BetterU 2014 – Week 5

Welcome to week 5 of the BetterU Challenge! (New here or want to find out more about this program? Jump back to the week 1 information here!)

Special thanks to Marni Hughes and Q13 Fox News – they are helping spread the word about the Go Red BetterU program! Marni interviewed group participants Shirley and Kristi, plus popped in to catch me in my kitchen for the kick-off to the Q13 coverage of the remaining weeks of the BetterU program this session. We are looking to help YOU participate right along with us. Are you going to join in on the BetterU program with us? If so we are honored to have you here! Leave messages below to say Hi, ask questions and shout it out that you’re doing the #GoRedBetterU program on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and more!

Watch the recap of the kickoff here, then watch me every Tuesday during the 4pm news hour for the new weekly recap and healthy cooking tips, plus see the ladies as they go along on their journey! 

Week 5

Week 5 of the BetterU program focuses on Weight Control For Your Heart. While the focus of this entire program is on making small changes in your daily life to help you lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and over all taking better care of yourself to lower your risk of heart disease, and we try not to focus on “just” losing weight, having a healthy body weight is an important piece of the puzzle. The good news is when you focus on lowering the numbers that directly affect your heart health (and over all wellness) shedding excess pounds our bodies don’t need tends to come naturally! (This is exactly how I lost over 100 pounds!)

Dr. Siecke gave us a glimpse at the heart back on Week 2 and we saw the effects of excess weight, which increases your heart’s work, which often times leads to high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, has on the heart. Excess weight isn’t just an aesthetic issue, it can truly shorten your life and lead to major health complication. If your BMI currently is in the overweight or obese category (—>here is an easy to use calculator) a reasonable initial goal is to lose 5-10 percent of your body weight. This can significantly lower your risk factor for heart disease as well as alleviate blood pressure and cholesterol when done in a healthy way. Have more to go? Keep on going, focusing on your over all health, not just the pounds, and enjoy living a healthier, more delicious and active lifestyle!

Weight management is simple, really, when you focus on your other numbers. They often times go hand in hand.

  • Eat appropriate portions.
  • Choose healthier foods, limit or eliminate processed foods.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits, aim for every meal and snack.
  • Move your body more, trying for 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise.

Make it easy, don’t get caught up in calorie counting every single day. Instead use the recommended guidelines from the American Heart Association. This is a healthy way to eat, every day, for a healthy body and weight management:

  • Fruits and vegetables: at least 4.5 cups per day
  • Fish (preferably wild and oily): at least two 3.5 oz servings per week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: 3-5 servings per day(3 if you’re looking for weight loss, 5 for larger frames, children and those maintaining their weight or if you indulge a bit on the weekends)
  • Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg per day. Simply cutting out processed foods and adding just a pinch of salt at the beginning of cooking helps you achieve this.
  • Added sugars: No more than 450 calories per week. A little honey or maple syrup in your oats, some stevia in your coffee or tea, a homemade muffin a couple of times per week.
  • Nuts, legumes and seeds: At least 4 servings per week.
  • Processed meats: No more than 2 servings per week, preferably none. Including lunch meats.
  • Saturated fat: Less than 7% of your calories. (For an 1,800 calorie diet no more than 12.6 grams of saturated fat per day.)

Activate weight loss! Just starting out or stuck at a plateau? These tips will help!

  • Move more. Every movement burns calories.
  • Increase the intensity of what you already do. You burn calories faster if you pick up the pace.
  • Don’t “reward” a workout with food.
  • Go for a walk to help fight non-hunger urges to eat.
  • Keep track of your physical activity in your journal.
  • Watch your portions. Pre-portion your meals and snacks.
  • Don’t drink your calories. Go for water first.
  • Pay attention to hunger. Eat before you get too hungry. Stop eating before you feel too full. Hara Hachi Bunme: Eat until you are 80% full.
  • Keep track of your eating in your journal. Be HONEST with yourself. If you’re sharing this information with your doctor, nutritionist, etc. be honest. They can’t help if you’re not being honest about your food intake and choices.

But…we all have barriers that may keep us from living this healthy lifestyle. You may be in the diet-mentality mode that many of use are stuck in. The “I fell off the wagon, I’m going to just give up” mindset. This is a lifestyle, not a diet. Taking care of your body is a life-long journey, not a goal you will reach then finish working on. 

We’ll be talking more about breaking through barriers in Week 6, but here is some information that can help:

Lapsing and Relapsing

A lapse is a small mistake or return to old habits. This can happen when you have a bad day and overeat or skip exercise.

A relapse is when you go back to old habits for several days or weeks.

Remember that having a lapse or relapse is not failing. You can get back on track. Think about whether you feel hunger (gnawing in your stomach) or urges (mental cravings for food). When you feel an urge, set a timer for 15 minutes and wait, or do something else before eating. This will teach you to be in control of your desire for food. Try to use other ways to respond to life’s stresses besides eating. Take a brisk walk, start a new hobby or calm yourself with stress-management techniques.

Some food for thought: What does it take to achieve a healthy BMI?

According to American Family Physician, as of September 2010, adults who successfully maintained their weight loss:

98% have modified their eating habits.
94% have increased their level of physical activity, especially walking.
78% eat a healthy breakfast every day.

Yes it takes some work and some change. But the health benefits are SO worth it!

Notes from the meetings:

This week at the meeting we had a guest speaker, Amy, a fitness trainer and director from the Lynnwood Recreation Center, who spoke with the group about how to add physical activity to your every day life. Don’t have time to workout? Amy recommends taking the stairs, parking as far away from the door as possible, fitting in 10-15 minute walks in your day. Amy also stressed the importance of scheduling your exercise into your week, just like you would a meeting.

Amy also talked to the ladies about which exercise routine would be best for them. Need motivation? One of our participants who mentioned she struggled with this and Amy suggested she try group exercise. When others are counting on you being there it is a good motivator. Another participant mentioned she doesn’t find much time for exercise in her daily life, as well as mentioned she had a dog. Amy suggested she use her time walking the dog every evening as a good warm up then as soon as she gets back to the house to continue into a 10-15 minute at-home strength training before settling down for the evening. Great ideas Amy!

Amy also demonstrated some easy workouts to do while you’re brushing your teeth, waiting for water to boil, etc. It all adds up! We even had a participant ask how to get “Michelle Obama arms” so Amy graciously showed us a good arm toning workout you can do at home without any special equipment. Thanks Amy!

The ladies are continuing to grow their relationships outside of class, this is so wonderful to see! They are forming support groups and workout buddies. Just like last year, I see there are lifelong friendships coming from this 12 week program!

Have a wonderful week and congratulations on Week 5 towards a BetterU!

Chef Kirsten Signature

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Verdant Health Commission

Lynnwood Rec center



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