What Is a Health Weight

How Do You Define it?

Many may define their personal “healthy weight” strictly by the scale, others by the mirror, and some by how they feel. Which is correct? Maybe all of the above! How do you feel about your weight? Are you comfortable with how you look and feel? Do you have the energy to pursue your daily activities and hobbies? Do you miss out on events with family and friends because your weight hinders your participation? Do you like the way your clothes fit and/or the style of clothing you have as choices? Your feelings and emotions regarding your body size may be accurate or they may be skewed by perceptions from Hollywood about what “normal” size looks like.

According to My Calculations…

If your body weight is preventing you from participating in the activities of daily life, it is time to look at more objective data. One of the easiest ways to look at a healthy weight is to calculate body mass index. It is measured by your weight divided by height squared. A quick Google search for a BMI calculator will enable you to input your height and weight. The normal range for most people is 18.5-24.9. Anything less than 18.5 is considered underweight. The BMI range for overweight is 25-29.9 and for obesity is a BMI over 30. For the majority of people, this is a good estimate of how their body weight may affect their health. For athletes, this calculation may be skewed due to their high muscle mass. For this population, a calculation of body fat percentage may be more accurate. The problem with excess body weight, in addition to the way you look and feel about yourself, is that it puts you at risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, joint problems and cancer (WebMD). Unfortunately, years of carrying excess weight usually takes its toll later in life.

Healthy Habits.

Healthy Lifestyle. Finally, it is essential to look at your habits. Are your habits conducive to a healthy lifestyle? Will they promote weight loss and weight maintenance or will they eventually lead to weight gain? How much processed food is part of your daily intake? How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you regularly consume? How many sodas do you drink per day? Water? Dairy servings? How often do you cook versus eat out in restaurants? Do you participate in regular exercise or physical activity? Regardless of your weight now, poor dietary and activity habits will usually lead to weight gain which may lead to chronic disease. It has been shown that diets do not work. People can lose weight through a temporary change of dietary intake and exercise but unless those changes become a permanent part of a healthy lifestyle, they will not benefit long term. Actually, gaining the weight back may lead to feelings of failure, poor self-image, and apathy toward adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Tips and Tricks for a Healthy Weight

So what essential habits help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight?

  1. Eat real food. Try to eat as many foods that have a short ingredient list—Lean meat, fruits and vegetables, and dairy.
  2. Cook your own food. It is difficult to regularly consume restaurant foods and not over-consume calories.
  3. Avoid junk food. Processed foods usually have long ingredient lists with additives that you cannot pronounce.
  4. Drink water as your beverage of choice.
  5. Move.
  6. Control portion sizes. Large portions of healthy foods may still exceed caloric requirements.
  7. Get enough sleep.
  8. Manage your stress and avoid stress eating.
  9. Know yourself. What are the triggers that drive you to overeat or make poor food choices?
  10. Find the balance. Life is tough and full of situations that make healthy eating difficult. Do the best that you can in those situations then resume your healthy habits.So whether you judge your healthy weight by the scale, the mirror or how you feel, it is important to make sure you maintain healthy habits. With healthy habits comes a healthy lifestyle!

Phytonutrients? It’s not Greek to Me!

What Sounds Complicated is Actually Simple

Unless you have your healthy head in the sand, you have probably heard of Phytonutrients or Phytochemicals. What in the world does that mean? Phyto is Greek and means plants. So, Phytochemicals or Phytonutrients are words to describe healthy ingredients in plant-based foods. See, it’s simple. And it’s more than that.

They’re Good for You!

Eat your vegetables! Yeah, I know you’ve heard that before – probably from your mother encouraging you to eat your greens as a child. Nope, you’re not a child anymore, and you are hopefully a healthy adult faithfully eating your greens since you know how important it is to have those nutrients in your diet. What Mom may not have told you is that you can get important nutrients from veggies and other plant-based foods that are not greens. In fact, many of them are white. How about that?

Linda Armada is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with The Diabetes Center of North Florida Regional Healthcare.

Linda Armada is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with The Diabetes Center of North Florida Regional Healthcare.

Lessons from Linda

Linda Armada, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Diabetes Center at North Florida Regional Medical Center, offers some great insight into why phytochemicals are so important to our diet. She explains that these compounds can help increase the body’s ability to fight infections and cancer; some may even lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Armada also explains that these important compounds are often found in white fruits and vegetables. A few phytochemical-rich foods include cauliflower, onions, bananas, garlic, potatoes, pears, corn and squash.

Phyto Advice

Here are a few thoughts just to get you going.

  • Start your day with a cup of hot green tea and some mixed berries-strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. They are a great combo, and all are rich in antioxidants, a type of phytochemical.
  • Try making a quinoa salad with white beans, corn and chopped onions, which can be served cold or hot.
  • For dinner, try grilled chicken and onions, a tossed salad, sweet potatoes and cauliflower.

If you’re interested in more information about phytochemicals, click here. Next time you’re reaching for a healthy snack, don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be green!

7 Food Hacks For Weight Loss

The term ‘hack’ is being used a lot lately. While it used to have a negative connotation, these days to ‘hack’ is to find a quicker, easier and more effective method for achieving a goal.

There are life hacks (like packing Christmas ornaments in empty egg cartons), food hacks (like placing a handful of cherry tomatoes between two plates and using a knife to halve them all in one fell swoop), and as I’ll share with you today, fat loss hacks.

Fat loss hacks are ways of doing everyday things, like eating, in a way that promotes fat loss and blocks fat storage. Sounds pretty great, right?!

Here are our 7 most effective Fat Loss Hacks…

Fat Loss Hack #1: Cauliflower Rice

Serve shredded, sautéed cauliflower as rice, rather than traditional brown or white rice. This simple hack will save you hundreds of calories per meal and will leave you no less satisfied. You can even add your favorite spices and flavor additions as you do with traditional rice.

Fat Loss Hack #2: Vegetable Noodles

There are many ways to create and enjoy noodles made from vegetables, rather than noodles made from grains. The veggie noodles are a hundred times less fattening than grain-based noodles, so what are you waiting for?! Use a spiral slicer to turn zucchini or butternut squash into noodles; bake a spaghetti squash and scrape out those nature-made noodles; or simply use a traditional veggie peeler to create long noodle strips from zucchini.

Fat Loss Hack #3: Lettuce Wrapped

By simply replacing your sliced bread and buns for large pieces of lettuce, you’ll quickly eliminate a couple hundred calories from each meal. Once you get used to the crunch of the lettuce you’ll enjoy your new style of sandwich and burger even more than the traditional way.

Fat Loss Hack #4: Protein Powder

Did you know that protein powder can be used in many recipes to increase the protein and reduce the carbs? Replace a portion of the flour in your pancakes with high quality protein powder and you’ll see how delicious it tastes while being so much healthier for you.

Fat Loss Hack #5: Coconut Oil

Replace the vegetable oil in your kitchen with coconut oil, and enjoy benefits such as increased fat burning and reduced appetite. In addition, you’ll be avoiding the pitfalls of other, less healthy oils and fats. Coconut oil can be used in virtually any recipe – both stove top and baking.

Fat Loss Hack #6: Wholesome Sweeteners

Throw the refined sugar out of your kitchen and replace it with any one of these wholesome sweeteners: coconut sugar, raw honey, pure maple syrup, or pitted dates. By getting your sweet fix from these wholesome, real food sweeteners you’ll be taking in fewer calories and there will be less of an impact on your blood sugar, which will result in less fat stored.

Fat Loss Hack #7: Water

Replace high calorie beverages with crystal clear water. This simple hack could quite possibly change your life. If high calories, sugar-laden beverages make up a significant part of your daily calories then switching to water will swiftly induce fat loss.

Start using these Fat Loss Hacks today and enjoy a leaner, more fit physique. Let us know when your jeans start to feel loose around the waist!

Your challenge:

Try one of these fat loss hacks in the next 7 days and let us know how it works!

Body Mass Index: Who Came Up With This Name, Anyway?

Here’s a true fact. Many of us avoid looking up our Body Mass Index – also just called BMI. Why? Probably a variety of reasons. I think the name itself is one of them. The word ‘body’ is not so worrisome. But it’s followed by another word. Mass. That sounds negative right off the bat. Then, another word. Index. Sounds cold, mathematical and probably unforgiving. No wonder we’re not lining up in droves to do this for fun. Another true fact. Body Mass Index is a useful tool and a simple step to get started on a healthy life. So, let’s get over the name and put BMI to work for us.

What Your Body Mass Index Should Be.

BMI is an indicator of the amount of body fat for most people. It is used as a screening tool to identify whether an adult is at a healthy weight. As we mentioned in our recent Just One Thing, all you have to do is find an online BMI calculator, type in your height and weight. You’ll get your BMI measurement back super fast. Remember that a special BMI Percentile Calculator should be used for children and teens that takes a child’s age and gender into consideration. According to the Center for Disease Control, a BMI of less than 18.5 means you do not weigh enough. BMI scores of between 18.5 and 24.9 put you at a weight that is healthy. BMI scores of 25.0 to 29.9 mean you are overweight. BMI scores above 30.0 translate into obesity. And obesity can translate into a host of medical problems — everything from joint problems to diabetes to heart disease and stroke to cancers. If you check your BMI, and the number staring you in the face is not good, it’s time to make a plan.

Take That BMI and Shove It? Not the Best Move.

The easy thing after getting a high BMI readout is to ignore it. Yes, you can write it off as a useless number and completely ignore it while chomping down on deep dish pizza. But the easy way and the healthy way are often not the same. The better thing is to write the number down, call your primary care doctor and make an appointment. You don’t have to come up with your plan all by yourself. That’s what your doctor is for – to help you find a way to be healthy. For most of us, if we take too much on ourselves all alone and all at once, it’s hard to make changes. It just is. But if we keep it simple and ask for help, our chances are much better. So, two simple steps. Know your BMI. If needed, call your doctor. A simple start.

Different People. Different Answers.

As we saw earlier in this month’s Spotlight Series on Healthy Weight, some people wind up with guidance for a really good eating and activity plan at their doctor’s office. You saw Robyn

Crawford’s story of success, and that is how she found her way back from a big BMI.

Some people will get a different recommendation from their doctor. Paula Darby did. After years of losing weight and gaining it back, her doctor suggested she consider an option that was more aggressive. And that is what Paula has done. At the top of this post, we shared two pictures with you — one shows Paula on July 25, 2014 — and the other shows Paula on September 24, 2014. Just six weeks between the two pictures, but there is now 44 pounds less of Paula. She’s got a way to go still, but she is on her way. How is she getting there? More about that later.

Just One Thing: A Simple Starting Place

Thank goodness for what I call my ‘Let’s Just Get It Over With’ moods. Sometimes I avoid things I really don’t want to deal with. Do you? Eventually, I find resolve and tell myself that it’s time to stop putting it off and do what I have to do. So, here goes.

What is my BMI?

As in Body Mass Index. It’s that tool that shows how close you are to your goal healthy weight. BMI uses a math formula based on your height and weight. It’s not perfect. It’s not a diagnostic tool. It’s a screening tool. But it is a solid start so you know how much work you need to do to get to a healthy weight. It takes only a couple of seconds to get your BMI. Literally. You don’t need a calculator. Just sit down at your computer and go to a site with a BMI calculator like www.northfloridaweightloss.com and then, at the bottom of that site’s home page, find button that says Calculate Your BMI. Put in your height. Put in your weight. And click. Remember your number or write it down. We’ll have more information about what it means in a few days. But not today. We already did BMI. More information right now would be TMI.

Remember that old saying, Ignorance is Bliss? Not true when it comes to your health. Just One Thing to think about…

Just One Thing: Ever Heard Of This Diet Plan?

Our Women and Wellness Spotlight this month is Healthy Weight. Here’s this week’s ‘Just One Thing’ for you to consider.

The Paleo Diet

In his Spotlight Series article this month, Dr. Christopher Bray mentioned one particular eating plan that he believes is the best. To be honest, I’d never heard of it before. Last evening at North Florida Regional Medical Center, Dr. Peter Sarantos spoke to a group of women who attended an information session on Healthy Weight. He said the same thing Dr. Bray did – that there are a lot of eating plans out there to consider. His #1 choice for healthy eating was the same one Dr. Bray mentioned. It’s called the Paleo Diet. I found the plan’s website at www.thepaleodiet.com — and it looks interesting. In a nutshell, it seems to operate on a simple premise – going back to the way our ancestors ate, which is all about the way our bodies are designed to work. Which helps you feel better, healthier, live longer and wind up at a healthy weight. Much more to learn, and I am looking forward to finding out if this might help me feel better and maybe even shed some cellulite. It’s a first step.

Don’t think of healthy eating as a diet. Think of it as a way to live. Just One Thing to think about…

Just One Thing: The Real First Step to Healthy Weight

As part of Women and Wellness, we want to introduce what we call ‘Just One Thing.’ I don’t know about you, but I often feel that my life is way too crazy busy. There’s so much to do and so much to think about. I want to be healthy and happy. I love the idea of being the best I can be, but I usually feel too overwhelmed to take in new ideas. Do you feel the same?

That’s why we thought we’d send something simple once a week from our current Spotlight Series. In those moments when your mind is free, you can ponder. Maybe it’ll lead to something that will make a difference.

I Have Been Thinking About this All Wrong

Our Women and Wellness Spotlight this month is Healthy Weight. Here’s this week’s ‘Just One Thing’ for you to consider.

Stuck with pounds that you want to lose but can’t seem to get rid of? Dr. Christopher Bray says it could be your starting point is keeping you from being successful. He recommends you think first about your overall lifestyle, not the pounds you need to lose. His basic point is this. If you have a healthy diet, are active and reduce your stress – you will wind up at a healthy weight.

Start by creating a healthy lifestyle, and your healthy weight will follow. Just One Thing to think about…