Get in Shape at Birdtown Running Events for All Levels

TheBirdtown_Dec10Looking for a fun way to slim down for the summer? Consider taking part in the new Birdtown Half Marathon, 8k or 4k races on May 17.  The events will take place in Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, Crystal, and Brooklyn Center. And if you are new to exercise, don’t worry.  Race organizers say that the events are designed to meet the needs of exercisers of all levels.

Choose Your Distance

If you’ve never taken part in a fun run or running race, there’s no need to be intimidated.  Very few people actually “race” the course.  Most participants take part in the fitness event as a fun run and as a great way to connect with others and get some healthy exercise.

And you don’t need to be a seasoned runner to get involved.  A 4k course is only 2 1/2 miles.  If you walk the course at a moderate pace, it should take 40 to 60 minutes to finish.  An 8k course is about 5 miles. If you run this course at a slow pace (10-11 minute mile) you’ll finish in about an hour or so.

Register Now, Connect with Friends

Get more information about the Birdtown Half Marathon, 8k, 4k online.  North Memorial is a proud sponsor of the event which also includes  a Lil’ Birdie” Fun Run for the kids.  Grab some friends, get registered and start training today.



How to Burn More Calories All Day

scaleDid you know that there are simple things you can do to burn more calories all day long?  Dieters often try to boost their metabolism to lose weight.  But it’s very hard to change your resting metabolic rate (RMR).  Several factors like age, gender and genetics play a role in this number. But you can change your activity level to burn more calories.

Simple Steps to Burn More Calories

  • Stand while you work. If you work at a desk job, you might feel confined to a chair all day.  But in many jobs you can actually stand while you work.  Set up a counter height workspace and spend part of your day working on your feet.
  • Park far away.  Make it a habit to park at the back of the parking lot when you go to the mall, the grocery store or the gym.  Every step counts and you’ll increase your number with this simple trick.
  • Have meetings on the go.  Instead of booking a conference room for your next meeting, tell your coworkers to lace up a pair of shoes and take your meeting on the road. Walk outside or around your building.  If you’re a homemaker, grab the kids and chat about their day during a walk after school.
  • Talk and walk.  Do you chat on the phone during the day?  Don’t sit while you gab. Pace around the room or walk up and down the stairs while you catch up with friends.
  • Do your chores.  Hate to clean?  Housecleaning isn’t fun for anyone, but if you clean vigorously you can boost your caloric burn and get a clean house at the same time.

Want more ideas for ways to burn calories with physical activity?  Check out the exercise page at North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss.






How to Eat More Healthy Vegetables

my plateWhen you sit down at the dinner table, is at least half of your plate filled with fruits and vegetables?  It should be.  If you follow guidelines provided by the U.S.D.A., half of your plate should be fruits and veggies, while the other half should be divided between protein and grains (preferable whole grains).  Families can use the plate icon as a guide.

How to Choose Healthy Vegetables

Vegetables are organized into 5 types: dark green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables.You can eat them raw, cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.  If you (or your kids) cringe at the thought of steamed broccoli, get creative and try something new.

  • Dark Green Vegetables.  If you stir fry bok choy, make a healthy kale salad or add a small amount of low fat cheese on top of sauteed spinach you’ll be eating veggies from this food group.  Mustard greens, watercress and dark green leafy lettuce are also a part of this group.
  • Starchy vegetables.  Popular frozen favorites like corn and peas are part of this group, along with lima beans, potatoes, and water chestnuts.
  • Red and Orange Vegetables. Many peppers and squash varieties fall into this category.  Need a fun way to include more red and orange veggies into your meals?  Steam sweet potatoes or cut them into slivers and bake them to make low-fat, festive french fries.
  • Beans and Peas.  Navy beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans are part of this food group.  Beans can be purchased dry or canned and are easily added to salads, soups or stews.
  • Other vegetables. You’ll find many veggies in the local produce department that don’t fall into any of the categories above.  But you should still eat them!  Mash cauliflower instead of potatoes, create lasagna with eggplant instead of pasta or saute zucchini to add a dash of color to your dinner plate.

Experimenting with new types of vegetables is the best way to find new varieties that you and your family will enjoy.  Get more information about including veggies and fruit in your diet at

TV Use May Predict Binge Eating Behavior, Says Study

tv remoteAre you a binge eater?  If you are trying to lose weight, binge eating behavior can cause your weight loss program to stall or even backfire – even if you participate in an otherwise healthy diet and exercise program.

What is Binge Eating?

Researchers describe binge eating as eating a large amount of food in a short period of time (without a harmful purging episode that would indicate the possibility of an eating disorder). Scientists also say that the binge eater often feels depressed disgusted, guilty or out of control after the episode.

In a recent study published in Eating Behaviors, study authors found that television viewing predicted binge eating behavior in people who were trying to lose weight.  That is, study participants who watched more television were more likely to have binge eating episodes.  The study did not say that the binge eating episodes necessarily took place during tv watching.

How Can I Prevent Binge Eating?

Evaluating your television watching may be one way to improve your eating habits overall.  According to the National Weight Control Registry, most people who lose weight and keep it off watch less than ten hours of television per week.  And if you find that your binge eating episodes happen mindlessly during tv viewing hours, you may be able to prevent them by adopting different leisure time activities.

You can also talk to a behavioral therapist about why binge eating occurs and about the emotions that follow.  Many behavioral therapists are specifically trained to help patients navigate the emotional ups and downs of dieting and body image.  To get a referral, talk to your health care team.

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.




How to Make a Healthy Weight Loss Resolution

Have you made your New Year’s resolution?  The best resolutions are those that are achievable.  Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often we repeat the same mistakes.  For example, if you make a resolution to lose 50 pounds every year and you’ve never lost the weight, losing 50 pounds is not a great resolution.  If you join a gym every year but never go, that’s not a great resolution either.

To make a good resolution, start with a small short-term goal.  Reaching these smaller goals will help boost your confidence and your belief in your ability to reach future goals.  Here are a few of my suggestions, but feel free to make one of your own.

Sample Short-Term Goals

  • Include one meal with a healthy fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel in your weekly menu.
  • Make an appointment to see your doctor regarding your weight.
  • Complete 3 30-minute indoor walking sessions at a mall or location near your house.
  • Get five healthy recipes from friends, neighbors or co-workers.
  • Replace your dessert with fruit every day this week.
  • Eat veggies instead of chips or snack crackers for one full week

Once you reach your short-term goal, set another one.  Each time, make the goals just a little bit more ambitious.  Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to real resolution success. 

Looking for more help to start the year with healthy habits? Check out the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website and use these resources as well:

Have you found us on Facebook yet?  Do you follow us on Twitter?  Join us today for more healthy tips and news.

Stay Fit and Healthy When You Fly

planeAre you traveling this weekend?  Over the next few days, airports will be packed with busy flyers heading home to see their families for the holidays. If you are one of them, use these tips from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) to stay fit and healthy when you fly.

  • Don’t just sit there. Moving around before you board will make you feel better in the long run, and also help limit your risk of air-related health problems, including blood clots and jet lag.  Walk around the terminal, sneak in a few sit-ups, or even try some quick equipment free moves, like mountain climbers, push-ups or squats.
  • Use what you’ve got. Prefer to exercise with weights?  Take advantage of what you have with you – your carry-on bag.  The average bag weighs approximately eight pounds, and that’s without all of your belongings inside.  Instead of wheeling it down the terminal, carry it as you walk to add some extra resistance.
  • A little research goes a long way.  Miss going to the gym?  Many airports across the country have exercise facilities, including walking paths and even yoga rooms, on-site, and some airport hotels will let you use their gyms by purchasing a day pass.  A quick internet search will let you know if you’re traveling to or from one of these fitness-ready airports, so plan ahead and pack your workout clothes.
  • Keep moving in the air.  Pick an aisle seat, so you can easily get up and move about the cabin (when the seat belt sign is off, of course), and engage in simple stretching moves to keep your blood flowing, whether in your seat or in the back of the plane.  Work on your lower body by doing ankle rolls, toe taps and mini calf raises, and keep your upper body loose with arm, shoulder and neck stretches.

Once you arrive at your destination, use our list of creative workout solutions to stay active with family members throughout the holiday season.

How to Get Weight Loss Support During the Holidays

Get support to lose weight.

Get support to lose weight.

The holidays are a tough time for people who are trying to lose weight.  Not only are many social gatherings centered around food, but many times family and friends aren’t supportive about your weight loss program.  So what’s the best way to get the support you need to stay on track with your diet?  The first step is to ask for help.

3 Ways to Ask for Diet Support

  • Select an ally.  You may have a fellow co-worker or neighbor who is trying to lose weight during the holidays. It could be helpful to connect with them during the holidays to swap strategies, recipes and offer support. But you may also want to choose one friend or family member at each gathering to help you stick to your diet plan.  Have a private chat with that person before the event and ask them to remind you of your commitment and help keep you focused on your weight loss goal.
  • Be specific. When you ask for help, try to be specific about the ways in which your friend can offer support.  For example, maybe your friend would be willing to go for a walk while others are enjoying pre-dinner snacks in front of the television. The party host might be willing to offer lower calorie options at meal-time or put yours on the table if you bring something along. 
  • Have a plan.  You could arrive at your holiday gathering and hope for the best.  But you’re more likely to stick to your weight loss plan if you create a specific strategy for each event.  Karen Palmer, a registered dietitian at North Memorial, offers several great tips for holiday weight management.  Use her ideas to create a plan that you can share with your ally.

You can also use social media to stay motivated through the holiday season.  Connect with  us on Facebook and Twitter to get daily tips, advice and support.