New This Month

Food and Fitness Plan

The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006

Anyone who has gained weight has to address why and how this increase occurred. Was it simply too many calories? Dr. Jana Klauer, metabolism expert and author of "How the Rich Get Thin," explains that although extra calories are the most probable explanation for extra weight, often the explanation is more complex. Many times there are metabolic reasons for weight gain, such as thyroid problems and pre-diabetes. Medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, cause weight gain. Consult your physician for possible drugs that might be contributing to your weight gain. Once you and your physician determine the cause of the weight gain, you can address it and begin a program to start losing weight.

By changing our diets and making a commitment to daily exercise, we lose weight and become healthier. One of the hardest parts is just getting started. Dr. Klauer suggests you arrange your environment so that your weight loss success is guaranteed.

Tips for Putting a Plan in Motion
Set a Start Date
Having a start date signals a new beginning. Put it on your calendar or PDA. Think of it as your most important appointment: This is an appointment for your health and for your life.

Do a Pantry and Refrigerator Check
Get rid of empty-calories snacks, such as crackers, cookies, and processed foods. Throw out all old herbs and make a pledge to use only the freshest herbs. Buy fresh herbs; they add flavor and complexity to food. If your salad oil is more than a year old, purchase a new bottle.

Restock Your Pantry
Replace with foods that nourish your body without adding pounds: fresh vegetables; high-calcium foods, such as low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese; and omega-3 eggs. Purchase a case of mineral water and fresh limes or lemons to ensure hydration.

Your body needs to move. People who exercise in the morning are 40 percent more consistent than those who exercise later in the day. The key is to commit to something and stick with it for the long haul. Be consistent.

Plan Ahead
It will not always be possible for you to eat at home, so plan ahead. If you are going out for the day with your children to an amusement park, take along a healthy snack, such as an apple with some cheese. Or if you are going to a cocktail party, eat before leaving home and avoid the heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Food Selection
Protein is needed to build and repair your body so include it with each meal and each snack. Studies have shown that if you begin the day with protein at breakfast, weight is lost faster than with carbohydrates for breakfast.

Food Recommendations
1. A high-protein breakfast such as eggs, or yogurt with berries. Skip cereal and juice.

2. Lunch is a great time for a big salad. There are significant health benefits associated with diets containing high amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits.

3. In the afternoon, a snack of 2 ounces of cheese and an apple is recommended.

4. For dinner, I recommend a 4-ounce serving of lean protein, such as fish or chicken, or lean meat and two vegetables (one should be green). Avoid pasta, rice, or bread until you have reached your goal; then gradually incorporate whole grains back into your meal plan.

When Jennifer embarked on her "lifestyle makeover," she took an idea from Body+Soul magazine and developed an action plan. All viewers can do the same for themselves. Dr. Brent Ridge, host of "The Visiting Hour" on Martha Stewart Living Radio, recommends putting a plan in writing. It formalizes the commitment to yourself.

Here is a plan that you can begin today. Take stock and assess where you are starting from.

Basic Health
Calculate Your Body Mass Index
The BMI is a measurement for assessing the health risks of being overweight.

Calculate the Resting Metabolic Rate
This is the total number of calories your body needs for its basic functioning activities. If the goal is to lose weight, then you know that you have to take in fewer calories than you burn.

Check Your Fasting Glucose, Cholesterol Levels, and Blood Pressure
There's nothing like the scare of knowing you are heading toward serious cardiovascular disease to get you motivated, and nothing does more for the spirit than seeing that your commitment to change has lowered these numbers and made you healthier. That's a reward unto itself.

Assess What Type of Food You Buy and Why
How did these habits start and what perpetuates them?

Activity Level
Be honest with yourself: How much exercise do you really get?

Determine Your Stage of Change
Stage 1: Thinking about it.

Stage 2: Preparing for action.

Stage 3: Taking action. (This is Jennifer's stage. Relapses or slipping back to an earlier stage is not unusual.)

Stage 4: Maintaining a good thing for life.

Reflect on the Past and Think Ahead
Determine why previous attempts at getting healthy have failed and come up with specific methods of avoiding or overcoming those obstacles. Put them in writing.

Get Real
Most people can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. Some weeks, especially in the beginning, you may lose a little more weight. Some weeks, you may not lose anything at all. Some weeks you may even gain a pound! That's okay. We often focus on the weight because that is the most visible aspect of our efforts, but remember that the real goal is to be healthier.

Pass It On
There's hardly anyone who couldn't stand to be a little healthier. Get them involved in your new lifestyle. As you learn, teach others. One of Jennifer's goals was to set a better example for her family, and her success will truly be a group effort. Most people don't value their health or realize that every aspect of their lives influences and is influenced by their health. Dr. Brent wants Jennifer and others to respect their body and their health. With the action plan in hand, Jennifer needed to have the tools to make this change happen.

Dr. Brent Recommended That Jennifer
See a Nutritionist
Learn more about the foods that she eats so that she can make educated decisions about what goes into her body.

See a Personal Trainer
Develop an exercise program that is enjoyable, easy to maintain given a hectic lifestyle, and that will give her the desired results.

Continue to Learn
We have to replace all of the bad, unhealthy information in our brains with new information that will promote the new lifestyle. Jennifer will read Body+Soul to get tips on whole living and will tune into Martha Stewart Living Radio to learn more about integrating health into her everyday life. If you don't have access to a nutritionist or a personal trainer, the pages of Body+Soul can provide you with a wealth of information to get you started on the right track.

Paul Greenaway recommended a fitness plan for Jennifer. Be sure to check with a physician and trainer before doing the following:
Jennifer was on a level 20 incline (the highest a treadmill will go) on a random program. The machine dictates how the level goes up and down. She was on the treadmill for about 20 minutes. If you're starting out, 10 to 15 minutes is enough. Paul recommends doing this about three times a week. She worked up to doing bicep curls with 4-pound weights for two minutes, then a minute rest, then a two-minute rest throughout the period of time she was on the treadmill.

Bench Step-Ups
Do three sets of step ups on a bench with a 4-pound medicine ball pressed above your head. As you step up, bring up your other leg so you're standing up on the bench. Step back down. Repeat 12 reps on each side.

Jumping Jacks
Do jumping jacks while holding a Swiss ball with both hands and move the ball up and down in front of you as you're doing the jumping jacks. If you can do this for 30 seconds starting out that would be great. He recommends three sets.

Special Thanks
Jennifer Hoermann and the Fit to Eat program team: Dr. Brent Ridge; Dr. Jana Klauer, author of "How the Rich Get Thin: Park Avenue's Top Diet Doctor Reveals the Secrets to Losing Weight and Feeling Great"; and Paul Greenaway, a trainer at Synergy Fitness Clubs on Mulberry Street in New York City.

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