Watching your weight? Watch out for restaurant meals. Researchers asked roughly 1,000 men and women to record everything they ate at home or at restaurants for a week. People of normal weight averaged 550 calories per meal at home, but they gobbled up 825 calories at a restaurant. For people who were overweight or obese, a typical meal at home had 625 calories, but at restaurants they swallowed about 900 calories.

What’s more, the overweight or obese ate their meals (at home and at restaurants) more quickly than others, yet they were no hungrier than their normal-weight counterparts. If anything, they were fuller (from previous meals) when they sat down to eat than people of normal weight.

A second study documented just how many calories (and how much sodium, saturated fat, etc.) restaurant meals contain. Researchers collected nutrition facts on more than 28,000 dishes served in 245 restaurants nationwide.

A typical appetizer had 700 calories (a quarter had more than 1145 calories), and a typical entrée had 590 calories (a quarter had more than 890 calories). That did not include a typical side dish (210 calories), side salad (410 calories) with dressing (150 calories), non-alcoholic beverage (360 calories), or dessert, rolls, or other baked goods (355 calories).

What to do: Eat out with caution.

Nutrition Action Health Letter July/August 2012, pg. 8, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Maintaining a healthy weight can help your joints and ease arthritis pain.

BMI stands for body mass index, an estimate of your body fat based on your weight and height. BMI is a more reliable indicator of body fat than weight. Knowing your BMI can help you and your doctor determine if you’re at a healthy weight. Generally a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. If you’re older than 65, it may be better to have a BMI between 25 and 27.

Maintaining a healthy weight, or normal weight, can benefit joints already affected by arthritis. One pound of weight puts an additional 4 pounds of pressure on your knees! Therefore, you can reduce joint pain by shedding pounds, even as little as 10 percent of your total body weight. Doing so can also decrease your risk of developing arthritis in joints not already affected, and lower the chances that you’ll need a joint replacement. Even though there are many diets and exercise programs out there, the simplest way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. If you need help getting moving, talk to a personal trainer to design a program to fit your specific needs, contact local gyms for a free trial, or look for community programs in senior centers, churches, etc.

BMI is frequently used as an indicator for how body weight affects health. A normal-weight BMI reduces risk for a number of health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low good cholesterol or high bad cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

While BMI is useful, it’s just one of many factors that influence your overall health. Your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, whether you smoke, your diet and your current level of physical activity all play a role.
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
By: Janet Hunt

Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530  to schedule an appointment.

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. Both the exercise and the outside temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which then increases your
heart rate. If the humidity is high, your body has additional stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Heat-related illness
Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily and you don’t drink enough fluids. Heat illnesses

  • Heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps (front of your thighs) and abdominals. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.
  • Heat exhaustion. With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F, and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.
  • Heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F. Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. You may develop confusion and irritability. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.

Pay attention to warning signs

During hot-weather exercise, watch for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition. Remove extra clothing or sports equipment. Drink fluids — water or a sports drink. If possible, fan your body or wet down your body with cool water. If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, contact
your doctor. If you have signs of heatstroke, seek immediate medical help.

How to avoid heat-related illnesses

When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Watch the temperature. Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts
  • Get acclimated. If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in
    the heat. As your body adapts to the heat over the course of one to two weeks, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Know your fitness level. If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat. Reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. If you plan to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour, consider a sports drink instead of water.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loose fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas — or do a water workout in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen. Sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Have a backup plan. If you’re concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside the mall or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.
  • Understand your medical risks. Certain medical conditions or medications can increase your risk of a heat related illness. If you plan to exercise in the heat, talk to your doctor about precautions.

Heat-related illnesses are usually preventable. By taking basic precautions, your exercise routine doesn’t have to be sidelined when the heat is on.
By: Janet Hunt

Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

According to a recent Gallup study, three in 10 people in the USA are trying to lose weight,. Below are 11 of the most effective weight loss strategies.

  • Tackle barriers. Determine what is holding you back and create strategies to overcome those obstacles.
  • Dump the quick-fix approach. Quick fixes lead to failure. If you lose weight quickly, you will probably rapidly regain it.
  • Change only one habit at a time. If you do too much at once, you will be overwhelmed and quit. Start with small dietary changes – for example load your sandwiches with more vegetables and less meat.
  • Keep a food and physical activity diary. If you want to lose weight, you have to become more aware of your exercise and eating behaviors which means keeping a diary.
  • Weigh daily
  • Think about calorie density, not just calories. Low calorie density foods are foods that have lower calorie content per certain volume of food than high density foods. Low density foods include fruit, vegetables, beans, and cooked grains, whereas high density foods are crackers, chips, nuts, candy, butter, etc. Lower calorie density foods will fill you up faster with fewer calories.
  • Commit to at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.
  • Sleep more. Not only does lack of sleep make you cranky causing you to turn to “comfort” foods, it may cause cortisol and insulin levels to increase, making you think you are hungry.
  • Pay attention to portions. Use visuals to identify correct portions. Weigh foods at home. Use a smaller plate. Limit your dining out.
  • Focus on fullness, not hunger. People have a difficult time identifying hunger because it is both emotional and physical.
  • Stress less. Stress may lead to comfort eating. In some individuals, stress increases cortisol levels which can lead to weight gain.

For information about “Battling the Bulge” and a healthy lifestyle contact Janet at or 256-614-3530.

Are you motivated to make lifestyle changes?

Successful and sustained weight loss depends on permanent lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy foods and exercising. Knowing that you need to make changes in your life and actually doing it are two different things. You may have to overhaul your eating habits so that you’re eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lowfat dairy products. You’ll need to find time to exercise for at least 30 minutes
nearly every day of the week.

As long as your motivation is a healthy one, it doesn’t really matter what it is. Find your motivation and focus on it.

Do you have a realistic picture of how much weight you’ll lose and how quickly?

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong process. Over the long term, it’s best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds a week by burning 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day. You can do that through a low-calorie diet and regular physical activity or exercise.

You might lose weight more quickly than that if you make significant changes — just be sure the changes are healthy and can be maintained. Don’t get discouraged if your rate of weight loss slows a bit after bigger initial losses – that is normal.

Have you resolved any emotional issues connected to your weight?

Emotions and food are often intertwined. Anger, stress, grief and boredom can trigger emotional eating. Start by identifying your emotional issues related to food so that you’re prepared for the challenges. Seeking professional help for these emotional challenges may be the first step.

Do you have support and accountability?

Any weight-loss program can be difficult. Having someone in your corner to offer encouragement will help. If you don’t have that someone, consider joining a weight-loss support group or joining a Lifestyle Change/Weight Management Class.

If you want to keep your weight-loss efforts private, you must be accountable to yourself with regular weigh-ins and a log of your diet and activity. You may want to work one-on-one with a Weight Management Consultant.

Have you embraced the weight-loss challenge?

If you don’t have a positive attitude about losing weight, you may not be ready. If you dread what lies ahead, you may be more likely to find excuses that lead to failure. Embrace the vision of your new lifestyle and remain positive. Focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re more active or when you weigh less. Picture yourself celebrating every little success along the way.

You’re ready for weight loss: Now what?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you’re probably ready to make the lifestyle changes necessary to work towards permanent weight loss. You may be able to forge ahead on your own, creating your own lifestyle program for healthy eating and exercising. Or you may feel you need help.

What if you’re not ready?

If you are not ready to start a weight-loss program right now, determine what is holding you back and face those obstacles.

Consider seeking help from your doctor or another professional, such as a certified Lifestyle Change/Weight Management Consultant, to help you work through these issues. Try to address the obstacles and then re-evaluate your readiness. Don’t let the chaos of life become a permanent excuse, however. You will never find and absolutely perfect time.

Still unsure?

If you feel generally positive and upbeat about a weight-loss program, consider starting now. You may never have definitive answers in life. Don’t let that rob you of a chance to achieve your weight-loss goals.

By Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
For details on the next Lifestyle Change/Weight Management Class, contact Janet at JHunt1@PclNet.Net or 256-614-3530.