Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Savor the Season

At this time of year, indulgences seem to be around every corner. Tips to enjoy your favorite treats but eat less include:

 1.      Eat mindfully. Many people eat their way mindlessly through their days and nights. I interview people all the time who cannot remember what they had to eat the day before. This is one of the reasons keeping a food diary can be such a powerful tool.  It helps you pay attention to what you eat.  But mindful eating goes beyond knowing what you’re eating.  Mindful eating also means focusing on how you eat. Taking time to chew thoroughly. To sit down and focus on your meal. It means paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues.  It means savoring, with all your senses, the flavors and tastes.  Eating to nourish your hunger and not out of boredom or stress.  The first few bits provide the ultimate pleasure so keep this in mind and learn to be satisfied with a few bits of your favorites.  If it isn’t a favorite, pass it up.

2.     Choose nutrient dense foods instead of calorie dense foods. With over 40 different nutrients required by our bodies daily, what you choose to eat will either nourish you and help meet those needs or simply provide calories that fill you up without meeting nutritional requirements. High fat and high sugar foods such as fried foods, sweet drinks, cookies, candy and pastries are calorie dense foods that supply a lot of calories with little nutritional value.  Nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and dairy foods, without added sugar or fat, provide the nutrients we need without a lot of calories. Fill your plate every meal with these nutrient dense foods. 

3.     Exercise. People who exercise regularly, pay more attention to the way they eat. Research proves that exercise has a role in the treatment and prevention of more than 40 chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.  So get moving and make it a priority.  Get dates on your calendar.  Do things you enjoy and have fun and you will be more likely to stick with it.   

Upcoming programs to help you stay or get healthy include:

Change to Win is a nutrition and weight management program taught by Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN and a team of registered dietitians. The next Change to Win session starts January 7th or 8th and runs for 10 weeks. To register or for more information, call Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN at 240-964-8416 or email Theresa at

Weight Management Support Group meets from 5-6 pm on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month.  This will be January 12th and 26th in Auditorium Room 3.  Call Carey Moffatt, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418 for more information.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

On November 12, the WMHS Weight Management Support Group met and enjoyed a wonderful food demo by Registered Dietitians Hana Smith and Liz Kauruter.  Hana and Liz not only shared tips to make your favorite holiday meals healthier, they prepared a very interesting and delicious hot cocoa recipe made with sweet potatoes and shared two other dishes, roasted root vegetables and mac n’ cheese made with pumpkin puree. (see the recipes below! Click on them to view larger and to print!)  They got rave reviews from all there, including me!  I thought they were all delicious! 
Some of the tips shared include:
1    Using less bread and more veggies in your stuffing.  To increase flavor and add extra     vitamins and fiber add whole grain breads, celery, mushrooms, onions and carrots. Other options for a sweeter stuffing include apples, currants, raisins, apricots and cranberries. 
     Skip the skin on the turkey and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz. serving.
     Move your socializing away from the food table to minimize unconscious nibbling.
     Don’t starve yourself before the big meal.  Eat something small before, so you aren’t tempted to overeat at meal time.

More ideas for making the holidays healthy will be shared at the next Weight Management Support Group that meets from 5-6 on Tuesday November 26th in Auditorium Room 3 at WMHS. 
For more information, call Carey Moffatt, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418 for more information. Read more about the Weight Management Support Group here:

Happy healthy holidays to all!

-Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Holiday Eating Season ….Tips to Prevent Weight Gain

Here we go...Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, New Year’s…let’s face it…the season of eating is upon us.  Research shows that weight gained during the holiday season is often not lost and accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life. 
According to researchers at NIH, the biggest factors that influence weight gain are level of hunger and level of activity. Participants in a study at NIH who reported being less active and more hungry had the greatest holiday weight gain.  So, the two most important tips to prevent holiday weight gain are: 
    1.   Control your hunger and
    2.   Stay physically active
To control hunger, eat within the first hour after you wake up and try not to go longer than 3-5 hours without eating. This is challenging with busy schedules, but planning ahead makes all the difference. Include lean protein-rich foods, whole grains, and fruit and veggies with meals and snacks. 
Plan to exercise most days of the week. Don’t let cold weather keep you from getting outside. Research shows that fresh air and exercise may help prevent and treat the winter blues as well as the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a clinical depression brought on by short days.  And remember we “fall back” next weekend as daylight saving time ends on Sunday, November 3, at 2 a.m.
Exercise is a great way to control holiday stress while burning calories, both of which will help to prevent weight gain. A gym membership may be the healthiest gift you could ask for this year and the benefits would last all year long.  Or how about treating yourself to one or more sessions with a personal trainer who can tailor a workout just for you?
Also, other tips include:

·       Use small plates which can actually help you eat less.
·       Remember to enjoy rich holiday treats in moderation and realize that the first few bites are the most satisfying and learn to stop with a few bites. Savor each bite and you will be satisfied with less. 
·       Stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water and try sparkling water or club soda with a slice of lemon, lime or orange for holiday parties.

Western Maryland Health System has some programs that will help you stay on track, too:

Weight Management Support Group meets from 5-6 pm on Tuesdays, November 12th, November 26th and December 10th in Auditorium Room 3.  Topics include Healthy Holiday Eating and A Plan of Attack for the Holidays.  Call Carey Moffatt, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418 for more information.

Demo and Dine meets Wednesday November 20th from 5-6:30 at WMHS and features Chef Pete Lippold will prepare a delicious meal for you to enjoy while Registered Dietitian Brenda Ridgway provides nutrition information and healthy recipes. Contact Brenda Ridgway, RD, LDN at 240-964-8912 to register.  Registration is required and space limited to 20.

Change to Win is a nutrition and weight management program taught by Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN and a team of registered dietitians. The next Change to Win session starts January 7th or 8th and runs for 10 weeks. To register or for more information, call Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN at 240-964-8416 or email Theresa at tstahl@wmhs.comWith careful planning, you can prevent the usual holiday and winter weight gain. I’d love to hear your tips and what works well for you.  

Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN – Outpatient Community Dietitian 

Monday, September 30, 2013

An Apple a Day

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Apple in the morning – doctor’s warning
Roast apple at night – starves the doctor outright
Eat an apple going to bed – knock the doctor on the head
Three each day, seven days a week – ruddy apple, ruddy cheek”

This poem by an unknown writer highlights the health benefits of eating apples.  Apple season is here and now’s the time to enjoy juicy, delicious, nutritious, and very portable apples. Grabbing an apple on the go redefines the term “fast food.”

Apples are low in calories and high in fiber, especially soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels.  As the poem reveals, apples can be eaten raw or cooked.  Apple juice and apple cider are widely popular and mulled cider is a fall treat! 

Apples belong to the rose family and while there are 2,500 varieties grown in the U.S., 8 varieties account for about 80% of the apples produced in the U.S.  Apples can be grown almost anywhere in the U.S. but most are grown in the northern states. Buy local varieties, if possible, for maximum flavor.  They are plentiful at the Farmers Markets now. 

What are your favorite varieties and what’s your favorite way to eat apples?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Change to Win – Lose Weight and Feel Great!

The next Change to Win sessions will be starting September 3 and 4. This 10-week nutrition and weight loss program is all about creating healthy habits, not restrictions.  Taught by a team of registered dietitians, and using a non-diet approach, Change to Win focuses on building nutrition skills to help you lose weight and keep it off.   
The program examines habits of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year, who are part of the National Weight Control Registry. Over 10,000 people strong, this group of successful weight loss losers provides much insight into habits that work. There are no special foods to buy and no magic pills, instead, this program teaches you practical skills to last a lifetime.
And this approach yields great results.  The last Change to Win group of 29 participants, lost a collective 390 pounds!  And not only did they lose weight, but many reported positive health changes including:
·         Lower blood pressure
·         Lower blood sugars
·         Lower Hemoglobin A1C levels
·         Lower total and LDL cholesterol levels 
·         Decreases in waist circumference
·         Less knee and joint pain
·         Improved energy
·         Improved physical exercise skills
·         Improved mood
All this and the cost cannot be beat!  Participants pay $10 for the program materials and $50 for the class.  Since we know that money is a great incentive, participants can earn the whole $50 back by attending 8 of the 10 sessions and losing 10 pounds in 10 weeks or having a BMI within the healthy range. If one loses 5 pounds in the 10 weeks, $25 is earned back. 
Topics covered in each 30 minute session also include nutrition basics, label reading, grocery shopping, heart healthy habits, fiber, portion control, nutrient dense verses calorie dense foods, dining out tips, and food safety.
To register, call Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN at 240-964-8416 or email Theresa at