We've had 3 Healthy Living Support Group sessions now and I am loving them! So far we've discussed just some overall health tips in April, nutrition in May, and this week we talked about exercise. Going forward, the sessions will be called "Group Health Coaching" to better describe what happens each month. I knew in creating the class that the name probably wouldn't stick, but I wanted to get started anyway!
When we talked about nutrition last month, some of the main things we talked about was macronutrients (carbs, fats, and protein), and how much you need of each. We focused on good sources of each, instead of "villainizing" one of them, as some diets tend to do. Each is essential and important, so its vital to eat good quality foods!
Try swapping out...
These good quality foods
Instead of these common sources
For carbs: Whole grain breads and pastas, fresh fruits and veggies
White bread and ultra-processed pasta
For protein: Lean meat grilled or baked
Fried, processed (like lunch meat), and fast food
For fats: Olive oil, avocados, and nuts
Processed oils like canola, crisco, and those used to fry food
This week's session about exercise got me a little amped up! I love talking to people about exercise, because so much of what we see in our culture (mainly advertising!) basically tells us that if you aren't super fit, then you are doomed. It's just not an empowering way to think about exercise and movement! But the truth about exercise isn't very sexy and isn't very profitable... which is probably why we don't see it!
Here's the main deal: MOVE MORE
There are guidelines on how much you should exercise, and we talked about those in the group this week, but my main message is if you aren't exercising or if you spend all day sitting at a desk, you absolutely must get more movement into your day. If you like the little Fitbit step counters or Apple watch activity metrics- great! You can totally use those to get an estimate on how much movement you're getting. The baseline step goal is usually 10,000 steps. Which if you wear a tracker you might know how hard that is to actually do with our current lifestyles! The health benefits though for getting more movement are so worth trying to get those steps in.
That said, try not to worry too much about steps specifically- say you fall short of 10,000 steps, but you went on a bike ride, or you were working in your garden or yard without wearing your tracker. You may get that movement without the steps. But falling short on steps is usually a sign you are sitting too much! Try to sneak little bits of movement into your day- need to do a phone call at work? Walk around while you talk if possible (or at least stand up!). When you go to a store, don't look for the closest parking spot. Yes, I am one of those weirdos that parks further away from the door than I need to (not always- I am human after all). The little bits of movement you get during the day are so underestimated... so here's your excuse- fidget more!
Check out this goofy (and kind of old) video about what happens if you don't move enough! Fair warning- the guy is an anatomy teacher and uses a human cadaver to show muscle tissue.
Next month we are talking about meal planning and grocery shopping. I am really looking forward to this class because meal planning has completely changed the way I think about dinners and cooking- particularly since I've become a mom. You know what else meal planning does for me? LESS STRESS! I used to agonize over what I was going to make for dinner every. single. day. It was exhausting! Once you get into a routine of planning your meals and getting the food you need for those meals, you never have to stress about whether or not you have something, what you're going to cook, or whether everyone will eat what you make! (Pro tip: if you want to make something you know your kid won't eat, make it the day after a large meal they love, so they can have the leftovers as a back-up).
In August we are going over some trending crash/fad diets, like keto, paleo, vegan, etc. Now don't be too mad at me- I may not be as harsh as you think about these diets! I'm a bit of a skeptic and I'm a realist. So I'm going to tell you right now I am not a fan of keto, paleo, super low carb, or vegan diets because they are simply not sustainable for the average Joe or Jane! However, the best diet is the one you can keep, makes you feel good, and helps you lose weight if that is your goal. But the most important piece of the puzzle is personal sustainability. Look at me, I'm already ranting... just wait till August!
To sign up for the Group Health Coaching classes, head over to the Business and Community Education page of Mid-Plains Community College's website. Use the course search for "health coaching". Classes are the first Monday evening of the month (unless there is a holiday in the way, like the 4th of July and Labor Day). Sign up even if you can't come, and I'll send out detailed notes and include you with the check-in emails throughout the month! Signing up in advance is helpful but not required!