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  Healthy Eating

Staying Active This Summer

family walkingYes, you can still enjoy the lazy days of summer, just don’t get lazy and forget about your healthy lifestyle. Instead, take advantage of warm summer days by bringing your kids to the park or going swimming at your favorite pool. Remember, summer fun and exercise can go hand and hand. Here are a few tips to turn your summer fun into real exercise activities while you’re enjoying the beautiful weather.


Instead of just lying on the beach or at the pool all day, go take a walk. Walk briskly for at least 30 minutes and enjoy burning calories while you’re enjoying a summer day. In fact, walk wherever and whenever possible. Wear a pedometer and make a goal of 10,000 steps (four miles per day).

summer fun kidsPlay

Get up off that lounge chair and play volleyball, throw a Frisbee or go swimming. Or you can organize a neighborhood softball game, or take a hike with friends. Just don’t lie around all day!


Try A New Sport Or Revisit An Old One

If you haven’t been bike riding in years, take your bike to a local bike trail and challenge yourself to do a different trail every week. Or you might try rollerblading; just make sure you wear protective gear. How about taking a yoga class or maybe you’ve been interested in Zumba? Set out to try a new physical activity every week and you'll stay fit all summer long.


Yes, You Can Lose Weight On Vacation!
Enjoy Your Summer and Lose Weight With Fruits and Vegetables.

dining out

Whether you’re enjoying your summer at home or you are away on vacation you will 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 bad eating habits and enjoy a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Here are some tips to maintain your healthy eating habits and not ruin your diet while you are on vacation or enjoying summer at home.fruits & veggies


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. Click here to find healthy recipes


Lighten Up 4 Life Weight-Loss Tips

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.


Staying Motivated, Yes, You Can!
We know it is not easy to stay motivated day after day, but Lighten Up 4 Life is here to help with tips
and suggestions to help pull you through the days when you feel that you might not make it. Here’s
what we suggest:

One of the most effective ways to stay on track and slim down is to be on a weight-loss
team or buddy-up with a partner. 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 and not lose motivation.

Post your goals:
 Proclaim your weight-loss goals on Lighten Up 4 Life’s Facebook or Twitter pages.
By posting your goals, you let friends, co-workers and family know that you are serious about losing
weight and getting healthier. Once you announce to the world that you’ve made the commitment to
lose weight, 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 at lunch with your friends

Set goals along with the rewards you will receive when you achieve your goals. If you
know there is a reward waiting for you when you accomplish your goals, you are more likely to stay
engaged. If you’ve told yourself that you can buy that cute pair of jeans or that new shirt once you’ve
reach a certain weight, you are more apt to make it.

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 of potato
chips, choose raw veggies dipped in Greek yogurt flavored with onion soup mix, or choose calorie-
free flavored water instead of sugar sodas. Choosing a lower calorie alternative gives you a chance
to enjoy a treat without going overboard.

Staying motivated is a “state-of-mind” and some days may be harder than other to stay engaged;
between all the time pressures, tempting food choices and lack of results, 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 you’re going to make it!


realistic golas

Have You Set Realistic Weight-Loss Goals?

If not, you might be setting yourself up to fail.

A good way to increase your chances of weight-loss success is to create realistic goals for yourself. When you meet the small goals you set, you will feel better about yourself and continue to increase your self-esteem and doing this can help you meet your ultimate weight-loss goals. Even meeting the smallest goal, such as exercising an extra 10 minutes each day, can renew your self-esteem. Defining and meeting your goals will be a huge boost to your self-image and insure a better chance at success. Because we know that permanent weight-loss takes time, effort and a lifetime commitment, it is important to stay committed to your weight-loss goals. It’s not easy to change old habits overnight. Take small steps and find out what motivates you. Take a moment to list why it’s important to you to lose weight and become healthier. Ask yourself; is it for your health and your family? Are you making a commitment to yourself that allows you to be more active and enjoy your life to the fullest? Remember that there will be peaks and valleys in your weight-loss journey. Don’t give up after a setback; just keep going and make wiser choices tomorrow.


What is the “Magic” To Losing Weight?

magic wandEvidently, the magic is what we’ve known all along; eating healthier, counting calories and boosting
your metabolism by exercising. Sorry, but there is no magic pill; watching your calorie intake, increasing your activities, equals slow and steady weight-loss.
Here are some of the “magic” tips that experts recommend:


  • Exercise each and every day. Make exercise a part of your day. It increases metabolism and burns calories.
  • Eat more fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and will fill you up and keep you full longer.
  • Drink more water or no-calorie drinks. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger which means we can eat when it's not necessary. By keeping yourself well hydrated you won’t feel as hungry.
  • Record what you eat. Write down everything that you eat to help you manage your daily calorie intake. You’ll be more aware of what you eat.
  • Sit down and eat your meals. If you eat on the run, grab and go, you may not realize what you are consuming. Stop, plan your meals, sit and enjoy every bite. 

Diet Recommendations. What Diet Will Work For You?

Now that you’ve made the commitment to lose weight and get healthier, you’re probably wondering what diet to follow? Mission Health nutritionists recommend choosing from following healthy and sensible diets:

Weight Watchers

A tried and true weight-loss program that has been around for many years. Many people find its “points” system easy to follow and this program teaches good portion-control habits that can help you maintain your weight-loss. Its meetings-based system harnesses the power of group support and keeping up with times has added an online version. Weight Watcher’s meal plans, sensible eating, weight-loss pace has earned it praise from many experts.

The EatingWell Diet

EatingWell's 7-Day Weight-Loss Diet Meal Plan is designed to provide an overall healthy-eating program at five different daily caloric levels: 1,200, 1,400, 1,600, 1,800 and 2,000. EatingWell's 7-Day Weight-Loss Diet Meal Plan is designed to provide an overall healthy-eating program at five different daily caloric levels: 1,200, 1,400, 1,600, 1,800 and 2,000. 

You: On a Diet

Dr Mehmet C. Oz and Michael F. Roizen's site: offers menu plans and exercise recommendations. You can customize your own menu plan, print shopping lists and it’s all free.

The Sonoma Diet

This diet is based on delicious recipes using staples of Mediterranean eating: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, and nuts. The diet starts with a strident 10-day phase called "Wave One," which is calorie-restrictive but is supposed to help you lose your craving for eating sugar and highly processed foods. The diet does contain creative recipes and menus.
This site offers a free four-stage diet program which uses tools, content, and support to help users make lifestyle changes. Users are prompted to enter height, weight, and amount they intend to exercise, as well as a target date and weight. The site then gives recommendations for calorie, fat, and carbohydrate intake based on calculated BMR, as well as a personalized fitness plan.


More Steps To Stay Motivated – Even When You Want To Quit!
Have you had a bad day or a bad week? You’ve eaten too much and you didn’t exercise? Sound familiar? Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated each and every day and never screw up, especially when the scale doesn’t seem to move in the right direction….

Here are some simple tips to help you stay motivated:

    • Make the commitment-it's a decision that you make every day; keep a journal to encourage yourself,
      write a contract to yourself, write up your personal list of reasons for exercising, keep them handy and
      look over them when you feel like quitting
    • Set goals to work towards; think small, attainable goals; and make them measureable so you know when you reach them
    • Make it possible by preparing ahead of time; pack your gym bags; set out your snacks the night before; plan the day to include exercise
    • Foster discipline-make it a habit; create a ritual for yourself for starting your workout; have a regular set day and time; be honest with yourself about what hinders you and take steps to address it
    • Be flexible-allow yourself some leeway; don't have an "all or nothing" attitude-you will just end up frustrated and quitting; have a back-up plan
    • Have fun with your routine-make it an enjoyable time (or as much as it can be); find an exercise buddy, find an activity that you like; use music that stimulates you; reward yourself with something other than food!


Don’t Forget: Stay Accountable To Yourself & Your Team!
Here are some wonderful tools to help you stay motivated and accountable.

Click here for WebMd’s Food & Fitness Journal, by logging your food and exercise daily, you can stay on top of how many calories you’ve consumed as well as how many you’ve burned.


Can Meal Plans Help You Stay On Track?  

You bet! By planning ahead and using healthy meal plans, you will know you are getting the right nutrition, calories and have a better chance of losing weight.

Before you meet your friend for lunch, know how many calories or points you eat based on what you've had for breakfast and what you plan on having for dinner.  

Here is one example of a healthy meal plan from
Weight Watchers

(More available on Lighten Up 4 Life's Recipes Page)  


1 boiled egg (1 ½ points)
1 slice toast (1 point)
Tsp low fat spread (1/2 point)

Medium baked potato (2 ½ points)
Medium portion half-fat cheddar (2 ½ points)
Cucumber and tomato salad (0 points)    

3 Medium slices roast chicken (2 points)
2 small roast potatoes (3 points)
Mashed carrot and swede (0 points)
Gravy (tsp of granules) (1/2 point)
Ice-cream (1 scoop, any flavor) (2 ½ points)

100g blackberries (1/2 point)
Medium glass wine (2 points)
2 squares of chocolate (1 ½ points)



How To Stay Motivated When You’re Trying To Lose Weight


Let’s face it one of the toughest things to do when you are trying to lose weight is to stay motivated.  When any of us begin our weight-loss we’re excited, determined to do everything right and lose those unwanted pounds, but as time goes on and the weight-loss slows, we become frustrated.

It’s hard to stay consistent, eat the right amount of calories and resist every little temptation you come across on a day-to-day basis. But, if you can remind yourself of all the reasons you why you wanted to lose weight, you may be able to resist that 600-calorie piece-of-chocolate cake that is offered to you at the office birthday party. Try to stop for one second and ask yourself “Is that piece of cake really worth the frustration I’m going to feel when I get on the scale and see that I’ve gained weight?” Regrets have a way of lasting much longer than the taste of the chocolate cake!

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated

  • Have your Lighten Up 4 Life team mates meet you for lunch every day. You’ll feel more accountable to eat better if your team is around and you’ll help everyone win!
  • Find an exercise buddy (Perhaps one of your team mates). Exercise is an important component to losing weight and having an exercise buddy keeps you motivated on the days you might talk yourself out of working out.
  • Treat yourself; if you are one those people who feels deprived when they don’t get a special treat every day, save 100-200 calories and give yourself something you’ll enjoy.
  • Focus on the small victories; not on the entire amount of weight you want to lose. Reward yourself with a special “something: (Not with food) for reaching every 5lbs of weight-loss.
  • Stop and assess how much better you feel now that you’ve lost 5lbs, 10lbs and how walking a mile after work is a real accomplishment.

Give yourself a pat-on-the-back for staying in it. You’re setting a good example for yourself, your friends and your family.

  Healthy Eating for Weight Loss
from WebMd

Most health experts recommend eating a balanced, healthy diet to maintain or to lose weight. But exactly what is a healthy diet?

The basic components of a healthy diet include the right amount of:

  • Protein (found in fish, meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, nuts, and beans)
  • Fat (found in animal and dairy products, nuts, and oils)
  • Carbohydrates (found in fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, grains, beans and other legumes, and sweets)
  • Vitamins (such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K)
  • Minerals (such as calcium, potassium, and iron)
  • Water

Click here for healthy eating recipes



Here’s a great WebMd tool that will help you to make wise calorie choices.

We all know it’s not always easy to grab a meal on-the-go, but, if you know the calorie content and other nutritional information you can make good choices at restaurants.

WebMd’s Food-o-Meter has over 37,000 foods and beverages listed in their database so chances are you’ll be able to calculate your calories. And counting calories is crucial to keeping your diet on track.

The Food-o-Meter has a large list of restaurants and their menu items, which will help you make healthier choices and assist you to stay within your daily allotment of calories and fat.
For example; one Dunkin Donuts oatmeal cookie is a whopping 480 calories! But if you choose the Dunkin Donuts Mediterranean Salad for 220 calories, you will save 260 calories and have a much healthier meal!med salad


Click here to check out the Food-o-Meter


WebMd’s Smart Snacking
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

  • Fat-Free Sugar-Free Instant Pudding (made with nonfat or 1% milk), various brands, 1.4-ounce box makes 2 cups. Per 1/2-cup serving made with nonfat milk: 80 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 6 g protein, less than 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar (from the natural sugar in milk).
  • Fiber One Bars (variousflavors, such as Blueberry), 6 pastries per box. Each pastry has 190 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 5 g fiber, 15 g sugar
  • Nabisco 100% Whole Grain Fig Newtons, 1 pound bag. Fig Newtons have gone whole grain! Two cookies have 110 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 2 g fiber, 12 g sugar (some of which comes from the figs). 
  • South Beach Living Fiber Fit Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies, 6 individual packs per 5.1 ounce box. Among the ingredients in South Beach cookie packs are whole-grain wheat flour, high-oleic canola oil, and oat fiber. The sweeteners include sugar, maltitol (a sugar alcohol), sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium. Each pack of the double chocolate chunk variety has 100 calories, 5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar (2 g sugar alcohol).
  • South Beach Living Fiber Fit Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies, 6 packs per 5.1 ounce box.  Each pack has 100 calories, 5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar (2 g sugar alcohol).
  • Healthy Choice Fudge Bars, 6 bars per box. Per bar: 80 calories, 1.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 3 g protein, 4 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 3 g sugar alcohols.
  • Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle Bars, 6 bars per box. Per bar: 100 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber, 12 g sugars, 0 g sugar alcohols.

What Do I Eat? How Do I Lose Weight? Help!

Here are some great resources that will help you determine your healthy weight, count calories, journal your food intake and offer weight loss suggestions and foods. Lighten Up 4 Life recommends these as helpful and sound sources.

Before you begin a weight loss program you need to determine your healthy weight. Here is a great resource from WebMd to help you do just that! This resource explains not only your good weight, but how losing just 10% of your body weight can benefit your health.

How Much Should I Weigh?

Next step: Choosing a weight loss program which isn’t easy. You will need to decide which plan best fits your lifestyle and preferences. Here are some resources from WebMd to help.

Low-Fat Diet: Why Fat-Free Isn't Trouble Free
Health experts warn that "fat-free" foods may cause more problems than they purport to solve. Learn about the healthy fat diet.

Very Low Calorie Diets
Learn the benefits and risks of very low-calorie diets.

Get the Truth About Fad Diets
Get the real facts about fad diets, and learn some healthy weight loss strategies that really work.

Indulging Your Sweet Tooth
Think you need to give up sweets when dieting? Learn how to have your sweets and a healthy diet, too!


WebMd Food Calorie Calculator

Healthy Eating Menu Plan

Here are some great sample menu plans from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

Menu Plans






















Healthy Eating



Healthy Eating



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