The Health Benefits of Hiking

This weekend my family and I went on a day hike in Joshua Tree National Park. There’s something so serene about hiking in the outdoors and taking in the beauty of God’s natural landscape.

One of the most important recommendations I make to my clients about incorporating and maintaining exercise as a part of their lifestyle is to find an exercise they love to do. If you start going to the gym solely with the goal to lose weight but don’t enjoy your time there and have to talk yourself into going each and every time, eventually you’re going to stop going. On the flip side if you find an activity that not only brings you health and weight management benefits, but you really enjoy the activity, you’re more likely to make time for it in your day to day living.

Find an exercise or activity that you love and that feeds your soul

Whether you’ve never tried hiking before or it’s been a while since your last hike, I’d recommend to give it a try. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, hiking may be a good fit for you. A leisurely hike can burn anywhere between 300-600 calories per hour. Your total number of calories burned is affected by your weight, the terrain, the distance and speed of your hike, and the weight of any backpack you carry.

Hiking has several health benefits to offer. Engaging in regular exercise such as hiking can help lower your risk of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Regular physical activity can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce the pain of arthritis, facilitate a healthy weight, and can contribute to healthy bones, muscles, and joints.

To find hiking trails near you, check out The Hiking Project. If it’s your first time hiking you can also check out this helpful information with hiking for beginners. Don’t worry, regardless of your fitness level, there are suitable hiking trails for everyone.

Joshua Tree National Park

There you have it. All the information you need to give hiking a try. If you have kids you can even make a family outing out of your hiking experience and encourage your kids to be active as well. My daughter is almost two, and though she spent most of the hike on my husband’s back, she enjoyed taking in all of the beautiful scenery.

If you enjoyed this week’s blog post, comment and like below and feel free to share some of the things that you enjoy most about hiking.

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess

Workout wisdom: A dietitian’s guide to healthy eating after workouts

Have you ever wondered what the best thing to eat or drink after a workout is? Have you ever thought ok, now that I’ve spent time at the gym I can go eat some junk food? Maybe you want to choose the right foods for yourself after your workout but just aren’t sure what to eat. Well, today I am going to give you the inside scoop on the three most important things your body needs after a workout.

The foods we eat and drink play an important role in giving our body the energy we need before a workout as well as the nutrition needed for recovery afterwards. Whether you train rigorously as an athlete, or do the occasional workout, this article will give you some helpful tips on what to choose for your post workout nutrition.

The first thing you want to make sure you do is replace fluids lost during exercise…..in other words hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Water is always a great option for staying hydrated and replacing the fluids you lose during a workout through sweat.

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Replace Fluids Lost

When you are doing a light or moderate exercise session, water alone can meet you re-hydration needs. The average person does not need more than this. Sports drinks such as Gatorade that have carbohydrates and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) are only indicated  for athletes doing vigorous and sustained physical activities lasting 90 minutes or more.

If you are exercising for general health and/or to lose weight or you are exercising for an hour or less sports drinks are not an appropriate option for you. In addition they are not a good choice as a day to day beverage because they provide an unneeded amount of sugar and sodium.

Consume Carbohydrates and Quality Protein

Glycogen is the energy stored in your muscles to help fuel your workouts. When you exercise, these stores are used and eventually depleted. Carbohydrates are therefore needed after a workout to help replenish the glycogen that was used. Some examples of carbohydrates include fruit, grains such as bread, rice, cereal, pasta, and milk.  

In addition to carbohydrates, you also want to consume a quality protein source to help repair and build muscle tissue after your workouts. Examples of a quality protein include meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and soy. For adults, 10 to 35% of your daily calories should be made up of protein. After a workout, protein needs can be met by using the equation of 0.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

0.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight = your post workout protein needs

*Athletes and people at extreme ends of the weight spectrum may not fit this equation*

For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert it into kilograms (150 lbs divided by 2.2 = 68.2 kilograms). Then multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.3 grams of protein to get the total grams of protein you need for your post workout recovery meal (68.2 kg x 0.3 grams of protein = 20 grams of protein).

Most people are able to get their protein needs from diet alone, but protein powders can be a good alternative when you aren’t able to prepare a balanced meal or snack after your workout.

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To help get you started, here are some ideas on what to eat after a workout.

Post workout nutrition examples:

  • Plain yogurt or low fat cottage cheese with berries
  • 1 cup of chocolate milk
  • A turkey or tuna sandwich wrap made with a whole wheat tortilla, cucumber, spinach, and tomato
  • A smoothie recovery shake made with low fat milk and frozen berries
  • Black bean, tofu, and vegetable chili with a slice of cornbread
  • Stir fry chicken with mixed vegetables and brown rice
Workout Recovery
Chocolate Milk

 

 

Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread
Vegetarian Chili with Cornbread

Timing Is Key

Try to get your post recovery nutrition, whether it is a meal or snack within 2 hours of your workout. If your goal is to build muscle and increase lean muscle mass, aim to have your post workout meal as soon as possible due to current studies suggesting protein consumption for the purpose of increasing muscle mass is greatest immediately after your workout. Keep in mind that higher intake of protein after workouts, for example, greater than 40 grams of dietary protein have not yet been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis.

The next time you workout, remember the three most important things you need afterwards: fluids (water), carbohydrates, and protein. Over the next week, I challenge you to try at least one of my post workout nutrition meals or snacks. Comment below and let me know which ones work best for you.

Until next week.

Royally Yours,

The Diet Duchess

Welcome Blog Post

 

I remember how it was for me before I got my nutrition degree, there were so many different sources of diet information, it was difficult to decipher what was valid and who to trust. There are constantly new fad diets and different weight loss products hitting the market promising miraculous weight loss and health benefits, but it can be extremely difficult knowing what’s true and where to invest your money.

When I was still doing my general education courses in college, I tried the maple syrup diet master cleanse where you literally have no food to eat and only drink this concoction of maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and water. Isn’t it amazing the crazy things we will do in the name of weight loss? Suffice it to say, I wasn’t able to do this for a very long period of time despite my best efforts and it definitely didn’t help me to eat any healthier. If anything I think it was harmful to my relationship with food (along with other dieting approaches) with the yo-yoing back and forth between restriction and indulgence.  

As you can see from my personal story, I have been just where you are, desperate to try any diet or miracle supplement that will help you to lose weight. Don’t beat yourself up. Some of the promises and results of  the many different fad diets and weight loss products can be enticing. The US weight loss market is a 66 billion dollar industry, and I personally have invested money into different products over the years, but with no long term success or practical understanding of how to eat healthy.

Various research articles have shown that one of the common trends of fad dieting is the weight regain afterwards. Fad diets are usually too good to be true. Think of it this way, if the new diet you’re planning on trying is offering a quick fix or is cutting out major food groups, it’s not likely going to be something that you can maintain long term. Your success therefore, will be short lived.

If you are ready to let go of temporary solutions to your lifelong goal of healthy eating and weight management, then follow my blog, The Diet Duchess, each week for a new nutrition topic to help you better understand how to gradually modify your eating behaviors and build your way towards a healthier lifestyle. I am excited to share my passion and professional expertise with you to help you achieve your diet and weight loss goals. Stay tuned as we begin our journey together to “royally rock your diet”.

Estrella, MS, Registered Dietitian

“The Diet Duchess”  

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