“Change one thing at a time because [if] you start changing every single thing, you’re more likely to not succeed,” said Jennifer Rushing, Cartersville Medical Center’s dietitian and diabetes education coordinator. “[So it is helpful to] change just one thing at a time and usually it takes two weeks or so of doing the same thing repetitively for it to become a habit.
“So [I would suggest] things like adding a piece of fruit at breakfast, drinking less soda [because soda] is full of empty calories — just fat and sugar calories. The calories that soda has is not going to be used for anything except excess fat. It just builds fat. [I recommend you replace it with] water, fruit juices every now and then, but only 100 percent fruit juice.”
Along with eating three meals a day plus healthy snacks, Rushing also advises people to consume the appropriate serving portion for each food component.
“When you’re looking at a plate, we like to see half of the plate with vegetables and then a quarter of the plate is your meat,” Rushing said. “Three ounces of meat is a good portion size. A lot of Americans overeat their protein. And then you want to have a piece of fruit, a glass of milk and then the other quarter of the plate as starches — so your breads and potatoes. [The serving size for meat] is a deck of cards or I like to use the palm of your hand. So the palm of your hand in width and thickness is a good portion for a size of meat.
“When you eat healthier, you feel better and it’s, of course, healthy for the heart and the body. Eating healthier fats is going to be better for the heart instead of the unhealthy fats. It decreases your risk of all the chronic diseases — heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease.”
For Mickey Eastman, losing weight was not an easy task, it was a slow transformation that led to a healthier lifestyle regimen. Along with introducing more nutritional foods into her diet, the 55-year-old Euharlee resident also is routinely working out at CAIR Plus Fitness Center.
“I did lose probably about 15 pounds in the last 10, 12 months and now I’m kind of maintaining but I’d like to loose a little more weight if possible,” Eastman said. “[I am] just trying to watch what I eat, be more aware of what goes in my mouth. I keep a journal, so everything that I put in my mouth I write it down. [Now I am eating] more fruits, salads, less bread and potatoes. And we don’t eat anything fried or anything like that [but] every now and then we do splurge a little bit.
“And then we both joined the gym,” she said, also referring to her boyfriend. “So that’s probably the [main] thing. We go to the gym at least five days a week. I usually do the bike and then some of the weight machines and then I try to get over once or twice a week and do one or two of the classes. I like the step class and the Zumba class. Then, we also try to play racquetball two or three times a week.”
According to United States Department of Agriculture’s website www.choosemyplate.gov, “Adults should do at least [two] hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level or [one] hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level. Being active [five] or more hours each week can provide even more health benefits. Spreading aerobic activity out over at least [three] days a week is best. Also, each activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time. Adults should also do strengthening activities, like push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights, at least [two] days a week. ...
“Physical activity is generally safe for everyone. The health benefits you gain from being active are far greater than the chances of getting hurt. Here are some things you can do to stay safe while you are active:
• If you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly and build up.
• Learn about the types and amounts of activity that are right for you.
• Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.
• Build up the time you spend before switching to activities that take more effort.
• Use the right safety gear and sports equipment.
• Choose a safe place to do your activity.
• See a health care provider if you have a health problem.”
With 150 minutes of physical activity a week being recommended, Rushing encourages adults to select exercises they enjoy.
“Exercise, whether it’s strength exercises or cardio, whatever kind of exercise you choose, find something that works for you because if it’s an exercise that you hate doing, you’re not going to continue doing it,” she said. “So find one that works for you. If you have bad knees, swimming is great. If you love to run, then go run, but if you hate running, that’s not going to work for you.”
Currently enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, Eastman said she has experienced many improvements in her overall well-being, such as increasing her flexibility.
“[To lose weight, you] just take it one morsel at a time every day,” Eastman said. “Don’t look like a month down the road and set your goals too high and then feel like you failed. Just go every day and if you go off the edge on one day, you can pick it back up the next.”