Wellness Words December 2016

Wellness Words December 2016

HealthLink Littauer’sCarol Tomlinson-Head


Submitted by Carol Tomlinson, RN BS

Community Health Educator


A Healthy Start To A New Year

The holiday season is upon us with its many traditions, often including lots of food and quite a bit of stress. As we look forward to a new year, many of us will make resolutions to get and stay healthier in 2017.

The first promises often include changes in diet and upping our exercise. Diet programs and gyms will soon be offering incentives for their programs. However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between 15-50% of those who start new programs will give them up during the third week of January through the end of February.

It’s not that these people are simply ‘weak-willed.’ According to NIH, the fact is that we often have unrealistic goals and expectations. Those who share their goals with others, and make plans that include accountability, are far more likely to succeed than those whose intents remain private.

There are no foods or pills that magically burn fat, and no product will miraculously make you slim and fit while you watch TV or sleep. Some supplements and OTC diet products can actually be harmful to your health.

Steer clear of any plans, pills or products that make the following claims:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Specific food combinations for health
  • Rigid menus
  • Unlimited quantities or severe restrictions in certain foods
  • No need to exercise

If 2017 is the year you really want to set a routine that will improve your health and fitness, then some of the keys to succeeding include, but are not limited to:

  • Setting realistic goals with a competent professional
  • Meeting regularly in groups or 1:1 with someone who you will be accountable to
  • Learning to make better choices from a reliable, evidence based program

A Sodexo program approved by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, among other national organizations, is called CORE 4 ADULT WEIGHT MANAGEMENT. This program encompasses nutrition education, physical activity, and the role of behavioral therapy in weight management.

Nutrition education focuses on the macro and micro nutrients, calorie composition, food portions, fad diets, food preparation, dining out, food labels and shopping tips. The physical activity module addresses the benefits of exercise, fitness components and the basics of planning a personal exercise program. Behavior modification consists of weekly assignments and discussion under the guidance of professionals. A workbook is included which addresses how to listen to your body and overcome overeating, and obsessions with food.

There are individual meetings with a dietitian that focus on your personal needs, developing a treatment plan and individual goal setting. Classes meet for an hour once each week for 12 weeks. The program then goes to monthly meetings for a minimum of another 12 weeks, but may be extended as the needs of the group dictate.

HealthLink, and Registered Dietitians of Littauer’s Nutritional Services trained in Sodexo’s CORE 4, will be offering this program on Wednesdays beginning January 18, 2017.

For more information or to attend this program, call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our NEW wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.

Alexandra Barbieri MS, RD, CDN, a Registered Dietitian (RD) at Littauer makes the Leader Herald Sunday edition once again

Alexandra Barbieri MS, RD, CDN, a Registered Dietitian (RD) at Littauer discusses healthy choices for losing weight. See this story from The Leader Herald…

Lifestyle Changes

Even small changes can have big results in weight loss

May 29, 2016

By PATRICIA OLDER, Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE – After four heart attacks, the doctor told John Lee had a decision to make – lose weight or die.

“I’ve always been big and I have always had a problem with my weight,” said Lee. “Then I had four major heart attacks and my doctor told me I either had to lose weight or I’d be in the ground.”

He decided he wanted to live.

Lee made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon and attended an orientation to see if he could be a candidate for gastric bypass surgery. He was.

“They told me I was a candidate, but I had to lose 10 percent of my weight before they could do the surgery,” said Lee who weighed in at almost 455 pounds at his heaviest.

It took about six months for him to take off the 45 pounds with the doctor’s help and in January 2010, Lee had the surgery.
But to be successful, Lee would have to make lifestyle changes in the way he ate and in his daily routine in order to continue to lose and to keep it off.

“[The doctor and his team] set me up with a basic plan and it was pretty easy to follow,” said Lee, who admits his love for fast food didn’t help the process. “The hardest part is not being able to go to McDonald’s – I still have the cravings for a burger.”

Alexandra Barbieri, dietitian at Nathan Littauer Hospital, said even subtle changes can help someone with losing weight and keeping it off.

“If you make small changes like taking three less bites of a hamburger or taking no sugar in your coffee or going for a small, 20-minute walk will help,” said Barbieri. “You can burn 80 to 100 calories in a 20-minute brisk walk and it is calories in and calories out and it is one of those small changes you can do to reduce caloric intake. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain – ‘Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.'”

Continuing, Barbieri said for weight loss, a person needs to reduce their daily calories by 500 to 700 calories a day.


“You can do it through either diet or exercise or a combination of both,” said Barbieri. “That will give you a total of 3,000 calories a week and you will lose about a pound a week.”

She said some of the ways to lose weight include monitoring what you eat, wearing a fitness bracelet or using one of the many free applications for smart phones and computers and by moving more.

“If you watch what you eat by self-monitoring, you become way more aware of just how much you are eating,” said Barbieri. “Portions are important and the fitness bracelets help with self-awareness because we all think we are moving more than we are.”

She suggested parking farther away in the parking lot when going to the grocery store, taking a short walk after work before getting in the car to go home and cleaning.

“Taking small steps of any kind will eventually become a habit for you,” said Barbieri. “Do what you can to fit it into your daily routine – try wheat bread, brown rice, wheat pastas. Have meatless Mondays or where you fix a dinner with leaner meats such as chicken without the skin, fish, and pork loins.”

She said even too much of a good thing can be bad for weight loss.

“Remember it is calories in and calories out – you can even have too many vegetables,” said Barbieri. “Think of your plate like a pie chart and fill half the plate with a vegetable, one-quarter with your whole grain pasta, rice or beans and one-quarter with your lean protein such as beef, chicken or fish and then maybe a small side of fruit.”

Continuing, Barbieri said everyone should get a minimum of 30 minutes a day of activity as well.

“Try to find something you like to do biking, walking, cleaning, sports, yard work, swimming – remember, 20-minutes a day, twice a day can burn a couple of hundred calories right there,” said Barbieri. “If you focus on your physical activity and diet, it will lead to a more probable success rate.”

She said most people tend to diet by eliminating specific food groups and while they do work, the weight loss all goes back to calories.

“I love the app Fitness Pal,” said Barbieri, adding there are dozens of applications available for little to no cost. “It is all about accountability and with one of these programs you can have the community [to interact with] so if you are having a bad day, you can see others who have had one too and not feel so alone.”

She said people do not need a smart phone or computer to keep track of their eating and activity levels. “Just writing it down is good,” said Barbieri. “Once you do, you can really see what you eating and how much exercise you are getting.”

Lee said he also tries to stay on track with his weight loss and activity.

“Instead of ice cream I have cool whip on my sugar-free jello,” said Lee, who is down to 237 pounds at his last weigh-in. “And for my snacks I have wheat Cheerios.”

Noting that he wants to be able to help others with their weight loss, Lee said he just takes each day as a gift.

“This is no game – you have to have will power,” said Lee, a self-proclaimed whiz at budgeting for meals. “If there is anyone who wants help losing weight, I’d be more than willing to help them.”

As for his continued success, Lee says he takes it all in stride.

“It is one step at a time,” said Lee.


Littauer dietician Alexandra Barbieri makes a salad for lunch in the hospital cafe

Littauer dietician Alexandra Barbieri makes a salad for lunch in the hospital cafe




Wellness Words January 2013

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Carol Tomlinson RN BS

Community Health Educator


Resolve To Drive Less To Lose Weight!

For many people, the New Year brings new goals for positive changes in their lives.  Weight loss through diet and exercise tops many lists.  But too often these goals are too broad with many changes to be made at once.  Resolutions don’t have to be such daunting challenges. Remember the KISS analogy – Keep It Simple Seniors.

For example, if weight loss is your goal, making another vow – to drive less – can help.  It is as simple as that, according to a new study by theUniversityofIllinois.  And for an added bonus, driving less can help the environment by reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Obesity isn’t just a one dimensional issue.  It is also societal.  The good news is there are changes that we can make as individuals that will help not only ourselves but can lead to more positive social changes.  Driving less (replaced by more physical activity) even if it is only one mile less automobile travel each day, leads to a lot less fuel consumption.  One environmental expert recently pointed out that “It’s a positive step regardless of the motivation behind it.”

According to Samantha Heller, Clinical Nutritionist at Derby Hospital in Connecticut, “If you’re making healthy changes like driving less – whether it is to lose weight or because you want to go green and save fuel, your body doesn’t care why you are doing it.  You will still reap the benefits.”

The average BMI, a measure of a person’s body mass, has increased in the last two decades.  Previous research at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that obesity in theUSAhas created a $42 billion rise in health care costs as well as created fuel consumption of at least 1 billion additional gallons of fuel.

If we each decide to drive one less mile a day and to eat 100 less calories, the effect on national obesity and fuel consumption levels would make significant improvement in our own as well as our society’s health and well being, according to Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois.  And we are talking about saving billions of dollars.

If you are wondering at this point how you are going to make this doable, the experts have some simple solutions.  One suggestion is simply to park further away from wherever you are going and walking more to get there instead of riding around parking lots waiting for the closest parking spots.

Additionally, if we also eat 100 calories less a day, which dieticians tell us is as simple as eating one less banana or a couple less small cookies, it will make us lose weight even faster.  Small changes can add up fast.

Focusing on simple actions that cut a few daily calories and/or help you to exercise more than usual, will help you accomplish your goals without a lot of effort, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine.  Good luck with your 2013 resolutions!

For more information, contact your healthcare provider, Littauer’s Outpatient Nutritional Counseling at 773-5413, or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120.  You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at www.nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.