KRON 4 | Eat Your Way to a Trimmer Waist

According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have  something called metabolic syndrome. That’s almost one out of every six people. Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Here’s how you get it and what you can do about it.

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome? 

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a cluster of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these measurements.

  • Large waistline: Greater than 40″ (men); greater than 35″ (women)
  • High triglycerides: Greater than 150 mg/dL
  • Low HDL (“good cholesterol”) level:  Less than 40 mg/dL (men); less than 50 mg/dL (women)
  • High blood pressure: 130/85 mm/Hg and higher
  • High fasting blood sugar: 100 mg/dL and higher

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Metabolic Syndrome Health Effects

Compared to someone without metabolic syndrome, a person with metabolic syndrome is:

  • Twice as likely to develop heart disease.
  • Five times as likely to develop diabetes. If your waistline is over 40″, your risk is 12 times higher for diabetes.

The Study

Traditional Vietnamese Pho Beef Noodle Soup
Asian noodles are an example of “refined grains”.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains reduced cardiovascular risk factors. They studied two groups — one group ate whole grains and the other ate refined grains.

Refined grains have a high glycemic load which means they’re rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream. Examples of refined grains include: white pasta/noodles, white rice, white bread/rolls/tortillas, enriched wheat bread/bagels, and corn flakes.

Whole-Grain Diet Results

Weight loss and cholesterol levels decreased similarly in both whole-grain and refined-grain groups, BUT the whole grain group had the following results:

  1. 38% decrease in inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP) levels decreased. CRP is an inflammatory biomarker and an emerging risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is a predictor of cardiac events in persons with and without CVD.
  2. Significantly greater decreases in the percentage of abdominal fat.

Why Whole-Grains Reduce Inflammation

The reduction in inflammation could be due to:

  • Lower blood glucose concentrations throughout the day. This is the result of increased fiber in the whole grains.
  • The antioxidants in the whole grains which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The release of inflammatory compounds from the loss of abdominal fat. Abdominal fat (visceral fat) is highly inflammatory. Eating whole grains decreased belly fat substantially.

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The Whole Grain Daily Diet      

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How to Persevere (Even When You Really Want to Quit)

Black shoes standing at the road with go on and give up wording.

You set out this year to build new healthy habits. You revised your eating plan, stepped up the exercise, and have been sailing right along. You lost weight! Yay! BUT… today (and last week for that matter) the scale hasn’t budged. It’s not reflecting all your hard work and steady diligence. Your heart sinks. You wonder if all the hard work is worth it.

If this sounds like you, STOP the negative self talk immediately. The devil in your head will cause you to tumble backwards. Remember, the scale doesn’t reflect any changes in your muscle and fat ratios nor do they show the improvements in your heart and brain function, your blood flow, or your arteries — all the things critical to living a long, active and independent life.

Weight Loss

If this isn’t your first weight loss rodeo, focus on “changing your body composition” this time around rather than chasing that elusive number on the scale. That is, work on increasing your muscle mass and trimming the fat. If you’re sticking with your new lifestyle, it will pay off over the long term. Have faith in your efforts.

Aim for small incremental changes because those are the ones that are more likely to stick. Just relax and think about how you feel. Do you feel more energetic, lighter, more comfortable, and hopeful? If so, that’s what really counts.

How to Persevere

I found this great article on Inc.com:  5 Steps to Persevere (Even When You Really Want to Quit) — Practical advice for when your confidence and energy are at its lowestTake a couple of minutes to read it. It may inspire and support you during these times when you are struggling. Keep in mind that as long as you are trying, you are successful.

xo

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KRON 4 | 10 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick

If you pledged to get healthier this year with yet another New Year’s resolution (or maybe even two or three resolutions), know that typically 80% of them fail by February. If you want to increase your odds of success this year though, here are some tricks to help make your new habits stick!

1. Commit to Thirty Days

Monatsende 30

Consider the first 30 days as the foundation for creating a new habit. It takes time to make a new behavior stick, but you’ll increase the chances of achieving your new pledge if you commit to making it through these 30 days.

To get inspired, watch this lighthearted TED talk, “Try Something New for 30 Days” as a new way to think about setting and achieving goals.

2. Do It Daily

Whatever your goal — whether it’s to go to the gym or eat three fruits a day — then do it DAILY for the first 30 days. It’s easier to nail down the habit if you do it everyday versus once every few days. The goal is consistency.

NOTE: If you pledged to go to the gym, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work out vigorously every day. Just get yourself to the gym for 30 consecutive days — even if it means walking in and taking just a few spins on the bike. The key is to get in the habit of getting up and going.

3. Mingle with Role Models 

Make a point of seeking out people whose habits you want to imitate because when it comes to becoming fatter, obesity spreads through social relationshipsA 32-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that you’re more likely to become obese if you spend time with close friends that are obese. That is, according to researchers, obesity can literally spread from person to person, much like a virus.

Therefore, if your close friend is obese, eats junk food, and doesn’t exercise, then it will be more difficult (but not impossible) to stick with your pledge to create new healthy habits. Although you cannot change your friend’s habits, YOU can still change yours. Seek out and spend time with your role models.

4. Negate Negatives with “But”

But“But” is a very powerful word. When you use it, it negates everything you said preceding the word “but” in that sentence. (Did anyone ever say to you, “Say, I love your new hair color, but….” Stop the negative self-talk. It can lead to overeating to relieve those negative emotions.

When you catch yourself saying, “I can never stick with my New Year’s resolutions,” follow it with, “but I have the skills to help me this time.” Use “but” to stop negativity in its tracks.

5. Own It

Resolutions fail because they’re created based on what someone else (such as your spouse, doctor, or parent) is telling you to change. Be sure your New Year’s resolution is something YOU want to achieve. That is, be sure your resolution is NOT based on what you “should” do.

A part of owning your goal is watching your language. The words “should”, “need to”, and “have to” are negative words, and you surrender control when you say them. Negative thinking and negative self-talk lead to negative emotions, such as feelings of defeat and depression, and thus, emotional eating.

The words “should”, “need to”, and “have to” imply something is wrong with you. That is, something is ‘broken’ and needs to be fixed. For example, notice the difference in how you feel when you say, “I have to exercise” or “I need to lose weight” versus, “I want to exercise because I love walking vacations” or “I choose to lose weight, so I won’t have knee pain” which puts the control, motivation, and power to change back on you.

Healthy Living

6. Relish the Reward   

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KRON 4 | Motivation… What Makes YOU Move?

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If you have trouble sticking to your exercise program, and it’s not due to a lack of desire to get fit, then it could be because the exercise doesn’t fit your personality. Everyone has their own exercise goals and needs, that is, everyone has their own ‘fitness personality’. I go through the five distinct fitness personality types with KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez.

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Fitness Personality Types

  1. Predictable
  2. Methodical
  3. Competitive
  4. Social
  5. Dynamic

#1 – Predictable

  • Thrives on routine
  • Is a reliable, independent and stable exerciser
  • Goes to the gym and develops rigid schedules and regimes

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Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Due to the lack of variation in your exercise program, you may hit a plateau by doing the same routine and become frustrated. By incorporating resistance, circuit or high intensity interval training and/or adding new activities each week, the positive physical changes may help reboot your enthusiasm.

#2 – Methodical

  • Likes organization, discipline and routine (but isn’t as rigid as the ‘Predictable’ exerciser)
  • Thrives on social interaction
  • Loves structured group exercise

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Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Exercising alone would de-motivate you. You would benefit most from joining a gym, hiking/biking in groups, or taking a group fitness class.

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KRON 4 | Eat Your Fluids and Lose Weight

Drinking the recommended amount of water every day may sometimes seem like a daunting task, but here’s why you need water to lose weight — and why you don’t have to drink all that water.

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Which would you rather have….?

Why You Need Water to Lose Weight

  • Water suppresses your appetite naturally.
  • Your body often confuses thirst with hunger. You may think you’re hungry, but you’re actually just thirsty.
  • When you lack water, you store more fat. Water is the key to fat metabolism. Water lessens the burden on your kidneys. Your kidneys can’t function properly without enough water. Thus, the liver has to compensate and can’t do its job which is to break down fats and produce energy.

NOTE: An overweight person needs more water than a thin one. The more fat you have to lose, the more water you have to drink per day.

Recommended Daily Water Intake

Aim for drinking half your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 oz. of water (10 cups). Then adjust for hot weather, exercise, and medical conditions.

Fluid Content in Fruits and Vegetables 

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Percent Water in Vegetables
Cucumber, iceberg lettuce: 96%
Celery, zucchini, romaine lettuce: 95%
Tomatoes, bell peppers: 94%
Broccoli: 91%

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Percent Water in Fruits

Watermelon, strawberries: 92%
Cantaloupe, peach, nectarine: 88-90%
Plum, raspberries, apple, blueberries: 85-87%

Get More Mileage Out of Water-Rich Food

  • Water-rich food is full of water and fiber which makes food BIG and HEAVY. So it takes up more space (it’s filling!) without adding a lot of calories.

– Turn casseroles into soups.
– Eat rice (cooked with water) instead of dry, dense bread, bagels or crackers.
– Eat oatmeal (cooked with water) instead of cold dry cereal.
– Eat beans (cooked with water) instead of dense, fatty meat.

  • High volume foods help stop the diet-deprivation cycle. You can eat more food and feel less deprived.

When to Control Fluid Intake

Important note: People in the later stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a limited ability to remove excess fluid since they have lost kidney function. Those living with CKD have to follow a fluid-restricted diet.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54 Fit Tip: Focus more on WHAT you eat vs. how much. Just eat more fruit at breakfast and add more veggies to lunch and dinner entrees.

Also, be sure to check the color of your pee. Your urine should be a pale straw color or transparent yellow (think light lemonade). If you’re dehydrated, your urine color will be darker yellow (think the color of honey or apple juice). Then it’s time to drink more water — about 1 to 1 1/2 cups to start — and eat some fruits and veggies!