Archive for July 2009

Step it Up!



Increasing your daily activity can help you lose weight, maintain long-term weight loss, and decrease your risk for many diseases and medical complications such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and colon cancer.  A great way to track your daily activity is counting how many steps you take in a day using a pedometer. Setting a goal for a certain number of steps per day to achieve can motivate you to move around more. You just might find yourself parking in a far away spot and walking to the store!


The general recommendation for the average individual is 10,000 steps per day, the equivalent of five miles of walking distance. If you find that you are not reaching 10,000 steps per day, use some of the tips below to increase your daily step count.  Try to increase your daily steps by 500 each week.  For example, if you reach 3,000 steps per day, try for 3,500 steps next week and 4,000 steps the week after.


Click here for a weekly log where you can record your steps! 



-Take the stairs instead of the escalator/elevator

-Walk over to a neighbor’s house to say hi

-Walk around the room or outside while you talk on the phone

-Walk your dog or a friend’s dog

-Walk through each aisle of the grocery store and circle the perimeter

-Bring your walking shoes to the office in case you get a chance to run errands on your lunch break

-Use a restroom, copy room and/or kitchen that is farther away from your office

-Walk to a co-workers desk to deliver a message instead of emailing

-Go on a walk with your friend

-Walk into the bank rather than using the drive through

-Walk to nearby stores instead of than driving



Healthy U


Here at Hilton Head Health we have a session called Healthy U that we hold for the college-aged guests in-house. It is a seminar-style discussion that allows guests to bring up topics of interest related to living a healthy lifestyle while attending college.  With all the stress, parties, alcohol, buffet-style dining, and late night pizza orders, it can be very challenging to eat healthy and exercise regularly.


These are some points that we cover in the session that you may find helpful whether you’re in college, a recent graduate, a parent of a college student, or none of the above!



– There are healthy options available on all campuses you just have to find them i.e. salad bar, make your own sandwich bar, grilled chicken, etc.


– Try not to make dining halls social places. In other words, don’t make them a location to hang out with your friends.


– Look up nutritional information (if available) online before going out to eat that way you are not stuck making a decision without any guidelines. Typical college eateries that provide nutritional information include Panera, McDonalds, Chipotle, and Subway.


– Don’t be afraid to ask to customize your food—i.e. grilled chicken, broiled fish, steamed veggies, hold the dressing/croutons/cheese, less oil.


– Eat a salad as your first course.  Be sure to get your dressing served on the side and hold off on extras such as bacon bits, cheese, and croutons.


-Drink water between bites and/or plates.


-Stock your dorm room/apartment with healthy snacks such as low fat yogurt, string cheese, snack-size popcorn bags, fresh fruits, baby carrots, etc. That way you will avoid the temptation of the lobby vending machine when traveling to and from classes.



-Designate time in your schedule for exercise as if it were a class


-Find an exercise buddy to help keep you accountable.


-Walk or bike around campus instead of taking the bus or driving.


-Read/study while riding the stationary bike.


-Join an intramural sports team – gather your friends and have fun!  It is open to all fitness levels!


-Take advantage of the Group Fitness Classes at your school’s gym.  It’s a great way to meet new people, and experience new types of exercise!


-Make room in your schedule each year to take a PE class. 



-Get the proper amount of sleep! Try to schedule your studying so you don’t end up pulling any all-nighters. 


-Establish a consistent sleeping/eating routine.


-For quiet time, find a place where you can retreat when you need to study, relax or even just get away.




-Cut back on the number of nights you drink and/or the number of drinks you have in one night.


-Choose drinks that are lower in sugar and fat grams.


– Alcohol will make any weight loss/maintenance effort nearly impossible. It lowers your inhibitions so you are more likely to choose unhealthy foods/portions, disrupts your sleep and drains you of your energy and motivation to exercise.


 -Find activities on campus to enjoy other than parties or bars.  Make it a movie night, venture to your local bowling alley or even revert back to your younger days and play games outside – capture the flag!



Eating the Rainbow

This morning I was thinking back on the past week and whether or not I ate veggies and fruits in all the colors of the rainbow.  This was the list I came up:

Red: red peppers, tomatoes, raspberries

Orange: sweet potatoes, oranges, peaches, carrots

Yellow: bananas, yellow peppers, onions, mango

Green: spinach, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, asparagus, seaweed salad

Blue: Blueberries

Purple (Yeah I know it’s Indigo): eggplant, blackberries


Eating vegetables and fruits in a variety of colors is important to get the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) necessary for your:



-Blood and bone health

-Antioxidant function

-Fluid and electrolyte balance


What about you?  Is your produce rainbow complete? 



Stop, Sit, Eat




Have you ever eaten an entire meal yet felt as if you didn’t even eat? Your mouth wanted more, your stomach wanted more…wait a minute, DID you actually scarf down a meal or not?


Perhaps you were eating while driving. Perhaps you were standing at the kitchen counter.  Perhaps you were eating out of the refrigerator.  Perhaps you were watching TV. Perhaps you were at your work desk.  Perhaps you were….


Perhaps that’s why you didn’t feel satisfied!  Eating a meal that leaves you full and content does not only mean eating healthy and nutritious food. Equally as important is the act of eating mindfully.


What is mindful eating?


Mindful eating means being fully present in the moment—seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting the food you are eating. In addition, it involves appreciating the way your food looks and feels—the colors and textures, as well as taking note of your body’s reaction to the foods such as your hunger levels and mood.


Key components of mindful eating:

1)    Sitting down at a table to eat

2)    Eating without distractions i.e. TV, computer, newspaper

3)    Eating in a neutral environment—a location that does not conjure up negative emotions or stress


Eating mindfully allows you to feel fuller while eating less. One contributing factor to this is the natural tendency to spend more time eating at each meal. Thus your stomach has adequate time to send the necessary signals to your brain alerting it that it is no longer hungry.  You will also find that your body is better able to digest the food consumed.  


Strategies to slow down eating:

1)    Use your non-dominant hand

2)    Drink water in between bites

3)    Observe, smell, and feel your food

4)    Think about the love that went into preparing the food


Life seems to be getting more and more hectic every day.  Fewer families are sitting down together at the dinner table to eat a home-cooked meal.  Don’t let that be your family.  Set aside 15-30 min. to sit down and enjoy your meal.  If you are by yourself, sit outside or by the window and simply enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of nature.  You may think that there isn’t enough time in the day to set aside for dinnertime, but surely you have 15-30 minutes. Treat yourself and your family as well as you would if you had a guest over for dinner.



Dining Out Guide: Italian



I always remind myself this little piece of advice: eat if you’re truly hungry, don’t eat if you’re NOT truly hungry. Easier said than done right?  Exercising portion control and listening to hunger cues can be difficult especially when you are dining out. Thus, I have created a guide to help you choose healthier options when eating out at Italian restaurants. Healthy food does not have to mean eating naked salads while staring at everyone else eat creamy pasta dishes!

Of course, you want to enjoy your meal out, so choose something you like (within reason) and split it with a friend or get a tasty appetizer (again, within reason) to split with everyone at the table and choose a healthier main entrée.

Don’t be shy. See what the kitchen can do for you. After all, you are paying them to cook your food! Ask your server for an order of steamed or grilled veggies instead of a baked potato. Perhaps you can get your chicken grilled or baked instead of breaded or fried.

Remember, you can always pack half of your meal up and enjoy it the next day, especially if you’re not hungry.



-The whole breadbasket

-Garlic bread(sticks)

-Caesar salad w/ dressing

-Cream sauces (i.e. alfredo)

-Fried calamari

-Fried eggplant

-Cheese Sticks





-Chicken Parmesan



-ONE piece of bread

-House salad

-Olive oil and vinegar dressing

-Minestrone soup

-Tomato Soup

-Marinara sauce

-Shrimp cocktail

-Whole wheat pasta

-Grilled chicken

-Grilled or broiled seafood

-Spaghetti w/ marinara or white wine sauce (watch the pasta portion!)

-Grilled calamari

-Caprese Salad




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