NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Reducing Your Added Sugar Intake for Better Nutrition

ThinkstockPhotos-185151583.jpgIf you have read the news lately, I’m sure you have seen that the world’s obesity epidemic is most recently being blamed on sugar. This is with good reason, too. In 1922 the average American ate the amount of sugar found in one 12-ounce soda every five days. Now, that amount is consumed every seven hours. Sugar is in everything—not just baked goods and sodas, but also bread, peanut butter, soy sauce, and even hot dogs.

So how much should you be eating, and how do you spot what is naturally occurring, like the sugar in milk and fruit versus added sugar?

Naturally Occurring Versus Added Sugars

For the first time, the FDA is putting a number on the amount of sugar that is recommended for Americans. The goal is to keep the added sugar to no more than 10 percent of their diet. For anyone over the age of 3, that means no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams per day.

However, if you flip over the carton of your daily Greek yogurt and see 15 grams of sugar, how much of that is added for sweetness and flavor and how much is from the lactose or milk sugar that is good for you?

Use this handy list to know how many grams are naturally occurring from either fruit sugar (fructose) in your fresh fruit, or milk sugar (lactose):

  • 1 cup milk: 13 grams
  • 6 oz. plain yogurt: 8 grams
  • Cheese, butter, sour cream, eggs: less than 2 grams
  • 1 cup fruit: 7 grams (berries) up to 17 grams (orange)
This can be confusing when just glancing at a label. In March 2014, the FDA proposed including added sugar, in grams, on food labels. The new layout is currently being tested, and hopefully we will see the new changes on labels in the near future.

How to Reduce Added Sugar in Your Diet

The easiest way to decrease the amount of added sugar in your diet is to choose more fresh foods that have not been processed or packaged. Swap the pre-made snack for a piece of fresh fruit and a handful of nuts. Take a look at your overall food consumption and find other easy swaps to help with weight loss and overall health!

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My-Nutrition-Coach-outline-no-back.jpgIf you are one of the 1 billion people trying to lose weight, don’t do it alone. NIFS has many options to help you reach your goals. Check out the Ramp Up to Weight Loss program, personal nutrition coaching sessions and My Nutrition Coach daily food tracking app, for more information.

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition weight loss snacks sugar

Fighting Old Man Winter: Finding Motivation in Cold Weather

Thinkstock_469903225.jpgIt’s 5:00 a.m. It’s still pitch-black outside. You have a long day ahead. And the weather forecast on your phone tells you the high temperature for today will be 15 degrees? Talk about not wanting to get out from under those cozy, warm covers. Nevertheless, your day awaits, and you must get up, get going, and try not to think about taking a nap all day.

Just thinking about how cold it is outside can make it almost unbearable to go anywhere or do anything that involves opening your front door. However, you can fight back using your own attitude and mental toughness. Nothing can wear you down unless you let it.

Here are some helpful tips for fighting the winter blues and finding your motivation.

Keep Your Alarm Clock Away from Your Bed

Let’s face it: when that alarm goes off in the morning, all we want is 15 more minutes to sleep. Make yourself get up to turn off the alarm and avoid the temptation of hitting snooze and rolling over. (Here are some other alarm clock tricks from Lifehacker.)

Don’t Skip Workouts

It can be very tempting to just call it a day after work, or to sleep in for an extra hour rather than go to the gym and work out. You just have to keep focusing on your long-term goals and realize that there’s no way around the winter weather in the Midwest. You have to bundle up and keep working just as hard as you have been (maybe even harder with all the holiday food you may have eaten).

Plan Ahead for Warmer Weather

When you look outside and see snow falling and being blown about, you may find yourself daydreaming about warm weather and being outside doing fun things. This doesn’t have to discourage you! You should use these little fantasies to your advantage. Create a list of activities that you want to do once the weather warms up and allows for them. You really can trick your mind sometimes. If you put yourself somewhere mentally, you may start to forget all about where you really are. Sitting inside watching snowflakes fall slowly to the ground? No way; you’re hiking through the forest on a 78-degree day with a breeze hitting your face and cooling you off.

Keep Your House Well Lit

This may sound like an odd one, but it will make some sense with an explanation. Days are shorter during the winter, so there is less daylight. To avoid falling into a slump and calling it a day at 5:30pm, keep your house brightly lit to create something of an illusion that it is still daytime. Your brain can trick you sometimes, and if your house is dark, you might find yourself getting tired and lethargic when you still have things that need to be done (like going to the NIFS fitness center and working out).

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There are plenty of benefits to sticking to your exercise routine through the winter. You will get to eat some holiday food without feeling quite so much guilt. You will stay ahead of the fitness curve while others fall off the tracks. You can use your New Year’s resolution(s) for something other than your fitness goals, because you haven’t broken stride and you’re already well on your way to achieving them.

So when Old Man Winter comes knocking on the door, you can leave a note saying “I’m at NIFS! Try again later!”

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This blog was written by Aaron Combs, NSCA CSCS and Health/Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: motivation goals winter morning workouts

Weight Loss Made Easier with Nutrition

Over 1 billion people from around the world are attempting to lose weight at any point in time. That is a BILLION! If losing weight was an easy task, that number would not be so staggering. Trying to lose weight and keep it off is challenging, so what are some ways that have been proven time and time again to be successful? Here are 5 tips to try when you want to see the scale moving in the right direction. ThinkstockPhotos-179019551.jpg

Eat breakfast daily.

The common phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” isn’t false. Starting your day with a balanced breakfast has been shown to help individuals eat less throughout the day and lose weight. It helps to jump-start your metabolism and allows it to work more efficiently during the day. Aim for three food groups for a balanced meal, but anything you can grab is better than skipping.

Don’t drink your calories.

When you eat food, whether it is a banana or potato chips, your body gets a sense of fullness. However, when you drink liquids your body doesn’t experience that same feeling. Therefore, it’s very easy to drink a lot of empty calories and not realize that those calories are adding up. Some examples are regular sodas, sweetened tea or lemonade, juice drinks, and flavored coffee beverages. A typical soda has around 150 calories; therefore, eliminating one per day would equal a 15-pound weight loss over one year without changing any eating or exercise habits.

Make sure you are eating enough.

This might sound crazy to some, because if you are trying to lose weight shouldn’t you decrease your calories? This is true; however, everybody has a different metabolic rate and requires a certain amount of calories to work properly. Decreasing your calories by too much, hoping to lose weight faster, can make weight loss more challenging. The easiest way to see what your body’s resting metabolic rate is to get a BOD POD assessment (contact the NIFS track desk at 317.274.3432, ext. 262, to schedule). Another rule of thumb is to make sure you are eating at least 1,200 calories every day. The best way to know this is to start keeping track of your calories with a food diary app.

Learn your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Not knowing or understanding how much food your body needs can be the most challenging part of weight loss. Learning your body’s hunger and fullness cues is the key to weight loss. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning you are ravenous or starving and 10 meaning you are uncomfortably full, aim to eat a meal or a snack at a 3. At this point your body is ready for fuel but not so overly hungry that you make poor decisions or consume extra calories. Check in about halfway through the meal to see what number you are. Stop eating when you are at a 7. This guarantees you are satisfied but not overly stuffed. Knowing another meal or snack will be coming in another 3 to 4 hours is helpful. If you eat to a 9 or 10, you might not be hungry again for 8 hours!

Eat filling foods.

When you want to lose weight, the challenge can be feeling satisfied. The best way to get that feeling is to choose foods that will fill you up and keep you full, all while allowing the body to work harder to break down your foods and in turn burn more calories. These foods are high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. It also includes high-protein foods such as lean meats, low-fat dairy like Greek yogurt or string cheese, eggs, beans, and nuts. Making sure fiber and protein are included at each snack or meal means you are staying satisfied.

My-Nutrition-Coach-outline-no-back.jpgIf you are one of the 1 billion people trying to lose weight, don’t do it alone. NIFS has many options to help you reach your goals*. Check out the Ramp Up to Weight Loss program, personal nutrition coaching sessions and My Nutrition Coach daily food tracking app, for more information.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Learn More  

 

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: nutrition weight loss calories breakfast protein fiber

Get Family and Friends Involved in Your Fitness Goals

ThinkstockPhotos-78717030.jpgIt can be hard trying to change your lifestyle or fitness on your own. It can be even harder if you don’t have support from your family and friends. You family and friends can play a key role in your fitness journey, so why not get them involved and gain their support? Including them in your journey can help your motivation and help you enjoy the path to your fitness and health goals.

How to Get Friends Involved

Hanging out with friends keeps your life full of happiness and fun. Your friends are people who share common interests with you. It can be difficult to continue to connect and have fun with friends when you decide to change your lifestyle. So why not get them involved?

Identify whether there are unhealthy activities you and your friends like to participate in. Examples can include eating out every weekend, drinking excessively, or even being sedentary together. Then as group, brainstorm new ideas for activities you can try together. Together you can discover which new activities are enjoyable and which activities don’t suit your new lifestyle, and you can help one another's accountability to stick with it. Make it fun!

How to Promote Family Fitness Involvement

Having family support is great to help you accomplish your fitness goals. Even better, now you are helping them to lead healthier lifestyles, too. It can also make it more fun.

The best resource/tool that I have found that offers ideas and tips is Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. It offers resources on nutrition and physical activity, and tips on how to be successful. The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge is another great resource. It offers guidelines for children and adults to complete together.

Here are a few ideas of fun activities you can do as a group in the Indianapolis area:

Mix up the activities but be sure to do something on a regular basis. All types of physical activity can benefit your health and fitness so grab a friend or your family and get going!

longlinegray.jpg Ramp-up-logo-finalNO-SPACE.jpg

Check out NIFS's all new Ramp Up to Weight Loss membership to get you started! This program offers 14-weeks of workouts with one of our certified trainers, meetings with our dietician, free access to the My Nutrition Coach App, and fitness assessments to help you plan and track your progress. Click below to learn more.

Learn More

This blog was written by Masie Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: fitness winter fitness healthy habits motivation weight loss accountability outdoors Indianapolis

Interview: NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program Leader Andrea Kelley

mini-blog.jpgAs we approach NIFS 26th Annual Mini-Marathon & 5K Training Program, I wanted to take some time to interview Andrea Kelley. Andrea is a past Mini program participant and has since been involved in some of our other programs here at NIFS, as well as becoming a group leader for us. Sit back and enjoy reading about what this program can do for you.

What made you decide to join the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program?

When I first signed up for the program, I was new to running and wanted to push myself. I figured the Indianapolis Mini would be a good start, but I didn’t have a clue how to train. I found out about the NIFS training program and it made my goal feel so attainable, even for a newbie like me. This year I will complete my fourth Mini-Marathon and my eighth half marathon.

What benefits did you get through training with your group at NIFS?

I think the number-one benefit for me with training in a group is accountability. When my group is expecting me to show up, I am much less likely to listen to that little voice in my head that wants to skip the run. Also, I think group running provides the motivation to keep going, as well as an opportunity to learn from others who have been there before you. You’ll never meet a runner unwilling to give advice.

What was your favorite part about being in the training program here?

The social factor! I’ve made so many friends through the NIFS training program and running in general. The post-run snacks are pretty good, too.

What did you learn about yourself through running?

Running has provided me so many virtues, but one of the biggest I’ve learned is that I can’t reach the finish line unless I start. The idea of training for a half marathon for the first time was intimidating, but I would have never known what I was capable of if I didn’t give it a shot.

What has motivated you to continue running and sign up for more races?

The feeling of accomplishment I get from crossing those finish lines is unlike anything else I’ve ever felt. It’s so addicting. Also, I’m a competitive person, so if I beat my time from the last race, even better.

What made you decide that you wanted to become a group leader for the NIFS Mini Training Program?

I remember learning so much and being so motivated by my group leader (Angie Fiege) when I first participated in the program, and I wanted to hopefully do the same for someone else. I love being able to cheer on the program participants as well as motivate them when they’ve had a hard run. I’m looking forward to my second year as a group leader and can’t wait to meet my pace group!

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Mini-logo-2016-final-2.jpgMaybe this has inspired you to take the next step and join our program. REGISTER NOW!  Training starts Jan 27th. We are excited for another year and hope that we can help you achieve that goal that seemed nearly impossible before! See you at the start line.

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: motivation running group training mini marathon half marathon accountability NIFS programs

Using Real Food to Fuel Endurance Workouts

ThinkstockPhotos-476098644.jpgOne of my main rules of thumb when helping clients with their food and nutrition choices is to choose more real foods. So why is it that when you are training or working out for over an hour, you hear about the importance of sugary and packaged drinks, gels, and bars?

Replacing Nutrients Lost During Endurance Workouts

As you sweat and use your body’s energy stores, it is important to replace those with glucose (sugar) and electrolytes (sodium and potassium). The easiest thing to do is to grab a bottle of Gatorade or package of GU as you head out for your long walk or run. However, if you want to decrease the amount of processed and packaged foods in your diet, real food can work, too.

You need to choose a carbohydrate that is easily digestible. A quick and easy calculation to know how much you need to consume is ½ to 1 gram of carbohydrate per minute of exercise. So for a two-hour training session, you would aim for between 60 and 120 grams of carbohydrate throughout that time. The addition of the carbohydrates allows your body more readily available fuel, and therefore you can perform better and train longer.

Which Whole Foods Should You Eat for Better Performance?

So what foods can you use for marathon training or any other training that takes more than an hour? The most researched foods and easiest to digest are bananas and raisins. One banana and ¼ cup of raisins each has 30 grams of carbohydrates, while 8 ounces of Gatorade has 15 grams of carbohydrates. Other real food options are the following:
  • Medjool dates: 2 = 35 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Applesauce squeeze packets: 1 = 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Salted boiled potato or sweet potato: 1 =30 grams of carbohydrate. Once you cook the potato, you can put it in a plastic baggie and then tear off a corner and squeeze it out like a GU package during your workout. You can do the same thing with mashed bananas.
  • Sugary, low-fiber dry cereal: Check the label, but for Fruit Loops 1 cup = 27 grams of carbohydrate.
  • White bread with honey or jam: 1 piece with 2 TB. = 45 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Pretzels: 25 mini = 30 grams of carbohydrate.

Everyone’s body is different, and as with other training fuels, practice is key. Try out different foods and combinations to see how your body responds. Never try something new on race or competition day. Individualize your plan with foods that you like and will look forward to having during your workout.

If you are considering training for an upcoming event such as the Carmel, Geist, or Mini Marathon and need help with your nutrition plan, contact Angie Scheetz, RD, at ascheetz@nifs.org. Or, join our Mini-Marathon Training Program

REGISTER NOW! for the 2016 NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. Remember training with a group is a proven way to succeed in your running goals. Training starts Jan 27th. 

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition running marathon training mini marathon endurance whole foods carbs

Five Steps to Begin Your Weight-Loss Journey

ThinkstockPhotos-498764272_new.jpgWeight loss tends to be one of the most controversial topics talked about, but I want to take a positive approach. With the new year right here, weight loss tops the list of many people’s New Year’s resolutions.

I would absolutely never undervalue the effort, time, energy, and commitment it takes to be successful at losing weight. Don’t let anyone lie to you; weight loss is hard and has a “whole picture” element combining exercise, clean eating, and emotional, physical and psychological battles. This is why I like to call weight loss a journey. It will not happen overnight, but I believe that everyone can succeed if they put their minds and hearts into changing their habits*.

Tips for Getting Started

I want to share five things to help you get started on your journey:

  1. Make a commitment. The first step to beginning this journey is to make a commitment that you are going to hold onto. You’ve made the decision that it’s time to make a change, and now you must make a promise to yourself that you are going to stick with it.
  2. Identify your habits. Take some time to think about what healthy habits you have that you want to keep and that will help you in your journey. What things will help you stick to your plan? For example, I am good at following a schedule, so if that habit will help me (like scheduling in my workouts so I am positive I will attend), I want to incorporate that into my plan. Then identify habits that are not helping you and think about how you are going to get those out of the way.
  3. Come up with a plan. This doesn’t have to be something that is crazy and elaborate. Start small and come up with three action steps toward a plan. It’s always easier to stick to a plan when you have one in place before you start.
  4. Find support. One of the hardest things about weight reduction is accountability. You want to be sure to find someone (family, friends, a trainer, someone else on a weight-loss journey, spouse, and so on) that you can be honest with to help keep you accountable. Much of weight-loss success comes from those supporting and encouraging someone else who is on their journey.
  5. Put your plan into action. Okay, you have decided it’s time! Now that you have your plan, do something about it. Sign up for that gym membership or a 5K you have been putting off, or try a weight-loss program—whatever will motivate you to stick to it.

It’s important to remember that there will be times when you mess up. AND THAT’S OKAY! Don’t get down on yourself; get yourself back up and keep pushing through. I hope that if losing weight is one of your goals, you will take these five steps to get you going in the right direction!

Help from NIFSRamp-up-logo-finalNO-SPACE.jpg

Check out NIFS's all new Ramp Up to Weight Loss membership to get you going. This program offers 14-weeks of workouts with one of our certified trainers, meetings with our dietician, free access to the My Nutrition Coach App, and fitness assessments to help you plan and track your progress. Click below to learn more.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Learn More

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercise nutrition healthy habits weight loss accountability