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Weight loss and healthy eating are focus this week

Weight loss is a goal of many New Year New You challenge participants. Counting calories is something that takes time to do, but can be a real eye opener for most people. In week three we encourage everyone to determine their calorie needs and record food intake daily including calories.

One great resource to estimate calorie needs and track calorie intake is the Web site On the Web site in the upper right corner box titled "I Want To...", click on "Get a Personalized Plan." By entering your personal data of age, sex, height, weight and activity level you can print out an approximate calorie level for weight maintenance and a sample plan. Remember that one pound of body fat stores 3,500 calories. Taking one pound of fat out of storage (weight loss) requires a reduction of 500 calories a day and/or increase in physical activity calories expended. Tracking food intake, including portion sizes and calories is a successful weight loss strategy.

Tracking calories is made easy with the Food-a-pedia tool on the my pyramid Web site listed as "Look Up a Food". Simply enter a food item in the search box for information on serving size, calories and nutrient content. This tool is a great resource for tracking calories consumed and can also be accessed at

The topic of this week's video and handout is "Healthy Eating -- It Starts in the Grocery Store." The secret to improving family meals starts in the grocery store. Because what you buy is what you eat. Leaving those high calorie, high fat, high sodium foods in the store and purchasing healthier food items can save money and improve your health.

It is generally healthier and cheaper to buy groceries at the store and prepare your meals at home. The first step is to take a few minutes to plan menus and create a grocery list after taking inventory of what you have on hand. When planning menus be sure to include fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of seasonal produce, sales and coupons. This time of the year, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables may be a good value.

Shopping from a list can save time and decrease impulse purchases. It also can eliminate additional trips to the grocery store. Usually the perimeter of the store is where the healthier options are located -- fresh produce, low fat dairy, meats, breads. The interior aisles tend to be filled with foods that have added sugar, salt or sodium, preservatives, etc.

Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices. Compare nutrients and calories using the Nutrition Facts label. Purchase more nutrient dense foods by keeping the saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium low while going for more fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Remember that the calories listed on the Nutrition Facts label are based on consuming one serving as noted on the label after serving size. Frequently individuals may consume multiple servings of an item. It is a good idea to note the serving size and occasional measure out a serving of the food item. Breakfast cereal, entrees or snack items are two items easily consumed in portions larger than a serving size noted on the label.

This week's video and handout are filled with tips to select healthier foods and ideas to fill your grocery cart. The handout is available at the Jamestown Hospital Web site or a copy can be picked up at Alfred Dickey Public Library.