NIFS Healthy Living Blog

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.

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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

Avoid This Goal-Setting Mistake When Making New Year’s Resolutions

ThinkstockPhotos-497123324.jpgIt’s that time of year again when most evaluate their current year and set their sights on the upcoming one. Goals and plans of being more successful, losing weight, being more fit, and countless other hopes and dreams will be on the minds of so many individuals hoping for change and happiness. And although goal setting is not for everyone (nor does it have to be), for those who take part in this annual renewal and planning effort many fall victim to a huge mistake that will inevitably leave them in the same spot a year from now.

The biggest mistake most people make when developing their goals for the New Year is the failure to define the behavior that is needed to accomplish that given goal. We are great at defining what are considered outcome goals, but we make the unfortunate mistake of stopping there and not defining behavioral goals. What is the difference between the two? Let’s take a look and define the two, understand the need for both, and learn some tips to make your New Year’s resolutions stick.

SMART Goals

You might have heard about using the acronym SMART when writing a goal. But just in case you haven’t, here is SMART defined. A well-written goal should be

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

I will add another term to this: a goal should also be meaningful. The particular goal should have some significance to you and your life. This is an important aspect to consider when deciding where and how to spend your time and effort.

Now that you’re all caught up, I’ll define both outcome and behavioral goals.

Outcome Goals

An outcome goal is just that: it is the outcome you want to obtain in a certain time frame. These are defined usually by numbers such as a weight goal, or specific levels to be reached in your profession, or even starting a retirement fund. These all have specific end products to be reached, and unfortunately most people stop right here.

Examples:

  • I will lose 20 pounds by April 1.
  • I will make $75,000 this year.

Behavioral Goals

A behavioral goal is a series of actions that will eventually lead you to the achievement of your outcome goal. This plan of attack to get to the outcome you defined is essential to see the results you hope to obtain. The experts at Precision Nutrition consider behavior goals to be goals that you have control over. You ultimately do not have control of your body’s cells or how fast they metabolize fat. Nor do you have complete control over whether your boss pays you the $75,000 you feel you have earned. You do have control over the actions that can get you to that outcome you have defined. Adopting behaviors that lead the way toward your goal is key in obtaining the results you are after.

Examples (expanding on the outcome goals listed above):

  • I will lose 20 pounds by April 1.

I will add more vegetables and protein sources to each meal.

I will eat slowly and mindfully at each meal.

My dining out of the house will be limited to one time per week.

I will limit processed foods and choose mainly whole-food options for every meal.

I will exercise 5 times a week for 60 minutes each session, mixing both resistance and aerobic-based movements.

  • I will make $75,000 this year.

I will acquire a certification or more education in my field.

I will spend more time on big tasks or projects.

I will organize my day to maximize productivity by defining a daily schedule and sticking to it.

I will surround myself with goal-orientated, like-minded individuals every day.

I will ask big questions.

Bonus Tips For Success This Year

I think the biggest step you can take to success in this upcoming year is taking it one step at a time! For example, so many of us want to overhaul our entire diet to get to that goal of losing 20 pounds by April 1, only to fall short because we could not sustain the behavior, or the sheer amount of change at one time was just too much. This could lead to failure, which could lead to a backslide, putting us right back where we were to begin the year.

Implement one behavior for a few weeks, and once you have success with that one behavior, add another one, but not until you are successful with the first one. Create a snowball effect of behaviors and you increase the chance of success in the new year.

Getting started is usually the hardest part. Let us help, sign up for a free Fitness Assessment today!

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: goal setting resolutions weight loss goals behavior new year's

The Health Risks of Carrying Excess Abdominal Fat

ThinkstockPhotos-147268279.jpgUnfortunately many people are not fully aware of the danger of carrying excess body fat around their waistlines. Most of us know that in order to get those beach-body abs we all long for, we have to first lose the excess abdominal fat. This is almost everybody’s only motivation for trying to lose belly fat. However, there are deeper and more serious disease prevention reasons to address excess fat in this area.

Two Types of Body Fat

Humans carry two different types of fat in their bodies:

  • Subcutaneous fat: The noticeable layer of fat that is just beneath the skin (the fat you need to lose to see your abs).
  • Visceral fat: Fat that is found deeper in the abdominal area under the muscles and surrounding the organs, such as liver, pancreas, and intestines.

The majority of people are mainly concerned with losing subcutaneous fat since this is the fat you will need to lose in order to let your abs shine through. If you are carrying excess visceral fat, however, there are more reasons to be concerned.

The Health Risks

Because visceral fat resides deep in the abdomen, it can be a huge health risk. Having excess visceral fat can lead to increased risk of the following health conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • High cholesterol
  • Metabolic Syndrome
Although genetics do play a role in the amount of visceral fat a person carries, your diet and physical activity level are also major contributors. A sub-par diet and exercise routine puts you at increased risk of carrying excess visceral fat.

Visceral fat can go completely unnoticed because you cannot see it with the naked eye. One way researchers detect visceral fat is through an MRI, which takes a picture of the inside of the abdominal area.

Tips for Losing Fat

Here are some simple tips to help you lose and prevent storing visceral and subcutaneous fat:

  • Use compound movements: Compound movements allow you to get the most bang for your fitness buck. Incorporate as many multi-joint movements as possible into your workout in order to use more energy and burn more calories. Examples are squats, dead lifts, pushups, bench presses, lat pull-downs, and lunges.
  • Try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): The purpose of HIIT is to alternate between short bursts of intense activity for a fixed period of time—for example, 20 seconds followed by a short rest period. Because of the fast-paced nature of HIIT, it will cause you to use great amounts of energy within a short time, causing a huge calorie-burning workout. Don’t believe me? Join one of our HIT classes at NIFS and see if it isn’t the best workout you’ve had in years!
  • Change up your workouts: Switching up your workouts periodically will keep your body from becoming too accustomed to your workouts. Once your body becomes too familiar with a certain exercise routine, it begins to decrease the amount of energy needed to complete the routine. By switching up your workouts every 4 to 5 weeks, you are constantly throwing new challenges at your body, forcing it to never reach a plateau. Work with one of our Health Fitness Specialists today to get new ideas on how to switch up your workouts regularly.
  • Improve your diet: NIFS new app, My Nutirition Coach, can help you get daily feedback on your eating habits. Nutrition plays an important part in health and fitness!

Storing fat can be a little more dangerous than you might have thought. When you actually take into consideration the harm you may be doing to your body, hopefully you will be more motivated to shed those extra pounds!

Ready to take the first step to better health and fitness? Schedule a free fitness assessment with us today!

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This blog was written by Darius Felix, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: weight loss workouts disease prevention excess fat metabolic syndrome

A NEAT Way to Burn More Calories (Part 2 of 2)

In the first part of this blog series you learned about NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and how it can impact the number of calories you burn each day. From James Levine’s article, you can conclude that NEAT can burn an average of 330 calories per day in healthy individuals, and up to nearly 700 calories per day in others. 

You have probably started thinking of ways you can add more NEAT into your day for weight loss or weight management. The most common suggestions are parking farther away, taking the stairs, or getting a desk you can stand at. Those are all great suggestions, but in this blog I will provide some other ideas that you can fit into your day.   

5 Ways to Burn More Calories at the Office or During the Workday

  1. Have walking meetings. Instead of sitting at a coworker’s desk to discuss work, try walking around the office or outside to discuss work. You may find that ideas and communication come easier to you than when you are sitting. 
  2. Drink more water. First, it will help you stay hydrated, which is good for your health. But secondly, it may help you get up from your desk more by increasing the number of times you have to go to the restroom. You could even plan time to get up and visit the water fountain. 
  3. Invest in an activity tracker. These trackers, such as the Fitbit, can provide you with an estimated number of steps and calories burned each day. With this tracker you can set a goal for yourself. This can help motivate you to get up from your desk and move to help you reach your number of steps or number of calories you need to burn each day.ThinkstockPhotos-533536853
  4. Walk during your lunch break. Walk instead of driving to restaurants nearby if you are going to eat out. If you packed your lunch, walk to find a nice spot to eat instead of just eating at your desk. Getting up and moving will help you increase calorie burning, and going outside will give you fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.
  5. Get your coworkers involved. Create a team goal or competition. You could schedule a few times each day when everyone in the office needs to stand up and move/walk for about 5 minutes. If you are trying to make it a competition, you could have a challenge each day to see who can get the most jumping jacks or pushups throughout the day.

5 Ways to Burn More Calories in Your Leisure Time

  1. Be active while watching television. If watching television is part of your daily leisure time, try adding in small activities to complete while watching your favorite show. You can fold laundry or organize and pay bills. You can get up and sweep or vaccum the floor on commercial breaks. You can even prep for dinner by chopping vegetables as you watch your favorite show!
  2. ThinkstockPhotos-200358726-001Play with your kids or pets. They are bundles of energy that can help get you on your feet and moving. Play a game of tag, basketball, or soccer with the kids. If you have pets, use toys that they like and keep them (and you) active. 
  3. Take a short walk after dinner. Instead of sitting down to watch TV or laying down for bed, try going on a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. 
  4. Have an active date. When meeting with friends or family, you can try to make the date active by riding bikes to your destination. You could also choose to do something active like mini-golf or visiting a state park. One fun idea is visiting a ceramics studio and creating or painting pottery. 
  5. Keep up your household and landscape. Everyone wants a beautiful and clean home. So try staying organized and keeping up with daily cleaning and organizing. You can try planting new flowers, washing the car, or repainting the front fence. 

***

Now that you have some ideas for staying active and burning more calories, you can start adding more NEAT into your daily life and start burning an extra 330 to 700 calories each day!

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

 

Topics: staying active exercise at home weight loss calories hydration weight management exercise at work workplace fitness

A NEAT Way to Burn More Calories (Part 1 of 2)

Exercising regularly is great for improving health and wellness. Exercise can help relieve stress and feel good about ourselves. However, some people are finding that exercising regularly is not helping them lose the unwanted weight that most of us carry. How can that be?

Who Has Time for 60 Minutes of Cardio Per Day?

While exercise is essential for health, you can’t rely on it to be your sole calorie-burning tool. According to “A NEAT(Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) Approach to Weight Loss,” written by Fabio Comana, “We need to burn 2,000 calories each week through physical activity in order to lose weight.” That would equal about 286 calories each day. That may seem like a small number, but in reality it is quite large. You would need to complete about 60 minutes of cardio each day of the week. 

If you are willing to put in the work, you will be successful. However, most of us have other responsibilities that can limit our time in the gym or exercising. So how are we going to burn the excess calories that we are not burning through exercise? 

ThinkstockPhotos-80966263Most of the calories you burn per day happen throughout the entirety of the day, from when you wake up to when you go to sleep. So what if you increase the calories you burn throughout the day, as well as exercising about three days per week, to help you achieve your weight-loss or weight-management goals?

Factors That Affect How You Burn Calories

Recently a research article written by James Levine discussed the idea of NEAT. In Levine’s article, he defines NEAT as “the energy expenditure of all physical activities other than sporting-like exercise.” This includes everything that you do during the day that does not include your planned exercise sessions. In order for us as a population to burn more calories throughout the day, we need to increase our non-exercise activity. 

According to Levine, there are different factors that play a huge role in the amount of NEAT an individual can achieve throughout the day. Following are two major factors that can affect how NEAT a person can be. 

Occupation: If your job requires you to sit for most of the 8 hours you are there, you will have a lower NEAT for that day. Now if your job requires you to stand, walk, and lift throughout the day, your NEAT will be higher than the person who sits at work. This factor may be out of your control, but in a follow up blog, I will provide a few fun ideas to help you achieve more NEAT in the workplace. 

Leisure time: After work, if you are more likely to sit and watch television until you go to bed, your NEAT levels will remain relatively low. However, if you decide to clean the house or mow the lawn after work, your NEAT will be higher for the day. In the follow up blog, I will also provide you with a few fun ideas to do during your leisure time that will help increase your overall NEAT. 

The impact of increasing your non-exercise activity is huge for your health and weight loss or maintenance. Levine’s article concludes that NEAT can burn an average of 330 calories per day in healthy individuals, and up to nearly 700 calories per day in others. That is a huge difference and could be the deciding factor in your weight-loss goals. 

Keep an eye out for the second part of this blog, where I will provide you with 10 ideas for how to be more NEAT during the day. Stay tuned!

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

Topics: cardio staying active weight loss calories weight management workplace fitness

Top 5 Nutrition Apps for Health and Wellness

ThinkstockPhotos-469002238Sometimes you need a little help when it comes to your nutrition and diet choices. Even though we think we know what to do when it comes to our diet, it can be helpful to have some extra assistance with tips, tracking, and suggestions. There are thousands of apps out there that you can easily download to your phone.

I have searched through many nutrition apps and found the top five that you should definitely use to help with accountability to your wellness and weight-loss goals.

eaTipster

eaTipster was created by the Dietitians of Canada, and it delivers daily healthy eating tips to your mobile devices. The app addresses common food and nutrition questions and concerns, and provides tips to increase healthy eating, support a healthy weight, and fight chronic disease. You can add tips to your favorites to read them later. Then you can share the tips with friends via Facebook, Twitter, email, and text. One nice perk of this app is you can set daily reminders to receive the tip at a time that fits your routine. 

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a community-oriented site designed to help you lose weight and track fitness goals. The mobile apps let you keep these features at your fingertips wherever you are. You can input or edit your goals, enter your caloric intake (food) and output (exercise) on the go, and add new food data to the library if it doesn't already exist. There's also a progress screen that lets you track your weight and view a graphic representation of how you're doing as you work toward your goals. 

The food database includes over 5,000,000 options and is one of the few free food tracking apps that is this easy and user friendly. Due to its popularity, you can sync MyFitnessPal with other devices and apps such as FitBit, Jawbone Up, and Garmin. The recipe importer allows you to go to any recipe on the web and easily import it and track it. One of my favorite components of this app is that it tells you more than just total calories. You can easily track your sugar grams, calcium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals to guarantee you are getting your needs met.

Fooducate

Fooducate helps you shop and eat healthily by allowing you to quickly pull up nutritional information about food products from barcodes, as well as by helping you make sense of nutritional labels. Fooducate displays a letter grade from A to D, along with a quick summary of nutrition information in plain language, as well as healthy alternative suggestions. If you cook your own meals or eat out, you can also manually enter a meal's nutritional information. In addition, the app also doubles as an intake, calorie, and exercise tracker. This app easily allows you to see what extras are in foods such as added sugars, food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and more, which can be challenging to know without reading every single ingredient. 

HealthyOut

The HealthyOut Healthy Meal Finder app helps you stay on track even when you're going out or ordering delivery. The app helps users find healthy restaurant dishes and prepared grocery items nearby, and supports a wide variety of diet plans. The app comes with a wealth of diet and food filters, allowing you to filter by cuisine, ingredients, or type of dish. You can also view detailed nutritional information on each meal where available. It's a great option when you don't have the time to prepare a healthy meal of your own. The popular “Not a Salad” feature allows you to find a dish that can be just as healthy as the typical salad. HealthyOut is great if you travel a lot or just want to know the best options at your favorite neighborhood restaurant choice.

My Nutrition Coach

My Nutrition Coach is a new app launched by NIFS that allows users to record their food throughout the day and automatically build a daily profile of their diet. The app platform uses photo journaling and meal and exercise input to make tracking quick and easy. At midnight, the profile is passed to my dashboard, where I provide evaluation and feedback on that 24-hour timeline. The information is private, secure, and convenient. Members will receive an email when their daily response is ready for viewing. Users are encouraged to login to the website or app to view responses and graphs that detail their personal ratings and progress.

Your NIFS dietitian will supply you daily feedback, suggestions, and information in the form of handouts and videos based on your daily profile. All you need to do is snap a photo of your meals.

Any one of these apps are sure to help you stay on track with you fitness and nutrition goals. Download one today and get started!

***

What did you eat today? Don’t underestimate the role that proper nutrition plays in your health and fitness. Contact Angie Scheetz ascheetz@nifs.org or call 317-274-3432 to find out more about the My Nutrition Coach app. 

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

Topics: fitness nutrition weight loss calories accountability technology

NIFS’s New Healthy Eating App: My Nutrition Coach

My-Nutrition-Coach-outline-no-back-1Choosing the right foods for healthy eating can be a challenge. Life is busy and sometimes the thing that gets left behind is a well-balanced meal or snack. We want to help you change that! Studies show that individuals who have to be accountable for their food choices lose more weight and keep it off than those who attempt to do it alone.

Often when you are motivated to make a weight loss change, the first thought is to cut out your favorite foods that you are worried you eat too much of. Or you start eating salads every day for lunch and dinner. 95% of people who lose weight will gain it back. The successful 5% of people learn how to eat a balanced diet that includes ALL foods!

My Nutrition Coach is a new app specifically created to help our members develop a healthy plan for food choices, while also providing consistent support to help educate and develop good lifelong habits. 

How to Use the App

When you sit down to eat, just snap a picture of your meal. You can also add your beverage, your mood, and your hunger level. At midnight your entries will be uploaded, and the next day you will get feedback and suggestions from me, NIFS Registered Dietitian Angie Scheetz. Videos, handouts, and suggestions for how to reach your personal wellness goals will also be sent your way, giving you more resources to achieve your nutrition and fitness goals. nutrition-screen

Quick and Effective Nutrition Feedback

This program is quick and easy, and on average should take only 5 minutes per day, but the support, feedback, and resources you will receive throughout the program are equal to a personal, weekly nutrition consultation in traditional programs.

Don’t underestimate the role that proper nutrition plays in your health and fitness. If you are interested in signing up for this program or want more information, please email me at ascheetz@nifs.org or call me at 274-3432, ext. 239. I look forward to working with you!

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

 

Topics: nutrition weight loss healthy eating NIFS programs weight management

NIFS Ramp Up to Weight Loss Program Participant: Brian Kumle

Brian4NIFS would like to highlight Brian Kumle, one of the recent graduates from its 14-week Ramp Up to Weight Loss Program. This program provides individuals looking to lose weight with the extra tools that they need to take off pounds and keep them off—without compromising their health—by focusing on healthy eating, exercise, and accountability. The program includes one-on-one training sessions, coaching sessions, fitness evaluations, appointments with our registered dietitian, and guidance along the way. Read about what the program has done for Brian.

SHARE YOUR “STORY” OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES:

I’m a designer here in Indianapolis, originally from Leo, Indiana. I graduated from Herron School of Art and Design last year.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS PROGRAM?

I joined this program because, at the time, I was the heaviest and most out of shape I’ve ever been in my life. I was an athlete in high school and regret each day that I haven’t maintained a body even close to what it was. So I needed a change and to go outside my comfort zone.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED:

I really enjoyed the variety of the workouts and having a little fun doing them. I don’t respond well to being just ordered around, and Emily was very helpful in not only teaching me technique and purpose, but also maintaining a chill AND hardworking atmosphere.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED YOU:

Something that definitely surprised me was how much body fat I lost in just 14 weeks*. It wasn’t astronomical, but it was more than I expected.

FAVORITE EXERCISE FROM ONE OF THE WORKOUTS?

Love/Hate: The sled push or the medicine ball ab circuit was a love/hate relationship.

WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM (OR DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE)?

I got a great start in losing the body fat and gaining a bit of muscle*. I also learned a ton of exercises that will definitely help me going forward and make working out exciting.

WHAT STRUGGLES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED? TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?

Reverting back to old habits on the weekends and struggling to get the ball rolling again after that as well as having to work AFTER work. I learned that even a highly intense 30-minute workout is better than nothing, and that even if I can’t work out on a day, I can still control what I’m putting into my body.

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?

Just thinking of what I will look/feel like in a month, 3 months, 6 months, a year if I keep working harder and harder. And, of course, looking in the mirror.

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE:

Just a lot of thanks for all the guidance and resources the program and Emily provided me. THANKS!

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

Ramp Up to Weight Loss program  LEARN MORE

This blog was written by Emily O’Rourke BS, HFS, Weight Loss Program Coordinator at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here

Topics: exercise nutrition motivation weight loss NIFS programs

Water: The Free, Delicious Drink You’re Not Getting Enough Of

waterWater is everywhere but where you need it: inside your body. Do you ever check to see how much water you actually consume a day? How much do you need? The old adage “8 times 8 ounces a day” (or 64 total ounces) is off. Just like everything we know about different body types and metabolism, the amount of water each of us needs will vary. It makes sense that in hot, humid conditions you will sweat more, thus needing more hydration. But do you realize that your hydration levels will dry up in the dry, cold weather of winter, too?

To get a good idea of how much water you need, take your body weight and try to consume that many ounces of water a day. Yes you can count the coffee and tea you drink, but remember that the caffeine will cause you to lose more water. You may be saying, “YIKES, that’s a lot!” But look at the questions below. If you answer yes to one or more, you need to be paying more attention to the amount you take in.

1. Do you talk a lot during your day?

That takes hydration. Since your brain is about 75 percent water, you need adequate water to fully function.

2. Are you stuck in a weight-loss plateau or have found you cannot budge the scales?

Try drinking more water to get your body functioning smoothly, breaking down fat for energy after your tough interval workout, and helping to rebuild the muscles you broke down. This beats your dehydrated body slowing your metabolism and making weight-loss more frustrating than ever.

3. Do you get hungry soon after eating?

It could be hydration issues (it could also be a gluten crash, but we’ll leave that for another day). As you eat protein-rich foods, your body needs more water to break down the protein, so be sure to add more water as you add more protein to your diet.

4. Do you get headaches after a long, stressful, busy day?

Try drinking water to help alleviate your pain. This may be your body telling you that you are dehydrated. See this article about a study that shows how your brain is much more efficient when you drink enough water.

***

As you increase your water consumption, of course, you will need to make numerous trips to the restroom, but your body will realize you are doing a good deed for it and adapt. That is more proof of what marvelous machines our bodies are.

You can see what water can do for you to enhance your body’s efficiency and smooth running. If you are looking to slim down, improve both brain and body performance, and help ward off disease and bugs, add more water to your day.

This blog was written by Kris Simpson, NIFS Small Group and Personal Trainer. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: nutrition weight loss hydration water

Taking a Step Forward: A Fitness Lesson

stairs-2What has become of our society and fitness? We hear reports all the time that state that the obesity epidemic is only getting worse. In the not so distant past, say around the time our grandparents or great-grandparents were our age, obesity was pretty rare. The average woman would eat seemingly 4,000 calories per day and stay relatively thin. By today’s standards, that same person could be eating 1,800 calories per day and be 20 pounds overweight. What gives?

People Are Moving Less

The short and easy answer is that we are becoming lazier. I do not disagree with that statement, but we should also look at how our environment promotes a sedentary lifestyle. Modern conveniences have abetted the downfall of fitness levels around the world. The invention of the elevator caused people to take the stairs less and less (or not at all); the invention of the microwave oven allows us to barely lift a finger to prepare a meal, and the invention of the TV remote control, although great, makes it so we do not have to get up and walk six feet to push a button on the TV set. I don’t feel it necessary to throw these inventions under the bus, but fitness-conscious individuals do have options—good options that can improve health and burn more calories.

Thinking back on what it was like for our grandparents or great-grandparents, fitness and working out wasn’t really even necessary because there were many chores around the house or farm that required manual labor. Need water? Carry two buckets of water across the field every day. Need food? Hoe, sow, and reap the field. Need new clothes? Take a 2.5-mile walk into town and back. They did not need a gym membership to stay fit.

Today’s modern conveniences and sedentary work environments have made it so we barely move any more than we need. Calorie burning slows when the body’s lean body weight (fat-free weight) decreases, affecting the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This decrease, in turn, causes us to pack on extra, stored body-fat weight.

Find Ways to Burn More Calories

My suggestion to anyone wanting to make a difference in their life is to start by being conscious of their environment. Taking the stairs can burn around 10 calories per minute (and here are some other easy ways to burn calories). Surprisingly, you can burn calories cooking, at a rate of 100 calories per hour (and this site will show you how many calories you burn doing other activities). Let’s face it, remotes will not go away, but we can do various exercises during commercial breaks, like squats, crunches, or pushups. You could even squeeze in a few exercises of yoga while watching your favorite game show.

When options arise, make the effort to challenge your body. Do this every day for the best results and encourage others (in a nice way) to take a step forward.

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: fitness Thomas' Corner weight loss calories weight management