Note: During the 6 Weeks to a Healthier You program, participants can submit questions on topics that were not addressed during the session or to ask for clarification. Each week, we will compile Joe Piscatella’s responses to these questions and make them available online.
Question: Could you provide some guidelines for going from sedentary to active? My doctor said go get 10,000 steps a day but just doing a 5k got me hurt and now I am back to zero because it hurts too much to do anything. I want to walk and work up to jogging, but just walking is hurting me. I don’t know what to do.
Answer: All too often, people jump into an exercise program with the best intentions, but they overdo it and get hurt or discouraged. If you are dealing with an injury, I’d recommend you approach your doctor or other health provider and ask them “what kinds of activity can I do?” If walking is not possible, you might be able to bike or swim. It really depends on the specifics of your injury, but I’ve found the key is to start slowly and with a realistic plan that builds in duration and intensity over time.
Question: Both lifting light weights and stretching were mentioned, but no specific recommendations or examples were given. Is there a website that would be helpful?
Answer: The handout from the exercise session provides some example resistance exercises that you can use and try at home. These exercises can be adapted to use with free weights if you prefer. In terms of stretching, the latest research supports the idea that you should not be stretching cold muscles. Before exercising, you should warm up at lower intensity to get your blood flowing. At our last session, our trainers introduced some example warm-up exercises you can use, including squats, overhead reaches and other dynamic activities that get your heart beating and blood flowing.
Question: Do you have any good ideas for journals to track exercise, progress, thoughts, etc.?
Answer: Keeping a journal is a great idea and there are a lot of good options for you. For some people, an old fashioned calendar on their wall is going to be the best. For others, a technology-based solution like everymove.org or the software through their Fitbit or similar activity-tracking device is going to work. As our trainers shared, the technology-based solutions can work for some people because you can share your goals and results with friends and hold yourself accountable. For other people, simply logging the miles they walk on a wall calendar is going to be simplest and work best for them.
Food & Nutrition
Question: What I would really like to see is a listing of some healthy snack choices. When you go to the store there are so many items to choose from it becomes overwhelming to find the most healthful items. I think a list of the better choices would be of a great help to many people.
Answer: This is something we’ll cover in more detail in session 5. Our guest speaker from session 2, Megan Ellison recommended several types of convenience foods, including pre-washed and packaged salads, fruits and vegetables. You should stay away from highly processed foods that contain more fat, added sugar, and sodium. Nuts, in moderate amounts, are also a great healthy snack choice.
Question: I am a bread addict. I don’t know what to replace it with. I will eat between 4-9 pieces a day of various types. Help! I need some advice. I have gone cold turkey but always feel deprived at every meal. Any advice on a substitution or am I just doomed?
Answer: For me, the deprivation model doesn’t work. Rather than going “cold turkey” I’d recommend fitting in some bread into your eating plan, because that’s something you enjoy. I’d also recommend eating whole wheat breads, which are low in fat and higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Know Your Numbers
Question: Do we have a follow up in May and also in 6 months? When and how do we sign up for it?
Answer: Yes, and it is possible you are already signed up for the May biometrics. This step was part of the registration process when you signed up for the pre-program biometrics in April. If you are not signed up yet but would like to do the post biometrics May 15-17, you can register now. The link to register is: http://6weeksbiometrics.eventbrite.com. You will get your results on the final session of the program on May 20. There will also be a 6-month reunion, including follow-up biometrics in the fall of this year. Verdant will send out an invitation several months in advance of the event. The reunion is open and free to anyone who has participated in the 6 Weeks to a Healthier You program.
Did you miss a week’s FAQs? View past questions and answers by following the links below: