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How Many Calories Do You Need?

Recently, I visited FOX 4 Good Day with Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, to ‘weigh in’ (pun-intended) on recent allegations of fitness bands and fitness technology making us fat.

If you don’t have a fitness band, the likelihood that you know someone who does is pretty high. Now there are even Tory Burch bracelets designed to make the Fitbit® Flex more fashionable to wear. The technology’s purpose is to help you achieve your health and fitness goals, but if you’re only receiving the data provided (i.e. calories burned and steps walked) you may misinterpret your results. Click here to watch Meridan’s explanation on Good Day. Her recommendation is to use the fitness technology as a tool and to educate yourself by meeting with a registered dietitian to learn your Resting Metabolic Rate for a baseline measurement.

After the news segment, I met with Colleen Loveland, MS, RD, LD, CDE, to try out the Resting Metabolic Rate test myself. Check out the video below!

For optimal relaxation, Colleen said she typically turns down the lights and plays soothing music. Since we wanted to capture it on video for our followers, we made a few adjustments. To learn more about the Resting Metabolic Rate at Cooper Clinic, visit our website or call 972.560.2655.

Look Great and Feel Great This Summer

An easy way to remember the servings of fruits and vegetables you should be eating daily is to think, “five is fine, nine is divine”.

Everyone wants to look great and feel great, especially in the summer months. Cooper Clinic dietitian Elana Zimelman, RDN, LD, CDE, provides simple strategies to wear summer tank tops, shorts and swim suits with confidence.

Hydrate every day. It is recommended that women get 11 cups of fluid per day and men get 15 cups of fluid per day. These do not have to be solely water. Keep a water bottle handy so you have it on your mind and have it with you all of the time. Water prevents over-snacking; we think we are hungry but we are probably thirsty. Not only will hydration help you feel great at the pool, but studies show dehydration can affect energy levels, fitness and even job performance.

Don’t overdo the alcohol. Moderation is essential when it comes to alcohol, because there’s a fine line between a potential benefit of a glass of red wine and doing harm to your body. Alcohol provides extra calories—that add up quickly! It reduces your inhibitions, which leads you to eat unhealthy foods and more of it. To moderate your alcohol intake, alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water, decaffeinated tea or another sugar-free beverage.

Don’t eat a lot of salty foods. To look and feel your best, plan a clean diet with fresh produce, fruits and veggies. This is easy to do in the summer with watermelon, peaches, plums and more, all in season. Elana says fruit is nature’s candy—enjoy it!

With a turkey sandwich for lunch, replace the starchy pretzels, crackers or chips with crunchy carrot sticks or cucumber slices. This will help get rid of processed foods that are high in salt, which makes us retain water.

Receive proper nutrition every day and keep your calories in check.

  1. Eat breakfast every day. Eating breakfast has proven to decrease the chances of overeating during the day and it helps to pack in the nutrients early! Aim to pair fiber and protein to start your day. Prepare a bowl of oatmeal, sweetened with raspberries with a side of egg whites. If you’re not an oatmeal lover, try natural peanut butter on 1-2 slices of whole wheat toast with a sliced banana.
  1. Eat every 3-4 hours. Plan three meals, with 1-2 snacks prepared throughout the day. Measure and pre-package snacks to manage portion control. Ideally each snack should be approximately 150-200 calories. My two favorite snacks that Elana suggested to pack for the office are 1) a small handful of nuts (10-14 almonds) with an apple and 2) a high fiber granola bar like the Kashi® Dark Chocolate Mocha (it goes great with a cup of decaffeinated coffee!) When selecting protein or snack bars, look for lower amounts of sugar and plenty of protein and fiber. View Cooper Clinic healthy snack recipes here.

With these helpful strategies, soak up the sun (don’t forget SPF) and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. For information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition services, click here or call 972.560.2655.

Peanut Butter at Cedars Woodfire Grill at Cooper Aerobics

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

From smoothies comes a tasty, healthier peanut butter! When in Cedars recently, the manager, Justin Self, was delivering a jar of freshly-made peanut butter. I overheard the conversation and asked to learn more. Members, trainers and guests asked about the type of peanut butter that was used to make the smoothies. To cut back on sugar and fat, Justin wanted to provide a healthier option. He decided to make his own peanut butter to eliminate the mystery. He said, “You should know what’s in your food. We get the creamy texture by heating the peanuts and using all-natural friction, not hexabromocyclododecane.” And yes, hexabromocyclododecane is a word—it is a chemical that generates heat.

Now nearly all of the employees at our location have been trained to create this simply delicious recipe. Although it is not on the menu yet, it’s something to ask for! Made with only peanuts and sea salt, it is lower in calories and very tasty. Next time you are in Cedars Woodfire Grill at Cooper Aerobics, ask for a sample! An eight-ounce mason jar is sold for $6.75 (pre-tax). They also created a second recipe with local honey for a sweeter taste, sold for $7.75 (pre-tax).

Cedars Woodfire Grill at Cooper Aerobics opened in July 2013 as part of the multi-million dollar renovation of Cooper Fitness Center. Cedars Woodfire Grill has two other locations—one in Plano and one in Frisco, but our location is the only Cedars to serve breakfast and smoothies. The “eat well, live well, feel good” philosophy is a natural fit for Cooper Aerobics. Click here to learn more about the relationship between Cooper Aerobics and Cedars Woodfire Grill.

If you’re in the Dallas area, stop by and give Cedars a try. We’re open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Download the menu and call 972.560.2700 with any questions or a to-go order.

See-Food, Supplementation and Exercises for Your Eye Health

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Have you been spending a lot of ‘screen time’ with a new gadget from Christmas? The average American adult spends an average of 9.5 hours every day in front of a screen. Do you think that sounds too high? It adds up. Between a computer screen at work, watching the news at home, playing Candy Crush on an iPhone, browsing Pinterest on your iPad. Cooper Clinic Dietitian Meridan Zerner explained recently on Fox 4 Good Day that all of those devices (and anything with a screen) emit a blue light which is problematic for the retina. Yes, we can be more aware about our ‘screen time’, but what else can we do? Meridan gave suggestions for diet, supplementation and even eye exercises. Check it out below.

Diet

Try a “see-food” diet. Ha! Really, though—eat salmon, sardines or tuna two to three times a week to receive omega-3—this acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Meridan said to literally eat your garnish. Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and baby spinach should be in your daily diet. These veggies are not only for good health, but also for your eye health. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are actually in your eyes. When I think of eating healthy for my eyes, I think of carrots. But I learned lutein and zeaxanthin have been proven to be much more effective than beta-carotene, which is found in carrots and other orange vegetables.

Supplementation

Do you really need supplements? Meridan said this is when to take a reality check. Are you going to eat perfectly every day? Are you really going to have fish two to three times a week and five to nine servings of vegetables a day? New Year’s is a great time to make healthy changes, but if the answer is no, then that’s where supplements come into play. Cooper Complete®’s newest product, MVP (Maximum Vision Performance), is a great supplement to support eye health. It includes vitamin D, omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin. Learn more about it here.

Eye Workouts

Yes, these really help. Meridan said eye works are beneficial, especially for those of us who have a lot of screen time!

  • Do an exaggerated eye roll and blink definitively. Do it in the other direct and repeat for five reps. This exercise will stretch your eye muscles.
  • She also suggested using the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen, look 20 feet away and focus for 20 seconds.

Also evaluate the distance you sit from a computer screen. Studies show that you should be at least an arm’s length away from a computer screen. Take frequent breaks for your mind, body and eyes.

For more information about Cooper Complete nutritional supplements, visit coopercomplete.com.

Life in Transition

December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Jasmin, who was an intern for Cooper Consulting Partners, contributed Living a Life of Alignment to our blog earlier this fall. As she wrapped up her internship and makes a transition to her next steps in her career, she shared her thoughts on change.

Change can be such an intricate process. It comes in many forms and with multiple layers.

Change can be challenging. In many presentations I’ve heard at Cooper Aerobics, we hear the experts discuss behavioral change. There are different phases in readiness to change, as well as different stages* to navigate on your own personal journey to maintaining that change.

  • Precontemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance

Change can be beautiful. I’ll especially miss driving through or past the Cooper Aerobics campus and seeing the brown, orange and red leaves recently fallen from those majestic trees. Autumn has historically been my favorite season just for this simple course of nature. I find that when I’m facing a challenging change, if I take a step back and recognize the ‘little wonders,’ something as simple as nature around me, it helps me to proceed more calmly. It reminds me of the internal wellness program at Cooper Aerobics—Cooper Fit and the presentations about stress management and guided meditation. During this, Erika Bazan from Cooper Spa reminded us of how essential it was to take moments for deep breaths. Check out this video with Erika. If you seek, I think you can find beauty in every transition.

Change can be exciting. When we’re moving from one space to another—physically, mentally, or emotionally, I think the scary, challenging part is leaving the familiar. Yet, this does not negate the excitement of stepping into the unknown. I believe little surprises are often around the corners of life’s journey if we dare to turn. New experiences open our minds to be creative, drawing upon past lessons and eagerly looking towards the future.

For whatever 2014 may bring, we wish you a Happy, healthy New Year!

*Transtheoretical model of behavior change

Gifts That Keep on Giving

December 23, 2013 Leave a comment

In response to an article in our e-newsletter, The Cooperized, a fan wrote a question.

Our treadmill broke a month ago, and we have been looking for a replacement.  I’m hearing people say get a stair stepper or one of those swinging machines, but not to get a treadmill.  What is the best fitness machine for the home? 

To provide the best response, we called the Director of Fitness of Cooper Fitness Center, DallasMary Edwards, to answer. We thought we would share her insight for anyone considering a new piece of equipment for a gift during the holidays or to jump start the New Year.

Great question! I think the “best machine” for home use is dependent on the person’s needs and goals. Think about the following:

  • Do you have knee or hip issues? If so, you need to purchase a machine that is non-weight bearing, like a recumbent or upright bike or elliptical variation.
  • What do you enjoy? Though that seems simple or trivial, purchase a machine that offers a motion you enjoy. Those that hate to run may find less use for a treadmill, but may enjoy all of the programs that an elliptical can offer.
  • What do you have access to outdoors? In other words, if your neighborhood is well set up for walking and jogging, you may want to consider an elliptical. If it is not possible to walk or run in your area, a treadmill or elliptical purchase would be just fine.

The key to the best exercise machine is one that does not cause you pain. I highly encourage use of a heart rate monitor to determine actual heart rate and thus, exercise intensity. The best adaptations and metabolic stimulus are seen when cardiovascular exercise is consistent throughout the week and incorporates a variety of training: low intensity, long duration; medium intensity or tempo effort; and high intensity interval, short duration. This challenges your whole range of cardiovascular capacity (aerobic to anaerobic), as well as provides great mental stimulation due to the change in workout options/routine.

For those of you wanting to know what equipment we have at Cooper Fitness Center— all of our cardiovascular equipment is Precor®, we are partial!

For other last minute gift ideas see: Fitness Band or Pedometer? What’s on Your List? and Kitchen Gadget Gifts.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas from ours to yours!

Living a Life of Alignment

November 12, 2013 1 comment

Some people will know Cooper Aerobics by a particular “entity” that has somehow made a connection in their life. This could be a youth program at Cooper Fitness Center, a preventive exam at Cooper Clinic or our Cooper Complete vitamins in local grocery stores. For an impressionable graduate student to have the opportunity to work for three of the eight Cooper businesses during her post-baccalaureate career is a testament to the teammates of Cooper Aerobics and the culture we strive to maintain. Jasmin shared her passion for writing with our team and I asked her to write a guest blog post. We discussed her busy lifestyle as a working graduate student and how working in an environment where health and wellness is a priority can help align your life.

One of my favorite lyrics of all time comes from The Beatles song ‘All You Need is Love’. The line states, “There’s no place you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be, it’s easy.” As I sat in the Coaching Healthy Behaviors course at The Cooper Institute a few weeks ago, that phrase resonated with me. I considered all the steps that led me to that point. Last September, I started working as a service desk associate at Cooper Fitness Center. After a few months of inquiry, I landed an internship with the research department at The Cooper Institute for the summer. This experience equipped me with skills that enabled me to apply for my current position, a corporate wellness intern at Cooper Consulting Partners. It’s like each step aligned perfectly with the next.

Alignment is a lively word, isn’t it? It makes me think of attempting yoga moves, lengthening and adjusting your limbs appropriately to achieve a posture gracefully. Living a life of alignment to me, is when every aspect of your life flows nicely with the other. Your personal goals, professional goals, health goals—everything is working synergistically. I strive for this type of alignment. I used to think it was important to remain super busy and to balance it all. But, now, I’ve learned that less is more, especially when everything you do has a significant purpose.

While taking that course that day I experienced a moment of clarity—a moment where I could clearly see that I was where I was meant to be. I think those moments come often when you are living a life of alignment. And all of those little moments add up to your life’s journey towards fulfilling your purpose. It’s a beautiful thought, don’t you think?

Want to be an intern or apply for a position with Cooper Aerobics? Click here to see the available opportunities. Join Cooper Consulting Partners on Thursday for ‘Leading a Fit Business’ one-day seminar. Register today to learn the proven methods to influence a culture of wellness.