March Slimdown Monthly Newsletter
Subject: The Blue Zones
March Slimdown Monthly Newsletter
Thanks for reading our new monthly newsletter! Over the next few months, I’m going to talk about the book, “The Blue Zones”. In this book, author, researcher, and explorer Dan Buettner writes of his travels around the world researching the living habits of the people in the world’s longest-living communities, which he coins the “Blue Zones”. Then identifies “blue zones” as regions with the highest numbers of centenarians, or people who live to be 100 years old or more. Each month, we will talk about one of his findings, and how we can apply this result to our own lives. I urge you to find one or two things from each topic that you think can be integrated into your daily life, and try them out each month. We would love to hear a report back on how these activities are going for you!
One of the most important discoveries Buettner made was the activity levels of the people in these zones. They did not necessarily have gym memberships, rather, they built regular activity into their daily routine and made these activities habitual. They walked or rode bikes to and from work and other places, they gardened, and they completed regular chores that we tend to skip around in our modern society.
We talk a lot about getting more exercise and increasing fitness levels at the gym, and changing our diet to lose weight. However, studies show us that getting more activity throughout our day is just as or even more effective for staying well. Our lifestyle today lends to a lot of extra sitting, whether at work behind a computer, or commuting in a car, or even at home using electronic devices. It doesn’t take much to add extra activity into your daily routine, and being more active throughout the day can contribute to weight loss, especially in the long term.
For us, a membership at a health club can certainly help to increase our activity levels, and also influence us positively with building relationships and a sense of belonging. However, we cannot live at a gym, so we need to remain cognizant of our activity levels when we are at home and work, etc.
Here are 10 ways to sneak in extra activity throughout your day!
- Put the fancy kitchen appliances to the side and prep food by hand. Mashing potatoes with a real masher or using a whisk burns more calories and uses more muscle than simply pressing a button and allowing a machine to do the work for you.
- Take a short walk before breakfast and after dinner. This doesn’t have to be long, and the whole family can participate! Even a 10-minute walk, two times per day can help burn extra calories, keep your energy levels up, help you connect with your loved ones, and get outdoors to get some sunshine and fresh air! This is definitely an easy, fun activity to add to your day.
- Park your car at the end of the lot. Have you ever ridden with someone who will wait in a parking lot for a “good spot”? I certainly have! Try taking the first spot you come to and walking into stores. That extra activity saves gas and burns calories!
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. This one will burn extra calories and you’ll use muscle! Really challenge yourself by climbing more than one flight of stairs at a hotel or other tall building. Your glutes will thank you!
- Start a small garden outdoors to take care of. Gardening burns calories and gets you in touch with nature, an activity that is almost always healthy. Make it doubly healthy by growing easy herbs or vegetables you can incorporate into your diet! If your back or knees bother you, consider looking into a raised bed.
- Take your kids or grandkids or dogs to a park. They’ll be happy campers, and so will you. Spending more time outdoors not only increases our activity levels, it also gives us a boost of Vitamin D and some fresh air!
- Limit time spent in front of a television or computer. Most recommendations say two hours or less per day, but I recommend no more than one hour. Make a habit of walking around or doing stretches or other exercises during commercial breaks.
- Consider biking or walking to destinations instead of always driving by default. Charlottesville has lots of walking and bike paths, and with a little planning and consideration, this can be a great option!
- Replace your desk chair at work or home with a stability ball, and your core muscles will always be at work, even when the rest of your body is not. This will protect your back and your neck, and it’s a simple and cheap solution to slouching for hours in front of a computer!
- Deep clean an area of your house or organize your garage or a closet you’ve wanted to get to once per week. This way, you’ll be productive with both your activity level and your organization at home!
If you would like to talk more about changes you can make to your lifestyle to help with your weight loss journey, reach out to me or Lori to set up a coaching session for only $20.00! You can also reach out to Kris Bonham, RDN, for more specific dietary information that will help you reach your personal weight-loss goals. Message firstname.lastname@example.org for more information! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Meg Klenk, NDTR
acac Fitness Manager
One of my favorite foods is chopped salad. This month, Kris Bonham, RDN, and I share some of our favorite salad and dressing recipes!
Crunchy Garden Slaw
The mild, but undeniable taste of tarragon makes this salad special. Kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are colorful cruciferous vegetables, packed with the phytonutrients isothiocyanate and indoles which have cancer-fighting properties.
Makes: 8 servings
1 bag (approximately 10 cups) of chopped kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage mix (ex. 10 oz Trader Joes Cruciferous Crunch Collection)
⅓ cup tarragon vinegar
2 tsp sugar (may substitute an alternate sweetener)
1 tsp iodized salt (if desired, decrease salt to reduce sodium content)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
¼ cup peanut oil (may substitute with another oil)
3 carrots, grated
1 small onion, grated
Whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Add oil, whisking until blended. Combine the chopped vegetables and grated carrots and onion in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss. If desired, garnish with tomato wedges and fresh herbs.
Notes: This salad will hold-up well for a few days in the refrigerator and makes a great side salad for lunches.
Nutrition information: 121 calories, 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 7 g fat(1 g sat), 340 mg sodium, very good source of vitamins A and C and potassium. Equivalent to: 2 ½ Veg, 1 Fat servings
For more nutrition information, please contact Kris Bonham, RDN at email@example.com.
Easy Chopped Salad
I love how simple chopped salads are. Even though they tend to have many ingredients, they are versatile and forgiving, and I can throw them together and eat them throughout the week, especially if I wait to add lettuce and dress them. Below is one of my favorites!
- 1 heart of romaine
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 3/4 cup diced radishes
- 3/4 cup diced yellow or red bell peppers
- 3/4 cup diced cucumber (about 1/2 large cucumber)
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives optional
- 3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Walnuts (optional)
- Sunflower seeds (optional)
Chop romaine into bite-size pieces. Add chopped vegetables and mix thoroughly. Toss with dressing of your choice, and serve with freshly ground pepper and a sprinkle of walnuts and/or sunflower seeds.
For more information, contact Meg Klenk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Crazy 8’s ROUND TWO is coming this month! Crazy 8’s II will run March 27–May 26. Registration begins March 20 and closes April 1. To enter you pay $25.00. If you lose a total of 8 pounds in 8 weeks you will get your $25.00 back. If not, your money remains in the pot. Those who are successful will divvy up the pot. You must weigh-in weekly, and this can be done at the same time that you do your Slimdown weigh-in! We hope you join us for a fun weight-loss challenge!
- Important Albemarle Square Calendar Update! Please look for changes on our March schedule at Albemarle Square. We have new weigh-in times, and also our meeting times have changed. Beginning in March, we will no longer have a meeting on Thursday nights, but we will have a 1-hour check-in time where you can pick up hand-outs for the week. Our Friday schedule will change with a 10:30am-11:30am weigh-in and 11:30am-12:00pm meeting time. Please direct any concerns to Meg Klenk at email@example.com.
- SHOUT OUT to Cindy S. in Crozet! Cindy has lost over 15 pounds in our Crazy 8’s challenge and is doing an INCREDIBLE job, working hard and making permanent, positive changes in her life. Way to go! That is amazing!
- Please check the online calendars for updated weigh-in times, buddy times, and don’t hesitate to reach out to use with any questions or concerns! Remember that if you are participating in Crazy 8’s, you have access to a reduced coaching session for $20.00 during the challenge. I highly recommend updating your goals with one of our Slimdown coaches! Good luck!
- Slimdown is an ongoing, strong community of acac members and coaches who work year-round to set and reach health and fitness goals. The registration is one-time, $50.00 fee, and then the program is FREE. We appreciate your referrals to our program!
Click here to view more information about Spring 2017 Crazy 8’s!
Click here to view a yummy pumpkin soup recipe from our very own Kris Bonham, RDN!
Live your best!
Meg, Lori, and the Slimdown Team