Power your mind with great reads that encourage healthy life style choices.
+ Eat Healthy Fats-Limited Meat and High-Fat Dairy
Does my body need fats?
Yes, it does. Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and support cell growth. They also protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients (vitamins A, D, E and K) and produce important hormones, too. Your body definitely needs fat.
Fats: They’re not all the same.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the best choices. Look for food products with little or no saturated fats and do your best to avoid trans fats. Saturated and trans fats tend to be more solid at room temperature (like a stick of butter), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be more liquid (like liquid vegetable oil and olive oil).
Fats can also have different effects on the cholesterol levels in your body. The bad fats, saturated fats and trans fats raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern.
You can live heart healthy!
Throughout the day, you’ll make decisions that affect how well you follow heart healthy lifestyle habits. Do I eat a hamburger with fries or soup and salad? Do I go for a walk or not? Be prepared for these moments of decision and strategize how best to guide yourself into making the right choices. Pretty soon, with continued practice, these moments of decisions will simply become habit.
For more resources on healthy habits, visit Power Henrico.
Each February we celebrate National Heart Health Month by motivating our coworkers to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. Research shows we are more successful at meeting personal health goals when we join forces and work toward a common goal. Register today for the Healthy Heart Challenge.
National Wear Red Day is February 7.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong journey, and there may be times when the task may seem overwhelming. Living your healthiest life is a big project – possibly one of your biggest undertakings yet.
As with any big project, if you focus only on the end result (which may seem endlessly far away!) the process may seem daunting. For those trying to lose weight, setting goals can often mean the difference between success and failure. Goals help motivate you and keep you focused. They put your thoughts into actions and help you meet your expectations. But goal setting is not as easy as it may seem. You cannot just write something down and expect that it will happen.
Your ability to reach your fitness and wellness goals is closely tied to how realistic they are. Many have unrealistic expectations. They set goals for themselves that are too big, too quick, too impractical. Before you identify your goals, take some time to reflect on your situation. You know you want to lose weight, but why? What is it that you are really striving for? Once you have answers (or at least some pretty good assumptions), develop a plan. Break those big goals down into smaller steps that seem within your grasp.
Here is a hands-on guide to help you establish and achieve your goals.
If you have not already, write down each of your goals on a piece of paper. Underneath write why this goal is important to you. What is it that is motivating you to make this big change in your lifestyle? Next, ask yourself how confident you are that you can achieve each of the goals you have written down. If you have more than one goal, consider whether working on multiple goals at once will be distracting or energizing. Analyzing your goals may cause you to refine or even change them. Perhaps your goal of losing 50 pounds was sparked by an upcoming class reunion, but now you realize what you really want is just to get healthier and feel better. Most often personal health goals tend to center around weight, activity, healthy eating and feeling better.
It is OK to dream big. Big things do not happen unless you have big aspirations. But recognize that big things typically do not happen without big efforts. Champion athletes do not become champions and then start training like one. It is the other way around – they dream big, do the necessary preparation, and then carry out their plan to reach their goals.
So, dream big if you want to – keeping realism in mind – but understand that you will need a well-planned effort to reach your healthiest life.
Eat Vegetables and Fruits (4 or more servings of vegetables and 3 or more of fruits) and Avoid Added Sugars
Fresh vegetables and fruits are the foundations of a healthy diet and successful weight loss. Most processed foods, sweets and non-diet sodas contain a lot of calories in just a small portion. Vegetables and fruits are the opposite – they have lots of bulk (fiber) and few calories. You can eat a lot, consume fewer calories and feel full at the end of your meal. The American Heart Association recommends eating 4 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit every day.
Your first reaction to seeing how many servings of vegetables and fruit you should eat might have been, “I can’t do that!” Hold on – you may be confusing servings with portions. A portion is the amount of food YOU put on your plate. And a portion of food may contain many servings. This is one of the reasons many Americans today are overweight or obese. Portion sizes have increased, especially in restaurants. We’ve become accustomed to eating large amounts of food at our meals – far more than we need. To lose weight, and keep it off, you need to learn how to estimate servings so you can control portions. (American Heart Association Servings Sizes https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/fruits-and-vegetables-serving-sizes)
This month, the challenge is to eat more servings of vegetables and fruits. And you may find that focusing on eating more veggies and fruits (a very positive, health improvement habit) will distract you from having to say NO to highly processed, high-calorie junk food. Use the following tips to plan how you can increase your chances of increasing your daily vegetable and fruit intake.
Stay on track with your vegetable and fruit intake each day to avoid added sugars found in processed foods. Added refined sugars contains extra (unwanted) calories, has no nutritional value, and negative health effects such as tooth decay and an increase in blood sugar (glucose) associated with diabetes. If you want something sweet use the natural sweetness of fruit. Instead of sugar on your cereal add banana, blueberries or strawberries. Blend fresh (or frozen) fruit with frozen yogurt and ice for a refreshing and naturally sweet treat and for dessert, prepare baked apples or grilled pineapple. (American Heart Association’s Cut out Sugars Infographic https://www.heart.org/-/media/files/healthy-living/healthy-eating/cut_out_added_sugar_english_infographic.pdf?la=en&hash=7019511DA6A99991BF1F1C9163BA8068A05720DE )