Healthy lifestyle more effective than a diet

  • Wood Dale Park District's "Bike Fight Fit Black's" Paul Wedemann, from left, Veronica Castellanos and Jan Flynn are interested in adding more beans, nuts, egg whites and breakfast smoothies to their diets, while avoiding diet soda, iced teas and cereals.

    Wood Dale Park District's "Bike Fight Fit Black's" Paul Wedemann, from left, Veronica Castellanos and Jan Flynn are interested in adding more beans, nuts, egg whites and breakfast smoothies to their diets, while avoiding diet soda, iced teas and cereals.

  • TTI Inc.'s "Waist Watchers" is feeling the power of a healthy potluck at work. From left, Karen Kacson, Elizabeth Olcese, Michelle Sprainis, Eric Wahl and Julianne Baker.

    TTI Inc.'s "Waist Watchers" is feeling the power of a healthy potluck at work. From left, Karen Kacson, Elizabeth Olcese, Michelle Sprainis, Eric Wahl and Julianne Baker.

  • Lisa McQueen of "Transformers" from Arlington Heights shows the results of a successful shopping trip as she gathers ingredients for her favorite quinoa salad.

    Lisa McQueen of "Transformers" from Arlington Heights shows the results of a successful shopping trip as she gathers ingredients for her favorite quinoa salad.

  • Dan Hart of Hanover Park's Financing Department's "Hanover Net Loss" has been spending his Sundays preparing grab-and-go meals to have handy during the week.

    Dan Hart of Hanover Park's Financing Department's "Hanover Net Loss" has been spending his Sundays preparing grab-and-go meals to have handy during the week.

  • Andrea Granias of the "Hanover Net Loss" team from the village of Hanover Park shows the healthy food she's eating in the office.

    Andrea Granias of the "Hanover Net Loss" team from the village of Hanover Park shows the healthy food she's eating in the office.

 
By Kat Polomsky
kpolomsky@dailyherald.com
Updated 3/3/2020 11:41 AM

Nutrition has been a buzz word within the Fittest Loser Team Challenge the past few years and many participants have discovered that diet may be more effective than working out when it comes to losing weight.

Many of this year's participants have tried different diets throughout the years, including keto, paleo, Mediterranean and dieting programs like Weight Watchers. Some have found success with these diets while others continue to struggle with weight loss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We want to learn more about nutrition and healthy eating and participate in a life change and not just a diet," said Denice Sbertoli from team "Fab Friends" of Wood Dale. "We are looking for a better food relationship."

We all know how easy it is to make poor food choices due to stress, convenience, lack of planning or general lack of knowledge.

Fortunately, team participants can gain a better understanding of food by attend several classes as part of this challenge. They include grocery store tours with a registered dietitian, nutrition classes provided by Profile by Sanford in South Barrington, and healthy cooking demonstrations at Cooking Skills Academy in Itasca.

We asked team captains to tell us what their team would like to cut out of their diets. Of course, the usual suspects were mentioned: sugar, carbs and alcohol, but a new goal has been making an appearance -- processed foods.

We've offered nutritional tours in the past, and one of the main focal points for successful healthy shopping and avoiding processed foods is to shop the perimeter of the store.

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Some other healthy eating goals for teams include increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, trying meatless Monday, reading labels, reducing sodium consumption and meal prepping.

Kari-Ann Ryan of Mid-West Moving & Storage's "Mid-West Movers & Shakers" says she has been packing a lunch more often than she has in the past and uses the app My Fitness Pal to help keep track of her food intake.

The "Cast-A-Weighs" are also adapting their regular routine to include healthy lunches and snacks while being smart shoppers.

Other hot topics being discussed are healthy alternatives to comfort foods and go-to dishes that are quick to serve.

Kim Holm of "Size: Sexy" from NEC Display Solutions in Downers Grove says: "I am going to try cauliflower instead of rice and pasta alternatives. I have also found a low-carb bread."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Emilia Ivanova of Coldwell Bankers Real Estate's "Meltaways" from Schaumburg says her team has been trying apple chips instead of potato chips to snack on between meals.

Some teams have mentioned successes and routines but are looking for other ways to prepare their favorite healthy options. A team member of Bloomingdale Park District's "B-Fit, B-Fabuless" recommends using different spices and rubs. The team also spends time searching for new recipes to try and share with each other.

There are many ways to help make the transition to a healthier diet easier. The support of teammates is one strategy.

Ron McCormick of The Salvation Army's "Block the Plate" in Hoffman Estates mentions that "teamwork and helping each other" is helping him reach his healthy eating goals.

• The Fittest Loser Team Challenge will honor top teams and individuals as determined by weight loss and participation in challenge activities. Those awards, as well as a team captain champion, will be announced at the Fittest Loser Finale on Tuesday, May 12, at Chandler's Banquets in Schaumburg. Participants and the general public are invited and can register at events.dailyherald.com. Follow the teams' progress and join the discussion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheFittestLoserDH.

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