Olympic Inspiration for Your Fitness Goals

Let the Olympics Games inspire you!

If you’ve been watching the Olympic Games, you may find yourself amazed by the remarkable ability of the athletes.  But does it inspire you?  Why not let it motivate you to begin a fitness or health program for yourself?

Find the Athlete in You

If you think you have nothing in common with the athletes you see on television, you’re wrong.  Every athlete starts with a goal and takes incremental steps to reach their accomplishment.  Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph said it best when she pointed out how an athlete lives in everyone.

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”

One Step Each Day

Before you head to the couch and grab the remote control tonight, why not set a fitness goal for yourself?  Start small.  Can you walk for 20 minutes tomorrow?  Can you replace your daily soda pop with water?  Can you stop at the market for some fresh fruit or veggies?

If you’re ready to start an exercise program, head to the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website and watch short videos that demonstrate simple exercises you can do at home.  Before you know it, you’ll be on your own path to greatness – one step at a time.

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Sleep Problems? Consider Weight Loss

Get diagnosed to get better sleep

Get diagnosed to get better sleep (source: kevinrosseel/morguefile)

Several recent studies have connected poor sleep habits to weight gain.  But did you know that weight gain can also lead to sleep problems?  Obesity is a risk factor for sleep apnea, a condition that causes brief moments of breathlessness during sleep.

First Step: Get Diagnosed

The first step to getting better sleep is to speak to your medical provider about your specific condition.  You can also take this short quiz to see if you might be at risk for sleep apnea or another chronic sleep problem.  And while you’re on the North Memorial website, learn more about a wide range of sleep disturbances by listening to short audio clips by Ranji Varghese, MD.  In his Health eAudio segments he explains why getting diagnosed is important.

Lose Weight to Sleep Better

Your health care provider may recommend weight loss as a first step to dealing with your sleep disturbance.   Recent studies have shown that even a minimal weight loss can help to reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.  To get started on a weight loss plan check out the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss Program online to get started with a new eating plan.  You can also watch short videos that will help you to start an exercise program and learn how to get connected to others who are also on the weight loss journey.

Superfood Salad Recipe: Sweet & Tangy Kale

Sweet and Tangy Kale Salad from Heidi Diller, RD

Healthy summer fruits and vegetables provide a great opportunity to experiment with new foods.  Last week, Heidi Diller, RD, Cub Corporate Dietitian suggested tasty fruit alternatives to ice cream treats.  Today, she suggests trying a veggie that most of us ignore: kale.

Kale is a dark leafy green that is full of antioxidants.  It is a great source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C and it is low in calories to boot!  A one cup serving of this healthy vegetable contains only 34 calories.

So what do you do with it?  You may have seen kale served in restaurants as a side dish. It can be sautéed in butter or olive oil.  But a healthier option is to use it as the primary green in your salad. Try this recipe from Heidi Diller.  Pair it with a lean protein such as grilled fish for a heart-healthy, waist-slimming meal.

Sweet and Tangy Kale Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 big bunch of kale greens
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1 half of lemon, squeezed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or just use 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions:

Step 1: Remove the kale from the stem and tear or cut into small bite sized pieces.

Step 2:  Chop the red bell pepper into small bits. And if you have garlic finely chop that too.

Step 3 : With clean hands, drizzle kale with olive oil and lemon juice.  Massage the oil into the leaves to tenderize it.

Step 4: Add the remaining ingredients (red bell pepper, lemon, honey, garlic, salt) and toss that with your hands too.You can keep this in the refrigerator tightly covered for up to 2-3  days.

Nutrition Information per Serving ( 1/4 of recipe):  130 calories, 4 g good fat, 200 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein, 435% DV Vitamin A, 390% DV Vitamin C, 14% DV Iron, 19% DV Calcium.

We need you on Facebook!  Like us today and post your weight loss questions, concerns and comments.  We want to hear from you!  And if you haven’t checked out the new North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website, do it today.

Cheap and Healthy Summer Treats

Melon is healthy and cheap

Did you know that we spend more money on groceries in the summer?  A survey conducted by SUPERVALU brand and Cub Foods found that most people deviate from their food budget during the warmer months.  More than half of the people surveyed believe summer is the best season for food.  So what lands in your shopping cart in the summer?

Healthy Summer Treats

We all love to enjoy cold treats in the hot summer sun.  Many of us choose low-calorie ice cream treats, to keep our waistlines in check.  But some of those items can ramp up your grocery bill.  So what are some less expensive tasty sweet treats?  Heidi Diller, RD, Cub Corporate Dietitian suggests heading straight for the fruit section of the produce aisles.

She says that watermelon is a perennial favorite.  It will satisfy your snack cravings and it makes a yummy dessert.  But if you are looking for something more interesting, you can try other forms of melon as well. “All melons have similar nutrients and are nutrient dense. What that means is they provide lots of nutrients for very little calories.  Honeydew, cantaloupe, casaba melon are all good alternatives,” she says.

So the next time you head to the market, before you hit the freezer section, fill your cart with summer treats from the produce aisle.  You’ll save money and calories at the same time.

We want to hear from you!  What’s your favorite low-cal treat?  Leave a comment here, or go to our Facebook page and join the discussion.

Bust Your Junk Food Cravings

Where do you keep your snacks?

New research has revealed that we are more likely to crave junk food if we see it in front of us. But did we really need a scientific study to confirm that?  Most of us already know that when we see the food we crave, we are more likely to want to eat it.

So why should that research matter to you? Because it could inspire you to make changes that will help you to lose weight.   If you want to cut back on high calorie and high fat foods, then try to limit the junk food that you see. These simple changes to your environment could have a big impact on your waistline.

  • Move high calorie snacks off the counter and put them in closed cupboards
  • Put healthy quick snacks like carrot sticks or small containers of lowfat yogurt on the front shelves of your refrigerator so you see them right away when you open the door.
  • Clean out your desk drawers of candy, snacks and treats.
  • Keep a bottle if water on your desk so that you are not tempted to hydrate with high-calorie soda.

Want to see more ideas for changing your environment and get more weight loss advice?  Visit the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website. Or find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Enjoy a Whiz Bang Weekend

Who wants to burn a few extra calories this weekend?  If that sounds good to you, get outside and take part in the 28th Annual North Memorial Whiz Bang Race. You can register for the 5K, 10K or sign your kids up for the ½ mile fun run.  Proceeds from the event benefit the Humphrey Cancer Center at North Memorial Hospital.

What if I have never run before?

You don’t have to be a super athlete to participate.  But be forewarned: participating in the Whiz Bang Race may cause you to make healthy changes in your life.  Taking part in any community athletic event often inspires people to set goals and get more physically active.

If this is your first 5k, don’t be afraid to walk the distance or simply jog slowly.  Local running coach Ron Byland says that one of the most common mistakes that new runners make is to do too much too soon.  So, make this year’s goal just reaching the finish line.  Then, set a goal to complete the distance in less time next year.

Set a goal to get healthy

Byland coaches many new runners and says that taking the time to set goals and get healthy is worth it in the long run.   “Take your time to properly prepare your body and mind and your race will be a much more enjoyable experience,” he says.

Need advice on how to start an exercise program or change your eating habits? Visit the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website and find us on Facebook to get more tips and advice.

Surprising Side Effect of Drinking Soda

The cheapest weight loss tool comes from the faucet. (rollingroscoe/morguefile)

You probably know that drinking high-calorie soda isn’t good for your diet.  So you may have switched to diet soda to cut calories.  Good plan, right?  Maybe not.  New research about eating and drinking habits reveals that when we drink pop we are more likely to make poor food choices.

A study published in the May issue of Appetite examined the way we make food and drink choices when we eat.  In both children and adults, they found that we are less likely to eat vegetables when we drink soda or sweetened beverages.  And not only do we avoid healthy veggies when we drink pop, but we are also more likely to choose junk foods like pizza or French fries.

It’s a simple fix, but it might have a big impact on your eating habits: drink water, especially at mealtime.  You’ll save calories, save money and train your taste buds to enjoy healthier lower-calorie foods.

Have you checked out the new Healthy Weight Loss website?  It’s a great resource for diet, exercise and weight loss tips.  If you’re looking for more advice and support, join the Facebook page too!