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1 - 17 of 17 Comments Last updated Nov 11, 2011

Since: Feb 07

Clearwater, FL

#1 Mar 17, 2008
Send in questions to our registered dietitian Christie. She will answers some of your questions and blog about tips to help your weight loss goals.

Since: Mar 08

Tallahassee, FL

#2 Mar 17, 2008
“Five Effective Ways to improve your Health”
There are many things you can do to improve your health, but I decided to focus on five areas that could help you improve your health and possibly lose weight. The five effective ways I chose to improve your health include: 1. Limit sugar containing drinks; 2. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day; 3. Plan ahead; 4. Be aware of unconscious eating; and 5. Watch portion sizes.

Limit Sugar Containing Drinks
The simplest way to cut back on calories is by limiting your sugar containing drinks. One 12 oz can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Now 150 calories doesn’t sound like too much but by drinking just one extra can of soda each day above your calorie limit, you may gain 15 pounds of weight in a year. If you drink one can of soda each day, you are eating about 35 pounds of sugar in a year. This also goes for fruit drinks, sweetened tea, Gatorade, or any drink that has roughly the same amount of calories and sugar as a regular soda. When you drink these drinks they are not as satisfying as solid foods and some people do not realize that there are calories in beverages and drinking too many calories can make you gain weight just like eating too much solid food can. But, if you exchange your regular soda drinks for diet-soda, water, or other calorie-free drinks, you would not be adding all those extra calories and sugar to your diet and possibly will not gain the extra weight by drinking those extra calories.

At Least 30 Minutes of Physical Activity A Day
Next, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Sometimes the only way to make time for exercise is by treating it like a meeting, and once exercise becomes part of your daily “To-Do” list, you’re more likely to do it. Often people say they do not have time to exercise but those same people have time to spend an hour checking email, talking on their telephone, watching TV, playing on the computer, etc. You don’t have to spend every bit of your leisure time exercising; you can still get positive results with as little as 10-15 minutes at a time. If you lay out your clothes for work the night before and make your lunch for the next day, then in the morning you just opened up about 10-15 minutes to take a brisk walk in the morning. Then lunchtime or your coffee breaks would be another great opportunity to take a step away from your busy day in order to get in another quick 10-15 minute walk. Then after dinner take another 10-15 minute walk and you will have your 30 minutes or more of exercise in for the day.
Some other tips to sneak exercise in during the day include: during your lunch break you could bring dumb-bells to work, do sit-ups or push-ups or any other office appropriate exercises. Buy a pedometer and wear it while you work and try to get 10,000 Steps/day (The goal of taking 10,000 steps in a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General's recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It should be enough to reduce your risk for chronic diseases and help you lead a longer, healthier life). TV watching time can also be exercise time. If you did some exercises during every commercial that would equal 10 minutes of activity during a one hour show. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; park your car further away; walk a little faster and farther between stores while shopping; or walk on the beach instead of laying there (you will still get your tan AND you will get in your exercise at the same time!). Choose whichever way works best for you. The more energetic the activity, the more calories you will use. The main thing is just remember to actually go and do it.

To Be Continued...

Since: Mar 08

Tallahassee, FL

#3 Mar 17, 2008
Continued...

Plan Ahead
In order to succeed in weight loss or living a healthier lifestyle you need to plan and be organized. Take 5-10 minutes the night before or in the morning and pack your lunch so you are not rushing into last minute decisions or running to vending machines or fast food restaurants. Prepare salads and cut up fruit and vegetables the night before for quick healthy snacks. Check out restaurants websites or places you often eat before you go in order to make healthier food choices. Make a grocery list for your planned meals and stick to it. Break the habit of just throwing unhealthy foods into your shopping carts. Bring a healthy snack wherever you go. Carry fresh fruit and vegetables, almonds, pretzels, whole-grain crackers, or whatever healthy snack you like in your bag. When you plan regular meals and snacks it is much easier to eat healthier.

Be Aware of Unconscious Eating
Be aware of unconscious eating. Make eating a single activity. Eat all your meals at the same place and while sitting down at the kitchen table. Do not do anything else while eating, don’t watch TV, read or do office work because this leads to the unconscious eating and extra calories without realizing it. I am sure many of us can raise our hand if I asked “How many of you have sat there watching TV and just ate out of a big bag of chips without even thinking how many chips you actually were eating?” Instead of eating out of the bag, measure and package snacks to serving sizes, Ziploc baggies work well; this also helps with the mindlessly grabbing handfuls that may equal more than a portion size.

Watch Portion Sizes
Portion control may be one of the biggest factors causing the rising rate of obesity in this country. The Super-Sizing of American food has caused many of us to suffer from “Portion-Distortion”. The biggest nutrition problem in America is not what we eat but how much we eat. The key to healthy eating is to downsize your portions. Use measuring cups, spoons, and a food scale to help you learn about the portion sizes you eat. Learn to stop eating before you are stuffed. You can still enjoy your favorite foods, just in moderation. Awareness of what you’re eating is what matters. Here is the bottom line: No matter what you eat, no matter how healthful it is, no matter what the label says (low-fat, low-sugar, low-carbohydrate), the bigger the size, the more calories it has. And if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. It doesn’t matter how many carbohydrates you eat but what does matters is calories in verses calories out (energy balance).

Change takes time; pick one or two goals to work on first and once they become habit for you, then you can pick a few more to work on. Consistency is the key to successful weight loss so do not get discourage if you have a road block, just re-gather and find another way around your obstacle.
Tom

Tallahassee, FL

#5 Mar 25, 2008
Can I eat large portions if I limit my meals to only a two? I tend not to eat breakfast, so my first meal doesn't come until noon for lunch. By then I'm so hungry from not eatting in the past 4-5 hours that I tend to eat large lunches. My dinners are always big, due to it being dinner and that's where I get all the good foods my wife cooks. So by not eatting breakfast, does that cut out enough calories to allow me a good lunch and dinner?

Thanks in advance.

Since: Mar 08

Tallahassee, FL

#7 Mar 25, 2008
Tom, I am a strong believer in eating small frequent meals. And the reason why I believe this is that eating small frequent meals help
speed up your metabolism. Skipping meals may seem like the quickest way to lose weight, but it could do more harm than good. Think of your metabolism as a fat-burning machine; if you don’t give it the fuel it needs, it’ll stop working. And that’s just what happens when you skip meals, especially breakfast. Eating breakfast in the morning jump-starts your metabolism. Then, eating several small meals during the day keeps it running. Skipping meals causes your body to go into fasting mode and slows down your metabolism, while causing your body to hold onto the fat it has stored. Plus, research shows that skipping one meal can cause you to overeat at the next. So, not only are you slowing your metabolism, you’re actually eating more calories.
Think of skipping meals like hibernation for animals. Hibernation allows animals to conserve energy during the winter when food is short. During hibernation, animals drastically lower their metabolism so as to tap energy reserves stored as body fat at a slower rate.
I hope this helps!

Since: Mar 08

Tallahassee, FL

#8 Mar 25, 2008
Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods from all the Food Groups
Eat a Diet Rich in Vegetables and Fruits
-Choose deeply colored vegetables and fruits,they tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals.
-Eat whole vegetables and fruits (fresh, frozen, or canned) instead of drinking juice.
-Buy frozen or canned vegetables and fruits in water without added salt, sugar, or saturated or trans fat when fresh foods are not available.
-Prepare and eat vegetables and fruits without adding salt, sugar or saturated and trans fat.
Choose Whole-Grain, High Fiber Foods
-Whole wheat, oats, and oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, corn, rye, buckwheat, barley and popcorn are all good choices.
-When shopping select breads and other foods that list whole grains as the first ingredient.
-Aim for about 25 grams of fiber each day, based on an eating plan of 2,000 calories per day.
Use Healthful Unsaturated Oils within Caloric Limits
-A diet high in saturated and trans fat raises the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Replacing these fats with the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol levels.
-Oils that stay liquid at room temperature are high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. Examples of these include: canola, olive, corn, and safflower oils.
-Keep your intake of oils and fats within the context of how many total calories you should be eating each day.
Meats
-When shopping, choose red meat and pork labeled “loin” and “round”. These cuts usually have the least amount of fat. Examples: extra-lean ground beef (90%+ lean) and tenderloins.
Poultry
-Remove skin from poultry before eating to reduce the fat content. Chicken and turkey should be ground without the skin.
-Choose skinless white meat most often when eating poultry. Dark meat is higher in fat and cholesterol.
Seafood
-Shellfish such as shrimp, lobster and crab are low in saturated fat but relatively high in cholesterol.
Use fat-free, 1 % and low-fat dairy products
-Gradually reduce the fat content of the milk you drink. Start with 1%....then try ½%.....and finally switch to fat-free/skim milk.
-Substitute fat-free milk for whole milk in cooking.
-Fat-free half-and-half or fat-free evaporated milk are great substitutes for cream or regular half-and-half.
-The most readily available type of fat-free and low-fat cheeses include shredded Cheddar and mozzarella, sliced American and Swiss, cottage cheese and grated parmesan.
Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
-Use liquid vegetable oils and soft margarines instead of hard margarine or shortening.
-Limit your intake of foods such as French fries, crackers, cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, and doughnuts made from partially hydrogenated or saturated fats.
-Use healthy recipes to control the type and amount of fat you use when preparing cookies, cakes and pies.
Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol
-Try to eat less than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol each day.
-Some common cholesterol-containing foods include eggs, shellfish, organ meats such as liver, and whole milk.
Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars
-Read the ingredient list on packaged foods. Choose items that don’t list added sugars in the first 4 ingredients.
-Examples of added sugar include: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, high-fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice and honey.
Use and prepare foods with little or no salt
-Aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of salt per day.
-Read the Nutrition Facts label to compare the sodium content of similar products and choose the products with less sodium.
-Choose frozen foods, soups, cereals, baked goods and other processed foods that are labeled “reduced-sodium” or “low-sodium”.
-Try rinsing certain foods, such as canned tuna and salmon, canned vegetables, and feta cheese, to remove some of the sodium.

Since: Feb 07

St. Petersburg, FL

#10 Mar 25, 2008
Bunny, I know you're trying to be funny, but this is for serious discussion only.
Margaret

United States

#11 Apr 18, 2008
My problem is when we dine out. I know that I shouldn't eat the portions that restaurants give, but it is so tempting. How can I cut down on the portions I eat when dining out?
Ask Christie

Palmetto, FL

#12 Apr 18, 2008
Great question Margaret!
I would recommend having the waiter pre-package 1/2 of your meal before it even comes to the table so you will be less tempted. You could order an appetizer for an entree; share an entree with someone; skip the free breads/crackers they bring before the meal; ask for salad dressings and condiments of the side and use only small amounts. I hope these tips help.

Since: Mar 08

Palmetto, FL

#13 Apr 19, 2008
Great question Margaret!
I would recommend having the waiter pre-package 1/2 of your meal before it even comes to the table so you will be less tempted. You could order an appetizer for an entree; share an entree with someone; skip the free breads/crackers they bring before the meal; ask for salad dressings and condiments of the side and use only small amounts. I hope these tips help.
Ellie

Tallahassee, FL

#14 Apr 24, 2008
I'm trying to raise my baby vegetarian, she's 15 months old and I trying to feed her soy milk. However, I've heard that soy may not be all that good for her but I'm not quite sure what's wrong about soy, what do you think?
Lilith

Tallahassee, FL

#15 Apr 24, 2008
Christie,

I exercise religiously, and as such I eat what I want. Now I don't go overboard with anything, but I'm just saying that I enjoy a good meal after all my hard work.

That being said, I still have the "love handles" and I just don't understand how to get rid of them without removing the bits of goodness that show up on my plate at dinner time.

Please Help!!

Since: Mar 08

Tallahassee, FL

#16 Apr 24, 2008
Ellie wrote:
I'm trying to raise my baby vegetarian, she's 15 months old and I trying to feed her soy milk. However, I've heard that soy may not be all that good for her but I'm not quite sure what's wrong about soy, what do you think?
No doubt you've heard lots of good things about soy foods. According to a health claim approved by the FDA, they can help to fight heart disease. They may also make your bones stronger. And the biggest news about soy foods over the past decade has been that they contain cancer-fighting compounds.

But just as it seemed that things couldn't get any better for soy, articles began to pop up on the internet saying that the pro-soy stories are nothing more than hype--and that the real scoop on soy is not nearly as positive.

Soy has been used as a replacement for cows' milk for many years. In the past few years there has been some concern that the isoflavones in soy may have estrogenic effects on infants who are fed soy formulas.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that soy formulas are safe and effective for infants, and research shows no hormonal effects in long-term feeding of soy formulas.
My best answer would be that further clinical studies are needed to increase understanding of the role of soy in maintaining and improving health.

Since: Mar 08

Tallahassee, FL

#17 Apr 24, 2008
Lilith wrote:
Christie,
I exercise religiously, and as such I eat what I want. Now I don't go overboard with anything, but I'm just saying that I enjoy a good meal after all my hard work.
That being said, I still have the "love handles" and I just don't understand how to get rid of them without removing the bits of goodness that show up on my plate at dinner time.
Please Help!!
Hi Lilith,
I would recommend you keep a 24 hr food diary to see how much you are really eating, do this for two days during the week and one weekend day.
This helps you discover if you are eating more than what you thought and what kind of foods make up your diet. A great resource to learn more about nutrition is: http://www.mypyramid.gov/
Samantha

Tallahassee, FL

#18 May 7, 2008
Christie,

I just recently got into being healthy. This isn't the first time that I've tried either. Each time that I start up a new diet or something to change my life, I end up feeling that nothing is happening. The results are never enough, and quickly I lose my motivation. Is there a proper goal for weight loss in the first month? Am I setting my expectations too high?

Since: Mar 08

Tallahassee, FL

#19 May 8, 2008
Samantha wrote:
Christie,
I just recently got into being healthy. This isn't the first time that I've tried either. Each time that I start up a new diet or something to change my life, I end up feeling that nothing is happening. The results are never enough, and quickly I lose my motivation. Is there a proper goal for weight loss in the first month? Am I setting my expectations too high?
Samantha,
An initial weight loss of 10 % of body weight achieved over 6 months is the recommended amount. You will even have health benefits with as little as 5% weight loss is 6 months. The rate of weight loss should be 1-2 pounds each week. Greater rates of weight loss do not achieve better longer-term results. Usually, the faster you lose the weight faster you gain it back. I am a strong believer in making lifestyle changes not following a diet. Hope this helps!
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