Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tips for avoiding Holiday Collapse

As another Holiday Season has started and food and drink become abundant, keep in mind the following tips to keep fitness and health routine on track:

  • ENJOY the many tasty foods you will experience. To fully enjoy SLOW DOWN and really taste the food and drink you are having. This simply means do not eat like it is the last supper, but breathe and enjoy the pleasure of good food and drink and even those annoying relatives.

  • ESCAPE the party scene and excuse yourself for a good walk. It is helpful to have a dog to get you out of there, so consider rescuing one from your local shelter. It is proven that those with animals perform more physical activity then those without one. And plus what a great way to "get out" of those mundane conversations with Uncle Al.

  • Be in CONTROL. You have kept on top of your health and fitness routine for the whole year, why blow it now? Think back to how good you have felt after a good exercise session and self-control with your diet.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Start your Challenge today!

If you're still waiting to get that New Year's Resolution for Better health going, you are not alone and the time is Now to get started.

It all begins with you Deciding that this is the time to make it happen. Some quick tips to better accomplish your goals include the following,

1. Hold yourself Accountable. After you determine your start date then I advise you to let your friends and family know that you are going to challenge yourself to lose weight, increase social connectedness, decrease stress, etc. By letting others close to you know what you are setting out to do you will always be reminded of your important decision to increase your health and well being.

2. Set a time Frame for achieving your goals. Whatever your goal is, set a deadline for achieving it. For example, if you want to lose weight; give yourself 8 weeks to achieve this. You can measure your results by weighing yourself on the first day of your challenge and then again at the 4 week point and again at the end of the 8 weeks.

Remember you can always challenge yourself at anytime to accomplish any goal, just make the firm decision to do it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Re-visiting our goals and altering the "game-plan" when necessary.

I hope everyone is having a great 2011 thus far.

As we work on accomplishing our wellness goals for the New Year, it is important to continue to re-visit and review our goals daily.

Furthermore, it is crucial to be sure our "game plan" is working properly for achieving our goals and to make the necessary changes or alterations to keep moving forward.

For example, if my initial overall goal was to increase my physical health by taking a cycling class at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and then out-of -the blue my work schedule changed making it impossible to take this class, I would have to alter the "game plan". This particular alteration may be that you take a cycling class on Monday and Wednesday evenings when you have available time.

Set-backs and un-foreseen changes in schedule and life are inevitable, thus we need to be prepared when these set-backs occur and respond to them accordingly. I urge you to write down and think about what obstacles may stand in your way of achieving your goals and how you plan to deal with them.

Keep on moving forward!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Healthy Coping Strategies for Stress.

Hope everyone had a Great Christmas!

2011 is right around the corner which means it is time to get more specific on the goals we want to accomplish to achieve better health. I feel one important step when defining our goals is to also define and write down the obstacles that could stand in the way of us achieving your goals.

One of the common obstacles in achieving better health is unhealthy food choices and over-consumption of these unhealthy foods. The over-consumption of these unhealthy foods usually occurs when we are stressed and under-fed. Therefore, it is of primary importance to "keep that wood-stove burning" throughout the day by consuming healthy snacks and meals each 2.5-3.0 hours. When we create a starvation mode in our bodies by going long durations without food and water, we become more likely to over-eat.

Emotional Eating is now a term that is used to describe the times when we reach for food to deal with stresses in our life. It is a source of comfort for us in chaos. However, if eating becomes the primary coping strategy for dealing with the stress in our life, weight-gain will occur. Therefore, we must create alternative coping strategies other than food to deal with the stress in our life. Some of these coping strategies include:
  • Physical Activity.
  • Conversations with others
  • Stretching/Yoga
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Hot bath
  • Music

Instead of reaching for food during times of stress, try one of these alternative strategies first and then really ask yourself if you are really hungry.

Again, it is important to keep yourself well-fed throughout the day so you can accurately determine if you are eating out of hunger or just eating to comfort yourself from stress.

If we do get stressed and reach for food as a coping strategy, I feel it is important to not give ourselves an "easy out" and have readily available junk food within arms reach. For example, if you are at home and your child will not stop crying or the Buffalo Bills commit another turn-over and a bag of salty potato chips or ice-cream seems like a great way for dealing with this stress, simply don't have the chips or ice-cream in the house. If you must have the chips or ice-cream, you will need to go all the way to the store to get it. I believe when you are forced to do that, you will realize you really are not hungry and can use a different coping strategy to deal with that stress.

Wishing everyone a Great New Year and I am really excited to getting started on accomplishing all our goals for 2011!!

This is the opinion of Jonathan T. Felsen

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...and small successes..

To all my loyal followers, Have a very safe and Happy Christmas.

As we move towards another celebration and the buffet of food that usually accompanies it, here are some quick reminders to keep you on a healthy track and not sabotage your healthy routine:

  • Eat slow! It usually takes about 20-30 minutes for our bodies to reach a satiation phase, so before you head back to the buffet line, try and wait it out and determine if you are really hungry for more.
  • Remind yourself that you are in control of what you eat and think about how good you will feel when you turn-away from the egg-nog, or Christmas cookies. I firmly believe that the satisfaction you will receive from being in control of your body and food choices will be much greater than the satisfaction you receive from another glass of Nog. And when you do opt-out of the un-healthy choice, GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT and stand tall and confident for this is a victory.
  • Take a walk. This is a great way to get you out of the house and burn some of those calories.
  • Don't get down on yourself. Okay, it very may turn-out that you over-indulge a little for the holiday but don't let this small setback be a permanent collapse in your otherwise healthy routine. Simply, get up the next morning and keep on keepin on.

Once again, Have a Safe and Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A New Year...A New Start.

As the New Year approaches and we all get a chance to start over in a way, I feel it is important to set some well defined goals for enhancing all dimensions of our health in 2011 (see past post on goal setting to learn more about how to define goals).

For instance, one of my goals for increasing my intellectual health is to post blog articles on my blogspot. However, that statement is really not a SMART Goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Line).

Therefore, to define my goal I would write:
In the next 8 weeks, I will increase my Intellectual Health by writing an article on my blog 3 times/week.

In the past my goal was to to write an article everyday, however as I found out this was not realistic at all due to my work schedule, etc.

That is why we need to really consider the obstacles in our life that could prevent us from achieving our goals. However, our goals still need to be ambitious and we need to do the work to accomplish them.

A popular resolution for the New Year is to lose weight. If losing weight is important to you for 2011, make that a "MAIN SMART GOAL" and then include some "supporting SMART goals" to accomplish the MAIN GOAL For instance, a "MAIN SMART GOAL" for accomplishing losing weight in 2011 might be:

1. Within 10 weeks, I will lose 10 lbs. (MAIN SMART GOAL). Be date specific as well, so if you start this goal on January 1, you can further define your Main Goal by stating, by March 4th, I will lose 10 lbs.
Now, you must write your "SUPPORTING SMART GOALS" that will make you accomplish your MAIN SMART GOAL". For example supporting goals for losing 10 lbs in 10 weeks could be,

A. To lose 10 lbs by March 4, 2011, I will join a health club by December 28, 2010.

B. I will begin performing 25 minutes of aerobic activity 3 times per week beginning January 1st.

C. I will begin preparing 5 "small meals" that include a healthy portion of Carbohydrates and Protein in each meal. I will stick to consuming 5 "small meals" Monday thru Friday. I will give myself permission to eat pizza or anything else I want every Saturday.

D. Every Sunday at 11:00 a.m., I will go to the grocery store and get the necessary healthy foods to prepare my meals for the week.

These are just some ideas, and please remember when starting a new exercise program and/or nutrition program consult with your physician about your program and consider working with a Personal Trainer to familiarize yourself with health club equipment and help determine a good exercise prescription for attaining your goal.

And please e-mail me with any questions. I'll be more than happy to assist you or just further explain my gibberish writing.

This is the opinion of Jonathan T. Felsen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quick and Easy Meals for Sustained Energy.

Here are some quick meal ideas for"keeping your wood-stove burning" throughout the day. I advise that you attempt to consume a small meal every 2.5 to 3.5 hours.

The general rule of thumb is that your fist or a handful is a good portion size and you should aim to have a portion of protein and a portion of carbohydrates in each meal.

Fat is essential for absorbing and storing the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) and is an efficient form for energy, so aim to have a little good extra monounsaturated fat in 3 of the 6 meals. Good sources of this fat will be both Canola and olive oil which is pretty easy to mix in with a your greens and protein. You will be getting a good amount of fat from healthy dairy sources, fish, poultry, and egg whites.

What we want to avoid is the Saturated Fat which elevates bad LDL cholesterol. Therefore try and stay away from the butter, egg yolks, ice cream, high-fat cheeses, shortening, etc. Yeah, saturated fat does taste pretty good, but it will come back to haunt us in the form of cardiovascular disease and weight-gain. We will all enjoy this saturated fatit but the key is to have it in moderation and try to avoid it on most days of the week.

As far as fruits and vegetables, my advice is to eat as much as you want throughout the day, they provide so many great sources of vitamins and minerals and their calorie count is fairly low. I don't know of one person who became extremely un-healthy or obese from eating too many fruits and vegetables. However, please note that most fruit juices we see in the store are not so great for us and contain both high amounts of sugar and calories.

Below are some quick-healthy meals to keep you focused and energized throughout the day:

  • Quick oats with raisins and walnuts. This meal takes about 3 minutes and provides you with a healthy portion of fiber, healthy carbohydrate and protein. Remember that Fiber is good for reducing blood cholesterol and reducing the risk for coronary heart disease and breast cancer. A 1/2 cup of quick oats will give you about 4 grams of dietary fibre giving you a good start on the recommended 25 grams/day.
  • 3 oz. of tuna-fish mixed with 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise or and two slices of whole wheat bread. This meal takes about 3 minutes to prepare and will provide you with ~15 grams of protein. The fact to remember about protein is that it is necessary to build and repair muscles, therefore making this meal great for after exercise. It is recommended dietary allowance for protein is about 1 gram per kilogram of body weight (1). To determine how much you weigh in Kilograms, simply divide your total weight in pounds by 2.2 and then multiply that number by 0.8. (2). For even more flavor and not a lot of calories, add some chopped onion and one chopped Dill pickle.
  • A handful of almonds. Although almonds are a little high in fat and calories, they are a great source of phytochemicals and help lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Spinach with almonds and black beans. Spinach is a green that is a "super green" and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Black beans will give you a good source of protein and carbohydrates and not a lot of calories.
  • 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese with a 1/2 cup of your favorite yogurt. This quick meal will provide you with ~14 grams of protein and only will be about 180 calories. Another great meal for after exercise.


1. Wardlaw, G.M., J. Hampl, and R. DiSilvestro. Perspectives in Nutrition. Columbus, OH; McGraw-Hill, 2003.

2. An Invitation to health: The power of Prevention, 6th ed., by D.R. Hales.