By Wendy M. Henrichs
Board Certified Chiropractic Pediatrician and Nutrition Counselor
Summer has finally arrived in the Northwoods. It is a great time to get outside to enjoy the sunshine, and all the great things that go along with living in this beautiful place. Summer is also the perfect time to revamp our eating and exercise habits. Eighty percent of our body composition comes from our diet and the other 20 percent is from the exercise we do. If the winter months have not been so kind to your waist line, there are a few simple things that you can do to trim down before winter arrives again.
Visit the Farmers Market
Summer is the perfect time to increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. If you don’t have a garden, your local farmers market is an excellent fresh source. Work towards two cups of fresh vegetables daily, two cups or more of fresh greens, and one to two cups or one to two pieces of fresh fruit daily. Remember to eat all the colors daily as well (red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple and white) to get adequate phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Downsize your plate
This is one of the easiest ways to trim your waistline. Switch from a dinner plate to a salad plate and only take one serving. Put the leftovers into containers to take for lunch. At a restaurant, ask for a to-go box when you order and put half of the meal in the box before you begin eating. Most restaurant meals are two to three times what we need. If is not in front of you, you won’t eat it. Read on to compose the perfect meal.
Easy on the starch
Most of us really underestimate the amount of starch we consume. Starchy foods such as rice, corn, potatoes, pasta, breads, and cereals are readily converted to sugar. If we don’t need to use those sugars for energy or to replenish our muscle glycogen after exercising, it will be stored as fat. Going starch free or measuring your starchy foods is a way to train your body to use stored fat as energy. A good rule of thumb is half-cup of rice, pasta or other grain, and potatoes. You will be surprised how little it is when you measure it. For cereals and granola, read the label as the serving size can be as small as one-quarter or one-third cup. If I want to trim down quickly, I omit all starch for a week. Another option is starch free four or five days out of seven. Give it a try and see what happens.
The perfect meal
The perfect meal is half fresh or steamed veggies, four-to-six ounces of protein (grass fed beef, organic free-range poultry, organic pork, wild game, wild caught cold water fish), and half cup of starch. You can use your plate as a guide: half vegetables; one-third protein and the rest starch and/or leafy greens. If you choose to omit the starch, add one to two cups of fresh leafy greens.
Snack for fat loss
Include fresh fiber from fruit or veggies, protein and good fats with your snacks. Not only do they fill you up, but will not likely be stored as fat. Some waist trimming options are:
• One cup of fresh vegetables + half cup of hummus
• One-third cup of nuts + apple, pear or one cup mixed berries
• Two-thirds cup whole fat Greek yogurt + one tablespoon of chia seed + half-cup fresh berries + cinnamon and cacao nibs to taste
• Two slices fresh mozzarella + two slices tomato + basil leaves + drizzle olive oil
• One cup fresh spinach + two ounces chicken breast + half an avocado.
This essential nutrient not only gives us energy, but can help trim our waistline. Drinking more water will help to remove toxins and increase your metabolism. Start drinking water upon rising and sip throughout the day. Drink one or two eight-ounce glasses about an hour before your meal. Omit water with your meal and for about an hour after you eat to optimize your digestion. Work towards half of your bodyweight in ounces each day. More, if you are exercising in the heat.
Daily exercise and movement is what our bodies are designed for. Movement and exercise not only improve our memory and add years to our life, but it also increases our metabolism. Cardiovascular exercise such as running, elliptical training, cycling, etc., will improve our metabolism for one to two hours. If you want a sustained increase in your metabolism and fat burning, pick up some weights. You can do body weight exercises as well. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn at rest. Work towards total body weight training three or four times each week and 150 minutes of exercise weekly. Use as many of these strategies as you can to get to or maintain a healthy weight and a slimmer waistline.
Dr. Wendy Henrichs is a board certified chiropractor and nutrition counselor at Timber Land Chiropractic in Rhinelander. For a complimentary chiropractic, nutrition or lifestyle counseling consultation, visit TimberlandChiropractic.com, Facebook, or call 715-362-4852.