FIT AND FAITHFUL: GUIDELINES FOR GOOD HEALTH & WEIGHT LOSS By Hemda Mizrahi & Maria DiGiuseppe

Fitness coach and personal trainer Maria DiGiuseppe joined me on “Turn the Page” to share her approach to “good health and peace of mind,” documented in her book, “Fit and Faithful.”  

In my post-show conversation with Maria, she provided additional suggestions about what you can do to strengthen your physical health. Here’s what she shared:

PHYSICAL HEALTH & EXERCISE
“The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council of Exercise, National Institute of Health (NIH) Senior Health, and World Health Organization (WHO) are authorities which provide guidelines for your physical health.

The NASM recommends doing cardio training at least two to three times a week. Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity. You can fulfill 30-minutes of cardio through any of a number of modalities, such as high-intensity interval training, use of a treadmill and elliptical machine, and classes like aerobics or dance. The NASM also suggests two to three days of strength training with flexibility exercises included.  

Applying substantiated recommendations like these requires adherence and is only possible if you believe in what you are doing. Without consistency there are no results. Being clear about the benefits to you is a step toward “locking in” your motivation and dedication. Research suggests that people who exercise can lower their biological age, as measured by factors such as aerobic power, muscle strength, joint stability, flexibility, life expectancy, and the onset of disability.  Regular physical activity reduces the risk of adverse health outcomes and exercise has positive effects on your overall sense of well-being.”  

NUTRITION
“Choose one of the diets recommended by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) or a certified nutritionist. This doesn’t mean choosing a “fad” diet, like eating a grapefruit everyday for a month and excluding protein. It has to be a standard that is sensible and one you can live by daily.

The Mediterranean diet, which I grew up on in my Italian household, is an example of a healthy diet that you can stay on for life. It contains macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein, the good heart healthy fat found in fish and nuts, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and whole grain breads and pastas. Other examples of healthy recommended diets are the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH), Diabetic, and MyPLate. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers videos, recipes, and other resources to help you to “eat right.”

If you choose the MyPlate diet, you can set up the food-tracking tool (called SuperTracker) on your computer with your personal information and learn what changes you may need to make in your diet. I will show you when your sodium intake is too high, or if you go over your recommended calorie amounts. There are other tracking tools available through MyPlate as well, including ones for weight management, physical activities, and goal setting.

YOUR FOOD AND EXERCISE PROGRAM MIGHT LOOK LIKE THIS:
30 minutes of strength training twice a week
30 minutes of walking on the treadmill or biking three days a week

Mediterranean Menu
This menu, which totals about 1400 calories, is not appropriate for everyone and must be adjusted based on individual needs.  

Breakfast:
One egg on whole grain toast with coffee and a glass of skim milk

Lunch:
Grilled chicken breast on mesclun lettuce with carrots, cucumber, olive olive oil and a vinaigrette dressing and a small lentil soup

Dinner:
Broiled Sole with ½ baked potato, steamed broccoli and ½ cup of brown rice

Snack:
Apple, pear, a hand full of walnuts (200 calories) in between meals  

WEIGHT LOSS
“I had a client who came to me with a picture of herself in a bathing suit from ten years earlier, when she liked the way she looked. We used the formula of adding 250 calories a day in energy expenditure (calories burned through physical activities) and subtracted 250 calories in what she ate to create a total reduction of 500 calories a day. She lost almost 50 pounds in six months! Adherence equals results!  

Here’s a weight loss formula:
250 calories expended daily during exercise + a 250 calorie reduction from daily calorie intake * 7 days a week = 3,500 calories, which amounts to losing one pound!  

Example:
45 minutes on the treadmill daily and one less cookie, rice portion or slice of pizza a day

GOOD HEALTH
“Many people see menopause, disease and aging as obstacles to leading a healthy lifestyle. I don’t see it that way. Circumstances like these provide opportunities to enhance our lives, be grateful for what we have, and learn how to redefine what it means to have good health. While you may experience limitations and setbacks, being your best is still an option.

My body didn’t fail me as I first thought when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead, it supported me to withstand the surgeries, rehab, and mental and physical stress that I had to endure throughout the treatment process. I’ve seen this with clients as well. As a result of their improved fitness levels, when an unexpected illness arrives, they recover much better and faster than if they had not been leading a healthy lifestyle.

Your foundation for good health is rooted in exercise and good nutrition. Building a strong base, especially while you’re young, will set you up for future success!”

Listen to Maria’s guest spot on “Turn the Page” to learn about the four concepts that she sees as essential for physical and spiritual health, and why she views faith as the pillar for peace of mind.

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