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Posts Tagged ‘foods’

I Can’t vs. I Don’t!

Hello again! It’s been a while, but I’m back to update you on my health journey. And what a journey it has been… thanks to life, technically uneven pavement, getting in the way. I fell and sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago, and as a result I have not been able to exercise. It’s amazing how an injury can impact your mood and motivation. While I’m maintaining the early weight loss I had experienced, not much else has changed. I talked to Meridan Zerner, my Cooper Clinic registered dietitian, about feeling deflated and she had a great tip to get my mental attitude in shape while I wait on my body to heal.

She says that every day is a new day and a new opportunity to build a long-term healthy foundation. That means, ideally, the choices we make today should be decisions, patterns, foods and activities that we can see ourselves doing next month, next year and five years from now. Meridan shared that on a plane ride home from visiting her family she was struck by an article in Health magazine. Researchers looked at the change in psychology and attitude when people said “I don’t” instead of “I can’t” regarding food challenges. They were more successful by switching their mentality to one that was more positive and committed to change and less about deprivation. Think about replacing the unhealthy words “I can’t” with the healthier “I don’t” or  “I choose not to” when confronted with difficult situations.

It’s amazing the power you give yourself and allow yourself to experience from the simple words of “I can, but I don’t.” A perfect example is a man named Reuben who works at HEB and is participating in its “Slim Down Showdown” challenge. Meridan is his nutrition coach via phone. She said that people bring donuts and other desserts to his office and one colleague is especially giving him a hard time about his health journey. Instead of falling into the jealous man’s trap, Reuben simply replies with “I can have it, but I choose not to.” The power is now on his side and it shows he is taking control of his health.

This new mindset is very inspiring. I’m excited to refocus how I view my choices. It’s very freeing being in control, rather than feeling like I’m a prisoner to what I can’t have. I hope this is helpful for you, too! Let me know what you think!

Full disclosure: HEB is a client of Cooper Consulting Partners and the “Slim Down Showdown” participants work with Cooper Wellness throughout their journey.

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.

Foods that Fight Pain

June 19, 2012 2 comments

How are you doing on your healthy-living journey? Mine has been a little painful the past couple of weeks, literally. The increased exercise, both cardio and weights, is giving my knees fits! So I’m going to focus on incorporating more foods that fight pain.

Meridan Zerner, my Cooper Clinic registered dietitian, gave me an article from the July issue of Environmental Nutrition called, “Soothe Pain with Foods, from Fish to Fruits.” It talks about how daily food choices can either reduce or increase levels of inflammation in the body… impacting levels of pain. Foods high in refined starches, sugar, saturated fats and trans fats can increase inflammation, while diets high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats plus fish and limiting processed foods and red meat are linked with lower inflammation. That makes sense to me and drives the point home that “bad” food can make you feel, well, bad.

Here are some of the top items Meridan and I discussed that can help my knees and entire body feel better:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil, produce arthritic pain-reducing effects equivalent to ibuprofen,” the article says. And of course, glucosamine and chondroitin can help alleviate pain over time due to injuries or osteoarthritis. We have a ton of information on these supplements since we sell Omega-3 and Joint Health through Cooper Complete®. For more articles on this topic, check out this search from our Health Tips section.

    I love Tropical Green Organic Tea by Zhi Tea in Austin!

  • We’ve long known that green tea is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflamatory properties. I just bought a can of Tropical Green Tea from Zhi Tea in Austin while visiting my Dad for Father’s Day. It smells and tastes delicious! During the hot summer I prefer to ice my green tea. Meridan had a few other awesome tips: put the tea bag in soup and let it steep for a couple of minutes (shut the front door!); add a tea bag to boiling water for brown rice (brilliant!); or if you think green tea tastes bitter combine it with a cinnamon or other flavor to jazz it up (why didn’t I think of that!).
  • Fresh cherries or tart cherry juice are also linked with reducing muscle soreness after intense physical activity. Yum! Cherries are in season and I know this thanks to my Central Market mailer. Pomegranate and red grapes are also in the alleviate pain category.
  • I was surprised to see coffee on the list, which has been shown to reduce muscle pain during and after exercise. I can’t imagine heading to my Zumba class with a cup of coffee, but it’s good to know that the one cup I typically drink in the morning is helping me in more ways than simply wake up.
  • Spices are another area that are great for reducing pain and can certainly enhance the flavor of any dish. Try ginger, rosemary, chili and nutmeg. Add a dash of cayenne to spice things up and may help you eat a little less depending on how hot you make your dish. I’m a lightweight, so one dash is all I need.

These foods will help ensure I can stay physically active while I work on my health-living, and hopefully pain-free, journey. I can hear my iced green tea and your cup of tart cherry juice clinking as we speak! Cheers!

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.