Category: Weight Management

Smart Steps to Watching Your Health This Thanksgiving

11/20/2014

Don’t let the roasted turkey, homemade dressing, and pumpkin pie get you off balance this Thanksgiving. Instead of stuffing yourself at one huge meal packed with carbohydrates and sugar that can wreak havoc on diabetes and other health issues, plan to eat smaller portions of healthier foods throughout the day instead. When you do sit down to eat your Thanksgiving meal, take time to savor the flavors and enjoy conversations with family and friends.

“You can enjoy holiday goodies and still manage your diabetes by being sensible with food portions,” says Magdalene Szuszkiewicz-Garcia, MD, an independently practicing endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism physician on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. “There are no forbidden foods, however; if you have diabetes it is best to avoid foods with concentrated sugar.”

She recommends that you watch your caloric intake. “Stay away from high-fat munchies like potato chips that are high in calories, and indulge in fresh vegetables and fruit,” she recommends. “Before the meal, try a hot broth-based soup, which can help you feel full and keep you from overeating.”

Prepare your family’s traditional recipes, but substitute calorie-laden ingredients with those that have less fat and sugar.

Throughout the holiday season, exercise is particularly beneficial. “It is very important to get as much exercise as possible so that you are helping your body with the extra goodies that are around during the holidays,” Dr. Szuszkiewicz-Garcia says. “Go out and take a walk with your family after the Thanksgiving meal. Consider cheering actively by jumping up and down or dancing while watching the football gameThe increase in your physical activity will really help.”

Dr. Szuszkiewicz-Garcia explains that one reason diabetes has become so prevalent is that the typical American diet is high in fat and concentrated sugars. When combined with inactivity, these habits become strong risk factors that cause many adults to develop
type 2 diabetes.

Current figures show that the number of adults with diabetes in the United States is on the rise, and it is estimated that one-third of those may have the disease without knowing it, according to the National Institute of Health. In addition, about one out of every four adults has what’s called prediabetes.

“People with diabetes have high levels of glucose, or sugar, in their blood because their bodies have trouble using or producing insulin,” Dr. Szuszkiewicz-Garcia explains. What may start out as being overweight can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. All of these can increase a risk for cardiac disease and stroke.

“We encourage people to reduce their risk of developing diabetes and heart disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle, eating less and exercising more,” says Dr. Szuszkiewicz-Garcia. “If you have diabetes, controlling your blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, and diet can prevent or delay complications.”

Managing your dietary habits is important during the holiday season, but it is also a lifelong commitment. If you embrace the challenge, you’ll not only feel better and have more energy, you’ll be making an important investment in your health.

To find healthy recipes this holiday season visit MethodistHealthSystem.org/HealthyRecipes and fight off holiday weight gain.

About Methodist Health System
Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas.  Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, Methodist Midlothian Health Center, and Methodist Family Health Centers are part of the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at www.methodisthealthsystem.org. To see why Methodist Health System is a brilliant choice for your career, join our talent community at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org and connect with us through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and our blog.

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Human Resources
1441 N. Beckley Avenue
Dallas, TX 75203
Contact: Suzanne Lewis
214.352.5929
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Lisa and Veronica made it to the finish line!

Lisa

 

Veronica 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“Probably the biggest change I’ve noticed has been learning how to exercise and doing it consistently.” “I now have the energy to have a dance party with my 4- and 6-year-old nieces. Before I started working out regularly, I would get tired and have to take a break.”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I’m now more aware of the amount of food on my plate and am eating smaller portions.” “I’ve stopped eating out as frequently. It can be difficult to make healthy choices at restaurants, so I’ve tried to limit it to once a week.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“Both the accountability and the education I’ve received have been equally beneficial. What I’ve learned about eating healthy will stay with me forever.” “I love the weekly meetings with my health coach. I’ve learned to eat every three hours to avoid becoming overly hungry. I’ve realized that if I let myself get to that point, it’s more difficult to make healthy choices. That’s why I always carry a granola bar in my purse for a quick snack.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them
make healthy lifestyle changes?

 

“Be patient and persistent. It takes time and dedication, but it’s worth it. Just keep trying even when you feel like giving up.” “Take it one meal at a time. If you eat an unhealthy breakfast, your day is not ruined. Just make better choices for lunch and dinner.”
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Glenda and Joei made it to the finish line!

Glenda

 

Joei 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

 “My clothes fit much better. I even had to buy smaller sizes. I can also work a whole shift without feeling dead tired.” “I have less back pain. I am able to run around with my child without back problems.”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“Really just being more aware of what I’m eating and tracking it through my fitness pal.” “Counting the calories has helped and I stopped eating fast food. Also, I’ve started cooking a lot more.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“The meetings and the one- on-one time with Michelle. Also, posting program pictures and having weekly weigh ins help keep me accountable.” “The meetings. I get inspiration and motivation by knowing that I’m not alone in facing challenges.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them
make healthy lifestyle changes?

“The work we do can be stressful and hectic. Don’t ‘stress eat!’ Prepare healthy snacks and meals and stay hydrated through a long shift.” “I work night shift and my co-workers are all watching what we eat, counting calories, and making sure we go to the gym. Building a support team around you is helpful.”

 

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Carol and Katie have made it to the finish line!

 

Carol

 

Katie 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I now slow down and look at my choices. Avoiding impulse decisions helps me make healthier selections. Even though it seems I’m always in a hurry, I’m better at choosing options that are quick, but healthy.” “I am more aware of my strengths and limitations. I have learned more about myself, my habits, and the lifestyle changes I need to make to be successful in my weight loss journey.”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I think the most significant change is to slow down and eat less. Being more patient and watching my pace has been a big change for me.” “I guess the most significant change would be that I am learning how to be more aware of the choices I make. Whether it is to forego exercise and work something in later or decrease my calories throughout the day.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“The wellness coach has been terrific. She is supportive, inspirational and always available to us.” “Probably the honest, open discussions with other participants and the health coach. Sharing information about what works and what doesn’t work as well as our own struggles is inspiring.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them
make healthy lifestyle changes?

“My best advice is don’t eat on the run. Slow down, look at your choices, and practice portion control. Also, remember a little exercise goes a long way.” “The advice that I would give is be realistic. I went into the program thinking that I would see visible changes quickly and would not crave certain foods or have problems finding time for exercise. Realistically, the barriers were still there, I just needed to modify my schedule throughout the program to find what works for me and my family.”
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Rosharion and Vivian made it to the finish line!

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Rosharion

Vivian

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I can exercise for an hour or longer without feeling exhausted. I can wear clothes from my closet that I have not worn in the last year. I can also wear clothes that are a size smaller.” “I went shopping for uniforms and I was able to buy a smaller size. It has been a while since I was able to look at a smaller size. I was very excited!”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I eat healthier. I now focus on green, leafy vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. I do NOT eat candy and chips everyday like I did before starting the program. Instead, I’ve learned to choose healthier snacks like light popcorn, fruits, yogurt, and protein bars.” “My eating habits have changed significantly. I no longer eat fast-food burgers and fries. I don’t eat any fried foods at all. I increased my fresh fruits and vegetables. I bake or grill my meat. I include all of the food groups each day. One food group can’t provide everything your body needs for good, healthy eating.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“Checking in with Michelle, my wellness coach, every week was very helpful. She always gave me positive advice. If I had a bad week, she helped me to figure out why. The weekly weigh in was also helpful and caused me to be more disciplined.” “I think the weekly meetings and the coaching from my health coach, Michelle, has helped me stay on track. Also, talking to others who are trying to do the same thing you are and seeing the different things they are doing to help them stay on track and be successful.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them make healthy lifestyle changes?

“Just get started! Make small changes to your diet and exercise and eventually you will make it a part of your daily routine.” “I would like to tell my co-workers and friends that making a healthy lifestyle change will make a better, healthier you. Healthy eating will improve your energy level and your mental and emotional health. It will also help you lose weight. Healthy eating is a complete lifestyle change. You are only given one body —why not take care of it?”


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Debra made it to the finish line!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra

 

Angela* 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

 “I bought three pairs of jeans a year ago that were too tight to wear three months ago. Today, they fit perfectly.”  *Angela was unable to finish the program.

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?
 

“I think the most significant change is to slow down when I eat. I found that it really does help me to eat less.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“All of the information I received at the meetings has helped me tremendously. I was able to incorporate most of it into my program and that’s a win-win for me!”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them make healthy lifestyle changes?

“Strict rules and limits don’t work. It’s better to make slow and doable changes to your old habits. Also, you don’t need a gym membership to move your body.”

 

 

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John and Lisa made it to the finish line!

John

 

Lisa

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I can say no to foods that I don’t need to eat. In addition to this achievement, I can eat less when I do decide to eat something.” “Because of the lifestyle changes that I have been able to make and incorporate into my life, such as eating breakfast on a more regular basis, I’ve noticed a difference in my energy level. I’m usually less productive when I don’t incorporate the skills I have learned through the program.” 

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I have incorporated a much better mixture of veggies and smaller portions of meat on my plate.” “The most significant change I have made to my eating habits is cutting back on the amount of snacking. Also, I’ve replaced unhealthy snacks with more nutritional snacks such as fruit and veggies.” 

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“The fact that my wife is part of the program is a big reason why I’m having so much success. She’s the one who applies the concepts that  are discussed in the group and individual meetings” “The part that helped me the most is having group meetings so that we could bounce ideas off of each other.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them make
healthy lifestyle changes?

“Just start somewhere and make little changes like eating smaller portions or changing from regular to diet soda even once a day. Little things turn into big things!” “Pennies make dollars so start with reading nutrition labels and making small swaps such as turkey instead of beef two days a week instead of four days a week.”
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Ema and Steve made it to the finish line!

Ema

Steve

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I’ve learned to eat smaller portions and still feel satisfied. I can now run more than three miles at a time.” “I can plank for two minutes!”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits? 

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“One of the biggest changes has been becoming more aware of portion control. I’ve also found that the more I work out, the healthier I eat because the unhealthy options don’t appeal to me in the same way anymore.” “Portion control is absolutely the biggest change in my eating habits. Combining smaller and healthier portions with eating slower has made a big difference.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“The groups, coaching sessions, and training have kept me accountable and motivated.” “The coaching has been the biggest benefit for me, both the individual and group instruction. I was already working out regularly, but having a trainer to help me with weight training was a positive experience.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them make
healthy lifestyle changes?

“Don’t put off doing something positive for yourself. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes. But once you start, you will notice how much better you feel.” “You need to be mentally prepared for a change in habits to be successful. The commitment — fueled by motivation — is essential. Without those two ingredients, there can’t be meaningful change.”
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Have a Happy, Healthy Halloween

By Carrie Camin
Assistant Vice President, Wellness
Methodist Health System

I know I’m running the risk of being perceived as the witch who wrecked Halloween or the apparition that applied logic to ghoulish fun, but I have a theory. I believe you can celebrate Halloween and fall festivals without consuming a year’s worth of sugar and calories in one night. Having a happy, healthy Halloween is possible, and it doesn’t take a magic potion.

For many, Halloween is the kickoff to a sugary, fat-laden, calorie-crammed holiday season. After all, this is the heyday for the retail season, and delectable temptations are everywhere. The reality is there are ways you and your family can enjoy the seasonal fun while making healthy food choices. Here are a few hints.

Limit your intake. Decide ahead of time what your daily (or weekly) treats will be and how many you’ll have. Decide how much works for you and put the treats in a small ziplock bag so you can control your portions.

Don’t munch mindlessly. Keep Halloween candy out of sight. Keep it in the refrigerator or a hard-to-reach cabinet so you’ll be fully aware of what you’re doing when you grab a couple of pieces.

Stock up on healthy snacks and sugarless gum. Keep sugarless gum and healthy snacks like baby carrots, grapes, apple slices, or popcorn on hand for when you feel like having a snack.

Don’t skip your exercise or outdoor time. Stay active and get a daily dose of sunlight to help keep your mind and body balanced as the days grow shorter.

Avoid the candy creep that occurs around Halloween. If you’re going to give out candy to the trick-or-treaters at your door, buy it on October 31st. Choose candy you don’t like or goodies that are lower in calories and fat. Better candy choices include:

  • Tootsie Pops (60 calories each)
  • Lollipops (50 calories each)
  • Life Savers (10 calories per candy)
  • York Peppermint Pattie Miniatures (50 calories per piece)
  • Nestlé Crunch bars (60 calories for fun size bar)
  • Quaker Chewy Mini Granola Bar (60 calories)
  • Nabisco Teddy Grahams (60 calories for fun size pack)

Better yet, cruise past the candy aisle and buy pencils, stickers, gum, and other nonfood items to distribute. Get rid of any leftovers immediately. Crunching on Halloween candy through Christmas isn’t a pretty picture for you or your well-being.

Methodist Health System supports our employees’ efforts to make healthy food choices. We include healthy recipes on the wellness page of our employee intranet site, and we just opened cooking light cooking stations in the cafeterias at Methodist Dallas and Methodist Richardson Medical Centers.

If you’re looking to nourish your career in a healthy environment, then it’s time to choose Methodist. And have a happy, healthy Halloween! Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Angela Wrighten is Methodist Health: Key Learnings

By Angela Wrighten, RN

Angela is a staff nurse in Outpatient Chemotherapy at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Over the last few years, Angela wasn’t the healthy person she used to be. She’s on the right path now. She has changed her eating and exercise habits and is enjoying her favorite activities again.

1. What’s the most important takeaway you’ve learned in this program that you’ll use to stay on track for the rest of your life?

The most important takeaways that I learned from this program are to set realistic goals for myself, work hard at achieving those goals, be patient, and never give up.

2.   Out with the old and in with the new. Give me three new healthy habits you’ve incorporated into your life.

Since the start of the program, I have made exercise part of my daily routine, I make healthier food choices, and I've reduced the stress in my life.

3.   Tell us at least three improvements you have accomplished in this program.

I have lost weight, toned muscles, and gained a healthy attitude.

4.   What are the advantages of having the support of a health coach and trainer? Why?

The most important advantage of having a health coach and trainer is accountability and encouragement. With Karen and Ginnie, I had my very own cheer team. I met with them weekly and received information on diet and exercise as well as encouragement to keep me on track.

5.   Hats off to you. Congratulations. Way to go! Now that you’ve completed this program, what’s your next goal to continue to improve your health?

I want to really focus on making better food choices, specifically types of foods and portions. I have joined an exercise program that keeps me motivated, and I am running again. My short-term goal is to complete a 5K within the next few weeks. My long-term goal is to maintain the healthy habits I have developed through the I Am Methodist Health program for the rest of my life.

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