Friday, June  27, 2008

Exercise Important for Aging Population

 [ Post a comment ]

I read an interesting article in the Times-Picayune this morning. Jane Brody discussed the aging population in the United States. For example, every hour, 330 Americans turn 60. By 2030, one in five Americans will be older than 65. The number of people over 100 doubles every decade. The article went on to talk about the exercise needs of that population. The guidelines were to exercise at a moderately intense rate for 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Exercise at a vigorously intense rate for 20 minutes per day, three times per week. Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, 10-15 repetitions of each exercise two or three times per week.

Exercise helps build balance and thus might help eliminate falls and other accidents that plague us as we age. This also reminds me of the old saying, “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.” We can help face the stress of living whether young or older by keeping our bodies in good condition. Exercise and a sensible smart choice diet are crucial to that process.

Which has the most calories – a chicken salad sandwich or a cheese burger and fries? On Monday we will discuss how “reading” can help your waist line.

Bill Richardson

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Three More Months

 [ Post a comment ]

I’m stuck! I seem to have reached a plateau at a weight in the mid 220s. Looking on the positive, I’ve lost about 35 pounds – yet very little in the past two-three months. Exercise has been consistent and in line with my goals of a 4-4-4 plan. April, May and June are difficult months with the legislative session and our other various meet-and-eat functions. Now June is about over. And while my weight has remained static for the near past, I want to finish the one year blog experience by having met my goals. As I reported on numerous occasions, I did not set specific weight loss goals. We set out to change the lifestyle and make smart choices relative to nutrition and exercise. I feel comfortable with the smart choices I have made relative to nutrition. I have drastically reduced consumption of fast food, fried items – even ice cream.

Now as I look at my midyear goals and realize that we only have three months or one quarter to go in the blog, I want to complete the program and make sure that the intent of a lifestyle change is complete. I want to establish a weight loss goal of at least 40 pounds since I first started trying to lose weight, which would put me in the 219 range and 25 pounds since starting the blog. Given my weight the first of June, that would mean that I have to lose another 10 pounds over the next 90 days. I would also like to see some additional changes in the blood chemistry with a lowering of my total cholesterol and that ratio between HDL/LDL.

Tuesday is July, and once we see the blood chemistry results and weight for the nine-month period ending June 30, we will discuss the specific plans to finish the program and accomplish the goals stated above.

Many of you have faithfully followed the musings in this blog since inception. I ask that those of you using this as a tool in developing your own program also commit yourself to nutrition and exercise goals over the next 90 days. Let’s finish strong and on target together.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Hitting a weight loss plateau isn't unusual after a few months on a weight-loss program. The LSU AgCenter Smart Portions Healthy Weight Program offers this information to help determine the cause of a weight loss plateau:

  • Have you reassessed the amount of calories you need? Even though you're eating less, the calorie level may be just enough to maintain your current weight at your current activity level. For example, even though a 2,000 calorie meal plan may lead to a weight loss at first, it may be that 2,000 calories is all the body needs to stay at the current weight. It's important to remember that as you lose weight, your metabolism slows down and your body needs less fuel.

  • Are you eating more calories than you think? Research shows that people often underreport the amount of food and/or the number of calories they've eaten. They simply may forget to record every bite of food and may be relying on memory rather than recording their food intake at all. Also, many people don’t know how to make an accurate assessment of how much they’re eating.

  • Do you need more or different types of activity to burn calories? The human body can adapt to exercise, which means it needs fewer calories to accomplish the exercise. If you’ve stopped losing weight, it may help to vary your program.

It's important to continually update your program to reflect the changes your body has experienced along your weight loss journey. By keeping your goal in mind and making changes as needed in your eating and exercise plans, you’ll likely find yourself off the plateau and back on the road to progress in no time.

Beth Reames

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don’t Fill Up on Empty Calories

 [ Post a comment ]

I was reading a magazine yesterday that listed the calories in the 10 worst beverages (nonalcoholic). The calorie content is mind-boggling. The worst of the lot was the ice cream milk shake thing that contained 1,600 calories. That sure does not leave much wiggle room for someone attempting to stay within 2,200 calories per day. You simply have to be diligent when ordering a beverage to ensure that you are not getting all your calories in one serving. I would have to walk to New Orleans to burn off 1,600 calories. Not only do some beverages offer too many calories, they also offer empty calories. On 2,200 calories a day, I can’t afford many empty calories. I want each calorie to count for some nutritional value. I really like the calorie content of water, which is zero. It is also low in cholesterol.

I was able to get in an hour-long walk yesterday afternoon. I find that by waiting until late in the afternoon, the heat has dissipated. And, while it is still humid, a brisk walk really puts a good finish on a busy day. Follow that with a sensible meal and a good night’s sleep, and it just doesn’t get much better.

If you have not made your summer exercise and nutritional goals yet, now at the end of June is an ideal time. You might start by reviewing your New Year’s Resolutions. Were you able to keep them? Do you need to make adjustments? My results were mixed. I have kept some and not others. I plan to take some time this weekend and revisit what I started out to do the first of January and revise my goals for the balance of 2008. At the top of that list will be nutrition and exercise plans for the remaining six months of this year. 

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist's Response

There has been research on the link between body weight and beverage consumption, which is often referred to as liquid calories. As the chancellor alluded to, if you do not monitor the amount of calories you consume from beverages like you do for solid food, you could be underestimating your overall caloric intake for any given day.

Based on findings from studies, researchers have given several reasons that beverage intake may be linked to an increase in body weight.

It’s all in our head. Some scientists have suggested that we do not think about liquid calories the same way we do calories from solid food. Remember, everything that goes in your mouth should be recorded in your food log.

The satiety factor. Some researchers suggest that liquids in any form, thick or thin, are not as satisfying as solid food; therefore, we tend to eat more to feel full or satisfied. In contrast, though, some studies have found the opposite.

All fluids are not created equal. Watch out for those fluids that are sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. When choosing a fruit juice, choose one that states, “100% fruit juice,” and not “fruit drink.” Are you one of those who always goes for a sports or energy drink? Check out the label. Many of these types of drinks can contain large amounts of sugar.

Denise Holston


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Walking Under the Shady Oaks - Guest Blog

 [ Post a comment ]

Answering the Chancellor’s Challenge is really easy when your workday takes place on the beautiful grounds of the LSU campus. Walking allows you to get in shape, but the sights, sounds and smells along the way make it that much more enjoyable. I have a routine, with variations:

  • My husband and I drive together to work at LSU. He drops me off at Delgado Drive, about a 15-minute walk from my office in Knapp Hall. I walk on down Highland Road, wearing proper shoes. I usually meet someone doing the same – professors and students from those neighborhoods. (Watch the light at LSU Avenue…not everyone obeys traffic signals.) The stroll through those lovely old gates, past the huge live oaks welcomes me here. There is honeysuckle along that walk, and the smell is invigorating. The walk gives me time to do a lot of thinking, and so often I’ve arrived at a solution I needed, and I’m ready to tackle it when I get to my desk. I walk through the front door of Knapp now, after 16 years, instead of rushing through the locked side door. I start the day off nicely with hellos and smiles from Prudence, Ronda and Marla. 
  • I keep a pair of walking shoes under my desk. I put them on and head out about 11:45 for a half-hour walk. I take different paths, and can stay under shade most of the time. At noon, the clock strikes 12, and the LSU alma mater plays – a nice little signal to head back to Knapp. I eat a light lunch of salad and fruit while I cool off from the walk. 
  • It is therapeutic to get out of the building at lunchtime. It helps clear your head and get a new perspective on the daily challenges and deadlines. Taking the walk outside before I eat my leftovers makes it feel like I’ve been “out to lunch” but didn’t spend a dime!

  • Walking across this gorgeous campus is so stimulating. The flowerbeds are magnificent, and each week something different is blooming. If you are working through some landscaping ideas for your home, look no further than these beds for solutions. 
  • A favorite destination is the sculpture garden. In total shade, it is a cool, thought-provoking restful environment.

  • The buildings along the quadrangle offer a great place for a long walk under shade. A great way to visit the library or Foster Hall gallery.

  • There are great lunch options on and near campus that you can WALK to. No need to ever drive to lunch.

  • Getting reacquainted with this campus has been wonderful. It’s like reliving my past…I was a student here and know this campus like the back of my hand. I walked or rode my bicycle everywhere then, but for 15 years I’ve driven instead. I appreciate seeing these things I’ve taken for granted or forgotten. Small details in architecture, even stairway railings, are amazing.

  • Those of us who go to LSU football games don’t think twice about walking all over this campus to go to tailgate parties and then to Tiger Stadium. Surely we can do the same during the workday, long after the Challenge is over.

  • I notice real change with the Challenge. The subject of food – our favorite in Louisiana – has shifted…people are chatting about how to use fruits and vegetables instead of butter and bacon.

  • It is easy to find a place to eat in walking distance of Knapp, but it’s also really simple and much more economical to bring lunch. We have adequate refrigerators and microwaves here at Knapp, and that’s a plus. I can bring fruit for the week, and my small lunch bag does not impede my walking here in the morning.

  • The LSU walk is one good way for me to get steps on the pedometer, but it’s not enough to meet my goals. After I get home in the evening, I hurry up and get ready for my two evening walks. First I take Brownie, my 12-year old Sheltie, for her 10-minute stroll down Menlo Drive. I drop her home and head back down to Kenilworth Parkway for a good sweaty two-mile trek. Back at home I do a short workout with weights, and finally sit back with my husband on the back porch under the fan. He promises to join me soon in this routine!

Betsy Neely

Monday, June 23, 2008

Face Meals Out Head On

 [ Post a comment ]

Some weeks, nutritional hazards just jump up in your face it seems. That’s the way this work week is starting with the first five meals on the road, followed by at least one meal each day on the road and concluding with three meals out on Saturday. I can see the calories in the tens of thousands! And trying to squeeze in exercise is challenging. But to meet this head on, you have to have a plan and stick with the plan.

You can eat out and eat healthy. I’m going to stay away from fast food while driving. I also plan to read the menu carefully in restaurants and make smart choices about menu items. Don’t even think about the dessert menu! Keep alcohol to a bare minimum as always, and leave the processed stuff alone altogether. I will also plan my time wisely so that I get in the four workouts. That’s my plan. We will see how the week progresses.

I got some wonderful vegetables on Saturday at a farmers market. The vine-ripened tomatoes were superb. Bell peppers, squash and all the good stuff was fairly priced and of high quality. The farmers market is an excellent way to get good produce and support the local farmers.

I hope you got out and exercised this past weekend. Even though it was a little warm, I got in a couple of good walks.

Bill Richardson

2/10/2009 1:16:36 AM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture