Family Matters

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2001


Tips for building a healthy lifestyle

The key component of a healthy lifestyle is nutrition and physical activitity. We must begin this challenge with an attitude adjustment – be realistic and focus on long-term life goals.

• Focus on doing. Take action, get mobile in any small way you can – such as getting up to change the television station. Work up to a daily simple fun excersise routine. Involve friends and family in fun active togetherness.
• Concentrate on making healthier choices. Use informaffon at your fingertips. Check the nutriffon facts on foods before making a purchase. Choose foods which provide no more than 30 percent of calories from fat. Cut down on high sugar, high sodium and high fat food products.
• Focus on enjoying feeling better, healthier and more energized. Balance the calorie intake with burn off. We all know calories not burned are stored as fat. So repeat point number one – get moving.
• Establish flexible, short-term, reachable goals. Have a rainy day schedule. There are lots of things you can do indoors to get moving.
• Deliver success gradually. A bunch of small successes lead to big results. Celebrate and reward yourself and your family. Remember to choose healthful rewards.
• Leave the room for indulgences. Some days lets face it, you just really want that pecan pie. Thats OK. Remember to focus and do. You can have pie, just walk a little extra that day or dance whole-heartedly.
• Encourage variety. Remember variety is the spice of life. Variety gives us the opportunity to get nutrients that are not present in some foods. Be sure to eat foods from all of the food groups daily (grains six-11 servings, fruits two-four servings, vegetables three-five servings, dairy two-three servings, meat two-three servings and use fats, oils and sweets sparingly).
• Listen to your body. As simple as it sounds, its the only way to change your habits. If youre hungry, eat. When youre full, stop. Remembering these two simple rules puts you on the road to healthy eating.

Recognize reliable information. How do you know whether the nutriffon advice you receive or the weight loss material provided to you is reliable? Consider any combination of these 10 red flags of questionable nutrition advice:
• Quick fix promises
• Dire warnings of dangers from a single program or regimen
• Claims which sound too good to be true
• Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study
• Recommendaffons based on a single study
• Dramatic statements that are proven wrong by reliable scientific organizations
• Lists of “good” and “bad” foods
• Recommendations made to help sell a product
• Recommendations based on studies published without peer review
• Recommendaffons from studies that ignore differences among individuals and groups

For information on specific diet needs, contact LSU Ag Center extension agent Cathy Holmes at 497-3260 or cholmes@

CATHY HOLMES is a LSU Ag Center St. John Parish extension agent.