10/8/07 -- 10/12/07

Chancellor's Challenge. Chancellor Bill Richardson has made the decision to change to a healthierlifestyle. Follow his daily accounts and remarks from nutritionists to help him stay on course.

October 12, 2007

Scoop On Supplements

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It is hard to believe that we have been at this blogging for two weeks. The nutrition specialists have been making daily modifications in the caloric intake. We have just about got it on target for the 2,200 calories. They told me I had to eat more, something I didn’t expect to hear as we started this journey. Of course, I was surprised to learn I was obese also. The response from people has been excellent. I find that as I travel around the state, people stop and ask about the blog.

A topic of interest to many and one for which there are many opinions deals with taking supplements, i.e. vitamins, minerals, herbs etc. As you know TV commercials, books and other media outlets have a plethora of information about the use and misuse of supplements in one’s diet. I do take supplements. I have taken a daily aspirin and a multivitamin for the past 25 years. I recently switched to a multivitamin product designed for people over 50 (which I passed several years ago) and designed especially for men. Before you start taking something, I suggest once again that you consult your doctor and or a registered dietitian. I plan to continue taking my vitamin regimen, which I do five or six times a week. I usually take off one day a week by design, although sometimes I forget to take the stuff. A supplement is not a substitute for proper nutrition. You can read more below about this subject.

Yesterday I wrote about exercise and failed to mention weight training. To me this is a personal preference, and I do weight retraining twice a week. My objective is not to build but rather tone muscles and strengthen the skeleton. When I first started, I made an appointment with a personal trainer and had a program designed to meet my objective. Now I need a task master to make sure I go and do what was designed. So in addition to the 4-4-4 plan, I try to work in two weight sessions each week. Again, consult your doctor before starting any type of weight-training program.

Read the Day 3 food intake and nutritional analysis.

I have been weighing myself on my crude home scale and find that at the end of the two weeks, I’ve lost 8-9 pounds. That’s unofficial but encouraging. In two more weeks I’ll do the one-month progress report to include the BMI, waist and weight along with a blood test.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Taking supplements is a personal choice, as the chancellor states. There are times when vitamin and mineral supplements may be beneficial – during illness, recovery from illness, pregnancy and during rapid growth. Post-menopausal women may need extra supplements.

There is some research that suggests that taking extra vitamin C and zinc supplements during illness (colds and flu) can shorten it by a couple of days. These supplements can also ease the recovery phase.

Pregnancy is another time when supplements are necessary. It is a time when the need for folic acid may not be met by food alone, and it is very important that all pregnant women start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as they think they are pregnant. The recommendation is that all women of childbearing age take supplemental folic acid as long as they can get pregnant. The reason is that folic acid can prevent a serious birth defect called neural tube defect. And, by the time a woman knows she is pregnant, all the fetal organs have already formed, and a folic acid supplement cannot help at this point if the neural tube did not close. During pregnancy, there is a demand for all vitamins and minerals, which are provided in the prenatal vitamins.

Teenagers undergo rapid growth and may need supplemental calcium to meet their needs for rapid bone growth. Teens can gain several inches in linear growth each year, and new bone is developing rapidly. This is the time to make the bone as strong as possible to prevent osteoporosis in later life. Teens need to have three servings from the milk group every day to meet calcium needs.

Women may need extra iron and calcium supplements to meet their needs. Most supplements targeted to women have the recommended amount of iron added. Supplemental calcium can help prevent osteoporosis. Supplemental calcium is particularly important during the menopausal years. But weight training is also important and can prevent osteoporosis. Women should include weight training in their exercise regimen. During weight training, the bones recognize the extra stress and additional calcium is deposited to make them stronger.

Supplemental iron is not recommended for men. Some research suggests that extra iron is an oxidant and can promote free radical formation, which can lead to oxidation of lipids in the bloodstream. This increases the risk for atherosclerosis. So, as the chancellor states, if you do take supplements, men and women should take supplements targeted to them.

Heli Roy


Dr. Richardson, I think this a great idea. I also have worked on my own challenge and have had results. I need to get more exercise into my life. I like the idea of 4-4-4. Keep up your daily lifestyle changes.

Iris Webb


October 11, 2007

Let's Move It

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EXERCISE! No matter what you read or whom you consult, exercise is good for you. My doc recommended the 4-4-4 plan. Actually, he suggested 40 minutes on the treadmill four times a week at 4 miles per hour. I was a serious runner for years, but an arthritic condition in my right knee prohibits running, especially on hard surfaces. So walking is my preferred exercise. Swimming, biking and other forms of aerobic exercise that get your heart beating will help.


The most difficult step for me is the first one out the door. I have many excuses. I’m just too busy to exercise. It’s late and I’m tired. It might rain. I’ll do it tomorrow. Excuses, excuses, excuses. And I’ve used them all and more. If my math is right, there are 10,080 minutes in each week. My doc suggested I use 160 of those 10,800 minutes for exercise. Surely I can do that. I can spend more time than that thinking of reasons why I don’t want to exercise. Also, most of us feel good after exercising. Then why don’t we?

I will not insult your intelligence by trying to convince you of the benefits of regular (regular means 3-4 times per week) exercise. There are links below for those who want to know more.

I’ve made my commitment to exercise four times a week. I have three 40-minute walks in the bag already this week and will get the fourth one today. I fully realize that is just one week and will need to be repeated. It’s not like painting your house where you do it and wait a few years before you do it again. Regular weekly exercise for the rest of your life? No excuses!

I adjusted the nutrition plan as recommended by the specialists based on the Day 1 consumption. I added some dairy products. Additionally, they suggested that I add some fruit and whole grains. I kept the total calorie intake below 2,200. I am looking forward to the end of the first month to see if some weight loss is achieved.

Read the Day 2 intake and nutritional analyis.

About 500 of you have logged on at least one time. Share this blog with people whom you think might benefit. Together we can make a difference. Your comments are welcome.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response I

Being physically fit can enhance the quality and number of years ahead. Making time for fitness means setting priorities, sneaking extra activities into your daily routine, and scheduling your fitness time as you would an important meeting.

Take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, get up to move at least every 30 minutes while at your desk or in a meeting are just a few ways to increase the movement in your daily routine. Think creatively to come up with others.

Many working people have traded the "business lunch" for an exercise session at the gym or a brisk walk around the grounds. After work, join friends or family for a game of racquetball or a hike instead of a social hour.

Exercise speeds weight loss by burning calories. To prevent weight gain, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults get about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days of the week. To sustain weight loss, about 60 to 90 minutes of moderate physical activity are recommended. The Dietary Guidelines state that vigorous activity provides greater physical fitness benefits and burns more calories per unit of time.


Per Hour

Minutes Needed to Burn 250 Calories

Walking (3.5 mph)
(17 min per mile)



Jogging (5 mph)
(12 min per mile)







(slow freestyle laps)


(walking & carrying clubs) 
330 45
(<10 mph) 
290 52
Light gardening/
yard work 
330 45

These figures are for a 150-pound person. If you weigh more, you’ll burn more calories in the same time; if you weigh less, you’ll burn fewer calories.

Read this Guide to Physical Activity.

Beth Reames

Nutritionist’s Response II

Not having enough time is a common complaint of those who wish to become more active. Don’t have 40 minutes to spare? Try four 10-minute spurts of physical activity throughout the day. Boredom is another common complaint. If you like to walk like the chancellor, but get bored on the treadmill, try mixing it up by heading out to the LSU lakes for a nice walk. Need more tips for incorporating physical activity into your day?

Read Smart Choices: Eating and Exercising for Good Health.

Denise Holston


October 10, 2007

Mark It Down

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The first day of my prescribed nutrition plan went better than I expected. I kept a food log as recommended. If it went in my mouth, I wrote it down. The log was then shared with the extension specialists, and they gave me some excellent suggestions. Recall that the baseline data indicated a need to lower total cholesterol and improve the LDL. Also, BMI, waist size and total body weight were in the obese range. The specialists designed a nutrition plan that I am trying to follow. I sent them the food log after the first day and their analysis was: (1) I consumed too few calories – a little over 1,000 rather than the 2,200 that the plan called for. I get to eat more! (2) I need more dairy and whole grains in the nutritional plan. So for day 2, I will make those changes. The 2,200-calorie nutrition plan is included with this blog, for your information, along with my day 1 food log. Please remember this was designed for my specific baseline data and goals. Before you start anything similar, see you doctor. Please!

Also, I did my exercise plan yesterday. Actually, I did most of the 4-4-4 plan, (40 minutes on the treadmill at level 4, 4 times per week). I did the 40 minutes at about level 3.8. Now I have to do three more and increase the pace this week. We will discuss exercise later.

I found the nutritional plan easy to follow. I made changes to what was recommended based on my schedule and advanced planning or lack thereof. The only time those gnawing hunger pains set in was later in the afternoon. A few almonds and a diet soft drink held the hunger at bay. I didn’t even think about hitting the vending machine. I even turned down some donuts. There is hope after all.

Have you made the commitment to join me? This could be a good health year for all of us.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

The chancellor made some healthy choices in his first day. But many times when people want to lose weight, they cut back on calories too much and the body recognizes it. The first day may be fine. By the second or third day, however, hunger will set in, and the temptation to eat more may kick in. The chancellor cut back on his calories drastically. When calories are cut back too much, it is impossible to eat based on MyPyramid suggestions and include dairy, grains and adequate fruits in the diet. Eating a little more calories makes the meal plan much more manageable and allows the inclusion of fruits, grains and dairy. Then hunger does not set in at the same degree, and it is easier to pass over the tempting but unhealthy choices.

Use of a food log to track food consumption is a valuable tool in weight loss. Research shows that when people write down what they eat (use a food diary/log), as opposed to keeping track by memory alone, they are more successful at weight loss and maintenance – possibly because they are able to “see” what they are eating and make changes as needed. When using a food log, always remember to include portion sizes and detailed descriptions of the foods you are eating. For example, “3 oz of baked chicken breast without skin” is a much better description than “3 oz baked chicken,” which will allow you to more accurately calculate your dietary intake. View a food log for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Day 1 Suggested Menu

Servings Item Calories
2 - 3/4 C Cold Cereal 160
8 oz Milk, skim 90
8 oz Orange Juice 120
2 - 8 oz Coffee, black 10

Servings Item Calories
1 Grilled chicken sandwich on Wheat Bread,
1 oz American cheese,
1 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise 
1 C Salad Greens-raw  25
1/2 C Tomato, sliced  25
2 T Salad dressing, reduced fat 55
1-12 oz Diet Soda 0
1 sm Banana 60

Servings Item Calories
1 C Red Beans & Rice with
1 small piece of Sausage 
1/2 C Yellow Squash-cooked 75
1 C Zucchini - cooked 50
2 tsp Butter 90
1 - 12 oz Light Beer 110
1 Chocolate chip cookie, small 60

Servings Item Calories
1 1 sm. Apple 60
1 3/4 oz Pretzels 80
1 - 8 oz Milk, skim 90

Total Calories 2215

Chancellor's Day 1 Intake

Servings Item Calories
4 oz Milk, 1% fat 45
3/4 C Cold Cereal 80
2 - 8 oz Coffee, black 10
1/3 C Almonds 225

Servings Item Calories
1 1/2 C Broccoli-cooked 25
1 1/2 C Carrots-cooked 25
   1/2 C Green beans-cooked 25
Ice Tea - unsweetened 0
Small handful Almonds 180
Diet soda 0

Servings Item Calories
1 C Green peas 90
4 oz chicken Breast, no skin 140
Small handful Almonds 180
3 oz Vegetable Juice 25

Total Calories 1050

Heli Roy & Denise Holston


October 9, 2007

$hape Up

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The Baton Rouge Advocate ran an informative article last week about the cost of treating chronic disease. Louisiana ranked in the second-to-the-lowest quarter of all U.S. states in 2003. The chronic diseases include cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, mental conditions and pulmonary conditions. These diseases cost Louisiana $4.5 billion to treat and $17.4 billion in lost productivity in 2003. The study went on to say that modest improvements in prevention could avoid 612,000 cases of chronic conditions over the next 20 years and would save the state $17.3 billion in 2023. Think what we could do with another $17 billion to improve our schools, higher education, roads and health care. PREVENTION! This is within our control as individuals.

Consensus data indicates that obesity affects many of these chronic diseases. In order for the state to only have 611, 999 cases over the next 20 years, I plan to eliminate obesity in the one case I can control. You read the baseline data yesterday. If you didn’t, then go back and read it! Based on this data my goals remain to lower weight in a rational manner, decrease waist size, BMI, and total cholesterol with an improvement in LDL. The plan is to make smart choices in nutrition planning and exercise four times a week. Remember the 4-4-4 plan? I did get in two workouts this weekend and will do even more this week.

I asked the dietitians and other nutrition specialists working for the AgCenter to design a smart choice program given the baseline data and my goals. I also want to incorporate Louisiana agricultural products into the core of the plan. The nutrition plan calls for around 2,200 calories per day. They have a formula to determine your level of activity and how that affects your calorie needs. I will have to read over the formula to explain it. In the meantime, read the nutritionist’s response below. My plan starts tonight. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Estimation of daily basic energy needs (called resting energy expenditure) is done by a formula that takes into account weight, height and age. The formula is complex, but now it can be easily calculated. Go to Resting Metabolic Rate Calculator. This gives the amount of calories needed for a day at absolute rest. Estimation of activity level is done by a multiplying factor:

Activity level




Lightly active


Moderately active


Very active


Extra active


Heli Roy


October 8, 2007

Waist Not, Want Not

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The weekend was again challenging with a wedding reception one evening and the LSU-Florida game on Saturday. While I had planned to discuss the weekend, my blood tests were received, and I want to go over those results with you today. The test results are as follows: total cholesterol (TC) 206, HDL 42, LDL 143. Glucose levels, liver function and other factors were all good. The AgCenter specialists can provide more details, but generally a TC reading above 200 is considered borderline high as well as an LDL reading over 135. As noted earlier, my weight of 244.8, waist size of 42.5 and BMI of 32.5 provide a strong case for a weight loss regimen. The simple conclusion is I need to reduce my weight and lower my total cholesterol and LDL.

From what I have read, most fad diets do not work especially if you are interested in a long-term change in your lifestyle, which is one of my goals. What we are going to do is design a nutrition plan, using quality agricultural products, and change my approach to nutrition. I need to make smart choices in selecting what I eat. Sounds simple enough to me!

Once the decision was made to initiate this blog, and after consulting with my doctor, I have been trying to follow a more sensible eating planning given the information found in the LSU AgCenter’s Web site. Based on my home scales, I’ve easily reduced my weight by 3-5 pounds this first week. My exercise program is beginning, and I’ll report on that tomorrow. The next step is to review the suggested nutrition program that our specialists in family and consumer sciences recommend and begin the first steps in this lifestyle change. Weight, waist size and BMI will be provided monthly and blood test results in four to six months or sooner.

Let’s see what the experts recommend for me and I’ll report on that along with some other stuff tomorrow.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

The chancellor’s total cholesterol is above normal range at 206 mg/dl, while the LDL fraction at 143 is borderline high. High LDL cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. LDL deposits cholesterol in the artery walls forming a plaque. When LDL levels are high, more cholesterol is deposited in the arteries. This causes narrowing of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. HDL is the good cholesterol because it removes excess cholesterol from circulation and brings it to the liver for disposal. HDL can be increased with exercise.

Read these news articles from the LSU AgCenter:

Foods that can help reduce cholesterol are those that have soluble fiber in them. These foods include oatmeal, beans (red, black, kidney and soybeans), Brussels sprouts, broccoli, citrus fruits and nuts.

Read these LSU AgCenter articles for more information:

Check out information about waist circumference measurement for men and women and the risk for chronic disease. The risk for chronic disease is increased for men if the waist measurement is greater than 40 inches and if it is greater than 35 inches for women.

Heli Roy


Congratulations on changing your eating/exercising lifestyle. I am asked by many "what is the secret?" and "is it difficult?" There is no secret and it is not difficult, if you make up your mind to do so. Once you are committed, it becomes second nature. So, you have done the hard part. Perhaps you and I have the advantage of being former athletes and, therefore, we are familiar with physical discipline. To many people this is a foreign concept. But anyone can improve with proper motivation. My motivation was life-threatening disease. I don't recommend that anyone wait for that motivation. Several of my co-workers have begun a healthier lifestyle in the past two years. They are seeing the benefits in lost weight, better physiological test numbers and less medicine. Most important, we all feel 100 percent better than before we started. Congratulations again and good luck. You will probably enjoy the process more than you think you will.

Allen Hogan

2/10/2009 1:16:37 AM
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