By LESLIE COLLINS
January 2, 2013
Each year, Americans make New Year’s resolutions, mostly about diet and exercise.
A number of resolutions are broken within a matter of weeks, but Dr. Elaine Joslyn of NEighborhood Family Care offers solid tips for realistically leading a healthier lifestyle in 2013.
When it comes to breaking unhealthy habits, Joslyn said, “Try to find out what is the worst thing. Look for the low hanging fruit you can take.”
One example she used is drinking soda.
If you drink regular soda, start drinking diet soda. Begin by drinking half regular soda and half diet soda. Once used to that process, switch completely over to diet soda. Then drink half water and half diet soda and eventually wean yourself off soda altogether.
“As far as eating healthy, I’d recommend think veggies first,” she said. “Most of us are used to planning meals around a meat, but we need to eat more vegetables and less meat.
“The new thinking is your plate should be divided into fourths.”
Your plate should include one-fourth meat, one-fourth carbohydrate, like bread, pasta and potatoes, one-fourth vegetables and one-fourth fruit.
A serving of meat should be about the size of the palm of your hand, she said.
In general, to lose weight, women should aim for no more than 1,200 calories per day and men should aim for no more than 1,500 calories per day, she said. Foods like vegetables contain fewer calories, so individuals can eat more and feel fuller compared to eating a small serving of junk food, she said.
“You can eat a whole apple for the same amount of calories that three bites of pie would be,” Joslyn said.
Individuals should avoid butter, which is high in fat and raises cholesterol, and salt which raises blood pressure and is difficult on the kidneys, she said.
“It’s all about balance and portion control,” Joslyn said. “If your favorite thing in the world is ice cream, then treat yourself to one dip of ice cream once or twice a week, rather than feel deprived so you go on a binge and eat the whole carton.”
Unless you’re diabetic, eating after 7 p.m. should be avoided, she said, since your body is unable to burn off the calories.
“You just go to bed with a full stomach and it (food) just sits there and turns to fat,” she said. “Plus, usually what you eat after 7 p.m. is not healthy.”
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
“Try to work exercise into your daily living rather than thinking it’s some big thing you have to do,” Joslyn said.
Instead of parking near the grocery store entrance, park further away to easily incorporate more walking into your routine, she said. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or use the bus, since you’ll have to walk to the bus stop, she said. For those who are more out of shape, it’s all about baby steps and incorporating those small physical activities, she said.
For regular exercise, she recommends working out four times a week performing activities that increase your heart rate for 20 minutes straight.
“A couch potato won’t be able to do that at first, so they’ll have to work up to that,” she said.
Joslyn recommends any exercise that gets your heart pumping, which can range from walking to swimming to biking and more. For those with arthritis or other joint issues, swimming is best, she said.
Asked how residents can stay active during the winter months, Joslyn said the “classic” activity is mall walking. There’s a caveat, however.
“The key is if you’re going to do mall walking, you can’t window shop. You have to walk,” she said.
Using the Wii game system, specifically Wii Sports, is also effective during the winter months and any time of the year.
“Yoga and Pilates are also an excellent thing,” she said. “They don’t get your heart racing, but they’re core body strengthening and that helps with balance, strength and just overall wellness. Adding that two or three times a week is a good idea, and you can rent a DVD from the library to do those.”
Residents can also check out local community centers for exercise classes.
“Anything you do with someone else you’ll stick with,” she said. “So, join a team or a class.”
Incorporate physical activity into the family routine and bring your children to the park to shoot hoops, play tennis or do other physical activities.
Asked what advice she’d give individuals to stay motivated, she said, exercising carries a wealth of benefits that go beyond looking more toned. Exercise improves muscle strength, helps your heart function better, aides in better digestion and improves your mental outlook, she said.
“Activity is amazing because I guarantee within two weeks if you start an exercise program, you will start craving it. It is addictive,” she said. “It releases hormones in the brain that are the feel good hormones. You’ll soon want to do it and it will become easier to make it part of your day.”
Fast and Easy Black Bean Salad
1 seedless cucumber, quartered and cut into chunks
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. Toss cucumber, black beans, tomatoes, corn, and onion together in a large salad bowl.
2. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and cumin together in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the cucumber mixture; toss to coat.