Seminar provides insight into weight management issues

Eleni Gotter, Photographer

On Thursday, Sept. 16, a small group of faculty and staff gathered in the Lee Nursing Building Auditorium to learn how to manage weight and stay healthy.

Diane Conte, who has a master’s degree in science and physical health, came to FMU representing the Prevention Planners of the Employee Insurance Health Program.

Faculty and staff who came to the meeting learned more about their employee health insurance benefits and about how to prevent diseases, high cholesterol, etc. by living a healthier lifestyle.

“Weight and being overweight is the overwriting risk factor for all chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes as well as causing cancers such as breast cancer and colon cancers,” Conte said.

Anyone can learn how to manage and lose weight to help make themselves happier, healthier and more energetic. Weight management not only helps people look better, but feel better as well. The hardest part about managing weight is living in a world full of technological advances and chemical food preservation methods.

Technology has many advantages, but it has also played a big role in the ever-growing population of obese people. As technology makes things easier for people it also results in people not getting enough exercise.

Regular exercise, along with eating right, is essential to being healthy. Exercise is beneficial in many ways; it increases endorphins in the brain, makes people feel more energetic, tones and increases muscles, improves balance and agility, etc.

“Exercise should be done every day,” Conte said. “If you can exercise and sing an opera then you aren’t working hard enough, but if you are about to pass out from a vigorous work out then you are working too hard. You want to be able to talk while still breaking a sweat. That is when you know you are doing it right and what this is doing is getting you into your target heart range zone.”

Chemicals used in food processing and preserving have helped food to stay better for longer, but many have chemicals that aren’t healthy, like trans fats or partially-hydrogenated oils.

Trans fat and partially-hydrogenated oils are fats that the body can’t use and that don’t break down as well. They increase bad cholesterol which causes plaque to build up in arteries and can lead to heart attack or failure.

Protein is a vital part of the body, and other than water it is the most plentiful substance in a healthy body and accounts for 20 percent of body weight. Protein helps build healthy muscles, skin, bones, hair and nails, as well as transporting oxygen, preventing and fighting infections and regulating sugars and fats in the blood, etc.

There are two types of vitamins: ones that are fat soluble, which are stored in the body, and those that are water soluble, meaning that they are not stored in the body. Vitamin C helps build the immune system and Vitamin B helps with weight loss; both need to constantly be replenished because they are water soluble and leave the body with waste.

Diane Conte mentioned that calcium and zinc are two of the most important necessary minerals. Calcium helps build strong bones and actually speeds digestion, so taking a calcium supplement with meals can actually make food digest quicker and help weight loss. Zinc helps in the healing of wounds, synthesizing of insulin and can improve brain function (which could possibly reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s).

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to hydrate whenever possible. Water makes up 60 percent of the body’s total weight and has many important tasks.

“Water will keep you young,” Conte said.

A person can go much longer without food than without water. Dehydration can lead to a feeling of false hunger.

Nutrition is an essential part of life, and learning what kind of food is healthy and what kinds of vitamins and minerals are needed by the body can help people live longer, healthier lives.