How to Eat Less on Halloween Night

Have a healthy Halloween!

Have a healthy Halloween!

Are you ready for tonight’s trick or treat festivities?  On Tuesday, I shared a list of healthier Halloween candy to buy.  Many people also try to buy candy that they don’t like so that they aren’t tempted to raid the candy bowl.  But if you are still looking for a few ways to eat less on Halloween night, try these tips.

  • Eat a healthy dinner.  Fill up on high-fiber veggies and lean protein for dinner.  Broccoli, mushrooms and spinach are good veggies choices.  Pair them with grilled chicken or broiled fish for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Understand serving size.  If you choose to indulge in a Halloween treat, enjoy just a single serving.  That might be more than a single piece of candy, but it probably isn’t he whole bag.  Read the nutrition facts label to find out how many pieces of candy are in a single serving.
  • Stay active.  Fold laundry, play cards, do simple household chores while you wait for trick or treaters to arrive.  You’ll burn more calories throughout the night and you’ll probably be less tempted to indulge if you aren’t sitting still and staring at the candy bowl all night.

Enjoy a Healthy Chocolate Celebration

If you are looking for a fun and healthy way to burn off Halloween calories, check out the Chocoholic Frolic in St. Paul this weekend.  Bring the family to participate in either the 5K or 10K events that start at the Union Depot on Sunday, November 3rd.  Get more information at the Chocoholic Frolic website.

Tips for a Healthier Halloween

Have you bought your Halloween candy yet? If you are trying to lose weight, Halloween can be one of the most difficult nights of the year.  It’s tough not to indulge in a few treats when you are handing out candy to the neighborhood ghosts and goblins.  One way to keep your calorie count in control on Halloween night is to buy healthier candy.

Of course, all candy is sugar. So there is no such thing as “healthy” candy.  But some choices are better than others.  Use the links below to make a better choice when you buy your Halloween candy and check out this video where I discuss the reasons that some candy treats are better than others.

Popular Diets That Really Work

Do celebrity diets work?

Do celebrity diets work?

Do you want to know which popular diets work?  Are you considering the Mushroom Diet that has apparently kept Katy Perry slim but busty?  Did you give the Atkins Diet a second look after Kim Kardashian credited the eating plan for her post-baby weight loss?  Or maybe one of the blood-type diets caught your eye because it looked scientific.  If you were planning to research these weight loss plans, I can save you some time and tell you that all of them work….sort of.

Why Fad Diets Work

Whenever you make a commitment to change your eating habits you are more likely to make better food choices in the beginning.  So, even if the diet you choose is a fad, you’re likely to see some results in the first couple of weeks. Starting a diet is like starting an exercise program.  It’s easy for us to be “good” in the beginning because we are excited and optimistic about the possibility of change.  But then challenges set in, like boredom, and if the diet you chose is too drastic, it is easy to fall off the wagon.

In addition, popular diets that eliminate entire food groups, like the Paleo Diet or going gluten-free, are also likely to reduce your overall calorie intake and cause weight loss initially.  In fact, almost every diet that promises to let you eat whatever you want is a cleverly disguised plan to help you eat less.  Do you really get to eat whatever you want?  Probably not. And that is why the diet doesn’t work in the long run.

The Popular Diet that Really Works

The most popular diet that actually works in the long-term is eating less and moving more.  It’s not new and you won’t see it written up in the tabloids, but if you want to lose weight and keep it off it’s the plan with the best success rate.

So how do you accomplish those goals to see real results?  Your best option is to work with a registered dietitian to find a plan that is tailored to your tastes, your lifestyle and your needs.  An R.D. can refer you to support services and can also talk to your doctor to make sure that your eating plan improves your overall health.  Of course, this isn’t a plan that you’ll see celebrities rave about, but it’s likely to be the plan that they are on if they are really losing weight.

Simple Steps to Prevent Diabetes

Do you have a family history of diabetes?  If so, you may be at higher risk for getting diagnosed with the condition.  But if you don’t have a family history, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.  According to the American Diabetes Association, these other factors can also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes:

  • Having prediabetes, which may be called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
  • Being 45 or older
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising regularly
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having low HDL, also known as “good” cholesterol and/or high levels of triglycerides
  • Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives)
  • Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth

So what do you do if you have risk factors on this list? Start by talking to your health care provider about lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk.  In this video, North Memorial physician assistant Katie Peterson talks about a few simple steps you can take to decrease your risk for diabetes.

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Looking for other healthy changes you can make to improve your health? Check out the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website?  It’s a great source of easy tips for healthy eating, exercise and diet support.  You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter

Maintain Your Weight to Live Longer, Says Study

scaleNew research out of Ohio State University may give you one more reason to watch your weight as you age.  A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology evaluated nearly 10,000 adults aged 51 to 77 years of age.  Researchers found that those who maintained their weight later in life had the highest survival rates.  This was true even when the adults were slightly overweight to begin with.

How to Maintain Your Weight

Trying to maintain your weight is a little bit different than trying to lose weight.  Most people know that changes to your diet and exercise program are necessary for weight loss.  But what steps should you take to make sure you don’t gain weight?  Here are a few tips:

  • Keep track of your numbers.  Know your body mass index (BMI) or weigh yourself on a regular basis.  Small changes on the scale are normal from time to time.  But if you notice that your weight continues to increase, you may need to watch your diet or include more exercise in your daily routine.
  • Stay active.  Face it, most of us get lazier as we age.  We take the stairs less often, we drive to nearby locations when we could easily walk and we might even spend more time sitting on the couch reading or watching television.  This sedentary activity could cause weight gain. If you continue to eat the same number of calories, but you burn fewer calories with less activity each day, you will gain weight.
  • Get creative in the kitchen.  Let go of your old eating ruts.  Take a cooking class, visit the farmer’s market, or get a new cookbook from the local library to learn new ways to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.  Healthy produce will help you to eat more food, stay satisfied throughout the day and get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and active.  
  • Watch portion sizes. If you don’t occasionally check the portion sizes of your meals, it is easy to slowly increase your food intake and gain weight.  Not sure how much food you should eat?  Use the Nutrition Facts label on your food package to find the serving size of each food. You can also download this handy portion size guide to give you an idea of how much food to eat.

Do You Need a Weight Loss Supplement?

Talk with your health care provider before taking any diet pill

Talk with your health care provider before taking any diet pill

If you walk the aisles of some pharmacies or vitamin stores, you’ll find dozens of products that claim to help you lose weight.  Supplements like green tea extract, bitter orange and other “natural” remedies advertise that they will boost your metabolism, change your body shape and help you slim down for good.  But do any of them really work?

Be A Smarter Supplement Shopper

Weight loss supplements and diet pills are not regulated by the government in the same way that foods or medications are regulated.  Supplement makers, for example, do not have to prove that their product is safe or effective in order to sell it.  For that reason, it’s important to be especially careful when you consider buying any diet supplement or weight loss product.

To stay safe and smart, ignore the advertising claims on any product that you consider. Instead, research the supplement at the National Institutes of Health Herbs and Supplements website.  You’ll find a list of the most popular dietary supplements along with links to clear information about the risks and benefits of each product.

Ask Questions About Supplements

But just because a diet supplement is safe for the general public, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily safe or recommended for you.  Before you take any supplement, weight loss pill or powder, talk to your health care provider to see how the pill may interact with your current medications or your current health conditions.  Your physician may also be able to provide more information about the supplement or about prescription medications for weight loss that may be safer and more effective.

Have you checked out the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website?  It’s a great source of easy tips for healthy eating, exercise and diet support.  You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter

Walking Helps Ward Off Breast Cancer

Walkers' FeetWalking is one of the best ways to lose weight, maintain healthy bones and reduce your risk of heart disease.  But did you know that walking may also help you ward off breast cancer?  New research by the American Cancer Society may give you one new reason to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement.

How Much Walking Is Enough?

In the study published in October 2013 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, researchers evaluated 73,615 postmenopausal women who were already taking part in a project to evaluate cancer risk factors.  They found that among women who reported walking as their only activity, those who walked at least seven hours per week had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who walked three or fewer hours per week.

So does that mean that women who walk less than seven hours should give up? Absolutely not!  Remember that you gain benefits from any workout. If you complete 150 total minutes of moderate walking (that’s about 2.5 hours) you boost your heart health.  But the new research may provide incentive to increase your efforts.

How to Improve Your Walking Workout

If you want to increase the number of days you spend walking or the number of minutes you spend on each workout, remember that small steps are best.  If you currently walk 20 minutes each day, add 10 minutes to your workouts each week to build your stamina.  Already doing hour-long walks?  Add a few strength training exercises to the end of your workout to boost your bone health.