Thursday, May 14, 2015

Five Key Principles of Eating Healthy

By Abby Hall, Kappa Delta

Today “eating healthy” can have a multitude of meanings, and it can be hard to navigate through them. Everyone from celebrities to stay-at-home moms claims to know the best and most healthful way to eat and wants you to consume accordingly. Fad diets have been around for centuries and, unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Instead of trying to beat them -- and you definitely shouldn’t join them -- why not outsmart them?

There are a few key principles to making wise choices: portion size, filling up on fruits and vegetables, eating a rainbow, moving frequently and moderation.

Portion size. One of the most challenging aspects about today's food culture is portion control. Portions are large no matter where you go, and without knowing it, you can double not only your caloric intake, but your pants size. Check out for suggested portion sizes to follow.

Fill up on fruits and veggies. Filling up on fruits and veggies can help you cut down on other, less nutritious items. Fruits and vegetables are not only packed with nutrients that your body needs, but are also low in calories. This makes them perfect for snacks and meals. Watch out for sauces/dips that might accompany them, as these can be high in calories.

Eat a rainbow. Why are fruits and veggies all different colors? To provide us with many different nutrients. Mother Nature is pretty clever and made each color represent a different group of vitamins and minerals. Love carrots? Great, but we only need so much beta-carotene. Mix orange carrots with purple grapes, green peppers and even white veggies like onions for your very own natural multivitamin.

Move frequently. Yes, movement is part of a healthy diet. Eating well is about 70 percent of the equation, which leaves 30 percent to exercise. Doing only one or the other leaves your health unbalanced. Not a marathon runner or CrossFit champion? No problem! Get about 30-60 minutes a day of moderate exercise outside of normal activity; walking the stairs is fabulous, but consider that a health bonus. Extra motion will make you feel good and boost all your healthful eating.

Everything in moderation. Treats are important, but it is also important not to overindulge every day. Find your balance. For some, it is the juicy hamburger; for others, the occasional chocolate cake. The key is the 80:20 rule. If you make good choices 80 percent of the time, that leaves 20 percent for indulgences.

Remember to make food and health fun. Food is the body’s fuel, so give it the best fuel you can! 

About Abby Hall
Abby Hall, R.D., C.D., works as a metabolic dietitian at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on both national and state levels. She received her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Indiana University in Bloomington and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Buffalo – SUNY.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stress Can Be Managed in a Healthy Way

By Lori Miltenberger, Kappa Kappa Gamma

Stress happens to everyone, and stress itself isn’t good or bad! Stress is what we all experience as we adjust to the demands of our lives. It can be a source of motivation, pushing and moving us to take action, or a source of negativity, creating feelings of sadness, anger and depression. It is the negative reaction to stress that can lead to health problems such as headaches, high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as anxiety and depression. Every day we experience stress as a response to both happy and difficult events, and it is how we react to these stressors that will determine if stress will help or hurt us.

Research has shown that women are highly susceptible to stress. This may be due to multiple factors, such as managing a balance between work and traditional responsibilities at home, difficulty in saying no to others and spending less time nurturing our own needs. Hormones and body chemistry may also play a part.

So how can we better manage stress? We need to remember that we can’t eliminate it entirely, and without it we might become stagnant. The goal is to find our own optimal level of stress, so we feel motivated rather than paralyzed. When you begin to experience symptoms of too much stress, it is time to take action and change your reaction to it. Symptoms include decreased memory and concentration, mood swings, distractibility, depression, anger, increased alcohol consumption and excess smoking or eating.

Begin by becoming aware of your stressors and how you react to them physically and emotionally. Recognize when you feel distressed, and ask yourself what is causing that feeling. Pay attention to how your body responds to the stress. Are you physically upset – for example, do you notice stomach pain or tension? Are you emotionally upset, with negative thoughts or feelings of helplessness?

Second, identify what you can and cannot change. Can you eliminate the stressful circumstance completely or reduce its intensity by delegation or managing it over a longer period of time?

Third, reduce the intensity of your emotional and physical reactions to stress. Your reaction is determined by your perception of the event. Are you turning a small event into a larger one? Are you trying to please everyone? Try looking at the stressor as something you can effectively cope with, so as to put the situation into perspective. Practice deep breathing exercises, which will bring your heart rate to a normal level, and use relaxation techniques to reduce muscle tension.

Fourth, build yourself up physically and emotionally. Exercise regularly, eat balanced and nutritious meals, avoid caffeine and get enough sleep. Nurture supportive friendships, develop realistic goals and be kind and gentle to yourself. Stress can be managed in a healthy way!

About Lori Miltenberger
Lori Miltenberger is a professional counselor, currently working in a university counseling center. In addition to providing individual therapy, Lori serves as the outreach coordinator, developing and coordinating mental-health initiatives in the campus community. She finds working with college students very rewarding, and is honored to be involved in people’s lives at a time when they are experiencing tremendous growth and change. Besides working with students in her professional career, she has been involved through the years in mentoring, advising and participating in inspiring young women as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity. She has been married for 20 years and is the proud mother of three.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How to Thrive in the Sedentary World

By Garrett Wood, Alpha Phi

As an online strength and nutrition coach, I work with Panhellenic women all across the country.

I am a huge advocate of movement: dancing, rock climbing, roller blading, you name it! My mantra is #daretomove.

After my time as president of Alpha Phi at Miami University, I started a website called Crossroads of Fitness. I founded my business to inspire people to move by writing about fitness topics and through online coaching. Many of my clients are young professionals trying to find sustainable ways to incorporate healthful fitness and nutrition habits into their lives to achieve their physique and fat-loss goals.

Post-graduate life can be more sedentary, stressful and challenging to manage than we realize going into it. It’s tough to really know how to stay active and develop hard habits when you are in a new city, juggling new job tasks, making new friends and getting acquainted with longer work days in new surroundings.

Here are my three tips to find movement when you feel stressed in the chaos of the sometimes-sedentary world.

1. Make small promises to yourself.

Treat your body like a good friend. Make mini-commitments on which you can't bail.

Set some weekly goals, such as:
  • Drink one extra cup of water.
  • Eliminate one alcoholic beverage.
  • Get one extra workout in this week.
  • Take the stairs.
It's good to practice mini-commitments. Once you commit to one little thing for seven days, you prove to yourself you are capable, and it feels awesome!

Here's the trick: you can't be too drastic and try to change your entire lifestyle all at once. Changing everything at once (such as adding five new workouts, trying a new meal plan, taking a different commute to work, and skipping happy hour) can be overwhelming and lead to failure over time. This is why I urge working on one new weekly habit at a time.

By tackling one new habit, you are able to see if it is feasible. Pretend you are doing a science experiment; you have one independent variable a week, and you do the experiment to see how it goes.

Once you figure out how to nail that habit into your lifestyle, you can work on a new one.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others. 

Seriously, stop. This only promotes negative feelings about yourself. If you are constantly measuring yourself against others, it perpetuates a constant state of unhappiness.

In the same vein, do not let others influence you negatively. Too often I saw co-workers in my first nine-to-five job eating cake in the break room just because their friends wanted to. "If she is eating it, it's okay for me to do it, too.”

It's not. You do you. You won't regret it.

Evading the group mentality and peer pressure is tough, but not impossible. I have three clients – all sorority women living in Los Angeles -- who have high-powered jobs and combat the happy- hour, group-mentality scene two to three times a week.

Here are some of their solutions:
  • Bring a Quest bar to avoid appetizers.
  • Nurse your first drink until the group is done with their second.
  • Wait to order a drink until everyone is on her second round.
  • Commit to a morning workout and let it be your (positive) excuse to leave … you have to get up early!
3. Set a goal and be the example. 

Even though co-workers are the biggest influencers on diets and the timing of workday
meals, they can also be the best cheerleaders. Everyone has an "ironman" friend... the one who runs marathons every month, who does crazy 5 a.m. workouts, who brings a new “paleo” recipe to work. You can be that friend to someone. You can make someone proud. Seeing others achieve goals is a huge factor in self-efficacy. Once you see someone else jump off a cliff into a lake, for example, you will do it, too -- just not first.

And setting a goal to run a 5k, climb a mountain or lose 10 pounds is easier to do when you have an entire crowd of people cheering you on.

Sometimes you don't know what you are capable of until you try. Don't let your nine-to-five bog you down; set mini-goals, make promises to yourself and challenge yourself publicly for accountability. Feel free to reach out for personal distance coaching. And always, #daretomove!

About Garrett Wood
Garrett Wood is a Precision Nutrition coach, an SFG certified kettle bell instructor, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor, TRX certified instructor and Madd Dog spinning certified instructor. She spends her time working with others to help them move more and better.

Garrett began her fitness journey through group fitness classes while studying business and journalism at Miami University. Throughout college she taught spinning and TRX classes. After graduation she continued to teach group fitness at Shred415 in Chicago. Her full-time job in real estate moved her to Boston in July 2014.
Currently, she teaches at Barry’s Bootcamp, competes as a powerlifter, teaches spinning classes and runs her online business, Crossroads of Fitness, doing nutrition and strength coaching online.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Four Healthy Changes You Can Make Today

By Tracy Carson, Alpha Delta Pi

It doesn’t take much effort these days to find inspiration to be your better self in any area of life. From #Whole30 and #YogaAnywhere to tips and techniques at our fingertips, information about getting healthy is all around! At first glance, this is fabulous; after all, we are living longer and we want those years to be the best they can be. But it can also be overwhelming. Where do we start a journey to health? How do we continue the one we are on? Or, in some cases, how do we change it altogether?

National Women’s Health Week is a great kick-start toward a journey to the best version of you. Regardless of where life finds you, read on to discover four tips for healthy behaviors you can start today!
  1. When driving, put your phone away. Texting or any other distraction is a massive danger to your health, as well as the safety of others. When you get in the car, put your phone in your bag in the backseat, so you aren’t tempted to use it. Reading a text or updating your status is not worth your health and, potentially, your life.

  2. Food is fuel for your body and should never be used as punishment. Skipping meals and suppressing your hunger with diet soda, caffeine or gum are not healthy habits, even if they mean fitting into that swimsuit for beach week. If you are afraid of making a poor choice like fast food, then a few minutes the night before is all it takes to plan a healthy meal for the next day. If you crave a diet soda in the afternoon to get you through the day, then why not replace that with sparkling water? It’s just as refreshing with so many more benefits!

  3. Celebrating with friends should always be done responsibly and with intention. You shouldn't drink unless you are 21 because it's illegal, but beyond that, always have a designated driver, surround yourself with friends who will help you if you have too much to drink and don't use drinking to self-medicate. Alcohol should never be used as a tool to accomplish something else.

  4. And speaking of responsibility, let’s not neglect mental health. It is just as important as your physical health. As you take control of your health, know that stress is not the same as anxiety, and recognize when to get help if you are having more bad days than good. Unfortunately, even in 2015 there is a stigma to seeking assistance for mental wellness. Let’s say, “No!” to the stigma and “YES!” to long-term health. You are healthier when you are able to ask for help than when you think you can help yourself on your own.
These tips are simple and only scratch the surface, but our individual journeys to health begin with simple steps we can start today. I hope these tangible ideas will guide you toward a lifetime of healthy behaviors! 

About Tracy Carson
Tracy Carson is a professional counselor with a specialty in the treatment of young women's issues, specifically identity, self-esteem, anxiety and eating disorders. Tracy counts it a privilege to accompany individuals as they courageously battle through the hurts and hang-ups of life. When not practicing counseling, she has a great passion for speaking to women, motivating them and encouraging them to know their stories and themselves better. She has been a featured speaker in the Leadership Development Program at Arizona State University, for numerous MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and frequently for Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, both nationally and regionally. She has been married for 12 years to her own Prince Charming and delights in her three children.