Monday, January 24, 2011

Setting Fitness Goals

by Krisha McCoy, MS

The first step in any exercise program should be setting fitness goals. By taking a little time to map out your goals and plan your strategy for reaching them, you’ll likely be more successful and feel more satisfied when you achieve them.

Ask Yourself Questions

The first thing you should do when starting a fitness program is ask yourself some questions that will help you figure out what your fitness goals are. Here are some questions to get you started:
Take a few minutes to think about these questions. Write down your answers and refer to them as you go about setting your goals.

Be Specific

What is your long-term goal? Can it be broken into smaller steps? If you break your long-term objective into “mini goals” that you can accomplish more quickly, you will be more likely to stay motivated and stick with your fitness program. For instance, if you are hoping to lose 20 pounds, you might consider setting the following mini goals:
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes three times each week
  • Be able to walk/jog for three miles at the end of six months
  • Lose five pounds in one month
Another important thing to think about when setting your fitness goals is your timetable. Before you begin, think about when you expect to achieve your goals. Are your expectations realistic? If you want to drop 10 pounds by next Wednesday or reduce your cholesterol levels significantly before your doctor’s appointment in two weeks, you need to reevaluate your timetable. More realistic expectations are losing 1-2 pounds per week or reducing your cholesterol by 10% for next year’s physical.

Write It Down

After you’ve come up with the specifics of your goals, write them down. Putting your plan on paper will help you commit and will give you something to turn to in a week or a month, when you may begin veering off track. Write down all of your goals (including mini goals) and when you expect to achieve them. Leave room to log your successes and the challenges you face. You can modify your goals and timetable as you go.
Post your goals some place where you will see them often—your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, your office bulletin board. This will keep you motivated and increase your chances for success.
While you’re writing down your goals, make a schedule that you can follow. Decide how many times a week you will exercise, what time of day will be best for you, and which days of the week work best for your schedule. By having a concrete schedule on paper, you’re one step closer to incorporating exercise into your weekly routine.

Measure Your Success

If you don’t measure your progress, it will be hard to stay motivated. Schedule regular intervals when you will measure your success. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, you might log your weight first thing every Monday morning. If you want to build muscle, you can log how much weight you lift each time you workout. As your muscles get stronger, you will be able to lift more weight.
If you are trying to bring your blood pressure or cholesterol under control, you can still measure your progress as you go. Instead of heading to your doctor every week for a blood test, log the number of times you exercise in a week or the weight you have lost. Consider these accomplishments as progress toward your ultimate goal. Then, when the doctor gives you the results, you can study your own log and modify it according to your success or failure.

Reward Yourself

Yes, by adopting a regular fitness program, you will be rewarded with a better physique, better health, and more energy. But why not add a little extra motivation to your plan—in the form of rewards. As you set your goals (pounds lost, trips to the gym, extra weight lifted), plan ways to reward your progress. You might consider buying yourself a new outfit, treating yourself to a round at a new golf course, or going to a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.
Taking some time to set goals before you begin a fitness program will do wonders to keep you motivated and on the right track. Remember, patience is essential in any exercise program. Keep your mind focused on your goal, and enjoy both the pleasure and the benefits of exercise that you will gain along the way.


Grains (includes starchy vegetables)_servings per day

  • One serving = approximately 80 calories
Type One Serving
Bagel (varies), 4 ounces¼ of a bagel (1 ounce)
Bread (white, pumpernickel, whole wheat, rye)1 slice
Bread, reduced calorie or “lite”2 slices
Broth-based soup1 cup
Cooked beans, peas, or corn½ cup
Cooked cereal½ cup
English muffin, hot dog bun, or hamburger bun½
Muffin, 5 ounces1/5 (1 ounce)
Pasta, rice1/3 cup
Popcorn, air popped, no fat added3 cups
Potato1 small (3 ounces)
Pretzels¾ ounce
Sweet potato or yam½ cup
Tortilla1 small
Unsweetened, dry cereal¾ cup

Vegetables_servings per day

  • One serving = approximately 25 calories
**Type** **One Serving**
Cooked vegetables½ cup
Raw vegetables1 cup
Tomato or vegetable juice½ cup

Fruits_servings per day

  • One serving = approximately 60 calories
**Type** **One Serving**
Canned fruit½ cup
Dried fruit¼ cup
Fresh fruit1 small or 1 cup (eg, cut up or berries)
Fruit juice½ cup

Milk_servings per day

  • Calories in one serving varies as listed below
**Type** **One Serving**
** *90 calories per serving***
Nonfat or low-fat milk1 cup
Plain, nonfat yogurt¾ cup
Nonfat or low-fat soy milk1 cup
** *120 calories per serving***
2% milk1 cup
Soy milk1 cup
Yogurt, plain, low-fat¾ cup
** *150 calories per serving***
Whole milk1 cup
Yogurt, plain (made from whole milk)¾ cup

Meat and Beans_servings per day

  • Calories vary as follows:
    • One very lean serving = approximately 35 calories
    • One lean serving = approximately 55 calories
    • One medium-fat serving = approximately 75 calories
    • One high-fat serving = approximately 100 calories
**Type** **One Serving**
** *Very lean***
Egg substitutes, plain¼ cup
Egg whites2
Fish: fresh or frozen cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, trout, tuna1 ounce
Nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese¼ cup
Poultry: chicken or turkey, white meat, no skin1 ounce
Shellfish1 ounce
** *Lean***
Beef: round, sirloin, flank, tenderloin, roast, steak, ground round (trimmed of fat)1 ounce
Fish: herring, salmon, catfish, tuna (canned in oil, drained)1 ounce
Parmesan cheese2 tablespoons
Pork: lean pork, such as fresh ham, Canadian bacon, tenderloin, center loin chop1 ounce
Poultry: chicken or turkey (dark meat, no skin); chicken (white meat with skin)1 ounce
Tofu, light½ cup or 4 ounces
Veal: lean chop, roast1 ounce
** *Medium-fat***
Beef: most beef products (ground beef, meatloaf, corned beef, short ribs, prime rib)1 ounce
Cheese with five grams or less of fat per ounce: feta, mozzarella1 ounce, (Ricotta 2 ounces)
Lamb: rib roast, ground1 ounce
Pork: top loin, chop, cutlet1 ounce
Poultry: chicken (dark meat with skin), ground turkey or ground chicken, fried chicken (with skin)1 ounce
Sausage with 5 g or less of fat per ounce1 ounce
Tofu½ cup or 4 ounces
** *High-fat***
Cheeses: all regular cheese (eg, American, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss)1 ounce
Hot dog (beef, pork, or combination) *count as 1 high-fat meat plus 1 fat exchange1 ounce
Peanut butter1 tablespoon
Pork: spareribs, ground pork, pork sausage1 ounce
Processed sandwich meats: bologna, salami1 ounce
Sausage (eg, Italian, bratwurst)1 ounce

Fats_servings per day

  • One fat serving = approximately 45 calories
**Type** **One Serving**
** *Monounsaturated***
Avocado2 tablespoons (1 ounce)
Oil (canola, olive, peanut)1 teaspoon
Olives9-10 large
Peanut butter2 teaspoons
Tahini paste2 teaspoons
** *Polyunsaturated***
Margarine1 teaspoon
Mayonnaise, regular1 teaspoon
Mayonnaise, low-fat1 tablespoon
Salad dressing, regular1 tablespoon
** *Saturated***
Bacon, cooked1 slice
Butter, stick1 teaspoon
Coconut, sweetened, shredded2 tablespoons
Cream cheese, reduced fat1½ tablespoons
Cream cheese, regular1 tablespoon
Cream, half and half2 tablespoons
Shortening or lard1 teaspoon
Sour cream, reduced fat3 tablespoons
Sour cream, regular2 tablespoons

Sweets and Desserts_servings per day/week

  • These foods tend to be high in sugar and/or fat, while providing little nutritional value. They may or may not be included in your diet plan.
**Type** **Serving Size**
Angel food cake, unfrosted1/12 cake (2 ounces)
Brownie, small, unfrosted2 inch square (about 1 ounce)
Cake, frosted2 inch square (about 2 ounces)
Doughnut, plain1 medium (1½ ounce)
Honey1 tablespoon
Ice cream½ cup
Ice cream, low-fat½ cup
Milk, chocolate, whole1 cup
Pudding, sugar-free (made with low-fat milk)½ cup
Sports drink8 ounces
Sugar1 tablespoon
Syrup, regular1 tablespoon
Yogurt, frozen, low-fat1/3 cup

Free Foods

  • These foods contain less than 20 calories per serving.
  • Eat as desired, unless a serving size is given, then limit to three servings per day.
**Type** **One Serving**
Bouillon, broth or consommé
Candy, hard, sugar free1 candy
Carbonated or mineral water
Cream cheese, fat-free1 tablespoon
Creamers, nondairy1 tablespoon
Diet soft drinks, sugar-free
Drink mixes, sugar-free
Gelatin dessert, sugar-free
Herbs, fresh or dried
Jam or jelly, light2 teaspoons
Ketchup1 tablespoon
Lemon or lime juice
Margarine spread, fat-free4 tablespoons
Mayonnaise, fat-free1 tablespoon
Nonstick cooking spray
Pickles, dill1½ large
Salad dressing, fat-free or low-fat1 tablespoon
Salsa¼ cup
Soy sauce
Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
Whipped topping, light or fat-free2 tablespoons
Wine, used in cooking
Worcestershire sauce

Calorie-Counting Diet

by Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD

What Is a Calorie-Counting Diet?

The premise of the calorie-counting, or calorie-controlled, diet is to stay within a target number of calories each day. Although this diet works well for some, most registered dietitians recommend a more individualized eating plan.

Why Should I Follow a Calorie-Counting Diet?

Following a calorie-counting diet can help you manage your weight and blood sugar levels. If you are overweight, reducing the number of calories you consume will help you lose weight, thereby also lowering your risk of several health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If you are underweight, increasing your calorie intake will help you gain weight.

Calorie-Counting Diet Guide

The calorie-counting diet breaks food into different food groups and allots a certain number of daily servings from each group. This method helps ensure a balanced diet and also makes it easier to keep track of calories.
A balanced diet includes a variety of foods from each of the main food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and beans, and oils. Based on your calorie needs, a dietitian can help you determine how many servings you can have from each of the groups. Depending on your situation and calorie requirement, you may also be allotted some discretionary calories that you can use for foods not in these main groups (eg, sweets, desserts, and certain beverages). Alcohol, if permitted by your physician, should be limited to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Tips and Suggestions

If your goal is to lose weight, researchers have found that reducing your caloric intake is the key to success, not reducing a particular nutrient (like carbs).
To become more aware of how many calories you are consuming, follow these tips:
  • Read food labels for calorie information per serving.
  • Focus on the serving sizes you are eating—they directly impact calorie intake.
  • Spread out your calorie intake throughout the day. Find what works for you, whether it is consuming your calories in three standard meals a day or spread out into six mini-meals.
  • Work with a dietitian to create a calorie-counting plan that takes into account your lifestyle and preferences.
  • Eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups. This will ensure that you get all the nutrients you need and will also leave you more satisfied.


Just an idea for those trying to lose weight or be more healthy can tweak a bit to lower caloric intake

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is the name of the research study that looked at the effects of eating patterns on blood pressure. From this study came the DASH diet—a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, and low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. This diet was shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. The DASH diet combined with a low sodium intake can reduce blood pressure even further.

Daily Nutritional Information:
Calories   Carbohydrate    Protein     Fat      Fiber           Cholesterol       Sodium
2000                57%             22%      21%     29 grams     156 mgs          1406 mgs

Day 1

Breakfast 6 ounces 100% orange juice
1 ¼ cups oat bran cereal with ¾ cup skim milk and ¼ cup dried cherries
1 slice cinnamon raisin toast with 1 teaspoon Smart Balance®

Morning Snack
6 ounces low fat yogurt with fruit on the bottom

3 ounces chicken breast on whole wheat bun with 1 slice Swiss cheese and 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
2 cups mixed green salad with ¼ cup red onion, ¼ cup chickpeas, ¼ cup sliced mandarin oranges, 1/2 ounce slivered almonds, and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

Afternoon Snack
1 ounce peanuts and cashews with 2 tablespoons raisins

4 ounces roasted chicken on 1 cup spaghetti squash with ¼ cup light alfredo sauce and 1 cup broccoli

Day 2

Breakfast 8 ounces 100% cranberry juice
2 packets cinnamon oatmeal with 1 small sliced apple

Morning Snack
6 ounces low fat yogurt with ½ cup blueberries

2 ounces roasted chicken on a 2 cups mixed greens salad with 1 cup fresh strawberries and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
 8 ounces Campbell’s® Reduced Sodium Vegetable Soup

Afternoon Snack
1 medium banana with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

4 ounces 97% lean beef meatloaf on top of 1cup mashed potatoes
1 cup vegetable medley sautéed with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Snack 1 orange

Day 3
Breakfast 6 ounces 100% orange juice
 2 egg white omelet with 1/8 cup onions, 1/8 cup red peppers, 1/8 cup mushrooms, 1/4 cup spinach and 1/8 cup cheddar cheese
 2 slices whole wheat toast with 1 tablespoon Smart Balance®

Morning Snack
6 ounces low fat yogurt with fruit on the bottom

2 ounces turkey on 2 slices whole wheat bread with 1 ounce low sodium cheddar cheese
 1 cup of Campbell’s® Reduced Sodium Tomato Soup

Afternoon Snack
1 cup skim milk blended with 1 medium banana and 1 cup strawberries

6 ounces oven roasted Halibut with 1 cup couscous and 1 cup stemmed asparagus
 2 cups mixed greens salad with 1/8 cup tomatoes, 1/8 cup carrots, 1/8 cup cucumber and 1 tablespoon low sodium Italian dressing

Day 4
Breakfast 6 ounces 100% orange juice
 1 pancake with 1 ½ cups strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and 2 sausage links

Morning Snack
6 ounces low fat yogurt and 1 banana

4 ounces grilled chicken on a whole wheat bun with 1 ounce Swiss cheese, 2 ounces tomato and 1 tablespoon low fat mayo
 2 cups mixed greens salad with ½ cup tomatoes, ½ cup carrots, ½ cup cucumber, and 1 tablespoon low sodium Italian dressing

Afternoon Snack
2 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 tablespoons jelly on 2 slices whole wheat bread

1 medium piece of lasagna with ground turkey and tomato sauce
½ cup steamed spinach
1 mixed fruit bowl

Day 5
Breakfast 8 ounces 100% orange juice
 2 cups Cheerios® with 1 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup strawberries, and 1 medium banana

Morning Snack
6 ounces low fat yogurt with mixed berries, ¼ cup granola, and ¼ cup ground walnuts

I medium piece of lasagna with ground turkey and tomato sauce
1 cup steamed spinach and 1 small pear

Afternoon Snack
1 ounce low sodium trail mix and ½ cup skim milk

Stir fry with 3 ounces beef over ½ cup brown rice and 1 cup mixed vegetables