Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is your job making you fat?

Love your job, but it doesn't love you? 

Many of the jobs held by Americans these days have two counts against them.  The first is the sedentary nature of most jobs.  Unlike jobs of the past, today most of us work in offices, at desks, and sit in meetings.  Secondly, those same offices encourage snacks, eating lunch out, bringing lunch in, donuts at meetings, etc.  The two mixed together are a program for disaster!

A recent study conducted by the University of Chicago in 2001 found that a worker in a sedentary career may end up with a Body Mass Index 3.3 units higher than someone in a highly active job. If you’re 5'5" this can mean an increase in weight from 140 pounds to 155 pounds!

Below are some of my thoughts on how to counteract the sedentary revolution:

1.  Be sure to eat.  Your body does need energy, for stress management and brain food.
2.  Compensate for your inactivity by joining a gym, or exercising before or after work.
3.  Get your co-workers involved in some non-food activities with you, like a volleyball team or a lunchtime class.
4.  Try organizing a healthy food lunch exchange, or instituting a healthy food rule for meetings.
5.  Stash healthy snacks at work, so they are handy, and will lesson your indulgence in naughty office goodies.
6.  Try an exercise ball for your office chair, do some "deskercise" during work, or get up and deliver the memo in person, or go and talk directly to the individual 4 desks down instead of calling.
7.  Make mindful choices for your meals at work, and plan ahead to avert dietary disaster!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Well, we're almost done with the holidays, and a tough season it has been, what with all of the holiday goodies, eating out, and parties!  If you've weathered this storm, then you can certainly be prepared for New Year's and it's champagne and all night barrage of eating.  Or maybe this is just because my husband is Russian, and New Year's is a huge holiday for them.

I suggest starting the New Year with a good workout.  That way, you get rid of some of the excesses of the night before, and start the New Year out right.  It sets the tone for the rest of the year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stroke Risk

Improvement in Stroke Risk Depends on Exercise Intensity

Ischemic stroke is a consequence of atherosclerotic plaque build up in the arteries that deliver blood to the brain. Genetics aside, the most common causes of stroke include having diagnosed conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension, being overweight, and/or smoking. A recent study published in the journal Neurology suggests that a lack of moderate to vigorous physical activity should be added to the list of direct causes of ischemic stroke. Previously, researchers believed that physical activity was important for its indirect effects on body weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.

Researchers collected baseline information on leisure-time physical activities from over 3000 stroke-free older men participating in the Northern Manhattan Study. Over the course of a ~9.1 year follow-up, researchers documented nearly 240 ischemic strokes. Interestingly, 40.5% of the population studied was inactive. Moreover, it appears that participation in moderate to vigorous physical exercise was essential to reducing stroke risk when compared to "any" physical activity and even weekly total calorie expenditure.

Although previous studies involving women have reported that light activities provide a small reduction in stroke risk, this study is the first to indicate a need for higher intensity exercise to improve stroke risk factors.

Willey, J. Z., et al, Physical activity and risk of ischemic stroke in the Northern Manhattan Study. Neurology 73: 1774 – 1779.

Preventing Knee Pain

Learn to Prevent Knee Pain by Understanding Risk Factors

Although Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) represents the most common form of knee pain previous knee research has focused primarily on ligament injury and degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. PFPS, often referred to as "Runner's Knee" is typically understood to be a type of tendinopathy characterized by pain and inflammation around the front of the knee cap. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine researchers report findings of multiple biomechanical risk factors that may be modified to prevent PFPS.

Nearly 1600 participants from the US Naval Academy were tracked for up to 2.5 years beginning in July 2005. Researchers collected baseline data on all participants. Initial testing evaluated jump-landing characteristics using 3-D motion capture, lower body isometric strength, and lower extremity structural alignment.

It was determined that the following factors contribute to the development of PFPS including poor quadriceps flexibility, increased pronation or excessive hip internal rotation during landing from a jump, weak quadriceps and hamstrings, excessively strong hip external rotators, and increased navicular drop representative of weak arches.

By including these factors in a pre-participation screening for individuals with a history of PFPS an effective prevention strategy may be developed. Individuals with current PFPS, however, should be referred to a medical professional for evaluation.

Boling, M.C. et al (2009) A Prospective Investigation of Biomechanical Risk Factors for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yummy!! Stuffed Figs!

Stuffed Figs

Ingredients: 1.10 dried figs

2.1/4 cup shredded or ground coconut

3.10 tsp. raw almond butter

4.10 whole pecans

Preparation: Split the pitted figs and fill them with almond butter. Roll in the coconut and press the pecans on top. That's it! :)  What a quick and easy appetizer or even dessert table item for the holidays!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday treat!

Goat Cheese Kisses

Each of these bite-size savory treats has a bit of dried fruit tucked inside for a slightly sweet surprise.

Makes: 2 dozen pieces

Preparation time: 35 minutes


3 tablespoons hazelnuts or pistachios (3/4 ounce), finely chopped

6 ounces creamy goat cheese

6 dried apricots or dried figs, each cut into quarters


1. Line a plate or small tray with wax paper. Place nuts in a shallow dish. Scoop a heaping 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese and press a piece of dried apricot (or fig) into the center.

2. Wrap the cheese around the dried fruit to form a ball. Roll the ball in the chopped nuts to create a crust; set on the plate or tray. Repeat with remaining goat cheese, dried fruit and nuts.

Let's eat!
Nutrition Facts

Per piece:

28 calories

2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono)

3 mg cholesterol

1 g carbohydrate

1 g protein

0 g fiber

26 mg sodium