1. Add one new, repeated behavior each week.
“Tackling too many goals at once can be overwhelming and counterproductive,” says Julie McNally, a registered dietitian at City Club at River Ranch. “Remember, slow and steady wins the race, so keep it simple.” She says the American Institute on Cancer Research now suggests at least 2/3 of the New American Plate consist of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. So try this: On Week 1 eat one more fruit a day; Week 2 add one vegetable each day; Week 3 try adding 4 cups of water; and on Week 4 eliminate all calorie containing beverages. “At the end of the month you will have eaten 30 more pieces of fruit, 23 more vegetable servings, drank 64 cups of water [four per day for 16 days] and saved tons of beverage calories,” McNally says.
2. Take care of your skin, too.
“The main thing is to be consistent with your skin care regimen, and to be consistent is to have a simple regimen,” says Pascale Henry of Pascale Spa. “I recommend that you hydrate with an antioxidant during the day. At night, use a treatment with retinol or Retin-A to nourish the skin. And, of course, use a sunscreen every day, even when it is cloudy to protect the skin from the sun.”
3. Be realistic.
“The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that people are not looking at the big picture,” says Manny Fuentes, a clinical exercise physiologist at LGMC and T’ai Chi instructor with Potpourri at UL Lafayette “They are looking for immediate fixes for something, and they tend to say, ‘Well, I want to lose weight.’” When you set a goal for yourself, Fuentes says it needs to be a specific goal — how many pounds do you want to lose, which outfit do you want to wear. “It also has to be a realistic and reasonable goal,” he adds. “You are not going to lose 40 pounds in a month, unless you go through a gastric bypass or something like that. It has to be something achievable, something that you can actually tend to accomplish. I’ve had a lot of people who say, I need to lose 30 pounds in two weeks, and I’ll say, ‘Fine, cut your leg off.’”
4. Slash 100 calories a day and lose 10 pounds this year.
Photo by Robin May
“You want to analyze your diet, and look at the bad habits that you can definitely live without,” says Estelle Benoit, a registered dietitian at Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club. “One is drinking sodas — one soda has about 150 calories.” So, if you cut out one soda a day, that’s 150 calories, and some people drink three cans a day. Another way to cut calories is to use mustard instead of mayo, Benoit advises. One tablespoon of mustard has 12 calories, and one tablespoon of mayo has 100. “Also, get your lattes with skim milk instead of whole milk. One Starbuck’s tall Skinny Latte is 100 calories, whereas one tall Café Latte made with whole milk is 200 calories.” A good goal for most people is just watching their portion sizes at meals. “Generally, for protein, you only need two [portions] a day, each about the size of your hand,” she adds.” For other foods, portion size is about the size of your fist — any carbs like rice, pasta, potatoes.”
5. Never go more than 3.5 to four hours without some small meal or snack.
This should include a lean protein source (low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, light string cheese, peanut butter, boiled eggs, handful of nuts, deli meat, canned tuna or salmon) to maintain metabolism and blood sugar levels and keep hunger at bay.
6. Experiment with new, healthy foods and recipes.
Foods that you’ve never heard of can be the most nutritious. For example, quinoa, the ancient supergrain of the future, is a wonderfood with slow carbs and all eight essential amino acids, making it a “complete protein,” City Club’s McNally says. “It is the most nutritious of all grains and has unlimited culinary versatility.”
Photo by Robin May
7. Have fun with exercise.
The health and wellness environment is so filled with innovation that even people who work out regularly should be encouraged to try something new — such as dance-infused classes like Zumba — so that exercising doesn’t get old. “There are just so many options in the realm of fitness right now that you don’t need to just go on the treadmill or hit the weights,” says Nathan Pry, director of the City Club at River Ranch.
8. Invest in home equipment.
If economic times are getting a little tough for you, your New Year’s resolution may not include a gym membership (though that would have been a fantastic Christmas gift). There are tons of inexpensive gadgets that yield good results, and one of the best investments you can make is a couple of sets of hand weights (5 pound and 10 pound) to use at home. If you do have a few extra bucks to spend on your health, Pry recommends a low-end Bowflex. “Biomechanically and functionally it is one of the best pieces of equipment out there and is space conscious,” he says. Pry also says the best at-home exercise is Pilates and suggests you start with a tape that’s a general intro before moving onto a world of great Pilates tapes now on the market. “You can do lots of moves in front of the TV to lengthen, strengthen and stretch,” he says.
9. Have an intention, not a resolution.
Resolution is not the best way to go, as far as Michael and Lydia Morton of Lafayette Center for Yoga are concerned. “It is better to go in the direction of an intention,” Lydia says, “because, when you talk about a resolution, it kind of has a negative connotation. You start thinking about giving up things — like if you are going to lose weight, then the subliminal message you get is that you are fat. Or, if you are thinking about calling your parents once a week, then the subliminal message is that you are ungrateful. Those kinds of things are not really directed toward the yoga plane of thinking.” The Mortons say yoga encourages people to think more globally and be aware of the lessons coming to them in everyday in your life. “Look at the nobility, the honor of your intentions, rather than denying yourself things,” Lydia says.
10. Hook up to the hydrant.
Even mild, chronic dehydration can decrease metabolism, send false hunger signals, and compromise mental and physical performance. Don’t rely on your thirst mechanism. About 50 percent of your body weight is comprised of water, and each system in your body depends on water. “It flushes out toxins and helps to keep a lot of your vital organs working properly, so you want to make sure you get adequate fluids,” says Amber Faul, clinical dietitian and registered dietitian at LGMC. “A general rule is the 8/8 rule — eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Ideally, you want your water to be your first source of hydration, but not always is that the case. Some of your fruits and vegetables are 90 to 100 percent of fluid, like watermelon or tomatoes, so get fluids in whenever you can.” Experts also advise monitoring urine color to ensure it stays at least as pale as lemonade.
11. So you’ve always wanted to ...
“If you are going to add physical fitness to your life, choose something that you have always wanted to try, like step class, riding lessons or kayaking, because you then will want to do other workouts that enhance your new activity,” says Alyce Wise, owner of Wise Bodies Pilates studio. “If you choose a physical activity that you enjoy, then you are more likely to go to the gym or take your Pilates class or something that is going to help you do your new activity.”
12. Sleep, sleep, sleep.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try Qigong, the breathing and movement exercises Wise’s husband teaches to help reduce stress. “A lot of the world has trouble going to sleep. Learn how to sleep, because it is the best thing for healing your body and for mental health,” Wise says. There’s also emerging sentiment that hard mattresses, while good for your back, may not be best for sleep. Look into whether softer may be better for a good night’s rest.
13. Increase intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Photo by Robin May
“Incorporate at least two fish meals a week, because Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Rosalind Allen, nutrition services supervisor at Lafayette General Medical Center. “In regards to the type of fish, it would be things like salmon and sardines,” Allen notes. “But, if you are not a person who is into fish, you can try flaxseed, one to two tablespoons a day, which is another good source of Omega-3 acids. Other sources include canola oils and walnuts — 2.5 grams or about an ounce of walnuts per day would be another source of Omega 3 fatty acids.”
14. Get your money’s worth.
“Get your money’s worth,” Pilates expert Wise tells her clients. “Basically, do it all the way — don’t just half do it — with everything in life,” she says. “Get your money’s worth means not only do you invest your money in a certain situation, but invest in your time or your energy. Have a good attitude and enjoy. Even if you are going out spending money to eat a meal, enjoy the meal. Laugh out loud at the movies. If you are investing time, energy, or money, participate all the way.”
15. Add Vitamin D for depression.
Lack of the sunshine vitamin can dampen your mood and keep you from sticking with any new health program. And while you’re getting cheery, you’ll help your bones, too — as Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption.
16. Get your daily dose of fiber.
“There are a lot of health benefits from fiber,” LGMC’s Faul says. “You can keep down weight, because it tends to keep you fuller longer. So, for good digestive health, good heart health, good, soluble fiber may help to lower your cholesterol levels. It may help with diabetes, helping your blood sugar stabilize.” She suggests trying these tips from fiberone.com’s “Ten Tips to Get Your Daily Fiber: scan for bran; grab the whole food, savor the skins (potatoes), screen for beans, go nuts, be berry wild, bring on the brown (rice and bread), skip the chips, drink up and sneak in some Fiber One cereal.”
17. Get rid of the ‘I’ve blown it’ mindset.
“In the event of meal derailments, don’t cop out with the ‘I’ve blown it’ mindset,” says City Club’s McNally. “Remember the words: progress, not perfection. Go easy on yourself and get right back on your track toward your goals. Make the next meal a clean one, perhaps a huge entrée salad with a lean protein source like beans, tofu, fish, chicken, turkey, lean ham/beef or a side of low-fat cottage cheese.” She also urges experimenting with vinegars for dressing (red wine, rice wine, balsamic) and says to go easy on the cheese and avocado.
18. If it’s not food, don’t eat it.
An estimated 90 percent of food dollars are spent on processed, packaged food that is low-quality and chemical-laden (pseudofoods). “The definition of food is that which is nourishing to the body,” City Club’s McNally says. “Pseudofoods are not only not nourishing but detrimental to your health.” If you see the terms high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, sugar, enriched flour in the first five ingredients on the food label, “step away from the package,” she says. Choose another brand or variety. If you do eat a pseudofood, wait a long time before you eat it again so your body can recover.
19. Aim to consume at least one side salad daily.
Ensure that you get vitamins and fiber by adding lots of fresh veggies, and if you must, opt for an olive oil and vinegar dressing. The salad will help you feel full and eat less when your entree comes around. And for dessert, go for a fresh fruit salad. Research continues to mount on the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, with the findings so compelling that it is no longer just a polite suggestion to increase your intake.
20. Watch your salt intake.
The American Heart Association recommends a restriction of dietary sodium to 3,000 milligrams (3 grams) per day, so you really have to watch it, especially if you eat out a lot. According to McDonald’s Web site, a Premium Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, for example, packs 890 mg of salt — twice what you get in a large order of fries. And that’s before you add any dressing. Most processed foods are loaded with salt, so read the labels.
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
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David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.