Trish Zecca, M.S.
The theme for National Nutrition Month® 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” which encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise. The payback is better success with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and reduced risk of chronic disease.
Sounds reasonable? Absolutely! But we all know taking that first step or steps toward a healthier lifestyle can be very difficult.
Take my own struggle for example… My youngest son just turned 13 and I realized that the 20 extra lbs. I had after he was born were still there. I have never been great at losing weight, and it is certainly easier to prevent the weight gain than lose it after you pack it on. Over the years I would get disciplined for a while, lose a few lbs., then revert back to poor habits…but always with a really good excuse☺
I decided this was going to be the year I took charge and followed my own advice. I was going to be sensible, make small changes, incorporate daily physical activity (and stick to it) and, to keep me honest, weigh in once a week.
So far so good? Well I began a new exercise routine around Thanksgiving. With the help of a trainer, I set realistic goals for weight maintenance over the holidays, and exercised some restraint with the holiday wine. My reward…I lost 3 lbs. over 6 weeks. At first I was discouraged to only lose 3 lbs. with all the thinking, self-control and time management that was necessary to get there. Then I woke up and really evaluated my progress. I lost 3 lbs. over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, despite holiday parties, cooking for 20 people and eating reasonable amounts of cookies, pie and other treats. The daily exercise has helped me feel stronger, look better, have more energy and realize that I can do this long term.
My point is you are not alone. We all struggle with the same issues but there couldn’t be a better time than NOW to take the next step.
The food environment is rapidly changing and there is a greater focus by food companies, like Campbell, to offer MORE nutritious, delicious and convenient options to make eating better and adopting a healthy lifestyle easier.
The following are my Top Three Healthy Lifestyle Busters and some tips to overcome:
#1. Not Enough Time to Cook: I love to cook but work, extracurricular activities and a long commute get in the way.
Solution: Dust off your Slow Cooker! I can’t tell you the last time, if ever, I used my slow cooker. But when Campbell launched a line of slow cooker sauces I decided to give them a try. What a time saver! I give myself 10 or 15 extra minutes in the morning to toss some veggies and lean meat in the crock pot, add one of the delicious Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauces (like Hawaiian Pork, and Sweet Korean BBQ) and the hardest part of dinner is done. Add a salad and a quick cooking whole grain like couscous or instant brown rice and dinner is a snap. Not to mention how good my house smells when I get home.
#2. Eating on the GO. We all do this out of necessity but with a little planning and some nutritious on the go options we can stay on track.
#3. Making Time to Exercise…Regularly. I always exercised it just wasn’t on a committed schedule, so exercise was hit or miss after a long day at work. The main issue was that I would come home from work starving, then snack while I cooked, eat dinner, and end up too full and tired to exercise.
Solution: I now have a healthy snack about an hour before I leave the office. That way I am not as hungry when I get home. I exercise first then have dinner. I not only get my workout in but an added benefit of exercising first is that I am less hungry afterwards so I eat smaller portions at dinner without feeling deprived*. Some of my go to snacks are an apple with peanut butter, a low-fat Greek yogurt, a 90 calorie bottle of V8® Healthy Greens vegetable juice blend or a bag of Bolthouse Farms® Veggie Snackers. These handy snack packs of baby carrots with natural seasonings are not just for kids. My favorite…Carrot meets Chili Lime!
A healthful lifestyle, with regular physical activity and an eating pattern chosen to meet your individual nutrient needs is achievable and will give you the energy and self-confidence to do all that you want and need to do!
PS at press time I was down another 4 lbs….I still have a way to go but am more confident than I’ve been in a long time that I will get there.
Take that first step today to “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”
*The degree to which exercise suppresses appetite and the length of time the effects last varies by individual and duration of exercise. For more information about the positive effects of exercise visit http://www.acsm.org
Trish is Senior Program Manager of Health Sciences & Regulatory Affairs at the Campbell Soup Company where she leads a team of experienced nutrition and regulatory professionals providing technical guidance for all US Retail Initiatives. She is the internal and external lead for nutrition communications and health professional stakeholder engagement. Trish has more than 20 years of experience in various areas of nutrition and public health and represents Campbell’s and its positions in public and private forums including government, trade associations, and health professional and certifying organizations. Trish also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Produce for Better Health Foundation. She received her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in nutrition science from the Pennsylvania State University, and is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Nutrition.