• 30Jan
    Thanks to BCBS of Georgia for the pedometers!

    Is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get fit losing momentum?  Why not join us in our Wellness @ Work Get Fit Challenge?

    Launching today, each participating employee (including yours truly) will track how many steps we walk daily and report them to our assigned health coach on campus each Friday.  Prizes will be given throughout the challenge to motivate us to keep moving.

    Why participate?  For me personally, I’m taking an unplanned running hiatus, so I’m actually trying to compensate by boosting my low impact activity!  Aside from my personal goals, I already love the competitive spirit and creativity that our challenge has started around campus (as in Excel spreadsheets with graphs and a proposal to bring dogs to work to promote walking).

    No matter what your fitness level, walking is something everyone can participate in doing.    We hope to see more walk & talk meetings, walking groups at lunch time and walking to and from each others’ work spaces.

    How many steps should you take per day?  For good health, 10,000 steps per day is recommended, or the equivalent of walking 5 miles.   Even if you don’t have time to schedule a five mile walk, anyone can make time for short walking breaks throughout the day that total 10,000 steps!

    Want to join us?   Here are the steps to get started!

    Buy a pedometer. Pedometers come in all sizes and pricetags.  If you have a smartphone, you can download a pedometer app as well.  Find one that works for you, attach it to your waist every day, and write down your results each night.

    Know your baseline.  If you haven’t been active lately, 10,000 steps per day may not be a realistic goal just yet.  Wear the pedometer for a day or two while doing your usual actitivites to get an idea of your baseline activity level.

    Set small goals. If you normally walk between 2000-3000 steps per day, set a goal to walk 3500-4000 steps per day for the first week.  For week 2, step it up a notch and aim for 4000-5000 steps per day.  Adjust as you are able to without overdoing it or injuring yourself until you reach 10,000 steps per day!

    Reward yourself. For each day you achieve your steps goal, put 50 cents or $1.00 in a jar.  At the end of the eight week challenge, go buy yourself a “prize” with the money you saved.   Choose something fitness related – maybe upgrade your pedometer, buy a meditation CD to listen to after your walks, or a new pair of walking shoes!

  • 29Dec

    As we head into the new year, many of us strive to make resolutions in an effort to treat our mind and bodies right.  Unfortunately, after the initial push to live the healthy life, many of us fall victim to the mid-January slouch, when we realize that the weather outside is still frightful and our motivation has started to dwindle; until alas, we are back to our old habits.  How do we avoid this seemingly inevitable trend?  I am so glad you asked! J

    The first step is to develop accountability.  It seems so easy and intuitive, yet many people never think to create a system that keeps them in check.  Whether it’s teaming up with someone in the office to discuss your goals or simply writing down your resolutions and revisiting them daily, it is important that you make a conscious effort to keep your resolutions top of mind and .  One tool I have developed for clients is a self-contract for goals.  When coming up with your New Year’s Resolutions (or Goals) you really need to write them down, using the SMART formula.

    Make sure that your goals have the following characteristics:

    S: Are the Specific? While I can easily say that I would like to eat better this new year, it is hard to determine what that really means on a daily basis and if I am really achieving that goal.  Instead, make goals as specific as possible, such as: Eat 3-4 Fruits and Vegetables a day and cut down on sweets to 1 dessert per week.  When our goals are clear and specific it is much easier for our brains to know how to be successful!

    M: Are they Measurable?  Quantify your goals!  You don’t just want to lose weight, you want to lose 10 pounds or fit into a size 8.  By having numbers you can measure progress which helps facilitate motivation and long term success.

    A: Are they Attainable? While goals are a great way to spark change, setting goals that are unattainable are self-sabotaging and often lead to relapses or negative behaviors.  Keep in mind when setting goals that they should be achievable.  Increasing my cardio fitness to the level of Lance Armstrong is highly unlikely, so why set myself up for failure.  Instead set a goal like completing so many minutes of cardio per week in order to increase cardio fitness.  Much easier to track and I’ll still be striving for the same result.

    R: Are they Realistic? Remember that we are human, and the occasional slip is not something to fret about.  When setting goals, avoid using terms like NEVER, EVERY or ALWAYS.  These phrases are not realistic since life is unpredictable, and is it best to remain flexible.  Saying that you will hit the gym every day is great in theory, but what if you get sick, injured or have a social obligation.  The goal is health and you may need to take a day off. Then you skip and the guilt sets in.  Setting realistic goals allows us to maintain flexibility and stay focused on what really matters.

    T: Are they Time-Oriented? Always have an end date.  This allows us to track progress and avoid procrastination.  We all like a healthy dose of competition and it a great kick start to achieve any goal as we see that date approaching.  Remember it takes 4 weeks to make a habit and 8 weeks to see a change, so give yourself enough time to see success, but avoid a long term date that hinders motivation to keep the changes going.

    Once you have your goals set, make the commitment to change by signing a contract to yourself.  Feel free to print off the goal setting worksheet and contract below to help get the results you were looking for.  It’s a New Year, so here’s to the New You!

    Use this tool to help create your goals for the coming year!

  • 09Nov

     

    More information? Click on the image to see how you can get involved!

    Open Hand, the nonprofit to which all Good Measure Meals™ proceeds go to, seriously has the most creative ways to raise money to support educating and feeding the community.  Currently, we are working on the Empty Bowl Project, which raises awareness about hunger in Atlanta.

     How fun is this….  People interested in participating in this fundraiser get to play or eat!  Seriously! Between Friday, October 1 – Sunday, November 14 those wanting to contribute to the cause simply have to swing by Wired and Fired (994 Virginia Avenue/ 404.885.1024) pick out a bowl ($12) and let their creativity soar!  There are so many glazes to choose from and the purpose is to create a fun and colorful bowl that will then be donated.  All the donated bowls will then be put on display, Wednesday November 17th from 11am to 5 pm at Murphy’s (404.872.0904) in Virginia Highlands. 

    This is where the second round of fun happens.  You can purchase any of the donated bowls and have it filled with a delicious dish from a special bowl menu prepared by Executive chef Tom Harvey for $20!  All proceed benefit Open Hand!

    Can you think of a better way to raise money for a great cause? Get your family or friends together and paint those bowls, or schedule your lunch at Murphy’s on the 17th and enjoy a delicious dish and a new bowl created with love!  So many ways to participate and enjoy philanthropy!

    Check out the pictures below of the GMM/Open Hand Staff painting our very own bowls!  What fun!  You can bet that we’ll be there on the 17th to enjoy Chef Harvey’s soup in the very bowls we decorated!

    We had a blast! What a great way to spend an afternoon!Some of the GMM Staff getting creative for a cause!

    The GMM Staff getting creative for a cause!

  • 25Oct

    When analyzing your body composition there are two numbers that we pay most attention to: Body Fat & and Fat Free Mass.  I figured that for you to gain a better understanding of why these numbers are so important, I should take a few moments to explain what each one is and how we can strive to improve them!

    Body Fat Percentage:

    This is the percentage of your body that is comprised of fat.  Because fat plays an important role in daily body functions, you need a certain amount of fat in order to live to your fullest.  Fat is responsible for cushioning joints, protecting organs, regulating body temperature and storing vitamins.  While you need a certain amount of fat, too much fat has adverse effects on the body and is associated with health risks such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, thyroid disorder, arthritis, sleep apnea, and many more.  A healthy/desirable Body Fat % range based on your particular age and gender is located on the scale below:

    Are you in the healthy range?

     

    Fat Free Mass:

    This is your fat free mass, which is basically everything that is not fat: muscle, water, bone, connective tissue, etc.  By increasing this mass you lower your body fat percentage, so look to improve this number by gaining muscle mass or improving bone strength(through impact exercises).

    Ultimately, our goal is to have the optimal amount of body fat for maximal efficiency.  We lower our health risks by staying in the healthy range, so eating healthy foods low in trans fats and saturated fats partnered with regular exercise are an essential part of your health plan.  You can also increase your Fat Free Mass by engaging your muscles in regular resistance training.  The more muscle your body has, the more efficiently it burns calories, so you lower body fat % from two angles!

     How are you working towards the healthy body fat range?  Please share some of the things you do to stay lean and healthy!

    Want to know your numbers?  Email me at jparsons@goodmeasuremeals.com to set up your Body Comp Analysis!

  • 21Oct

    With the spotlight shifting to preventative measures in health and wellness, it is no wonder that we are looking to new technology and resources to help us determine exactly what our health status is and set goals that will direct us to our optimal state of well-being.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to unveil one of Good Measure Meals’™ tools on live TV!  Check out Good Measure’s demo of the Tanita SC-331s Body Composition Analyzer on Atlanta & Company! 

    Check out GMM on Atlanta & Company!

    I had a blast on the show and we had a great response from callers looking to understand their measurements and get help setting wellness goals.  Our Tanita Scale is the latest addition to the Tanita Family and increases the amount of information that we are able to provide clients.  The scale uses Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis to accurately read a client’s body composition within a minute’s time.  Each client receives a printout including:

    • Weight
    • Impedance
    • Fat Percentage
    • Fat Mass
    • Fat Free Mass
    • Total Body Water Percentage
    • Total Body Water Mass
    • Muscle Mass
    • Physique Rating
    • Basal Metabolic rate
    • Metabolic Age
    • Bone Mass
    • Visceral fat Rating
    • Body Mass Index

    Our team reviews all of the measurements and assists in setting healthy goals to attain optimal weight, energy intake and state of health.  This tool can be used for individuals up to 600lbs and is portable and can be reserved for use at health fairs, biometric screenings, or other health and wellness events.

    Pricing:  Individuals          $30

                    Group                   $10/person (minimum 10) or  $100/hour or  $500/Day(8 Hours)

    Feel Free to contact me at jparsons@goodmeasuremeals.com if you are interested in getting tested or want us to come to your company’s health fair!

    Do you know what the above measurements mean and why they are important for wellness professionals to gauge your current state of well-being?  Check back in as I go through some of the most important measurements and how you can improve your numbers!

  • 29Sep

    What on earth is corporate wellness?

    I will go ahead and apologize for my “on-camera” skills, but I thought I would share with you all a little about what I do here at Good Measure Meals™.  Check out the video short below on GMM Corporate Wellness.

    Click on the YouTube link to learn more about Corporate Wellness

    Corporate Wellness is one of those vague terms that are thrown around without much knowledge about what it actually comprises.  I figured I could post this week’s blog about Corporate Wellness and what I actually do to help people understand why so much focus is being placed on employee health.  Good Measure Meals™ hired me this past January to develop a Comprehensive Wellness Program that we could implement in the corporate environment.  The thought is that GMM provides nutrition to our community, but so much can be done to expand on wellness through education and program implementation that will motivate and inspire working populations to invest in their health. 

    Think about the amount of time you spend at work.  We’ll average 8 hours, which is ½ of your day that you spend awake, assuming you are getting the recommended amount of sleep.  That means that half of your time Monday –Friday is spent at work, probably sitting at a computer, or performing tasks that have minimal physical activity requirements.  Partner the sedentary workplace environment with a lunch rush that leaves you foregoing a balanced diet and also increasing stress from deadlines and bosses and we have a the elements of a perfect storm.  So why does your company care?  Well, there are many reasons that the modern company takes a vested interest in their employee’s health.  The biggest reason is insurance costs.  About $2.3 trillion is spent annually treating preventable conditions brought on by unhealthy living.  The corporate community has realized that by investing on the front end of wellness, a great deal of money can be saved by preventing chronic diseases.  While saving on insurance costs is reason enough to invest in employee health, employers also noticed that Corporate Wellness Programs we increasing productivity, employee morale, retention, and decreasing absenteeism.  The benefits of preventative measures paid off big, and now most companies large and small and finding ways to implement wellness programs into their workplace culture.

    At GMM, we are all about educating and assisting our community in adopting a healthy lifestyle, so this partnership is quite intuitive.  In the last 9 months, GMM has worked extensively with the corporate community to offer educational Lunch and Learns about Wellness in the Workplace, Nutrition and Behavior Modification, as well as create programming and initiatives to get people on the right track towards optimal health and wellness.  From city employees and teachers to lawyers and consultants, GMM has worked to develop site specific programs that engage and educate employees about investing in their health and seen great results.  An 8-week Biggest Loser competition allowed one municipality to collectively lose over 250 pounds collectively, and a series of lunch and learns at another Atlanta company sparked a companywide initiative to start accruing steps and counting calories.

    Is your company in the need of some health and wellness programing?  Click on the GMM link below to see what all we have to offer and/or email me, Jess Parsons, at jparsons@goodmeasuremeals.com to discuss how we can get your company on board or to invite GMM to your Health, Wellness, & Benefits Fair!

    http://www.goodmeasuremeals.com/products/corporate

    Does your company currently do any wellness programing for their employees?

  • 20Sep

    Enjoying my favorite dish of the evening!

     Thursday, September 9th, I had the pleasure of attending Party in the Kitchen, A Benefit for Open Hand.  If you ever have the opportunity to join in on this annual event, it is an experience of a lifetime and a culinary masterpiece.  In short, the fundraiser hosts Atlanta’s best chefs from the finest restaurants around the city.  Each chef prepares a signature sampling and, as you can imagine, you simply cannot pass up any of the stations.  The food was amazing and the entertainment kept the 400+ crowd on their toes.  There was a silent auction (Which yours truly took home a haircut and facial from Urban Body! Yay!) and a live auction that boasted a dinner for 12, prepared by chefs Kevin Rathburn, Gerry Klaskala, Shane Touhy, Peter Kaiser and Kevin Maxey at the bidders home!  It was so much fun to see the crowd dressed to the nines in their bright whites enjoying the music and food- I really had a blast!  That being said I wanted to share my favorite dish of the evening.  I mean it was all about the food!

    With so many to choose from, the competition was fierce, but there was one in particular that stood out in my world.  I have to admit that my weakness is in the sweeter foods, so finding an appetizer that managed to incorporate the sweet and savory into a delectable bite, simply did the trick!  Being the health conscious wellness professional that I am, I often limit myself to true decadence to once or twice per week- and boy howdy am I glad I saved room for it on Thursday night. Executive Chef Shane Touhy of Dogwood restaurant (www.dogwoodrestaurant.com) concocted a Foie Gras Custard with Cornmeal Johnny Cake, Georgia Peach Compote, and Moscato Syrup.  Please understand that simply adding Moscato to any dish will win you major points in my world, but the use of the southern staples like peach and cornmeal brought a southern elegance that was as playful as it was sophisticated.  I wish I was better with words to adequately describe the dish to you, but alas, I am a Tech grad, and verbiage was never my forte!  For those of you who are visual, take a gander at the dish below!

    Foie Gras Custard with Cornmeal Johnny Cake, Georgia Peach Compote, and Moscato Syrup

    Ashley and I did manage to snap a shot with Chef Touhy, himself and are looking forward to visiting him at Dogwood to try out his other creations. 

    So all-in-all, it was a phenomenal evening and Open Hand raised a significant amount of money to support our Comprehensive Nutrition Care™ which helps people around Georgia prevent or better manage chronic disease through home delivered meals and nutrition education.  Remember that your support of Good Measure Meals™ also supports this mission, so if you were unable to attend Party in the Kitchen, you are still doing your part!

  • 09Aug

     

    If you have read this blog before you know that I was gently coerced into signing up for my first triathlon this summer.  Although I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to been, I had an absolute blast and can’t wait for the next race!  I know that it can be scary to try something new, especially when you don’t know the first thing about training, but there are so many resources now to help, not to mention the outpouring of support from family and friends who all want you to achieve a personal goal.  I think what amazed me the most was the amount of advice that came from individuals that I didn’t know had ever completed a triathlon.  My openness about training and the race led to many great conversations and new friendships!  Talk about a support network!

    Anyway, I know you are all dying to know how it went, so here’s the skinny.  My friend Katie and I set a time goal of 2 hours.  We figured (both being newbies) that this was a realistic starting point, and we would be satisfied finishing in any time under that.  We got up to the race site before dawn on Sunday to set up our transition site.  I cannot begin to tell you how nervous we were, but seeing all of the athletes there (some veterans and other first timers) was actually very reassuring.  We weren’t there to compete with anyone but ourselves and had a new “family” of 650 out there trying to accomplish the same.  How refreshing it is to see so many people really testing themselves!

    We were in the last heat due to our experience level and age, so we started a 19 minutes behind the 1st group.  It gave us a little extra time to see that people were successfully completing the swim, and the likelihood of us drowning was slim to none…whew, one hurdle down.  It was now our turn.  The countdown ended with us running and diving in the lake in a massive heard which was a tad bit unruly.  I got tossed around a bit and learned that next time I need to stick to the outside to avoid the crowd!  I managed to finish in a slow but acceptable time and ran to my transition station, which went quickly.  On to the bike.  This is what I considered to be my strongest leg.  While I didn’t really practice much on the road bike, years of riding as a child and the massive soccer legs gave me the confidence that I needed to start off strong.  I thought I was booking it, but looking at the results in retrospect, I was really middle of the pack- but I felt great nonetheless!  The ride was only 13 miles, but gave me enough time to catch back up to those that flew by me in the swim.  By the time I made it back into the transition station, I had a second wind and flew out of the gates into the run.  Unfortunately, that second wind was short lived as I blew by the first turn only to see a massive hill that immediately warned me of impending doom.  A good many of those in front of me decided to walk the hill, which I decided was a good choice since my legs still wanted to move in the circular pedaling motion.  I lunged up the hill stretching out my quads and hamstrings and at the top decided to really push myself and run the remainder of the route.  I was pretty successful in that challenge; minus the moments I had to walk while taking a drink of water.  Turns out I am not very coordinated and running while drinking resulted in a wet shirt opposed to hydration.   

    I finished the race as strong as I could, leaving everything on the course.  My mom said I was pretty green running through the gate, but I regained color within a few minutes and felt good about the last push to the finish.  I found out that I finished in 1 hour and 38 minutes, well below the 2 hour mark!  While this honestly is pretty middle of the pack, I was ecstatic, as this was my first experience and I had not drowned, crashed, or passed out!  It was a Success!  In fact, Katie had an incredibly strong finish and the other girls that we had trained with/met at the event all seemed so satisfied with their accomplishments as well!  It was such a great event and we are already planning on other triathlons to train for.  I want to thank all of those who supported me and especially my Good Measure family who helped with pre race nutrition and advice on making the most of my nutritional intake and post race recovery!

    Now I am on to my next challenge… any suggestions?  I was thinking maybe rock climbing, kayaking, or some sort of dance class.  If you are interested in taking up a new fitness challenge, let me know and just maybe you’ll see me training with you!  Here’s to being active and always having fun!

  • 27Jul

     

    The internet can be a powerful tool when researching resources and information regarding health and wellness topics (or anything for that matter!).  While I am a big fan of the ease and efficiency that web searches provide, there are still some major caveats and instances when you cannot take information at face value.  After sifting through some health and wellness articles on the web today,  I realized that there might be a need for some of our clients and readers to access legit resources on nutrition that they can share with their families, friends, and co-workers.

    At Good Measure Meals, we strive to meet the science-based nutrition guidelines set forth by several key organizations.  These guidelines allow us to create meal plans for those not only looking to lose or manage weight or time, but also those needing assistance in managing a chronic disease.  The goal is to create a balanced menu that promotes health.  These organizations not only set the guidelines, but also provide tons of great resources which I am linking you to below!

    Check out the American Dietetic Association Website

    The American Dietetic Association has a wealth of knowledge on their website.  My favorites are their 1 page pdf’s on smart snacking, reading food labels, and eating right for a healthy weight.  If you are looking for concise info, these docs are easy to read and great to hand out to others who would benefit from the information!  http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206

    The American Diabetes Association has a lot of tools to use!

    The American Diabetes Association has a great section on Food and Fitness with great ideas on recipes and exercise for folks dealing with type 1 and 2 diabetes.  There is also an entire section dedicated to healthy weight loss with great tips on goal setting,  motivation, food and potion size and diabetes management.  If you are looking to shed some pounds, this is definitely a site that provides some tools to assist you in your pursuit!  http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/weight-loss/

    Another great organization to turn to when looking for information on health and wellness is the American Heart Association (www.heart.org). This site provides all sorts of information on how to keep your ticker kicking!  From Stress Management and nutrition to smoking cessation and physical activity, the AHA gives all sorts of advice on how to improve your quality and duration of life.

    Another site to visit is http://everydaychoices.org which is a collaborative effort of the ADA, AHA, and the American Cancer Society to encourage the prevention and early detection of disease and cancer.  The site helps guide you to what tests you should be taking to monitor your health.  It only takes a minute and is completely worth the time!

    There are many valid and reliable resources available on the web, but always check to see where the information is coming from.  Are there citations or links to citation.  It is a trustworthy website/organization.  If you come across information that you are unsure about, you should ask a health expert!  There are no stupid questions and those of us in the industry welcome and encourage discussion of health issues!  Please let me know if you found these resources helpful!

    In Health,

    Jess

  • 20Jul

    Get Your Co-workers Active!

    It’s that time of year again!  Get your co-workers active and be a part of the “MOVE”ment!  The KP Corporate Run/Walk exists to promote health, wellness and fitness among Metro Atlanta companies and their employees.  If you don’t have a job, don’t worry!  You can sign up as an individual or with a group of friends!  The event takes place on September 16th, but the best part of signing up is the information and training that are provided to help you achieve your goals.  It’s a 5k event, so whether you walk or run with your friends and coworkers, you will have a blast seeing the city streets filled with the “movers” and shakers!

    Running expert (and U.S. Olympian!) Jeff Galloway has put together an 8-week training program for both walkers and runners, as well as collected a plethora of resources on health and fitness through Kaiser and other community organizations.  You even get a free month of gym membership just to help you train!  As one of the sponsors of the event, Good Measure Meals™ has taken it a step further and put together weekly e-blasts with wellness and nutrition tips, Jeff’s Training Program and weekly wellness challenges.  If you think this might help you and your coworkers prepare for the Run/Walk email me your name, company and captain’s info at jparsons@goodmeasuremeals.com.  We provide the education and support; now all you have to do is invest in your health!

    To find out more about the event, please visit http://www.kpcorporaterunwalk.com/index.html . If you are already signed up or have done the event in the past, let me know!  I love to hear success stories!  If you have any questions about starting a Corporate Wellness Program at work, please contact me at work and I will get you started!  It’s never too late to get started!

    The best part is: The Run/Walk benefits the Braves Foundation and the Atlanta Community Food Bank!  You can get healthy while being socially responsible and supporting the health of others in our community!