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April Awareness
April: Snacking

Snacks can be one of the best parts of getting through the workday. A little comforting boost to give you the energy to carry on. However, some snacks can have a negative long-term affect. Snacks that are high in sugar, saturated fat, and calories lend to overall increases in weight gain and the health issues that come along with that.

One culprit of unhealthy snacking often is due to a lack of pre-planning. An aspect of pre-planning we can use is adequate meal intake prior to typical snacking periods. Eating breakfast is an often-neglected opportunity to prevent unnecessary snacking. Taking the time to wake up a little early to get a satisfying and healthy breakfast of low glycemic carbs, adequate protein, and healthy fats can nip that 10 o’clock crash in the bud. If you still feel that you cannot eat breakfast, then packing healthy snacks that morning or the night before can take away the stress of preparing a meal but ensure a good meal or brunch is consumed.

A second friction point would be the convenience and addiction of candy bars and soft drinks. We often underestimate the caloric load of candy bars and chips. One innocent Snickers bar a day can add almost 1500 calories a week. If you changed nothing else in your life but refrained from eating that Snickers bar every day for two work weeks, you could lose a pound of fat and keep it off! After candy bars we have drinking soft drinks and other sugar heavy drinks to include some fruit juice. Studies have shown that just by putting down sodas you can reduce the likelihood of a heart attack, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s, as well as reducing the speed of oxidative stress and insulin resistance that can lead to Diabetes. These are not the only culprits in poor health and weight gain and are not the end all be all but removing soft drinks and candy bars entirely from your life will have a drastic effect.

The final issue is not knowing or having access to alternatives. As stated, before the convenience of a coke and snickers cannot be overstated. But the benefits of choosing to snack on vegetables or fruits, yogurt, and healthy snack packs with low to no added sugar. If we take the time to research the options, we see that there are far more alternatives than previously thought. Also, as we said prior, taking a few extra minutes in the morning to throw some baby carrots or yogurt in your bag could help to not only cut those calories but improve overall health as well.

If snacking is something you struggle with, check out our list of alternatives as well as find more information on Snacking at Vantagewellness.com.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




March Awareness
March: COPD

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This is a disease that causes inflammation in the lungs that reduces airflow to and from the lungs. It makes it tough to breath and can cause coughing and wheezing. Our lungs are very elastic and stretch and move naturally with each breath. COPD can cause the bronchial tubes and sacs to lose their elasticity and stay expanded beyond their natural state. Typically, this disease is caused by smoking cigarettes as well as fumes in poorly ventilated homes. Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis are both also commonly associated with contributing to COPD. Unfortunately, this condition can increase risk of heart disease and cancer.

The best way to fight off this disease is to never smoke or stop smoking now! Quitting smoking can be a very tough task but your health and future self will thank you. Thankfully there are many tools you can use so you don’t have to fight this battle alone. If you or someone you know smokes or deals with this, please act now. As always, look for support from friends and family in this fight. Don’t depend on your motivation. A few resources to use for smoking cessation are Smokefree.gov, the American Heart Association, and Vantage Wellness.

For more information on COPD, please visit cdc.gov/copd.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




February Awareness
February: Blood Donation

Did you know that more than 4.5 million people need blood transfusions every year in the US and Canada? Also, did you know that one pint of blood could potentially save up to three lives? Giving blood is an incredible way that you can give back and help those in need and all it would take is about an hour of your time. Find a local blood drive or contact the American Red Cross if you would like to contribute.

Currently the Red Cross is experiencing one of the worst blood shortages in over a decade. This blood is used for patients undergoing heart surgery, organ transplants, treatment for Leukemia, cancer, blood disorders, and many other medical issues. If blood is not available these patients are deferred and must wait for adequate amounts of supply to be found. Delaying could lead to death or further complications. Out of the 38% of people that are eligible to donate, less than 10% actually donate according to the Red Cross. If you fit the health criteria and are able to help, you could potentially save multiple lives with just one donation.

For more information on blood donation, please visit redcrossblood.org.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




January Awareness
January: New Year's Resolutions

As the new year approaches, so too do new opportunities to improve ourselves and our lives. New year’s resolutions are a great way to set your mind to change for the better. It is a cliché as old as time that New Year’s resolutions aren’t adhered to. Let’s change that statistic!

When making a new goal or resolution we need to make sure we don’t rely on the current burst of motivation we have. Motivation is not dependable. Discipline is the thing you need to develop. That way, whether you are motivated or not, the pursuit is a success. Habits tie directly into the development of Discipline. Finding a way to consistently do something is the number one way to accomplish larger goals. A huge majority of the things we do are based on habits. The things we eat, what we wear, what we say, think, and do are all influenced by the habits we keep. In the mornings are you in the habit of hitting the snooze or directly getting out of bed? Are you in the habit of going to the vending machine at 10 a.m. when you get “feel hungry” or bored? Is it a habit to grab your phone and scroll through social media at almost any down time you have? These habits determine who we are and dictate if we accomplish the things we want to accomplish.

Take the time to sit down and determine exactly what goals you want to achieve. Start big, huge even, and then break it down until you have a clear path from A to Z while clearly measuring progress and ensuring achievability. For example, “I want to run a marathon!”

  • Goal = Marathon (26.2 miles)
  • Half of Goal = Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
    • Can I run 26.2 miles? Y/N
    • Can I run 13.1 miles? Y/N
    • Can I run 10 miles? Y/N
    • Can I run 5 miles? Y/N
    • Can I run 1 mile? Y/N

In this example we have a clearly defined and attainable goal. The overall goal also has smaller, easier checkpoints to build up to it. If there is any portion of the goal that you can’t currently achieve, then practice half that daily until you can. NOTE: ‘Losing weight’ is not a good goal. Weight fluctuates very easily, is not a good measurement for progress, and is too arbitrary. Muscle percentage, Body Fat percentage, or clothing sizes are all better goals to use.

When making resolutions always set achievable and measurable goals and develop a habit to attain those goals. Don’t just say “I want to get fit”, say “I’m going to go the gym at least 3 days a week.” Instead of “I want to lose weight” say “I’m going to drop 2 pant sizes over the next 4 months.” Be focused and intentional in your goals and you’ll see massive improvements!

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




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