Megan Yuill, PA-C, physician assistant at Lovejoy Health Center, tells us about the America on the Move Campaign for September:
America on the Move – September Campaign
Big changes can happen with your health when you make simple, small changes to your daily eating and activity habits. You do not have to make dramatic changes to make your lifestyle healthier. By just adding 2,000 more steps to your daily routine and eating 100 less calories can have a positive affect on your weight and health. In addition, these 2,000 steps can assist you in avoiding weight gain.
The goal of the “America on the Move” September campaign is not necessarily for people to lose weight, but to encourage Americans to add activity into our daily lives and eat healthier. It is a small step that can have big results. If desired, participants can use this as part of a weight-loss program; however, to do so, the participants must increase their daily activity beyond the 2,000 steps as well as cut out more than 100 calories from their diet.
It seems a popular belief that eating fewer calories means you will be hungry, but eating fewer calories does not necessarily mean eating less food. It is important not to starve yourself. On the contrary, choosing healthier choices can keep you full. It means making smarter choices about the food you eat, such as choosing fruits or vegetables instead of a candy bar for a snack. A serving size of candy will be much smaller and much less satisfying than a serving size of grapes, which will actually be quite filling. To make healthy snacks more appealing, it might be helpful to eat things such as fruit salad, or a salad with multiple vegetables in it, rather than one fruit or one vegetable. The mix of textures and flavors evident in salads can be a draw to someone who might not otherwise be interested in eating an apple or some carrots.
Making sure you are eating correct serving sizes can also play a role in lowering caloric intake. Portion sizes have increased over the past few decades which have lead to people being completely unsure what an appropriate portion looks like.
No matter how busy your schedule is, there is always time to make room for physical activity. Parking your car farther away or taking the stairs instead of an elevator can add more steps to your daily routine. Exercise can reduce the risk of many of the top health issues affecting people in the United States, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure to name just a few. In addition to physical affects, exercise can also play a positive role in your mental health. Physical activity has been shown to reduce feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Try exercises that you find fun and interesting. Don’t be afraid to try a new activity! Build up your activity slowly to avoid injury to yourself. Gradually increase intensity, distance, or duration of the workouts over time. Be sure to stretch before you exercise.
Celebrate your achievements. Create goals for yourself and reward yourself when you reach them. Try not to make these rewards food-related, but consider buying yourself a new outfit, taking yourself out to a movie, or buying a new CD.