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Eat Well to Live Well

Mar 2, 2023

by Susan Williams PT, DPT | Metro Center Location

Let’s Celebrate “National Nutrition Month” Together

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created National Nutrition Month to increase awareness of nutrition’s importance and how nutrition can help you achieve your goals. Specifically, the month is geared to educate people on the importance of making healthy food and drink choices, creating improved eating habits, and incorporating more physical activity into their daily lifestyle to prevent the onset of many chronic diseases.

I hear a lot from my clients about what they “used to be able to do” and “used to look like” before they were injured. Many people undergoing physical therapy tend to gain weight due to their pain-limiting movement and exercise, along with the emotional tendency to eat when they are suffering. Here are a few tips that may help you look, feel, and live better.

Runners on treadmills

Cardio Versus Cutting Calories

The two most effective ways to lose weight are adding cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, biking, and running, and decreasing caloric intake. There are benefits to choosing one over the other. For example, if you have significant arthritis in your knees, making walking painful, initially cutting calories to lose weight may be the smarter and more comfortable choice. Alternatively, adding cardio may be your only option if you have been dieting for a while and are already at a low caloric intake. However, both may be used in combination to accelerate and meet your goal.

Fruit and Vegetable Intake

We need fruits and vegetables in our diet to ensure that we are getting a full dose of all the essential minerals and vitamins our bodies need to perform optimally. However, one of the biggest problems I see from patients is excessive carbohydrate intake. While fruits may be a better choice than potato chips, one small apple has 21g of carbohydrates (77 calories), and one medium banana has 27g of carbohydrates (105 calories). Adding one piece of fruit to each meal and snack can equate to an additional 125g of carbs or 500 calories over the course of the day. Be mindful of the amounts. Try for 4-5 servings of each per day; here’s a great infographic.

Woman eating at kitchen table while working on computer

Timing of Meals

One of the most common myths I hear is that you cannot eat after 8 p.m. or all the food will be stored as fat, the second most common is that you need to eat multiple small meals a day to speed up your metabolism. Both could not be further from the truth. Eating at night will only cause the scale to give you a higher number in the morning. Recent studies have shown that fat loss is achieved in a caloric deficit, regardless of whether a majority of calories were consumed at night or spread evenly throughout the day. When consuming the same number of calories over the day, be it between two large meals or six small meals, there is no difference in metabolic rate in overweight or obese individuals. Furthermore, this was also true in healthy-weight individuals when consuming two versus seven meals per day. Eat the number of meals you need when it works for your schedule to meet your nutritional needs each day without stressing about the timing.

Alcohol Consumption

This one is short. Don’t forget that your nightcap not only has carbohydrates but it also has alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin to the body, which means that your body puts all stomach contents needing to be digested on hold while it rids your body of the alcohol. Each gram of alcohol requires nine calories of energy to break down and free it from your body. Even light beer adds nearly 80-125 calories for every 12oz, and a glass of red wine can add between 125-150 calories for a 5oz pour.

At Foothills, our goal is to get you back to the activities you love. If you’re looking for more tips on how to live a healthy life, contact a Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy clinic near you to schedule an appointment!

Susan Williams

by Susan Williams
PT, DPT | Metro Center Location

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