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Posts Tagged ‘Carbohydrates’

At the beginning of this year, I wrote Baby-steps To A Healthier You. I shared how I was going to make smaller weekly goals to help me reach my overall goal of losing weight and becoming healthier. Last month I shared my reflection about my progress in My Healthy Breakfast Evaluation. Just a quick recap, I am giving myself time to put my goal into action and then additional time to reflect on how things are going and what adjustments I need to make to continue progress toward my goal. I want to make sure that I feel successful so I do not get discouraged and lose momentum. The last thing I want is to revert to old habits. I was going to start with breakfasts first and then move onto snacks.

My breakfasts took a little longer to accomplish than I had anticipated. We all know that life can throw you curve balls and sometimes things can get a little chaotic. For the past two months, my life has been a whirlwind, so I have been living one day at a time. However, I am happy to report that I have lost 5 pounds! Could I have lost more? Certainly. However, I shared that this is a complete lifestyle change for me as I am trying to break old habits. I continue to remind myself that even if I cannot physically see the results, this does not mean that my body is not changing on the inside. After all, slow progress is still progress.

I have officially graduated myself to snacks this week. In preparation, I have done some research to help set myself up for success. If you suffer from Snack Attacks like myself, then I have great news for you! The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has fantastic handouts for healthy snacks. They even have handouts broken down into specific categories. Maybe you are looking for snacks to control your blood sugar, snacks under 100 calories or just a list of healthy snacks in general. You can find all of these handouts, plus more on their patient education health information website.

A snack helps control your appetite.

apples and peanut butter

Think of it as a mini meal to help your body get the nutrients it needs. Make sure your snack has a balance of carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. 1 small apple with 1 piece of light string cheese
  2. 1 cup of carrots with 1/3 cup hummus
  3. 6 ounces Greek yogurt with ½ a large banana
  4. ¾ cup blueberries and ¼ cup almonds

 

I encourage you to print off one of the snack handouts from the Wexner Medical Center and tape it to the inside of one of your kitchen cabinets. This way if you’re stuck on what to eat you have a quick reference!

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Sources:

Brinkman, P. (2011). Snack Attacks!. Live Healthy, Live Well. livehealthyosu.com/2011/11/23/snack-attacks/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Losing Weight: Getting Started. cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/getting_started.html

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (2018). Patient Education. patienteducation.osumc.edu/Pages/Home.aspx

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Pants getting tight in the waist? Did you know waist circumference is a better gauge of heart disease risk than body mass index (BMI)? When researchers compared people with the same BMI but different waist sizes, they found people with larger waists were more at risk.

Measurements that signal you are at high risk for heart disease are a waist of 35 or more inches for women and 40 or more inches for men. bmi To accurately measure your waist, wrap a measuring tape around your bare abdomen just above your belly button. Exhale and don’t suck in your stomach or pull the tape real tight.

Why is waist size so important? Generally, as your waist size increases so does the visceral fat you have in your body. Visceral fat surrounds your organs and having more increases your risk of heart disease.

Visceral fat produces hormones and other factors which promote inflammation. Inflammation is a key player in the accumulation of cholesterol plaque inside your arteries. More plaque inside your arteries means higher risk of heart disease.

You have probably heard that people who are pear-shaped (carry more weight in their hips and thighs are less at risk for heart disease. Whereas, an apple-shaped (people who carry their weight in the abdominal area are a greater risk.
Why do some people acquire more visceral fat? For some it is genetic, ethnic, and gender related. Mutations in a particular gene can cause your body to produce more visceral fat than people without that gene. Groups of people with a higher propensity for abdominal fat include natives of India and South Asia. Black women and white men also have a tendency to accumulate more visceral fat.

How do you shed visceral fat? Visceral fat is the first fat you lose when losing weight. If you lose 7% of your excess weight, it will help you lower your risk of heart disease. The best way to reduce visceral fat is to eat fewer carbohydrates and be more physically active. To cut back on foods rich in carbohydrates eat less bread, crackers, potatoes, pasta, rice, cakes, cookies, and candy. These foods trigger your body to produce more insulin which signals your body to store fat.

For physical activity, a combination of strength training and aerobic movement is best. dumbbell-pair-299535_1280 Participate in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 150 minutes a week. Brisk walking and strength training are good examples of activity. Exercises like sit-ups or other abdominal exercises are great, but won’t help get rid of your belly.

So, be physically active and cut back on carbohydrates to reduce your visceral fat and your waist measurement. This will help reduce your risk of heart disease, the number one killer of American women and men.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, West Region, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Harvard Medical School, [2015]. Harvard Heart Letter, 25(7) 4.

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