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Health and Wellness

Why a community health challenge? Learn more at our health and wellness blog.

Renown Health Online Health Series

The Online Health Series are free informational seminars on a variety of health topics. Topics vary by month; please check back frequently for upcoming events. A question and answer session will occur after each seminar. Recordings of each seminar are available online after each presentation.

Click here to learn more

You Don’t Want This to Be Your Reaction on New Year’s Day!


Instead, Pledge to Maintain, Not Gain Weight Over the Holidays
Most of us will put on some extra pounds in the six weeks between Thanksgiving  and the New Year. But remember, gaining weight in the short six holiday weeks may take up to six months to lose. And if you are already trying to shed weight, putting on that extra holiday weight can really make a bad start to your New Year!

But, adding pounds during the holidays is not inevitable. You can enjoy your holidays and still face your scale on New Year's Day without fear.

Tips from the National Institute of Health

Make physical activity part of your daily life.
A major contributor to weight gain during holidays is sedentary living. Holiday schedules are tight and exercise schedules are often sacrificed to make time. Don’t make that trade-off this year and pledge to keep moving.

Prioritize healthy eating.
Dieticians agree that the best way to manage weight is to modify eating habits in such
a way that you never feel deprived. Choose foods that you actually enjoy that are also
lower in fat, sugar, and calories.

Feel free to fill your plate at holiday feasts, but select fresh fruits, salad greens, and
filling veggies instead of sugary desserts, fried foods, mountains of breads, or starchy
entrees. You can still eat the “other” foods you enjoy, but take a smaller portion.

Here are some more ideas for keeping trim during the holidays.

  • When eating turkey, choose white meat over dark. A 3-ounce serving of turkey breast (skinless) has 119 calories and 1 gram of fat (compared to dark meat with
    145 calories/5 grams).
  • If you’re cooking, provide at least one healthier option per category. For dessert, offer a fresh fruit option. For side dishes, offer a vegetable option instead ofpotatoes or rice. If you are going to a party, bring a healthy dish that you can enjoy.
  • When dining out, decline the bread and butter plate or limit yourself to just one piece.
  • Pass up alcohol. One mixed drink can contain up to 300 calories; a serving of eggnog is around 400.

Resolve to maintain and don’t gain and you’ll have no regrets come January 1st. Plus,
maintaining a stable healthy weight has many health benefits including managing and
preventing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Learn more about healthy eating at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).


Take the Pledge: Maintain, Don’t Gain Over the Holidays!
Nobody wants to get on their scale on January first only to find that they have
gained weight over the holidays. So, before you dread the New Year with a few
extra pounds from too many holiday cookies, or too many trips to the party buffet
or eating the whole yule log that your aunt sent you, instead take the pledge to
maintain your weight during the holiday season. 
We’re here to help!  Let’s start with some Thanksgiving Day tips to follow, healthier
holiday recipe recommendations and exercise videos to keep you up and active.

    • Before you begin your Thanksgiving Day meal drink plenty of water. Water will
      help you control your appetite by making you feel fuller faster.
    • Don't go to your Thanksgiving Day meal starving. Eat a healthy breakfast and a
      low calorie snack before hitting the Thanksgiving buffet. That way you're less likely
      to overeat if you've got your appetite under control.
    • Don’t go back for seconds. If you eat slowly and drink plenty of water with your meal,
      you shouldn't feel the need to go for a second round of food. Politely decline when you’re
      offered another serving.
    • Drink alcohol in moderation because alcohol can lower your inhibitions, which makes it
      that much easier to justify a third helping of pumpkin pie.
    • Perform an aerobic activity for a minimum of 30 minutes at least 5 days a week or more.
      The more you can maintain your activity minutes the greater chance you have at maintaining
      your weight.
    • Consume a minimum of 5 servings (combined) of fruits and vegetables each and every day.


Reduce Stress, Get your ZZZZ’s and Lose Weight
A Kaiser Permanente study finds people who slept 6–8 hours a night and reported lower stress levels lost more weight…
It has always been believed that if you lowered stress and got adequate sleep, you would have a better chance at losing weight, but now a definitive study had been done with Kaiser Permanente’s study of 500 people in the Northwest. Their study set to measure whether sleep, stress, depression, television viewing and computer screen time were correlated with weight loss.

Conclusions from part of the study: “This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress,” said lead author Charles Elder, MD, MPH. He goes on to say, “Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”

So now that it has been confirmed by the Kaiser Permenente study that reducing stress, getting 6 – 8 hours of sleep and exercising can help you lose weight, how can you implement these guidelines into your daily routine, especially with Holidays (a stressful time) right around the corner?

Simple Ways to Relax and De-Stress.
Go for a walk and spend time in nature. Call a friend or sweat out the stress with a good workout. Play with your pet or work in your garden. Curl up with a good book or watch a funny movie and of course a massage would probably do the trick as well!

How to sleep better? 
Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, will make you more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. Try not to break your sleep routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late and sleep in the next morning.
One way to know if you’re getting enough sleep; you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. And another suggestion; keep napping to a minimum,  If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.
More sleeping tips: Turn off your television and computer and when you're falling asleep and make sure your room is dark. Sleeping well can lead to better health and better weight loss.

Eating Healthy to Maintain or Lose Weight

We all know that there are a lot of “quick fix” diets that might help you lose weight fast, but these type of diets have a tendency to result in weight gain as soon as you go back to regular eating.  So, what are the best and healthiest diets? Experts agree that changing your diet to incorporate healthier food choices; an apple instead of a donut, will trim you down and result in better health, but what about fad diets?renown dietician

Want to know more about healthy diet alternatives?

Stephen Compston, a registered dietitian with Renown Health Management Services, discusses his thoughts on elimination diets and provides some healthier alternatives that will last longer.

Watch the video


Make September Your Month To Commit To Staying Active

couple walking

STEPtember 2012, is the seventh annual, national, month-long celebration highlighting how easy it is to be more active and strive to eat healthier.

Here are some simple ways to add 2000 steps into your day from America on the Move.

  • Pace around the house while you’re on the phone.
  • Make several trips up and down the stairs while you’re doing the laundry or other household chores.
  • Walk to a friend’s house for a visit.
  • Accompany your children on their walk to school.
  • Start an office walking club.
  • Hold a meeting while you go for a walk.
  • Create a step competition with fellow employees – see who can get the most steps in a day.

These are just a few examples of how you can increase your steps and activities during a normal day.

By Joining Renown’s Health Challenge, You’ve Already Taken Steps To Live A Healthier Life,
but, did you know that being active and keeping your BMI (a measure of body fat based on height and weight): between 18.5 and 24.9 can also help keep or lower your cholesterol to a desirable range? In fact, do you know your number, your cholesterol number that is? Here are some quick facts about healthy cholesterol numbers and what they mean:

healthy lifestyle

Cholesterol: total cholesterol, less than 200 mg/dL; “good” HDL cholesterol, 50 mg/dL or
higher; “bad” LDL cholesterol, less than 160 mg/dL to less than 100 mg/dL, depending on
your heart risk

If you don’t know your cholesterol numbers and haven’t had your cholesterol checked recently, it might
be a good time to visit your doctor. Schedule a baseline screening with your physician and/or lab service
provider to make sure you are on the right track to health. Don't have a doctor? Use our Find a Doc button
to find a physician near you.

find a doc

The more you know, the more you can participate in maintaining and improving your health and live a healthier

Commit To A Healthier Lifestyle


On any given day, most of us strive to make healthier choices, but it’s not always that easy. From the office donut drop-off, to the meal on-the-run, we are faced with a multitude of selections every day that we may or may not end up regretting.

But, there is a way we can set ourselves up for greater success if we plan our day a little in advance. For instance; planning your meals ahead of time is one way that can help because you will have all the ingredients, onhand ready to make a healthy meal, instead of having to choose a fast meal that may not be as healthy. 

Try making your lunch the night before instead of waiting for morning, or you might run out-of-time to make yourself a healthy lunch.

Another suggestion that experts recommend is scheduling time for daily exercise. Whatever type of calendar or day planner you use, set aside a timeslot for exercise. You will have a better chance of achieving success if you plan for it.

More Tips To Keep You On Track

Create An Exercise and Food Calendar

To help you stay on track, create a daily agenda or calendar and plan your activities and meals. It doesn’t matter if you use a printed journal or an electronic calendar, just use your calendar of choice to record your scheduled exercise times, your daily meal plans and to track your healthy goals. This will give you a better chance to achieve those goals, goals like; losing weight, lowering blood pressure or walking 10,000 steps-a-day. Use your calendar as a tool to plan ahead and to help you stay motivated and to stick to a particular exercise and diet regimen.


While a calendar is a tool for planning ahead on your diet and exercise regimen, a log is a record of what you actually did in terms of diet and exercise. Both may be useful in helping you meet your goals but have different functions. With a calendar you can plan ahead, create time for your exercise and know what foods you need to buy. A log will help you track how well you are meeting your goals.


Happy Harvest
Enjoy the Summer Season and Increase Your Fruits and Vegetables to 5 Servings a Day.fruits and veggies

Whether you’re enjoying your summer at home or away on vacation you want to continue to eat healthy. We all know that eating vegetables and fruits is one of the foundations of a healthy diet. We've been told how veggies and fruits are rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and water, but seven out of every ten Americans don't to eat the recommended 5-a-day servings. Summer is the perfect time to change those habits and enjoy a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Here’s some tips to maintain your healthy eating habits and not ruin your diet.

Find a local fresh market and pick up the best that summer has to offer and make some healthy meals featuring, you guessed it: Fruits and vegetables.

Weight-Loss Tips To Get You In Shape

weight loss

Avoid high-fat meals
Keep an eye out for meals that use the following words in their description: Au Gratin, Parmigiana, Tempura, Alfredo, creamy and Carbonara, because these descriptions usually mean a "high-fat" content:
Be mindful when you are eating
Pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth. In other words, sit down and pay attention to the food you are eating. Really enjoy each and every bite.  If you're watching TV or working while you eat, you won't pay attention to what's going into your mouth and you might eat more than you should and enjoy it less!

Drink more water
Drink water instead of grabbing for a high-fat snack. Drinking six to eight glasses a day will help fill you up and help your waistline.

Ask for a "doggie-bag" before you eat
Ask your waiter for a take-home box before you begin to eat your restaurant meal and put half of your main course into the take-home box. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you eat a more sensible portion and you'll have leftovers to take home for tomorrow.

Leave something on your plate
Challenge yourself to leave half of your sandwich on your plate, remove the bun from your burger or eat only half your spaghetti and meatballs. You might find out that you are satisfied eating only half-of-a- portion and not to consume the rest of your meal.

And most of all; Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
If you’ve been following our tips, you know that in addition to eating the appropriate amount of calories, increasing your exercise activity can be the key to helping you lose weight.  In fact, a Duke University study suggests that you should walk for 45 minutes a day. The study found that “while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Evidently walking 45 minutes can burn an additional 300 calories a day which could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating.

Choose a Health-Related Goal That Is Important to You, And then Get Motivated.

We know it is not easy to stay motivated day after day, but Renown’s Community Health Challenge is here
to help with tips and resources to help you stay determined and to live healthier. Here are some suggestions
on how to get started and to be successful.

One of the most effective ways to stay on track is to be on a team or buddy-up with a partner.
For example, studies have shown that women lose an average of 10 pounds, when they diet and exercise
with a friend or co-worker. Sharing your experience with someone else makes it easier to stay committed
to your goals.

Post your goals:
 Proclaim your health goals on Renown Health’s Facebook or Twitter pages.
When you post your health goals, you let your friends, co-workers and family know that you are serious
about getting healthier. Once you announce to the world that you’ve made the commitment to lose weight,
be more active or live a more balanced life, you are more apt to stick with it. You might even find that you’ll
get more support and maybe even a few healthy recipes or an invitation to take a walk with your friends.

Set goals for yourself, along with the rewards that you will receive when you achieve them. If
you know there is a reward waiting for you after you accomplish a goal, you are more likely to stay engaged.
If you’ve told yourself that you can buy that new pair of jeans or shirt you’ve had your eye, after you’ve
reached your goal weight or run a 5k, you are more likely to reach your target.

Make better Choices: You don’t have to deprive yourself, in fact, if you do, you might be setting yourself
up for failure. Studies have shown that if you eat too little for too long, you’ll not only slow your metabolism,
but when you do let yourself indulge, you might go overboard. Instead, make wiser choices; as an alternative
for potato chips, choose raw veggies dipped in low-fat dressing or calorie-free flavored water instead of sugar
sodas. Choose to park your vehicle in the back of the parking lot or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Making better choices can add up to a healthier you.

Staying motivated is a “state-of-mind” and some days may be harder than other to stay engaged; between all
the time pressures and tempting food choices, it seems that your efforts can quickly derail, but just keep this
in mind:
You Can Do It!
tennis shoes
Grab your tennis shoes, put down the donut and smile, because we’re all in this together.

Goal Setting

Now that you’ve determined you need or want to lose weight, setting realistic goals are just as important. First set weekly and monthly goals. How much weight you should lose every month? How are you going to attain your weight-loss goal; eating healthier, counting calories, adding or increasing your exercise, going on a healthy diet?  How will you reward yourself; new workout clothes, a massage or a new wardrobe? Sit down and write down your goals. It will also give you a report to share with your doctor.

Understand that the recommend healthy weight-loss is 1 – 2 pounds per week not 5 – 10 pounds a week. And add exercise to your daily routine in safe increments. You don’t want to overdo it and get discouraged.

Here are additional tools and calculators to set your goals:

  • BMI Calculator
  • WebMd Personal Diet Evaluator: This tool will help you assess your weight loss goals and give you the amount of calories you should consume to meet your goals. As well as give you a report you can share with your doctor.

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