Get Ready for Resolution Season

Are you going to make a resolution?

Are you going to make a resolution?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  If your plan for 2013 includes weight loss, better eating habits or a new exercise program, start off on the right foot by connecting with your health care provider.  Gather essential information that will help you set and reach reasonable goals.

4 Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  1. Do I need to lose weight?  Your doctor will be able to talk to you about your BMI or body mass index.  This number will help you decide if you should shed a few pounds.
  2. How will weight loss improve my health?  If you understand the benefits of healthier eating habits, an exercise program or weight loss, it might help you to stick to the program when the going gets tough .
  3. How much weight should I lose?  In some cases, just a small amount of weight loss can have a significant impact on your health.  Knowing the answer to this question may help you to set a reasonable goal.
  4. Am I healthy enough to exercise?  Before you start a new exercise program, find out if you are in good shape to do aerobic activity, strength training and stretching.  Your provider may have specific guidelines for you to follow.

Make an appointment today to get the answers to these questions.  Then connect with the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss program online and on Facebook to get daily reminders and tips to keep your plan on track


Have a Peaceful Holiday

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Enjoy your family during the holidays.

I wish all of my readers a happy and healthy holiday.  Enjoy the day’s festivities without worrying about your weight.  Be thankful for friends and family and just relax.

If the weather cooperates, I will be spending the day cross country skiing and cooking.  I will also take some time to be thankful for my wonderful family, including my son (pictured with me).



Last Minute Gift Ideas

Give healthy holiday gifts (source: alvimann/morguefile)

Give healthy holiday gifts (source: alvimann/morguefile)

If you still have holiday shopping to do, this blog is for you.  Use these gift ideas to fill your friend or family member’s stocking with a something that shows how much you value their health and well-being.

3 Healthy Gift Ideas

  • Shoe fitting and new shoes.  If your loved one enjoys healthy activity, get them a new pair of walking or running shoes.  Set up a time to take them to a local vendor where they will be properly fitted.  Marathon Sports in Minneapolis, for example, provides a comprehensive 26.2 Fitting Plan that will help them find the best shoe for their body and their activity level.
  • Roasted Almonds.  Almonds are a healthy treat.  They are packed with healthy protein and mono and polyunsaturated fat.  Your best bet for good nutrition is the unsalted variety.  A small decorated tin of the nuts makes a great stocking stuffer.
  • Three Rivers Park District – Cross Country Ski Lessons.  Encourage your loved one to get out and enjoy the area’s parks during the winter months.  Offer to sign them up for cross country ski lessons through the Three Rivers Park District.  Cross country skiing is easy on the joints, a great way to get a cardiovascular workout and a good way to build strength and stability, too.   Beginners are welcome and there are plenty of classes for newbies.

Stay connected to healthy tips, recipes and advice in the new year. Learn how to start an exercise program on the North Memorial Medical Center’s Healthy Weight Loss Program website, subscribe to the blog, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Festive Lower Calorie Desserts

It’s the time of year when we all want to indulge. But eating too many high-calorie sweets can take a toll on your waistline.  Here are a few of my favorite desserts recipes that are lower in fat and calories than traditional favorites.

  • Chocolate Meringue Cookies.  Enjoy the taste of chocolate without the high fat or calorie content.  These cookies contain only 11 calories each.  The recipe is easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.
  • Baked Figs.  This festive seasonal fruit is only available for a few months of the year, so why not celebrate and add them to your holiday meal?  This recipe includes a yogurt cream topping that you can choose to omit if you want to decrease the fat and calorie count even more.
  • Roasted Pears.  This recipe from is a great end to an elegant dinner party.  The pears take some time to roast in the oven, but they smell wonderful as they are being prepared.  Present them on individual plates with a very small scoop of low-sugar vanilla frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, or with no accompaniment at all.

Do you have a favorite recipe that is healthier than traditional favorites?  Share it on our Facebook page!  We’d love to check it out.

Find Time for Mini Workouts


Complete a mini workout in ten minutes. (photo source: morguefile)

Do you have a strategy to stay healthy during the holiday season?  Tuesday, Julie Lother, Fitness Director at North Memorial’s Employee Fitness Center provided tips to avoid overeating at holiday parties and festive meals.  Today, you’ll learn how to incorporate more physical activity into your day.

Benefits of Mini Workouts

If you can’t make it to the gym to complete a full exercise session, mini workouts are perfect for you.  Simply split your workout into smaller sessions and complete them throughout the day.  For example, If you normally walk on a treadmill for an hour after work, take 4 15-minutes breaks from your desk job to walk the halls at work or climb stairs and you’ll still reap the benefits of a regular exercise session.

If you don’t currently participate in a regular exercise program, mini workouts are a great way to get started.  Why not head into the New Year with a healthy habit already in place?  Start your day with a short brisk walk, then finish with a few relaxing stretches.

Sample Mini-Workouts

You don’t need fancy equipment or special clothing to complete a mini workout.  If you are healthy enough for physical activity try one of these sample activities.

  • Climb stairs in the office building for ten minutes.
  • Hold a squat position against a wall for one minute. Repeat 5 times.
  • Complete lunges in three different directions, to the front, side and back
  • Do push-ups against a wall, counter or sturdy coffee table
  • March in place during commercial breaks while watching television

Looking for a few more healthy reminders to keep your healthy eating plan on track?  Join our Facebook community, follow us on Twitter or visit the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Give yourself the gift of health (photo source: cohdra/morguefile)

Give yourself the gift of health (photo source: cohdra/morguefile)

Today’s post comes from Julie Lother, Fitness Director at North Memorial Medical Center’s Employee Fitness Center.  Her advice will help you stay healthy during the holidays, while still enjoying the season’s festivities.

Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

The holiday season is prime time for overeating. To know if you have overeaten, look at the buffet table. Have you eaten every selection offered, and then some? How about breakfast and lunch? Did you skip both to consume more food at the holiday party?

Here are a few simple steps you can take to maintain your weight over the holidays, and still have fun.

  1. Don’t Deprive. Maintaining your current weight over the holidays is a more realistic goal than trying to lose weight or diet. Enjoy the delicious holiday food, but remember to practice moderation.
  2. Eat Before You Eat.  Skipping meals to save room for your favorite holiday foods is a recipe for disaster. If your stomach is empty before the big meal, you will end up eating more food and consuming more calories. Before the meal, eat a small bowl of cereal, nuts, fruits or veggies, half of a sandwich, or a small salad.
  3. Bigger Isn’t Better.  Often times, the plate size is larger than the stomach, which means the larger the plate, the more we pile on to eat. Look for or ask for smaller plates at a holiday party. If only large plates are available, be extra conscious of your portion sizes. Don’t fill the entire plate.
  4. Lighten Up.  Nothing completes a holiday meal quite like dessert.  However, most holiday desserts are full of calories, fat and sugar.  Try changing the old recipes to include lower fat, lower calorie ingredients, like applesauce or fat-free evaporated milk.
  5. Walk it Off. It is probably safe to say that most of us will enjoy too much food over the holidays. If that’s the case, just remember to keep your physical activity levels up. Offer to help the host or hostess clear and clean the plates after the meal or go for a walk outside for some fresh air.

Looking for a few more healthy reminders to keep your healthy eating plan on track?  Join our Facebook community, follow us on Twitter or visit the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website



How to Buy Whole Grains

Did you read Tuesday’s post about why you should eat whole grains?  Not only are they are good source of fiber, but whole grains are also great if you’re dieting because they will help you to feel full for a longer period of time after you eat.  But how do you know if the grain products you buy are actually whole grains?  It can be confusing.  Use these tips to make sure you are making the best grain choices.

Tips for Buying Whole Grains

  • Foods that are labeled “wheat,” “grain,” “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” or “bran” do not necessarily contain whole grains.
  • If a product contains whole grains, it will say “whole wheat” or “whole grain” on the label.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts Label.  According to the USDA, good sources of fiber will contain 10-19% of the Daily Value.  Excellent sources contain 20% or more of the Daily Value of fiber.
  • The ingredients list (below the Nutrition Facts Label) should list a whole grain as the first ingredient.  The USDA recommends that you look for the words “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “whole-grain cornmeal,” “whole oats,” “whole rye,” or “wild rice.”

Check out these cooking and shopping tips for whole grains.  Get more cooking, diet and exercise tips at North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss or on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.