people should not take this drug and interactions with other medications. As always, you should have a thorough discussion with your trusted health care provider about this and other ways to lose weight.”

Find out more about whether this treatment may be right for you by talking to your health care provider at North Memorial Medical Center.   Start by assessing your BMI and then discuss the best way for you to start a weight loss program.  Visit the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website for more information.

Looking for more weight loss tips, news and advice?  Join our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter!


Get a Better Night’s Sleep to Lose Weight

Better sleep

Create a good sleep environment. (source: kevinrosseel/morguefile)

How did you sleep last night?  If you didn’t have a restful night, your lack of sleep may be affecting your food choices today.  A recent study found that when people are sleep deprived they tend to eat more junk food.  This finding may help scientists explain the link between sleep loss and obesity.

Sleep More, Eat Less

It might seem too good to be true, but better night’s sleep really can help you to eat less and make better food choices.  Wellness expert Chris Freytag explains why.  She says that it’s all about recharging our human battery.

“If you’re not getting enough sleep you ‘re going to turn to calories.  Because when people are tired they start looking for food and caffeine.”

Chris provided these tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Simple Changes for Better Sleep

  1. Reduce noise and light.  Try to make your sleep environment cool and dark.  This might mean removing the television from your bedroom.
  2. Don’t charge your cell phone by the bed.    This creates a subliminal distraction that can affect your restful night.
  3. Invest in a good mattress. Be sure that you optimize your sleep posture by investing in a good mattress.

Why not give it a try?  Get a good night’s sleep tonight and let us know how you feel in the morning.  Chime in on the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss Facebook page or post your comment below.

How to Exercise Every Day Without Getting Bored

Kids love a whistle! (credit: mconors/morguefile)

Most people think of daily exercise as a chore.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Exercise can be and should be fun.  Exercise should feel like a game.  You’re more likely to stick to a workout plan if you engage in it, get a little competitive and enjoy it.  So how do you exercise without getting bored or tired?  You go to the fun experts in your house: your kids.

Get Kids Moving and Improve Your Health

A recent study conducted by the American Cancer Society found that women prefer exercise more if it feels like play.  Makes sense, right?  To bring that sense of play into your routine, grab the kids (or your spouse) off the couch and get them involved.  The exercise is good for them too.

  • Let kids coach.  Kids love to be in charge.  So give your crew a whistle and stopwatch and take turns timing each other while you jump rope or run sprints.  Let the little ones count repetitions of push-ups or say ABC’s while you climb stairs (one letter per step!)
  • Play tag.  There’s a fancier word for tag: interval workout. Intervals are short bursts of intense activity.  Interval workouts have been shown to be effective at building muscle and burning fat.  Grab the neighborhood kids and get moving.  You’re it!
  • Make the playground your gym.  Why pay membership dues at the local health club when you have a well-equipped gym in your neighborhood.  Take the kids to the local park and use the play equipment to do pull-ups, step-ups, or push-ups.  Walk or jog the perimeter of the park as a warm-up and cool-down.

When your kids see you make exercise a part of your daily routine, they are more likely to mimic that habit as they grow up.  So get outside and play!

Learn about more ways to improve your health with exercise on our Healthy Weight Loss website, and friend us on Facebook to get daily tips and advice.

Minneapolis Parks May Ban Junk Food

No more hot dogs? What do you think?
(source: alvimann/morguefile)

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is considering a proposed policy to require parks to serve only healthy foods.  According to The Southwest Journal, this could mean that all bread, rolls and pretzels must be whole wheat, juice servings would be limited to eight ounces, and nacho cheese sauce could be banned.  Soda would be eliminated, all meat would have to be lean and baked treats would be limited in size.

Healthy Food for Kids

Park Board commissioners are reportedly concerned about the rise in childhood obesity rates and feel that changes to their menu may help the community eat better.  But regardless of whether or not the legislation passes, parents can take steps to help kids eat better now.

If you are concerned about your kids’ eating habits when they visit the neighborhood park, consider swapping some of these foods for the more expensive and high calorie treats that they might buy.

  • Triscuits/skim mozzarella instead of nachos and cheese
  • Mini grilled chicken burgers instead of hotdogs or hamburgers
  • Fresh sliced peaches/berries with granola topping instead of ice cream
  • Skim chocolate milk or mini bottled water instead of pop

What do you think about the proposed ban?  Cast your vote in our Facebook Poll.

Have you visited the new North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website?  Check it out now to get information about how to lose weight, start and exercise program and improve your health.

Grill Out For Father’s Day: Healthy Turkey Burger Recipe

Healthy grilling recipes from Jennie-O (photo source: Jennie-O Turkey Store)

Do you plan to celebrate the man in your life with a special meal on Father’s Day?  Why not show him how much you care about him by preparing a healthy menu?  This tasty turkey burger recipe is hearty enough to satisfy any appetite and it can be prepared with much less fat than a traditional burger.

The recipe*, from the Jennie-O Turkey store is made with Lean Turkey Burger Patties.  As prepared, they contain about half the fat of a traditional beef burger. If you’d like to reduce the fat content further, substitute Jennie-O Extra Lean Seasoned White Turkey Patties that contain only 5 grams of fat per patty.

Mulberry Street Turkey Burgers
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt and ground black pepper, if desired
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 package JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE® Lean Turkey Burger Patties
  • 4 burger buns, split and toasted
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add tomatoes with their juice, oregano, paste, salt and pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in basil.

Cook the patties as specified on the package. Always cook to well-done, 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer. Top bottom half of buns with patties, tomato mixture, parmesan cheese, and top half of buns.

Nutritional Information: Calories 440, fat 18 grams, protein 34 grams, carbohydrates 31grams

Have you visited the new North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website?  Check it out for helpful advice about losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  And be sure to join our Facebook page and Twitter conversation.

*reprinted with permission

Prevent Diabetes with a Healthy Breakfast

Eat your breakfast to stay healthy (source: Jennie-O Turkey Store)

Studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast may help you to lose weight.  But now there is also evidence that it may help prevent diabetes.  A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that men who skipped the morning meal had an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

It can be hard to come up with healthy meal ideas if your mornings are already hectic.  For many, this means that they choose packaged baked goods like muffins or rolls.  But those can be high in fat, high in calories and often contain trans fat. If you are trying to get healthy or lose weight, then those are foods to avoid.

Instead, prepare one of these healthier options.

  • Oatmeal (150 calories):  Rolled or steel cut oats are easy to prepare and digest slowly.  This means that you’ll feel “full” or satisfied for a longer period of time.  If you purchase the large containers (rather than the single serving packets), like Quaker brand oats, you’ll save money and calories.  Add fresh fruit or a pinch of brown sugar for added flavor.
  • Whole Wheat Bagel (240 calories): Some bagels can be high in calories, but Thomas’ brand whole wheat bagels are a lower calorie option.   Add a slice of Finlandia Imported Light Swiss Cheese (57 calories) for added calcium and protein.
  • Eggs/Egg Whites:  Eggs are a great breakfast staple.  A single large egg scrambled in a non-stick pan with no added fat contains only 70 calories.  Add an additional egg white and you’ll get 4 more grams of protein and only 17 added calories.   Need more flavor?  Throw in chopped jalapeno, tomato and corn to get a flavorful tex-mex scramble.
  • Breakfast Burrito (230 calories): This healthy burrito recipe from the  Jennie-O Turkey Store was made famous on NBC’s The Biggest Loser.   Make a big batch of the filling on Sunday and spoon it into tortillas for a quick breakfast during the week.

Do you have a favorite breakfast item or healthy breakfast idea?  Chime in with a comment below, or add it to the list on our Facebook page.

Best Exercise For Health?

Lace up your shoes and go for a walk (source: alal/morguefile)

If you’re ready to start a summer shape-up plan, you might be wondering where to begin.  Should you join a gym?  Sign up for a fitness event? Get a trainer?  Nope.  According to North Memorial cardiologist Dr. Retu Saxena, walking is the best exercise for health.

Is Walking Better than Running?

In an interview with KARE-11’s Renee Tessman, Dr Saxena explained that moderate exercise is the way to go if you want to improve your heart health.  She went on to say that excessive running can actually be harmful to your health.

“What we have found is 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise adds seven years on to your life expectancy and that’s where we should be aiming.”

Dr. Saxena explained that the natural movement of walking at a brisk pace is good for the heart, but any form of exercise done in moderation is healthy.

How to Start an Exercise Program

If you’re ready to get heart healthy and shed a few pounds, start your walking plan with some help from the experts at North Memorial.  Learn how to start an exercise program on the Healthy Weight Loss Program website.

Then, get equipped with a few must-have items to make your workout program a success.  Learn how to use a pedometer to count your steps each day and connect with friends who will keep you on track as you progress through your plan.