Rosemary Weaver, MPH, RD, LDN, Clinical Dietitian, NCH Wellness Center
Come January 1, many of us vow to lose weight in the New Year, focusing on temporary restrictive dieting and the number on the scale, only to have the plan fail after a short while. This year, why not work on incremental changes in behavior instead, which can add up to more permanent, positive changes in weight and health in the long run?
This year, try the WISE plan:
W – Water
Aim for half of your body weight in pounds as ounces of fluid consumed per day – up to no more than 128 oz. (or one gallon). At least half of that fluid should be water. Cut out diet or regular sodas. Sparkling water, tea, coffee or fat-free/low-fat milk can count toward the other half of your fluid goal. Talk to your doctor first if you have severe cardiac or renal disease before you increase your fluid consumption.
I – Increased vegetable and fruit consumption
Aim for a minimum of seven – that’s right – seven total servings of vegetables and fruits per day. A serving is a half cup of cooked vegetables or fruit, two tablespoons of dried fruit or one cup of raw vegetables or fruit. Increasing these good carbs will bump out less healthy foods and give you more fiber for satiety as well as providing important nutrients and phytonutrients. Along with the veggies and fruit, include lean protein at each meal and focus on only whole grain, starchy foods.
S – Sleep
Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night. Sleep affects so many aspects of health, including hormones and weight management. If you need help sleeping well, consult your doctor to see if a sleep study is needed. Make good and consistent sleep a priority.
E – Exercise
Make 30-60 minutes of daily exercise a top priority, and be sure to include strength training as well as cardio to build and maintain lean muscle. The NCH Wellness Center has many options for learning to be active and move safely, including our MedFit Program.
Beginning with the above four strategies will get you started toward permanent nutrition and health behavior change. For more help, seek out nutrition programs at the NCH Wellness Center or call 847-618-3625 to inquire about our comprehensive WIN Weight Management Program. The next session begins January 17, 2019.
Work on the “W – Water” portion of the WISE Plan by creating flavored waters using our tips below. It’ll get you drinking more water in no time.
Fruit/Veg/Herb/Spice Infused Water
1) Wash produce and rinse herbs to remove chemicals, pesticides and other residues.
2) Use cold or room temperature filtered water.
3) Use a glass container or infusing pitcher/bottle.
4) Prep Tips:
- Softer fruits like citrus and strawberries can be sliced thick, thin, halved or quartered. Harder fruits like apples should be sliced very thinly because they take longer to release flavors.
- Crush fibrous ginger root, rosemary and lemongrass with a muddler or wooden spoon; tear or crush leafy herbs like mint, basil and cilantro to release their oils.
- Loose herbs and flowers—lavender, rose petals and dried hibiscus—can be corralled in a tea infuser or cheesecloth.
- Infuse water at room temperature for no more than two hours. After that, put it in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth.
- Cucumbers, citrus fruits, melons and mint will flavor water almost immediately. Apples, cinnamon, fresh ginger root and rosemary need an overnight soak in the fridge.
- Melons and sliced strawberries start looking waterlogged after a few hours; citrus and whole berries look pretty good even after hours in the fridge.
- After four hours, unpeeled citrus can make water taste bitter. To make a big jug of infused water for a party, peel the citrus before soaking. Or soak it unpeeled for four hours, remove it and add fresh slices for looks. (And keep that water icy cold for food safety.)
- If you don’t drink the water within 24 hours, strain out the solids and refrigerate for up to three days.
To keep sipping all day long, refill your infused water container when it’s half full. It will be weaker than your first drink, but still flavorful.
5) Fruit/veg/herb/spice combinations to try:
- Cucumber + lime + strawberry + mint
- Lemon + raspberry + rosemary
- Orange + blueberry + basil
- Lime + ginger root + basil
- Watermelon + honeydew + mint
- Cucumber + mint + jalapeno
- Lemon + thyme
- Orange + hibiscus + star anise
- Orange + cinnamon + cardamom + cloves
- Pear + fennel