Better Choices, Better Results

Archive for December, 2011

More About Exercise

I’ve written about my struggles with exercise lately.  I know – like everyone else – that exercise is so important for weight loss and maintenance.  I also knew that exercise is generally just good for the body.  I didn’t know that exercise could decrease my chance of developing certain illness and conditions by as much as 40%, though.

The Nutrition Action Health letter is one of my favorite little magazines.  It’s thorough and intersting and quick to read; it also hits on a lot of subjects that interest me.

I’ve copied the information below directly from the December 2009 edition of the Health letter.  For more information about this publication, visit

Nine Other Reasons to Exercise
Printed from Nutrition Action Health Letter

  1. Stroke– Aerobic exercise lowers the risk of stroke.  In one study, women who walked

    Get moving!

    at least one hour a day had a 40% lower risk than those who walked less than one hour a week.

  2. Heart Disease – Aerobic exercise cuts the risk of heart attack by 20 – 35 percent in most studies.  In one study of 73,000 women, those who walked briskly for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, had a 30 – 40 percent lower risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular event than sedentary women.
  3. Broken Bones – Weight-bearing aerobic and strength-training exercise three to five days a week can increase – or slow the decrease in – the density of spine and hip bones.  In one study, women who walked at least four hours a week were 40% less likely to break a hip than those who walked less than an hour a week.
  4. Diabetes – Moderately active people have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome than inactive people.  In one study, normal-weight women who were sedentary had twice the risk of diabetes, and obese women who were sedentary had 16 times the risk of diabetes, compared to normal-weight active women.
  5. Depression – Active people are 15 – 25 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression than inactive people.  in people with depression, moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise (30 minutes three times a week) improves symptoms.
  6. Blood Pressure – Forty minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three to five times a week lowers systolic blood pressure by 2 to 5 points.  That may not sound like much, but it would save and estimates 11,800 to 27,600 lives per year.
  7. Mitochondria – Aerobic exercise increases the size, number and activity of mitochondria, the fuel-burning centers of your muscle cells.  (Mitochondria don’t function as well in people who are older, obese or diabetic.)
  8. Arthritis – If you have arthritis, moderate-intensity, low-impact exercise to 30 – 60 minutes three to 5 times a week can reduce pain and disability.  Both aerobic and muscle strengthening help. 
  9. Falls – Older adults who are physically active have about a 30 percent lower risk of falls.  In most studies, people participate in balance and moderate-intensity strength training for 30 minutes three times a week and are encouraged to walk for 30 minutes at least twice a week.  Tai chi may also work.

Cereal Love

I was watching the news yesterday morning and the newscasters started talking about a new cereal study.  My ears perked up, because I love me some cereal!  The study was based on the amount of sugar- by weight- that different brands had in comparison to other types of junk food.  The Top Ten Worst Offenders all had greater than 40% sugar by weight – per serving!  One even had more sugar than a Twinkie!

More sugar, by weight, than a Twinkie!

Most of us grew up eating cereal for breakfast, and as I looked through this list, I had to admit that I too, had eaten my fair share of some of them.  Do you remember the commercials telling us that “X Cereal” was part of a healthy breakfast?  They showed a picture of a bowl of “X Cereal” along with toast, a couple pieces of bacon and a glass of orange juice. 

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t eat the other stuff – just the bowl of cereal!

Now like I said, I love cereal.  I would categorize my love by calling it Jethro Bodine-Bowl Love.   When I eat cereal, I eat a lot of it.  I can go through a box of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch or Lucky Charms (the BIG box) in 2 days.   If I’m feeling healthy and virtuous, I’ll go for Raisin Nut Bran…and eat the whole box in two days.  Forget about those cute little boxes of cereal.  You know the ones; a variety package of 10 different cereals by the manufacturer.  I hated those.  I’d pick out the ones I loved and feel cheated when all I got was one tiny little piddly serving.  Then my mom would fuss at me because she didn’t want me to waste the ones I didn’t like.  (By the way, my mom would not buy me pop-tarts as a kid.  Now I know she was right, but I really wanted those!)

What I’m leading up to is that I’ve learned that cereal is one of those foods that I can’t have in the house, because I can’t control how much I eat.  Even my favorite “healthy cereal” is loaded with calories, if not sugar.  I know that a ¾ cup serving isn’t enough to fill and satisfy me, so I just don’t even bother.

Nutrition Label for Raisin Nut Bran. A serving is only 3/4 cup, and it still has 15 grams of sugar in it! I could eat 2 cups at a time, easily.

What I have done is substituted my cereal cravings with something a bit healthier.  I now eat oat bran and multi-grain hot cereals.  I make them in the microwave with milk or water, add Splenda (or Splenda Brown Sugar Blend) for sweetness, cinnamon, and sometimes a banana or raisins or dried cranberries (just a few).   Sometimes I’ll even put a little sugar free syrup in there!  Believe it or not, I’ve found that I love these alternatives, and they are much more filling and satisfying to me. 

No particular brand, microwaveable and so good once prepared and seasoned to taste.


More fiber, more protein, half the carbs and hardly any sugar at all. Sure, a serving is only 1/3 cup, but once it's prepared with milk or water, it swells to a much larger serving.

What is your food downfall?  How do you fight it?


I didn’t do the 5K on Thanksgiving Day.  I’ve gained 3 pounds.  I’ve stopped walking again.  In a nutshell – I’m struggling.

I still have my goals: to get down to 160 pounds and to run a 5K.  I just seemed to have lost my way over the last few weeks.

I think it’s normal to have times of struggle on any long journey, and let’s face it – this is not only a long journey, it’s a life-long journey!   So many times I started “dieting” to lose weight without really considering long-term goals.  My dieting goals were short-term to say the least.  “Let’s diet and lose some weight!”  End of story.  Happily ever after, right?

What happens after happily ever after?

Do you think Cinderella and her prince lived the rest of their lives without a struggle?  I’m quite sure that she got irritated at him for leaving the toilet seat up and he at her for buying so many glass slippers!

This is also an emotional struggle for me.  I’m coming to face the realization that I can never again eat the way I once ate and get away with it!  It saddens me to know that I cannot eat anything I want, any time I want without paying the price.  Last week was my birthday, Thanksgiving, a wedding shower and I was at a friend’s home for 3 days (meaning that I was out of my comfort-zone).  I ate freely!  I enjoyed new foods!  I tried cake pops (yum!) and I had pizza and bread sticks at 10:00 pm.

I gained 3 pounds, and felt sick to my stomach all night after eating that pizza.

It will likely take me 3 weeks to undo that damage.

So…like it or not, I have to make these changes a permanent fixture in my life, or I’ll gain back the 55 pounds that I’ve lost and I WILL NOT allow that to happen.

  • Eat healthfully the majority of the time and splurge only occasionally.
  • Drink more water than anything else.
  • Get up of my butt and move it to lose it!
  • Eat more lean protein, vegetables and fruit.
  • Be prepared.
  • Understand there are consequences to pay for over-indulging and be OK with that if I make that decision.

It sounds so simple, huh?