CornerStone Blog

EXERCISE AND IMMUNITY

Exercise and immunity is clearly a timely topic right now.

“Each bout of exercise, particularly whole-body dynamic cardiorespiratory exercise, instantaneously mobilizes literally billions of immune cells, especially those cell types that are capable of carrying out effector functions such as the recognition and killing of virus-infected cells.”

That quote is from an article on Immunity and Exercise during COVID from the American College of Sports Medicine. As we leave the more active months of summer behind and head indoors, keeping our immune system mobilized is uniquely important this year. We’ve talked about immune boosting foods already on the Cornerstone blog, but I don’t want to ignore this other crucial aspect of boosting immunity – regular exercise.

It almost should go without saying . . .

Exercise = Better Health

But in the cacophony of news, stressful life changes and fear that fills our minds, we can sometimes miss basic truths. It is in these moments especially necessary that we reground in these basics, give ourselves a gentle reminder of what has kept us well in the past and translate that into our present and future.

Our exercise routines may not look exactly as they did before. We may not join classes of 30 others in Indoor Cycling (personally, I miss doing this so much!), but that doesn’t mean we need to give up on doing anything at all. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150–300 min of moderate to vigorous intensity cardiorespiratory physical activity per week and two sessions per week of muscle strength training. So how can you make that transition? Here’s a few ideas:

Work with a Trainer:

In times of change, exercise professionals are a valuable resource for safely establishing a workout routine. Our Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Director Joanna Abbott says she stresses the importance of strength training to her clients – “It is proven to lower stress and fight off different diseases.” At Cornerstone, we’ve established safety protocols in the clubs to allow members to comfortably work one on one onsite. We have also worked with all of our trainers to establish best practices for virtual training for those who are not yet ready to come back into the club.

Take a Walk:

It’s so basic. But, the health benefits of a brisk walk can’t be understated. Add in a route with hills or stairs or pick up the pace and that’s even better. Even in colder weather, walking can get your heart rate up and provide a bonus dose of Vitamin D.

Come In – or Zoom In – to a Class:

Working out together is a motivator for many and that hasn’t changed during this challenging time. If you visit the clubs, you’ll find that we have added extra safety protocols and set strict capacity limits . Whether it is Group Power or Yoga, there’s a blue dot on the floor ready and waiting for you! On Zoom, we can still work together as the Cornerstone community – from Group Active to Barre, our online class schedule has an array of options to keep you moving!

Join a Challenge:

There’s a reason several hospital systems in our area have started fitness challenges. They work! Actually, YOU WORK! Join with a friend. Challenge a frenemy. Find a team! Whatever gets you going – GO!

We know better than anyone that exercise isn’t exactly easy these days. Exercise has always been work but, like always, it’s worth it!

Boost your energy, boost your immunity and boost your health!

Michael Strouse
Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor

Need some health and fitness advice? Looking for some motivation to keep you going? Just need an ear to bend? Contact one of our Wellness Coaches – they are here to help you!

New Hope – Michael Strouse, 215.862.2200

Doylestown – Morgan Fink, 215.794.3700

Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone.

For more information, visit nih.gov for the latest research:   Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of the current literature.

Staying Resilient in the Face of Uncertainty

In only a few weeks, it seems that life has been completely turned on its head. Staying resilient in the face of uncertainty is more important than ever.  Routines have been disrupted, events have been cancelled, work may be on hold, and there is so much uncertainty surrounding how much longer this will continue. In situations like this, how are we able to bounce back and maintain some semblance of normalcy? For some, resilience may be a natural strength in someone’s character; however, if you find that you struggle to keep moving forward with positivity, here are some things you might try to practice.

Look on the bright side of life.

There are so many benefits to practicing optimism including greater physical health, boosted immunity, better ability to handle stressful situations. It is easy to think of optimism as being ignorant of the realities of a situation and only seeing the good in everything; however this belief is not entirely accurate. It is entirely possible to be aware of a situation and still consider things optimistically. Be hopeful for the future and this will help you stay resilient; this time will pass and we shall all be stronger for it.

Understand your sphere of control.

In our current situation specifically, there are many variables that we have absolutely no control over which can be extremely disheartening, stressful, and perhaps maddening. To take a more optimistic approach, you may consider categorizing those things over which you have no control, some control, and absolute control. Your energy is precious and does not deserve to be wasted upon things that you have no control over; acknowledge those things and accept them for what they are. Then, devote your energy to those things that you have total control over. An exercise you may try is to fill in the graph below with all of the possibilities you can think of, graciously accept what is outside of your control, then make an action plan for devoting your energies for what lies in the two inner circles.

Put a new frame on that picture.

What is a better way of looking at this negative situation? Re-framing something negative into a positive is a powerful way to boost your resilience. Perhaps instead of thinking that you are stuck at home, you may re-frame it by saying that you are safe at home with your loved ones.

Practice gratitude.

How many times have we heard “count your blessings”? This common adage can easily go by the wayside. But, it is a wonderful way to stay grounded when it is so easy to fall into negative thinking. Think of three things that you are thankful for, and either begin or end your day with these reflections. Up for a challenge? Look at a negative situation and try to find the blessing within it.  Gratitude is an extremely important component of staying resilient.

Uncertainty and the emotions that it brings can be very difficult to combat, but stay positive throughout this situation. Know that you are not in this alone, and also know that it is okay to not be okay. Hug your loved ones tight, reach out if you need some help, and know that this too shall pass. Cornerstone is a community and we are here for you in this time; always feel free to reach out for help or if you need someone to talk to. We shall get through this together.

~Katie Conn, Wellness Coach

Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone.

The Time for Self-Care is NOW!

The time for self-care is now.  Yes, now! Especially now!! Over the past months, all of us have experienced so much change.  While change is clearly a part of life, frequent and radical change can be very disjointing – to say the least. Massive change can make people feel overwhelmed, frustrated and even anxious at times.  It is during times like these that practicing self-care is absolutely essential. When we are able to care for ourselves, we are better prepared to take care of others and to deal with situations as they arise.

Image courtesy of https://tinytribes.co/

Self-care is a buzzword we have all heard about, but what is it really? And, how do we even start? In short, self-care is deliberately taking control of your health. It is a plan you make to take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Self-care is the key to a balanced life. While it will look a little different for each person, practicing a few things from each self-care category will help you feel ready to tackle the day. Practice self-care daily so taking care of you becomes routine.

Physical Self-Care

This means taking care of your body through an activity you enjoy (any activity that improves the physical health of your body).
– nourish your body
– get moving- exercise, stretch
– drink more water
– get enough sleep

Emotional Self-Care

It is important to become more in tune with your emotions.   Choose activities that help you process and reflect on your emotions, to work through them and not keep them bottled up inside.
– set boundaries (be able to say no).
– practice meditation/mindfulness
– journal thoughts and feelings
– be creative (paint, cook, play music, etc)

Spiritual Self-Care

Nourish your soul and strive for inner peace.  Seek a purpose. Select activities that allows you to think bigger than yourself- this does not have to be religious, although for some it is.
– pray/say intentions
– yoga
– write a graditude journal
– spend time with nature
– donate to a charity

Social Self-Care

Connect with others using any activity that strengthens relationship with others.
– spend time with loved ones
– reconnect with an old friend
– join a class or group to meet new people
– use social media wisely

Intellectual/Mental Self-Care

Challenge your mind, expand your knowledge and stimulates your intellect.
– read a book/
– learn a new skill
– unplug/ device free time
– complete projects

Practical/Professional

Complete the core aspects of your life. Choose activities that prevents future stressful situations.
– know your worth
– work/life balance
– continue to grow and develop
– create a budget
-organize

Practice self-care daily so that taking care of YOU becomes a routine. Be intentional. Make the time and the effort. Invest in your health. Be the best you that you can be! And, remember… taking time for you is not selfish. It is preparing you to be your best!

~ Kristen Fredericks, Wellness Coach

Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone

Thriving During Quarantine With Cornerstone Wellness Coaches

Thriving during quarantine is possible!  Being in quarantine is such a new and unnerving time for many. It can be easy to fall into a negative head space surrounding all of the uncertainty in the world right now. However instead of just focusing on “surviving” the quarantine, learn how the Cornerstone wellness coaches are choosing to “thrive” during the quarantine!

Michael Strouse (New Hope Club)

“During quarantine, I had to really refocus on my own values and strengths. As I had to transition to being more involved in the day to day of my kid’s education, patience and fun had to come into it but also a little irreverence and innovation. It’s really shown me how I can best tackle other issues, either existing or new!”

Morgan Fink (Warrington Club)

“For me, the key to staying positive and sane during quarantine is having a routine. Without a routine you might start to treat this like a “stay-cation”. One way I have been doing this is by setting an alarm each morning and starting my day with some sort of workout. Working out at home has really given me the opportunity to change up my workouts and try new things. I have really been enjoying the variety in my routine lately and this is something I’m hoping to continue even when things return to normal. I have also made sure to continue writing out a structured meal plan for the week and sticking to it. This is something that I have always done and I find that it really helps me stay on track. It’s also a great way to stick to my grocery budget each week and prevents impulse/boredom eating.”

Kim Stone (Warrington Club)

“I think now more than ever we have all realized how important connection is to our overall well-being. It has been tough not being able to see our family and friends like we used to which is why we have all had to get a little creative. My BFFs and I have been having weekly Zoom class to stay connected. We don’t all live locally so I’m not sure why we never thought of doing this before, but it has truly been a lifesaver in keeping us sane, staying connected and sharing some laughs.”

Wellness Coaches Thriving During Quarantine
Kristen Fredericks (Doylestown Club)

“I think what has been working for me and my family keeping some sanity during quarantine is keeping our routine as close to normal as we can! We still go to bed at our normal time, we set an alarm to wake during the week, and we get ourselves ready each day – including a shower, getting dressed, doing hair/makeup. In addition, we keep a schedule daily for school and for work – it’s a bit modified due to circumstances. We are using our school stomach so we do not go into the kitchen/pantry all day.

Having a sense of normalcy in uncertain times keeps us grounded and also keeps us from falling into bad habits. I think it also helps to keep anxious feelings at bay with so many things in our lives being so different. So much has changed in the past few weeks and our routines are the one thing in our lives that we have control of.”

Cheryl Watkins (Doylestown Club)

“At the Watkins house, we are trying to keep things as normal as possible. This includes keeping up with a healthy sleep cycle, showering and putting on our business casual clothes before retreating into our home offices each morning. Also, we make time for physical movement every day.”

Remember, thriving during quarantine is possible!  Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone.

Making Healthy Choices On A Budget

Whenever money is tight it’s easy to think that healthy food has to be the first thing to go. However, being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your nutrition. It just means you need to be a little smarter about your purchases and plan accordingly! So today I want to share with you how to make healthy choices while on a budget.

grocery store healthy choices on a budget
1. Check For Coupons/Sales

This tip might seem obvious, but let me elaborate on this. Most people check for coupons for items they are already planning to purchase. But to really save the most money you’ll want to get into the habit of checking for coupons/sales before you go to the grocery store! A lot of grocery stores have an app or website where they have digital coupons and list their weekly sales ad. Once you can see what they have on sale, try to incorporate those items into your meal plan for the week. Instead of looking for coupons/sales for items already on your shopping list, you should plan your shopping list around the items on sale.

Planning for healthier choices when shopping.
2. Plan Your Week

Now that you’ve looked around for the best sales and deals, it’s time to plan your week around these sales. If chicken breast is on sale, then find some simple, healthy recipes that use chicken as the protein source. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to eat the same meals all week. Try to find creative ways to use the same ingredients for totally different meals. Chicken doesn’t have to be boring. Maybe you use it to make baked chicken parmesan one night, shred it for tacos another night, and then use it for BBQ chicken another night. Making delicious, healthy choices is so much easier when you have a plan!


3. Use The Freezer

If something you typical use is on sale, can you buy more than you need and freeze it? I always do this when chicken, beef or turkey is on sale. Another great strategy when on a budget is to stock up on frozen fruit and vegetables. This way they have a longer shelf life and you don’t need to worry about eating everything right away. I always have bags of frozen fruit in my freezer for smoothies.

4. Don’t Forget To Check Your Cabinets!

Now that you planned out your meals for the week, it’s time to make a list. Look at each recipe and write down the items that you need to buy. Always take a look around your kitchen to see what you already have, that way you don’t accidentally buy more.  This is also a great time to see what foods you already have in your pantry/fridge and plan your meals around it. Sometimes I buy more of something than I need because of a good sale. Then I always make sure I use it in the upcoming weeks so it doesn’t go to waste.

On the same note, always use all of your leftovers. Never throw anything away just because you don’t think you will use it. Do you have extra marinara sauce from your pasta dinner? Save it and use it later that week to make chicken parmesan, or homemade pizzas.  Never let being on a budget keep you from fueling your body with the nutritious food it deserves. With a little bit of planning you can absolutely make healthy choices on a budget that taste great and the family will love!

~ Morgan Fink, Warrington Wellness Coach

Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone.

7 Reasons You Should Stretch Every Day

When you think of being flexible, what do you think of? The sit-and-reach test from elementary school gym class? Or being able to bend over and touch your toes? Most people know that flexibility is important, yet those same people most likely don’t do enough stretching. Stretching is so important for our overall wellbeing that it is actually something that we should be doing every single day. If you need some some convincing about the benefits of stretching frequently, here are 7 reasons you should stretch every day:

Stretch everyday for less stiffness.

1.  Less Stiffness

Stretching helps to reduce muscle stiffness that accumulates from days of sitting. It also helps to improve range of motion of joints that may be compromised due to injuries or overuse.

2.  Less Pain

When muscles are less stiff and more flexible you tend to have less aches and pains. Sometimes a tight muscle might even be the culprit to some chronic pain you have been experiencing. Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from lower back pain? Tight hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis might be to blame. Try stretching them out and see if some of your back pain alleviates.

3.  Better Posture

If you’re starting to notice a slouch in your posture, it’s not too late to correct it! Stretching helps to strengthen your muscles which encourages proper alignment. Over time this can help make your posture more upright.

4.  Reduce Post-Exercise Soreness

If you’re used to being really sore after a workout, then it might be time to add in some post-workout stretching. Stretching helps to lengthen and loosen the muscles which can prevent them from tightening up and becoming sore. Stretching all helps to promote blood flow to the recovering muscles, which will also aid in recovery.

Stretch everyday to reduce soreness.

5.  Reduces Stress

Have you ever been told that you carry stress in your shoulders? Well its’ true. When we chronically feel stressed our muscles tighten as a result. Therefore, by stretching them out you can literally release the tension from your body which can help you feel less stressed.

6.  Increases Energy

Stretching helps to promote blood flow to the body which sends more oxygen to not only the muscles but also the brain. Some quick stretching can help you feel more refreshed and alert.

7.  Better Quality of Life

If all of the other reasons above weren’t enough to convince you, then let this one sink in. Daily stretching and increased flexibility can give you a better quality of life as you age. People who don’t stretch tend to have more difficulty with daily tasks as they get older. For example, it could become challenging to bend over and tie your shoes, or maybe your shoulders are so tight that you can’t reach overhead anymore to get something off of the top shelf in your kitchen cabinet. Don’t let muscle stiffness slow you down! By stretching every day you can help ensure that all of your activities of daily living remain doable.

Getting Started

While stretching every day might sound overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! You don’t need to stretch every single muscle in your body. Start out by focusing on the ones that you know are tight.
If you need some help getting started, reach out to a fitness professional in your area. Here at Cornerstone we have highly trained Wellness Coaches and Personal Trainers on staff who have the expertise to develop you stretching routine that works for you.

~Morgan Fink, Wellness Coach

Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone.

6 Ways To Reset In The “New Normal”

When Governor Wolf announced that Bucks County needed to close, my initial feeling was relief.  Crazy right?  I had just spent the previous weekend traveling, so I was happy to be forced to stay home, enjoy time with my family and clear my overscheduled calendar.  The gift of time was given to us and I was ready to embrace it. 

Cut to the first day of distance learning with my kids and reality set in that this was not quite what I had imagined.  As we began to navigate this new way of everyday life, feelings of stress and panic began to set in.  How did I get so busy with no appointments on my calendar?  How am I supposed to answer questions about 5th grade math?  Why is my 2nd grader asking the most ridiculous questions?  Does she do this at school?  And if I get one more freakin’ email or group text, I am seriously going to lose my mind! 

Suddenly my newfound time was being exchanged for demands that, quite honestly, I didn’t sign up for.  This onslaught of overwhelmig and new expectations forced me to take a step back and reset.  So, I write this post (more as a reminder to myself than anything else) of ways to reset as we get used to this “new normal”.

  • Take a Moment – In times like these, it annoys the crap out of me when suddenly we’re supposed to be all Positive Polly. If that’s your thing then by all means, you keep doing you.  But if you’re like me, then just take a moment to feel angry, annoyed, frustrated, sad, etc.  There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way, but it is important that you release those feelings in a healthy way, so your family doesn’t vote you off the island.  Annoyed that people decided to buy 20 jumbo packs of toilet paper and left you with none?  Frustrated that your kids keep asking you for food…I mean didn’t I just feed them?  Sad that an important event in your life was cancelled?  Then scream into a pillow, slam it on the floor, have a good cry or dance around the room to Rage Against the Machine (or whatever music helps you get it out).  Just get it out and move on.
  • Choose How to Spend Your Time – All of us get 24 hours a day so what we choose to do with it, is up to us. It doesn’t always feel like a choice, but it really is when you get right down to it.  This past week made me think of a quote from the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”  This prompted me to get back into my routine to get up earlier than my kids so that I have some “me time” before everyone else’s priorities take over my day.
  • Meditate – Meditation has been a game changer for me. I have always considered it “my time”, but since my kids were home and I desperately needed to meditate, I asked them if they wanted to do it with me.  It turns out, they enjoy it too and now it’s something we are working on practicing together on a regular basis.

    Kim’s girls

  • Keep Moving – Whether it is going for a walk outside, doing a virtual class or dancing around your house, keep your body moving. Those endorphins can really help reset your mood.  I get it.  When you are in your comfy “day jammies”
  • Practice Gratitude – You have probably heard it before but taking time to be grateful for what you have can do wonders to help you manage stress. So how do you feel grateful when things feel like they are hitting the fan?  I recently learned from an amazing life coach, Christine Hassler, who suggested asking yourself “What is this person/moment teaching me?”.  This has really helped me accept and find purpose in the shitty things people have done and the shitty moments I have had to live through because it helped me grow as a person. 
  • Connect but Disconnect – It’s so amazing to me how we can still stay connected to people through technology while being sequestered to our homes. I don’t know about you though, but I feel like suddenly I have been bombarded by messages and emails that can be both distracting and a total time suck.  We all need connection.  It is essential to us as humans no matter how introverted you think you are.  However, scrolling through Facebook viewing other people’s lives from the outside is not connection in my opinion.  Pick up the phone (remember that?) and actually talk to someone you haven’t been in touch with in a while.  And start limiting your time spent checking email and texts.  I recently decided to put rules in place for myself to only check my phone 3x/day.  It is also set on Do Not Disturb from 8pm to 9am so if you don’t get a reply from me, you know why.

I am confident at the end of this that we will all be stronger.  Not because we stayed home (I mean seriously, there are harder things in life than being asked to stay home), but because it forced us to take the time to really understand the importance of taking time to care for ourselves, our families and the true priorities in our lives.  So, hang in there and live well!

~Kim Stone, Wellness Coach

Why It’s Important To Create A Sleep Ritual

When it comes to protecting your health, it’s important to create a sleep ritual.  Nowadays, a good night’s rest often seems like a luxury few can afford. With never ending to-do lists, bright light exposure, and high stress environments, trying to get those prime 8-9 hours of sleep seems like a daunting task. But your sleep could be one of your most important assets to protect.

Create a sleep ritual to ensure a rejuvenating night's sleep.

Her are some amazing benefits that come from sleep:

  • Improved cognitive function and ability to learn and memorize new material
  • Regulates appetite, blood insulin levels, and hunger and fullness hormones
  • Aids in athletic performance and promotes better recovery

Sleep rituals have many benefits.

Here are some tips to create effective sleep habits:

  • Create a sleep schedule: go to bed at around the same time and wake up at the same time everyday – including weekends. This is important for your body’s circadian rhythm.
  • Be careful not to consume caffeine too late in the day
  • If you find that you can’t fall asleep because your mind is racing with the events of the day or the thoughts for tomorrow, keep a journal by your bedside and do a “brain dump” of all of your thoughts before going to bed
  • Meditate or stretch (or both!) to relax the mind and the body
  • Take a hot shower or bath: this raises your core temperature, and your body cooling itself down signals that it is time to sleep
  • Keep your room dark, cool, and free of gadgets. The large amount of light exposure in the evenings from street lights and televisions disrupts our natural circadian rhythms. Try to limit screen time before bed, and hang curtains or blinds to block the extra light from outside. If possible, charge your phone in another room so that you aren’t tempted to look at it before bed, and you will have the added bonus of not being tempted to look at your phone first thing the following morning as well.

Enjoy experimenting with these ideas to see which ones help you get those hours of shut eye in. Creating a ritual for sleep could make the unwinding of the day something you enjoy and look forward to!

~Katie Conn, Wellness Coach

Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone

Why It’s Important To Stay Hydrated

It’s critically important to stay hydrated . . .

Are you drinking enough?

Water, that is! Our bodies are approximately 60% water and we are constantly losing it through elimination and every day functions. So, how much do we really need? The rule of thumb has always been 8 glasses of 8 ounces every day. Think of it as the 8×8 rule. This is a great tool and a good way for most people to stay hydrated. There are some exceptions though. We should consume more water:

  • When we exercise or play sports
  • If it is particularly hot and you’re sweating
  • If you’ll be out in the heat for extended periods of time.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Plain water is not the only key to hydration.

There are other sources for total body hydration such as meat, eggs and especially fruits and vegetables. A few of the top choices of foods high in water content include watermelon, strawberries, peaches and cucumbers. A refreshing treat can be water infused with some fruit, veggies or even spices/herbs. Milk, tea and juice (careful here) also contribute towards your body’s total.

Milk, tea and juice can also help you stay hydrated.

If you are feeling thirsty…

Then drink! It is our body’s way of telling us we need more water. A good way to check on your fluid status is to take a peek in the toilet! Your urine should be a light color yellow and free of odor. If it is dark or has a strong odor that is a sign of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, nausea/vomiting, skin problems, dry mouth/lips, no tear production, muscle cramps, low blood pressure and a rapid heart rate and difficulty breathing. Prolonged dehydration can lead to organ failure and even death.

Overall, listen to your body. Keep a reusable water bottle with you daily and sip often. Have a daily water goal in mind. And, just don’t stress about it!

~ Kristin Fredericks, Wellness Coach

Learn about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone.

ASK THE NUTRITION COACH – PART I

Did you know that March is National Nutrition month? I’m sure we can all agree that nutrition is crucial for your health. But oftentimes people think that healthy nutrition only matters for weight loss. Time and time again I’m hearing that people are eating whatever they want but that “it’s okay because they aren’t overweight”. But did you know that nutrition impacts more than just your weight? Nutrition impacts every aspect of our lives whether you know it or not. You know that saying “you are what you eat?”. Well it’s true!


Nutrition is such a confusing subject. One day you’ll hear that whole grains are the key to good health, and the next day you’ll hear that super low carb diets are the answer. And to make things even more confusing, what works for one person might not work for you. So to help you navigate this crazy nutrition world, we’ve asked the Cornerstone Nutrition Coaches to answer some of the most popular nutrition questions.

SHOULD I COUNT CALORIES? – KIM STONE

I do not recommend counting calories for several reasons.  First, it is time consuming and ain’t nobody got time for that!  Second, some people get so obsessive with calorie counting that they lose sight of what’s important and having the right mindset is super important when it comes to optimal health and/or weight loss.  Finally, new research has challenged the idea that a calorie is a calorie.  A study that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that even though participants ate the same number of calories, those that followed a low-carb, low glycemic index plan (which includes a variety of high fiber and minimally processed foods) burned more calories than those on the low-fat eating plan. 

Instead of focusing on counting calories, focus on the bigger picture by identifying your health goal and coming up with a plan to get there.  Different ways that may help you achieve your goals are to increase your dietary quality (more whole foods and less processed foods), managing stress and including physical activity that you enjoy into your daily routine. 

If you truly want to track your food then I would recommend keeping a food diary so you can identify trends in your diet and see how you feel when you eat those foods.  It can be very eye opening and empowering to really listen to your body and cut back/eliminate foods that simply don’t make you feel good.

DOES DIETARY FAT MAKE YOU FAT? – MORGAN FINK

Fat is one of the three essential macronutrients your body can get energy from (along with carbs and protein). This means that eating dietary fat is actually essential for our survival! Along with giving us energy, they also help protect our organs, help us absorb certain nutrients and even produce important hormones.

There are 3 main types of fat: saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat. Unsaturated fat has often been called the “good” fat. It can help you raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol . Certain types also have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Saturated fat has some mixed opinions. It used to be viewed as something to avoid, but new studies are showing that saturated fat might actually have some health benefits. However trans fat are something that you will want to avoid entirely. They will raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol, which can cause plaque buildup in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.

So go ahead and eat high fat foods such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, flax seeds, salmon, tuna, and olives. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it with the quantity. Too much of anything (even if it’s healthy), isn’t a good thing.

CONFUSED? LET US HELP!

Stay tuned for part 2 of our “Ask the Nutrition Coaches” post where you will get the answer to two more popular questions: 1) Do you need to cut carbs in order to lose weight? And 2) Why is protein so important?

If you need help navigating all of this confusing information, let us help you! Cornerstone offers nutrition counseling at all 3 of its locations for both members and non-members. Meet with a certified Nutrition Coach to figure out the healthy lifestyle habits that are right for your individual needs and goals. Call the club most convenient to you to get started:

Warrington – 215.918.5900
Doylestown – 215.794.3700
New Hope – 215-862-2200

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