A Journey to Better Health

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley

Well, it has officially been two years since I joined Coborn’s as their supermarket registered dietitian!  I can honestly tell you this has been such an amazing position to have; my favorite part; I am able to work with a variety of people in the community, like YOU.  So, instead of me writing another one of my blogs, I thought it would be a nice change to allow someone like YOU to write a guest blog for me on the ups/downs, challenges and ultimate successes with eating right and dieting.  I was so inspired by the story below and I know you will be as well!

I met Leni as he was cruising thru the aisles of his local Coborn’s scanning food items using the “lose it” app.  I introduced myself as the supermarket dietitian and asked him if he needed any help.  He was very excited to hear that I was a registered dietitian and began telling me about his current health situation and how he wanted to lose weight. After discussing his current eating habit, we set some obtainable goals.  I took Leni on a shopping tour pointing out the most nutritious foods and explained how we all should be eating at every meal.  Leni kept track of his daily intake with his app and would check in on a very regular basis, updating me on his progress throughout his weight loss journey. It was very motivating to see Leni not only reach his goals, but to see a more cheerful and happy person breaking through the wall of being overweight.  Now, that was incredible!  Leni wasn’t just focused on eating healthy, but living a healthy lifestyle that included regular exercise and being surrounded by positive people encouraging him along the way!  Now, that whole package was nothing but a recipe for success!!

Let’s give it up for Leni, here is his story…

A Journey to Better Health – by Leni DiMancari

A Journey to Better Health by Leni DiMancari - www.cobornsblog.com

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I could influence so many people to take better care of themselves and become healthy. I thought the only thing I could do to influence people was to be a better guitar player and manager. I didn’t realize that I was on the road to a shorter life because of the foods I was eating, the life I was living and not caring about what I put in my system. Here is my story that led up to my decision to live.

The choice to get healthy or die. www.cobornsblog.comIn the beginning

My journey to better health began in October of 2013 after finding out that I was on the road to heart issues and diabetes. There is a history of heart ailments in my family; my father and two sisters were both diabetic. I had consulted a physician about a lack of sleep and series of health issues that were starting to plague me. I was experiencing twitching, body aches, numbness in my fingers and shoulder, snoring, waking up every two hours, and not being able to focus at work. I was lethargic, unmotivated, and eating without thinking. At one point, I was drinking eight cans of Mountain Dew a day and eating fast food eight times a week with salt on everything. The doctor and I dug deep to find the root of my problems.

I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself physically until I found out that I was battling a lot of demons back then; I was swallowing a lot of depression. I began hating life and not caring if I lived or died, slowly poisoning myself with unhealthy foods, seasonings, soups and sugary treats. I didn’t realize that my eating was the problem until I went from a size 32 waist to a size 36 in just seven years.             

Over the course of 10 years since a divorce and quitting smoking, I had put on 60 lbs. I would un-tag myself in photos on Facebook, I would hide pictures of me on my timeline, and I would constantly graze. I would hide in my apartment with a case of Mountain Dew, a bag of chips, the TV, my PC and too much time on my hands. I would rarely go out in public.

 A turning point

It wasn’t until August of 2013 that I had a long talk with my sister about the negative effects of certain chemicals in food that could be a cause of the health problems I was starting to develop. She reminded me of her, my sister and Dad battling diabetes and heart issues, and after a long talk about the things I was eating and drinking, she thought I should talk to the doctor about how I was becoming. The doctor basically told me to “fix it or die.” I was depressed, lonely, and fat.  

I was overweight and on the road to the end. I had no idea of the amount of garbage I was putting in my system because you don’t think about the foods you eat sometimes; in turn, you just eat. I was physically inactive. My clothes were all oversized to hide my gut. My socks would tear, my pants didn’t fit, and my face was round. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my food choices at the time, but I was wrong.

Quit Soda. Quit Liquor. Quit Smoking - www.cobornsblog.comI decided to make the changes. The doctor and I had a long discussion that really helped. He reminded me that I had already proven I was a strong-willed person when I had given up alcohol and cigarettes. If I could make those changes, I could certainly take on this challenge and win. Without health insurance, I was basically on my own and had to figure it out.

Meeting Ashley and beginning my journey

I then discovered that we had a registered dietician for free available through our grocery store. I went out to the store and met with her, and in two hours, I learned more about the negative influences of our food. I decided then that it was time to take the challenge head on and I did. I had a long talk with one of my close friends about smart phone apps, and then I downloaded the LoseIt.com program. 

I registered with the service, I picked up a mixed martial arts DVD, and I set out on a ten-month journey to a better life. The app keeps you in check, plus gives you a plan to work and goals to reach. It also sends you email stickers and awards for you when you reach peaks.

Ashley (the supermarket dietician) and I would look at the foods that had the worst issues on my list, and soda was the first to go. I tapered it down to zero soda by October 1st. I had no idea that the chemicals in soda were having such a negative effect on my health, until I had my first eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in years. I had no idea that my hypertension was caused by the amount of sodium I was ingesting daily. OMG, I was digesting over 4000 Mg a day; no wonder I was such a wreck. I cut my sodium levels down to under 2200 a day (less than the RDA). I was wide awake in the morning and I liked it a lot.

I eliminated the trans-fats and fried foods, too. I was starting to see changes, little by little. I also realized that I wasn’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. V8 doesn’t count; it’s too high in sodium. With the help of our dietician, the Lose It program, and a newfound confidence, I was ready to try and reach my target weight of 170 lbs. I was at 230 lbs. 

My goal

I wanted to be at that weight where I felt most confident (I wanted it to be the 1980s all over again). It was a huge goal, but I knew if I stuck with the program, dieted, exercised, made healthy food decisions, and eliminated the garbage foods, I could reach it within 8 to 10 months. Here’s what I did: I listened to our dietician. I took all of the high-sodium foods out of my diet and dumped the soda.

Coborn's Customer, Leni, shares his Journey to Better Health. - www.cobornsblog.com

The changes I made

Here’s what I changed from my diet:

I started my body furnace moving with breakfast: eggs, toast, turkey sausage, low-sodium cheeses, spinach, low-sodium tomatoes, flax seed, onions, and jalapenos. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

In the graphic below is the short list of foods that will never be in my house again.

13 Junk Food Alternatives - www.cobornsblog.com

You have to be willing to end your relationship with bad food, in order to appreciate all of the good food. I kept five foods that I still love in the mix, knowing now that my metabolism furnace can handle it now: Five Guys little burger, Culvers mushroom and Swiss, Ciatti’s (Because I’m Italian and it doesn’t taste corporate), La Casita (Mazatlan burrito with pulled chicken, artichoke and spinach), and my treat is the Dairy Queen small chocolate malt (high calories, but still high in protein). 

I calculate every meal based on calories and intake, along with a solid exercise program. I started slow to get into the groove so it became a routine daily, beginning with 15 minutes of cardio, and 30-second body planks to tighten my core. Since then, back aches are non-existent. I now do a routine of 30-45 minutes a day of cardio and kick boxing/MMA training, and I can plank for up to 25 total minutes, combining the first 15 minutes starting at a 5-minute hold, and going downward at 5-4-3-2-1. Then 5 minutes cool down planking (2 @ 2minutes, 1 at 1 minute.) The final 5 minutes is a combination of a circular plank that uses forearms, sides, back, alphabet abs and a mountain climber.  

In ten months, I’ve now lost 61 lbs. and have a new confidence, a girlfriend who works out with me, an entire new wardrobe (I was happy to donate all of the oversized clothes to charity) and a better attitude. To think back to where I was and to see where I am today, I will never relapse into food problems again. My biggest advice is to not be afraid to fix it and ask someone for help. READ THE LABELS on everything. If you slip, its ok, just get back on task, and always believe in yourself that you can do this, and you will feel great about yourself. There is nothing better than to have people you haven’t seen in a year tell you that you look great.

Here is the workout routine I use six days a week, with a light workout on the off day. I walk everywhere and I usually park far away from the door when shopping, rain or shine.

Mixed Martial Arts 30-40 Minute Workout Routine - www.cobornsblog.com

Leni DiMancari
Coborn’s Customer

I hope that Leni’s story was able to inspire you to make some positive changes in your diet and workout routine. Remember, if you ever need anything from me, I’m just an email away. Click Here and click on the “Ask Our Dietitian” button to connect with me today!

Peace and Wellness, Ashley
Coborn’s RD Supermarket Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley
Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley - www.cobornsblog.com

 

Label Reading 101

www.cobornsblog.com - Label Reading 101

www.cobornsblog.com - Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley
Ashley
Coborn’s Dietitian

Happy New Year, Everyone! What are your goals for the new year? Now I know you are probably expecting me to write about losing weight, exercising more, etc. But as you know, I already did that last year, so if you are interested in that blog please click here.

This year I want to encourage you all to focus on getting the facts right in all areas, but especially nutrition, of course. Because I am a supermarket dietitian I live in the grocery store and my number one job is to help you navigate through the grocery aisles and help you choose the most nutritious choices.

Label reading can be such a pain AND it can be quite confusing, so let me help explain how to read labels accurately and efficiently.

www.cobornsblog.com - Serving Size VS. Portion Size - What you are actaully eating1. Start with the Serving Size

  • Check the label for the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings in the package.
  • Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label. You can see this demonstrated in this graph.

2. Check out the Total Calories and Fat

  •  Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat.
  • Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of the food item. (Remember it is the number of servings you consume that determines the number of calories you actually eat).
  • It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight.

3. Let the Percentage Daily Values be your guide

www.cobornsblog.com - % Daily Values Chart

  • Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:
  • Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
  • Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack
  • You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100 percent DV.
  • Five percent or less is low. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • 20 percent or more is high. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

4. Limit Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium

  • Eating less fat, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
  • Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat. Limit to 100 percent DV or less per day.
  • Zero trans fats; make sure there are no partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list either! That indicates trans fats even if the Nutrition Facts Panel says “0 grams.”
  • Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • High levels of sodium increase your blood pressure.
  • Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these nutrients.

 5. Get enough Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber

  • Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia.
  • Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.
  • Remember to aim high for percentage DV of these nutrients.

 6. Additional Nutrients

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Sugar
  • Most Americans eat more protein than they need, so a percentage Daily Value is not required on the label. Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans, peanut butter and nuts.
  • We want to limit our added sugar as much as possible

7. Check the Ingredient List/Order of ingredients

  • Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label.
  • Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities, those who wish to avoid pork or shellfish or limit added sugars or people who prefer vegetarian eating

www.cobornsblog.com - Product Claims and what they mean8. Package Claims

Many times you will see nutrition claims on the front of packages such as the examples below.  Learn about what those terms actually mean for the food product by taking a look at the chart shown here.

In case that sounds like too much work, I am sure you are familiar with NuVal.  If not, come and see me! Oh, and I will be blogging a TON about NuVal in March! Get excited for all things NuVal during March, National Nutrition Month!! Until then, Happy New Year to you and your families and friends! Make it a healthy one!

Peace and Wellness,
Ashley
Coborn’s Registered Dietitian

 

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Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley - www.cobornsblog.com

DIY Labels For Learning Collection Boxes

www.cobornsblog.com - Create a Labels for Learning collection box with your kids. Great way to save your receipts, labels, box tops, etc.

www.cobornsblog.com - Create a Labels for Learning collection box with your kids. Great way to save your receipts, labels, box tops, etc.When it comes to investing in our schools, my family takes it seriously. The kids have all the out-of-town relatives on board, collecting box tops and soup labels. When we have a neighborhood picnic, my children collect the empty soda cans and grab the pop tops. I’ll be honest and say that we aren’t real comfortable with knocking on doors and selling fundraiser stuff, but we do look for less invasive ways to help out our school. Last year, at St. Francis Xavier school in Sartell, MN, our school’s families brought in $897.46 in Labels for Learning funds alone.

As we prepared for our first week of having all three kiddos in the same school all day (yippee – the day has finally come!), we decided to do one last at-home art project before the new school year begins. They insisted they each have their own collection “jar” for their labels and pop tabs so they can have a competition amongst our family. Oh boy.

We started with empty tissue boxes. The Food Club ones we’d bought at Coborn’s were the perfect size – plus, their neutral backgrounds were ideal for decorating. The kids decided that since we’re adding up the points on our Labels for Learning receipts, we should decorate with a clever math theme. They each wrote messages on the outside of their collection boxes about the points adding up to money for our school. In case you couldn’t tell, I did the writing for our kindergartner. They also decorated with fruit-shaped stickers, gemstones, Food Club logo cutouts from the empty oatmeal box, and lots of hand-drawn art.

Once the collection boxes were complete, I created a simple worksheet so they can add up their points as we collect them. We pulled out the ones I’ve saved from just the last week or two from our shopping trips to both Coborn’s and Cash Wise. It’s unreal how many points we have to start with! I think this is going to be a lot of fun for all of us – especially our school, as it redeems the points for cash.

I encourage you to make this fun and easy craft with your kids and save those Labels for Learning points! This is a great program and the points really add up! Click here for more information on this great program.

-Rebecca
Communications Manager
Coborn’s, Inc.

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www.cobornsblog.com - Fun with Family with Rebecca