• 28Feb

    Today’s post contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian and Community Wellness Representative, Rachel Stroud

    You know that age-old black and white food label that seems to just blend right into the side of every box in the grocery store? Ever struggled to know what on earth you were supposed to be looking at on it?

    Well there may be some changes on the horizon.

    Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama and the FDA unveiled their proposed edits for those nutrition labels that have looked the same on every packaged food we’ve purchased since the 1990’s.

    The new design will require companies to structure their nutrition facts off of serving sizes based on amounts that are more realistic for what the average buyer consumes.

    For example, most of us know by now that the “serving size” on the back of a pint of ice cream is listed as 1/2 cup per serving.

    Who actually only eats 1/2 cup of ice cream?! Not me!

    Photo via cnn.com

    Photo via cnn.com.

    With the new labeling system, ice cream, for example, will now be based on a 1-cup serving size. Not because this is the amount we should all be eating, but because it more accurately reflects the amount we are already eating, giving a more truthfully picture of the nutrition facts we’re consuming with a “normal-sized” portion.

    Also under the new system, the Daily Value for Sodium will be based on 2300mg/day rather than 2400mg/day. There will also be a new line included for Added Sugars, under the Carbohydrates category. And say goodbye to “Calories From Fat,” since we will now be paying closer attention to the types of fat, rather than simply the amount.

    For 90 days, the public has a chance to comment on these proposed changes.

    So – what do you think about the food labels makeover?

    Would this make label-reading easier or more accessible to you? Or would you like to go back to thinking there are only 270 calories in that heaping “1/2 cup” of ice cream?

    Let’s discuss. Leave your comments on the post on our Facebook Page!

  • 18Feb

    Hearts, roses, chocolates, candles, red wine, love, pink hearts, red hearts, conversation hearts – blah blah blah, Valentine’s Day is over (amen?).

    Amen. Hallelujah.

    Well actually, February is American Heart Month, so we need to leave our hearts on the table a little longer….or at least our conversations about them.

    Here’s a big fact for you: Did you know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the Number 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.? This includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

    Happy Tuesday, folks.

    Some people are inherently more at risk than others because of their genetics; and sadly, some people are even more at risk because of their race and ethnicity.

    But the important thing to remember is that so many cardiovascular disease-related deaths can be PREVENTED through better eating and health habits, better living spaces, and proper care and control of chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.

    Prevented, friends.

    It’s the year of Committing to Lean in 2014 with Good Measure Meals, and part of getting lean means getting healthy and preventing unnecessary death from cardiovascular disease (because if we’re being honest, nobody’s trying to die early from poor heart upkeep).

    Obviously, at Good Measure Meals, we’re here to help with getting your diet on track. And we do that pretty darn well, actually.

    But another major part of caring for your heart is exercise, and there’s just no way around that. The recommendation is to get your heart-rate up (to a point that it’s difficult to carry on a conversation) 30 minutes per day every day. Are you doing that? I don’t every day, and that’s on me. That’s my bad.

    But you know what? We can help with that, too.
    harmony and philip race numbersplushashtag

    EVERY MONTH, we participate in one 5K race around Atlanta that benefits a local non-profit. For all you newbies, a 5K is 3.1 miles. If you jog at a good 10-minute clip, you’ll have your 30-minutes of exercise for the day, easy peas-y. But walking during 5K’s is also perfectly acceptable.

    Guess what? We have a 5K coming up this weekend, too, and (if you’re a woman) you should really consider joining our “Race for Good” team. This race happens to be a woman’s-only race, because it is in celebration of this awesome organization, Back on My Feet Atlanta’s new women’s running program.

    Back on My Feet Atlanta helps homeless individuals in our city regain self-worth, self-esteem, and good health with the simple act of regularly meeting up to go for group runs. It’s a part-mentoring, part-health-promoting, part-group-bonding experience that really helps put the feet back under people who maybe haven’t had a purpose for their lives in recent memory.

    Anyway, it’s a great cause – not to mention, it is health-promoting for you, also.

    By the way, Good Measure Meals is also partnered with tons of gyms around Atlanta. Each of these gyms have great classes every day for those of you who may not be the running types. And all experience levels have a place in these classes.

    You may remember that time that a group of GMM folks did a bootcamp with some Atlanta firefighters.DSC01318

    Or that time that I did the boot camp with The SweatBox Decatur. That was new for me, and it was an awesome experience, and some really great exercise accountability.

    It’s American Heart Health Month, friends, so I just want to remind you that simply eating better is not going to transform your health.

    If you really want to Commit to Lean in 2014, you’ve got to get real and start caring for your heart. The upside (other than preventing cardiovascular disease, obviously) is that caring for your heart will also help with your weight-loss goals….and most likely your sanity, too.

    Oh, and come join us on Saturday at the Back on My Feet Mizuno Women’s 5K. It’s a great place to start and amazing cause to support.

  • 14Jan

    Katherine here, finishing up the recap of my SweatBox experience from just before the holidays.

    If you missed the first installment, check it out now: http://goo.gl/VEsIOw

    kd tire2

    I wish I could say that I ended my 3-week stint at the SweatBox in full glory, lifting one of those huge monster truck tires over my head like it was merely a box of Christmas decorations intended for the top closet shelf. All in a day’s work, and such.

    It turns out that in real life, Gray and I were out of town for two of the three Fit in 3 weekends, so we missed two of the awesome combined Saturday classes, plus the Friday classes before them. We couldn’t even go to the SweatBox’s Christmas party because we were out of town that weekend!

    Plus, when you add in company and social holiday parties across town after work, Christmas shopping, etc. … let’s just say that I ended up limping to the SweatBox finish line with large gaps in my bootcamp attendance record.

    I ultimately realized a couple of important things about myself at the end of Fit and 3:

    1. I like running.
    2. If there is a way to make an excuse for something slightly inconvenient, I will find a way to do so.
    3. I’m highly competitive when it comes to exercising. Possibly to a fault.
    4. I really actually enjoyed the SweatBox’s class environment and not having to think up every workout on my own every day. Plus the variety in the workouts each time was awesome.

    I also realized from emailing with a GMM customer this week that everyone has a different way that they fit exercise into their schedule to make it work the best for them. For me, I think this is going to be purchasing either a gym membership, utilizing drop-in rates for classes, or investing in a pack of group workouts like they offer at the SweatBox (8 classes for $96). This will allow me some freedom to go to as many or as few group classes as I want each week without going through the personal guilt trip for missing a class (is anyone else hard on themselves when they choose to skip?). Plus I’ll still be able to get in some good long, mindless runs more often, which I love.

    On the other hand, Gray was chomping at the bit to get back into the SweatBox after the holidays.

    You know what he did? He signed himself up (and convinced his roommate to join him) for another round of bootcamp classes there, and this time it’s Fit in 5, so he’ll get an additional two weeks of hardcore, muscle-toning action.

    gray go hard

    “I learned a lot of new exercises and that I needed to work out in a group to get better results,” he said. “It helped me push myself harder than just going on a run or doing those Insanity DVD’s.”

    “And I decided to go back because I started seeing some results, and it felt great to get my butt kicked every night. Felt like I really deserved a good night’s sleep…or that beer on the weekend,” he said.

    How about you? Have you decided to take the plunge and join an exercise group on a regular basis or make the commitment to start working out on your own for a set amount of time and number of days each week?

    If you need any recommendations for good places to look for classes, contact us! We have fitness partners all over the Metro Atlanta area that would be happy to introduce you to their offerings.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned through Fit in 3 at the Sweatbox, it’s that there’s no such thing as “beginner.” Everyone is moving at their own pace on their own personal workout journey. Whether it’s your first step on the journey, or if you’re well on your way toward your goals, the point is to be moving and keep moving.

    man up

     

     

     

  • 27Aug

    Contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian, Laura Delfausse

    So I am a vegetarian.

    No, I don’t mind if you eat that Philly Cheesesteak in front of me; no, I don’t miss bacon; and yes, I get plenty of protein. I do own a juicer (though admittedly I’ve only used it twice), I try to buy organic when it is feasible, and…sometimes…I do wear leather shoes.  The point I am trying to make is that we like to affix labels to people based on our own lifestyle choices. And in my experience, some people fit these stereotypes to a “T,” but most of us do not, and so these labels can be very damaging.

    Take the vegetarian diet, for example. There are so many health benefits to meatless meals, but so many people hesitate to try vegetarianism because they are afraid of meat substitutes or because they think it is impossible to get all of the nutrients they need (even though many cultures have sustained themselves for a millennium on vegetarian diets!).

    GMM Vegetarian Pesto Garbanzo Bean Salad with Mixed Greens

    GMM Vegetarian Pesto Garbanzo Bean Salad with Mixed Greens

    I would never suggest that anyone go vegetarian unless they wanted to, but Americans as a general population eat way too much meat, and this is often because our portion sizes are way out of control.  Cutting back on meat consumption may not be such a bad idea after all.  John’s Hopkins University even started a ‘Meatless Mondays’ campaign with the simple concept of eliminating meat and high fat dairy products on Mondays only.  It’s a wellness-promoting campaign aimed at reducing the intake of saturated fats, which are the heart-clogging fats found mostly in animal products.  According to the University’s research, by cutting out meat and high-fat dairy products for just one day, a person can reduce their overall intake of saturated fats by 15-pecent! That’s a pretty significant amount, and considering heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., this is something that we should all consider.

    Long story short, don’t be afraid to try a meatless meal every once in a while!  Especially with Good Measure Meals, which has a wide and delicious variety of vegetarian meals to keep newcomer, temporary, and even seasoned vegetarians excited and satisfied.

    GMM Lemongrass Tofu with Edamame Risotto and Ginger-glazed Carrots

    GMM Lemongrass Tofu with Edamame Risotto and Ginger-glazed Carrots

    Chances are even good that you already incorporate meatless meals into your diet from time to time, but this may not be a conscious decision on your part.  My recommendation is to step out of the box a little and make a conscious decision to reduce your saturated fat intake regularly.  You will probably even discover some new foods that you really like (GMM’s Thursday Quinoa Loaf dinner this week with Cheesy Whole Wheat Penne and a side of Green Beans, for instance) and that’s a win-win situation in my book!

  • 30Jul

    Contributed by Community Wellness Representative and Registered Dietitian, Sarah Shanahan

    DSC01318

    Here at Good Measure Meals, we like to work hard, play hard, and practice what we preach.  We also believe that team-building is important so that we can effectively work together to make sure that we are providing the best, most credible, and reliable nutrition information to our community.

    This week, we took our team-building to the tree-shaded, secluded church parking lot that houses one of our fitness partners,  Firefighter Fitness LLC.  Nate Bailey, who co-owns Firefighter Fitness with another local fireman Alex Hofstadter, waited calmly for us in front of an obstacle course that looked like something out of a training camp, complete with boxes, fire hoses in various sizes and configurations, kettlebells, sledge hammers, tires, and ropes.  Our initial intimidation may have been hidden behind our smiles — we didn’t know that we were in for more than just the obstacles in front of us.

    In fact, Nate had a workout planned for us before the obstacle course, meant as a “warm up.”  It was called “Legs on Fire,” and, after the 3 rounds of step ups, air squats, lunges and 200 meter sprints, our legs definitely were on fire. After a short break, we moved on to two rounds through the actual obstacle course – with all of us crossing the final obstacle in under 30 minutes.  Our GMM team sure likes to sweat it out, and apparently more than one of us has a competitive streak hidden behind our usual friendly camaraderie….

    There were lots of high fives, cheers, and battle cries of “Feel the Burn,” Firefighter Fitness’s slogan. By the time we finished our recovery and light stretching, our smiles had returned, the competition had faded, and we were all ready to get back to work. We definitely recommend the Firefighter Fitness team for an intense-but-friendly workout as you continue to Commit to Lean in 2013.

    Check out the clip below for a glimpse of our time with Firefighter Fitness!

     

     

  • 13Jun
    Feeling antsy in the office? Want to be in better shape after you leave your 9-to-5 than when you started your workday?
    Last week, VP Jess Parsons introduced the GMM staff to a series she titled “Desk-ercise.” Her 30-minute lunch session detailed many simple moves geared toward toning your upper body, lower body, core, and even increasing your cardio capacity.
    And all in a day’s work!

    Part 1: Upper Body Exercises

    What you’ll need: Swivel Desk Chair, Desk, Water Bottle, Resistance Band
    Bicep Curls: biceps
    Sitting in your chair, hold a water bottle in your right hand, and, with abs in and spine straight, curl bottle towards shoulder for 16 reps. Repeat with your left hand. Do 2-3 sets.

    Harmony deskercises with bicep curls.

    Chair Dips: triceps, chest and deltoids
    Make sure chair is stable and place hands next to hips or on arm rests. Move hips in front of chair and bend the elbows, lowering the body until the elbows are at 90 degrees. Push back up and repeat for 16 reps. Complete 2 sets.

    A tip (in hindsight): Secure rolling chairs against a wall before trying this exercise.

    Front Raise to Triceps Press: triceps & shoulders
    Sit tall with the abs in and hold a full water bottle in the left hand. Lift the bottle up to shoulder level, pause, and then continue lifting all the way up over the head. When the arm is next to the ear, bend the elbow, taking the water bottle behind you and contracting the triceps. Straighten the arm and lower down, repeating for 12 reps on each arm for 2 sets.

    Water: not just for drinking.

    Desk/Wall Press: chest, shoulders, arms & back
    Stand about three feet from a wall, and place your hands flush against the wall, about shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body toward the wall by flexing your elbows. When your elbows are aligned with your torso, push back up. Do 10 repetitions.

    Philip and Harmony team up for some Wall Presses

    Single Arm Row with Band: biceps, shoulders, & back
    Have a seat in your chair. Tie one end of the resistance band on a door knob, or handle of a locked drawer. Make sure that the secure end is level or lower than chest level. Take the other end of the band and wrap once around your right hand. Without Moving your torso, pull the band towards your abs so that your fist is touching your side with elbow bent. Pause, then slowly extend arm back to starting position. Do 2 sets of 16 reps with each arm.

    Philip was not harmed in the shooting of this Seated Arm Row.

    Stay tuned in the next few days/weeks for more installments of the Desk-ercise series!

  • 22Aug

    As dietitians, we are taught to educate clients about what’s in food, then make specific recommendations for weight loss based on that individual’s goals.  Unfortunately, even clients who are very motivated and educated fail to resist the temptation of tasty high calorie foods, despite knowing they aren’t good for them.  Is there hope?

    Researchers at Rush University believe so.  In this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, a research article discusses three processes in the brain and how these can play a role in behavioral change related to obesity and overeating.

    Food Reward

    Recent research has shown that tasty or pleasurable food can easily override the body’s control over energy balance, leading to overeating despite not being hungry.  I’ve experienced this myself when baking homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I may not be hungry, but the smell from the oven paired with my memories of the chewy goodness that lies inside each cookiedrives me to eat for pleasure.  Driving by the smell of a fast food restaurant can stimulate the same behavior.

    The mesolimbic system in the brain (involving dopamine) has been linked to food rewards.  What can we do to help?

    Limit the impact of the reward by:

    • Shopping with a grocery list (no add ons!)
    • Use online grocer that delivers meals, if available in your area
    • Plan meals in advance – Try Good Measure Meals 7 day plan providing 3 meals per day

    Remove cues from your environment:

    • Reroute your commute to avoid the fast food drive thru
    • Instead of baking desserts for parties, offer to bring a healthy dish full of veggies
    • Keep tempting foods out of your home

    Inhibitory Control

    Researchers have proposed that “willpower” over eating is controlled by the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the brain, an area important for self-control, planning and goal-directed behaviors.    When dieters were asked to choose between pairs of 50 food items varying in taste and healthiness, those who consistently choose health over taste had more activation in the PFC area of the brain.   Other studies have shown that greater activation in the PFC is associated with reduced body fat, decreased food cravings and weight loss.    Although the PFC plays a role is controlling our intake of unhealthy foods, other factors, like stress and environment can easily disrupt this control system.

    Knowing this, what can we do?

    • Avoid situations that make willpower difficult to control, such as buffets and restaurants with few healthy options
    • Keep high calorie foods out of reach in stressful situations.  Increase exercise or seek counseling to help manage stress rather than turning to food.

    Time Discounting

    Humans tend to prefer short-term gratification over long term rewards.   This explains why we often give into temptation despite knowing the long term consequences and why the immediate high from smoking or eating a “treat” win out sometimes.  To put it simply, weight loss requires consistently choosing long term reward (weight loss over 6-12 months) over short term gratification of food (i.e. brownie sundae).

    What can we do to help choose long term results over short term pleasure?

    • Focus on short term goals.  Set a daily goal for food intake instead of a 6 month weight loss goal.  For example, today I will limit my calories to 1400, or I will limit my calories at each meal to 400.
    • Have a plan to eat healthy food in advance to avoid the temptation of convenience foods.  A 7 day Good Measure Meals plan keeps your refrigerator full of healthy options – no excuses!

    What behaviors have helped you be successful in reaching your goals?  Please share your success stories with us!

  • 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!

  • 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!