How You Benefit from Worksite Wellness

Healthier behaviors translate into fewer health issues within the workforce, which in turn lowers health care costs. In fact, more than 120 research studies about worksite wellness programs show improvements in employee health coupled with high returns on investments (ROI).

Major study findings include the following statistics:

  • Savings of $3.48 in reduced health care costs per dollar invested
  • Savings of $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs per dollar invested
  • ROIs of at least $3 to $8 per dollar invested within five years of program implementation
  • Lifestyle behavior change programs — $3 to $6 ROI within 2 to 5 years
  • Self care, decision support programs — $2 to $3 ROI within 1 year
  • Disease management programs — $7 to $10 ROI within 1 year

The impact of a health improvement program also goes beyond decreased health care costs and ROI. A health improvement program can affect productivity, absenteeism, morale, recruitment success, turnover, and medical care costs.

Enjoy Thanksgiving While Trying to Lose Weight

Tips and Tricks to Eating Holiday Meals Without Blowing the Diet

Don’t let all the treats, dinners and parties of the holiday season undo the healthy lifestyle changes made this year. Enjoy time with friends and make wise food choices. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Grocery stores are already setting up holiday baking displays. For some people, holidays are all about food, and lots of it. The average Thanksgiving meal consists of over 2000 calories. This year make some healthy changes to the holiday menu and avoid the Black Friday guilt.

Calorie Count for the Traditional Thanksgiving Menu

Counting calories this time of year doesn’t have to mean deprivation. Enjoy all the traditional foods but in a modified way. Below is a traditional menu with all the trimmings. For most people, there’s a day’s worth in this one meal.

Roasted dark and white meat turkey with skin — 450 calories

Homemade stuffing with gravy – 600 calories

Cranberry relish -200 calories

Candied sweet potatoes – 400 calories

Green bean casserole – 190 calories

Pumpkin pie with whipped cream – 400 calories

Cup of eggnog – 400 calories

TOTAL: 2,640 calories

Calorie Count for an Alternative Low-Fat Thanksgiving Menu

This modified menu has retained most of the traditional fare. Enjoy the same tastes and smells of childhood. However, most of the added fat, sat and sugar has been removed. Also the calorie count is only half a day’s worth or less depending on an individual’s calorie requirements.

3 oz White turkey breast without skin – 190 calories

Turkey Sausage Stuffing with onion gravy – 220 calories

Roasted sweet potatoes – 110 calories

Braised collard greens – 120 calories

Apple Raspberry Crumble – 120 calories

Unsweetened ice tea – 0 calories

TOTAL: 760 calories

Other Alternatives to Consider Adding to the Menu

Creamy low-fat mashed cauliflower at 86 calories a serving is a healthy alternative to home-made mashed potatoes at 220 calories. If mashed potatoes are desired, consider using skim milk instead of cream or whole milk, and top with butter flavored sprinkles in place of butter, margarine or sour cream. For a healthier stuffing, consider substituting whole grain or whole wheat breads in place of the traditional white bread or corn bread in most recipes.

Tips and Tricks to Avoid Eating Too Much

It is recommended during weight loss that an individual break their daily calories into small frequent meals. Try to stick to normal eating routines even on the holidays. Even if the Thanksgiving meal is at lunch instead of dinner, keep the portions and calorie count within the normal range.

Don’t take seconds and stay away from breads, starches and sugars.

Drink ice water or unsweetened ice tea before and during the meal. The body must warm up the cold beverage to be used by the body. The warming process burns extra calories. Also, the added fluids will create a sense of fullness and ward off excessive hunger and the tendency to over eat.

Relax and Enjoy the Day

These are all just suggestions. It’s not so much about what is eaten but how much is eaten. Calories consumed must be less than calories burned in order for weight loss to occur. The problem with holiday eating is that there tends to be so many food choices, many of them are rich and high in calories. It’s really all about choices. Relax and enjoy the day but remember to follow basic weight loss rules. Take small portions. Choose foods that are low fat, low salt and low in sugar. Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Make it a special day without regret.

Copyright Amy Wingfield. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society is marking the 35th Great American Smokeout on November 18 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help.

What’s Your Fitness Personality?

Find an activity that’s perfect for you

Busy moms find it hard to squeeze in time for fitness, even though managing kids, home and job can feel like a workout in itself. To find an exercise that works for you (and to improve your chances of sticking with it), you need to match your personality to the perfect activity. Whether it’s yoga, running or even boxing, each has great benefits for your heart and your head.

Personality Type: Couch Potato

The Perfect Activity: Cardiovascular training. Ten-minute exercise sessions three times a day can be as beneficial as a longer session. Use the kids’ nap or homework time to do squats or sit-ups, run in place or jump rope.
Time: 30 minutes per day, three to five days per week
Calories burned: 300 per day*

Personality Type: Social Butterfly

The Perfect Activity: Group sports. Find a partner and start running, or organize a regular group cycling time. Just be careful not to turn exercise into a pure social hour — if you can easily carry on a full, animated conversation during your aerobic exercise (no gasps for air), you may not be working at a high enough intensity.
Time: 30 minutes per session, three to five days per week
Calories burned: cycling, 250*; running, 327*

Personality Type: Multitasker

The Perfect Activity: Out-of-the-box aerobic classes. Try kickboxing, for example. It requires focus, yet offers variety — you’ll constantly switch from the punching bag and push-ups to jumping jacks and sidekicks. With circuit-training classes, you move from one exercise to the next without resting, which keeps your heart rate elevated and maximizes your workout time.
Time: 30 minutes per session, three to five days per week
Calories burned: kickboxing, 422*; circuit training, 281*

Personality Type: Soloist

The Perfect Activity: Swimming or yoga. Swimming laps can be both a solitary and a rigorous exercise. Yoga is a personal practice involving a great deal of introspection and concentration. Both are great full-body workouts — and perfect for getting some healthy time alone.
Time: half-hour swim; one-hour yoga session (video or class)
Calories burned: swimming, 144*; yoga, 90* to 300* (depending on the type of yoga)

*Calories burned are approximate, based on a 150-pound person and will vary with intensity level. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.