Health and Wellness
Ready to start losing weight, but you’re not sure what is the correct amount of calories that you should consume daily?
Use the calorie calculator to estimate the number of daily calories your body needs based on physical activity, height and weight.
Complete the required fields using standard measurements, and click "Calculate."
Does Chronic Stress Increase Appetite?
According to WebMd, for some people, chronic stress can be tied to an increase in appetite and induce weight gain. And WebMd adds “we would like to blame all our weight gain on stress, but experts say that eating in response to stress can also be a learned habit, often, eating becomes what we do to relieve stress.”
For most of us, stress is a way of life and getting your kids ready for school in the morning, receiving a late email from your boss about a report that is due in the morning or rushing to get the yard done when suddenly the lawn mower breaks...
We feel pressured about getting it all done and it can certainly take its toll on you,
your body and your diet. And we all know, stress can affect how well you take care of yourself and stay on track with your healthy lifestyle changes.
Evidently, when stress hits, it triggers our neuroendocrine system this system and that activates a series of hormones meant to give us the biochemical strength we need to fight or flee the stressors. But, unlike our ancestors, these chemicals aren't serving our bodies well in the 21st century and can lead not only to weight gain, but a tendency to store fat around the midsection. These fat cells that can lie deep within the abdomen have been linked to an increase in both diabetes and heart disease.
To further complicate matters, the "fuel" our muscles need during the "fight or flight" syndrome is sugar which is one reason why we crave carbohydrates when we are stressed, says endocrinologist Riccardo Perfetti, MD, PhD.
Tips to Help You Deal With "Daily Stress"
1. Exercise every day. It is by far one of the best stress-buster and it burns calories.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet and don't skip meals.
3. Get your sleep. Not getting enough sleep can increase stress and your appetite. When you’re tired, your body will crave "sugar" for energy and you may end up overeating.
And, most important: Devote time to relaxation!
Do You Want to Learn More About Managing Stress?
Click here to learn more about St. Joseph Hospital's Center for Neuropsychology, Learning and Behavioral Medicine
Does Drinking Water Really Help You Lose Weight?
It appears that the answer is yes. It seems that sometimes we confuse thirst with
hunger and we end up eating extra calories when an ice-cold glass of water is
really what our body was craving. So, it’s important to drink enough water to keep
your body hydrated so that you don’t confuse hunger with being thirsty.
Water is also important for your overall health. In addition to staving off hunger, it
helps maintain the balance of body fluids, keeps your skin looking good, aids kidney
function and helps maintain normal bowel function.
How much water or no-calorie beverages should you drink daily? Most experts agree
that 7 - 8 8oz. glasses a day is the appropriate amount for most people.
Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain
The best path to a healthy weight may be a good night’s sleep.
For years researchers have known that adults who sleep less than five or six hours a
night are at higher risk of being overweight. Read more…(NY Times Well Column – March 2013)
Could You Have a Sleep Disorder?
Click here to learn more about St. Joseph Hospital's Sleep Disorders Center.
Courtesy Parent Magazine
Click here for the Best Snacks for Kids from Parents Magazine: Cheese, peanut butter, yam and jam muffins…
You’re Eating Better, But What About Your Kids?
Here are some simple tips to make sure you’re giving your kids the right nutrition too.
- Kids should eat five fruits and vegetables a day
- Serve fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables; they all count
- Provide fruit or carrot sticks as great snacks
- Offer 100% juice, with no added sugar
- Mix vegetables into dishes, like adding peas to rice, or cucumbers to a sandwich
Click here to learn more about healthy family resources
Know You Numbers. Although you can't change your genetics, you can maintain good health by forming good
habits. Everyone knows that diet and exercise are important, but sometimes it's hard to know where to start.
Knowing four basic numbers can give you a road map for improving your health and avoiding serious problems
like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and even dementia. Once you begin making healthy lifestyle changes,
these numbers can be useful in helping you track your progress. So consult your family doctor to find out where
your numbers stand.
Learn more about knowing your numbers and how you can take better care of your health.
Exercise; Helpful for Aiding Weight-Loss,
But Exercise is Crucial for Heart Health Too.
Soleil Getty Images
Did you know that in a 2011 Gallop poll, nearly half of respondents that were successful losing weight stated that the diet and working out was the combination that worked?
You already know that exercise plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight because it creates a calorie deficit and allows you to lose weight without starving your body and slowing your metabolism. But don’t depend on exercise alone for weight-loss; you will need to manage your calorie intake as well.
Don’t think that if you indulge in dessert that you can work it off later. That dessert can equate to hours of exercise to work it off. It’s better to eat well in the first place and stay within your calorie range.
Best Exercise Advice: Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous
aerobic activity. However, to effectively lose or maintain weight, some people may need up to 300 minutes a week.
How Important Exercise is to Heart Health? It’s Crucial to Maintain a Healthy Heart.
According to the American Heart Association, Physical activity improves physical wellness.
- It enhances your immune system and decreases the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- It reduces risk factors. Becoming more active can lower your blood pressure by as much as 4 to 9 mm Hg. That's the same reduction in blood pressure delivered by some antihypertensive medications.
- Physical activity can also boost your levels of good cholesterol. Physical activity prolongs your optimal health.
Did you know? For each hour of regular exercise you get, you'll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don't start until middle age. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for as little as 30 minutes a day has proven health benefits. (Source: American Heart Association)
What’s the Number One Reason Why People Say They Have a Tough Time Losing Weight?
From previous surveys of Lighten Up Nashua Participants, you told us that stress was the number one reason
that you fail at losing weight. And from research, we’ve learned that most people feel so stressed that adding
one more thing to their day is too much to handle, so counting calories, getting in some much needed exercise
or planning a healthy meal can seem daunting. But, there’s help. Take a deep breath and learn more about
There’s an app for that!
Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool. Built on the iPhone mobile app platform, Breathe2Relax is a hands-on diaphragmatic breathing exercise. Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body's 'fight-or-flight' (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.
Breathe2Relax can be used as a stand-alone stress reduction tool.
Used by the Department of Defense to help PTSD, and featured on the Dr. Oz show, this app is easy to use and has touch-screen technology.
Get the Breathe2Relax app.
How to lose weight fast and safely.
According to Michael Dansinger, MD, medical doctor for NBC's The Biggest Loser, “losing weight is a simple mathematical formula: You need to burn more calories than you eat. Experts generally recommend creating a deficit of 500 calories per day through a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity. Over the course of a week, this should yield a loss of about 1-2 pounds of fat.”
“If you want to lose weight faster, you'll need to eat less and exercise more. Bottom line: 1,050 to 1,200 calories and one hour of exercise a day (but be sure not to dip below this calorie level for safety's sake). On this type of plan, you can expect to lose 3-5 pounds the first week, or more if you weigh over 250 pounds.”
To figure out what amount of calories is right for your desired weight:
- Divide your current weight by 2.2 pounds, then multiply this number by 0.9, and then by 24. Now multiply your BMR by 1.2 this will give you your average number of calories your body burns per day when you factor in normal activities. (Add another 300 to 500 on days you do an hour of moderate to intense exercise.)
- Once you have your final number, shave off 500 to find out how many calories you need to eat to lose a pound a week, or 300 to lose 2 pounds a month.
Example: You weigh 175lbs; 175 divided by 2.2 = 79.5 x 0.9 = 71.55 x 24 = 1717 x 1.2 = 2060 calories burned daily. With this example; to lose weight at a pound a week you would need to eat 1560 calories a day.
Reduce Stress, Get your ZZZZ’s and Lose Weight
A Kaiser Permanente study finds people who slept 6–8 hours a night and reported lower stress levels lost more weight…
It has always been believed that if you lowered stress and got adequate sleep, you would have a better chance at losing weight, but now a definitive study had been done with Kaiser Permanente’s study of 500 people in the Northwest. Their study set to measure whether sleep, stress, depression, television viewing and computer screen time were correlated with weight loss.
Conclusions from part of the study: “This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress,” said lead author Charles Elder, MD, MPH. He goes on to say, “Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”
So now that it has been confirmed by the Kaiser Permenente study that reducing stress, getting 6 – 8 hours of sleep and exercising can help you lose weight, how can you implement these guidelines into your daily routine, especially with Holidays (a stressful time) right around the corner?
Simple Ways to Relax and De-Stress.
Go for a walk and spend time in nature. Call a friend or sweat out the stress with a good workout. Play with your pet or work in your garden. Curl up with a good book or watch a funny movie and of course a massage would probably do the trick as well!
How to sleep better?
Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, will make you more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. Try not to break your sleep routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late and sleep in the next morning.
One way to know if you’re getting enough sleep; you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. And another suggestion; keep napping to a minimum, If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.
More sleeping tips: Turn off your television and computer and when you're falling asleep and make sure your room is dark. Sleeping well can lead to better health and better weight loss.
By Joining Lighten Up Nashua’s Weight-Loss Challenge, You’ve Already Taken Steps To Lose Weight And Live A Healthier Life, but, did you know that being active and keeping your BMI (a measure of body fat based on height and weight): between 18.5 and 24.9 can also help keep or lower your cholesterol to a desirable range?
In fact, do you know your number, your cholesterol number that is? Here are some quick facts about healthy cholesterol numbers and what they mean:
Cholesterol: total cholesterol, less than 200 mg/dL; “good” HDL cholesterol, 50 mg/dL or higher; “bad” LDL cholesterol, less than 160 mg/dL to less than 100 mg/dL, depending on your heart risk
If you don’t know your cholesterol numbers and haven’t had your cholesterol checked recently, it might be a good time to visit your doctor. Schedule a baseline screening with your physician and/or lab service provider to make sure you are on the right track to health. Don't have a doctor? Don't have a doctor?
Visit St. Joseph Hospital’s website to locate a physician.
The more you know about your numbers, the more you can participate in maintaining and improving your health
|Commit To A Healthier Lifestyle
On any given day, most of us strive to make healthier choices, but it’s not always
that easy. From the office donut drop-off, to the meal on-the-run, we are faced with
a multitude of selections every day that we may or may not end up regretting.
But, there is a way we can set ourselves up for greater success if we plan our day
a little in advance. For instance; planning your meals ahead of time is one way that
can help because you will have all the ingredients, on hand ready to make a healthy
meal, instead of having to choose a fast meal that may not be as healthy. Try making
your lunch the night before instead of waiting for morning, or you might run out-of-time
to make yourself a healthy lunch.
Another suggestion that experts recommend is scheduling time for daily exercise.
Whatever type of calendar or day planner you use, set aside a timeslot for exercise.
You will have a better chance of achieving success if you plan for it.
More Tips To Keep You On Track
Create An Exercise and Food Calendar
To help you stay on track, create a daily agenda or calendar and plan your activities
and meals. It doesn’t matter if you use a printed journal or an electronic calendar, just
use your calendar of choice to record your scheduled exercise times, your daily meal
plans and to track your healthy goals. This will give you a better chance to achieve
those goals, goals like; losing weight, lowering blood pressure or walking 10,000
steps-a-day. Use your calendar as a tool to plan ahead and to help you stay motivated
and to stick to a particular exercise and diet regimen.
While a calendar is a tool for planning ahead on your diet and exercise regimen, a log
is a record of what you actually did in terms of diet and exercise. Both may be useful in
helping you meet your goals but have different functions. With a calendar you can plan
ahead, create time for your exercise and know what foods you need to buy. A log will
help you track how well you are meeting your goals.
Not that you’ve determined you need or want to lose weight. Setting realistic attainable goals are just as important to the “how” you’re going to lose weight. First set weekly and monthly goals. How much weight you should lose every month? How are you’re going to attain your weight-loss goal; eating healthier, counting calories, adding or increasing your exercise, going on a healthy diet? How will you reward yourself; new workout clothes, a massage or a new wardrobe? Take the time to write down your goals. Put them on paper and share them with your Lighten Up Nashua team.
Understand that the recommended healthy weight-loss is 1 – 2 pounds per week not 5 – 10 pounds a week. And add exercise to your daily routine in safe increments. You don’t want to overdo it and get discouraged.
Here are additional tools and calculators to set your goals:
- BMI Calculator
- WebMd Personal Diet Evaluator: This tool will help you assess your weight loss goals and give you the amount of calories you should consume to meet your goals. As well as give you a report you can share with your doctor.