Do you want to start making healthy changes in your life? Should you eat more vegetables or start hitting the gym? Both! A recent study from Stanford University revealed that it is ideal to start both together. Making healthy changes to your diet while increasing your activity level at the same time is the most effective way to see long term results.
The CALM Study (Counseling Advise for Lifestyle Management) enrolled 200 adults over age 44 whose diets and activity levels were below healthy levels. Participants were assigned to one of four groups and received specific types of lifestyle counseling over 12 months. The control group received stress reduction counseling, the diet-group began with 4 months of nutrition counseling then combination nutrition/exercise counseling for the remaining eight months, the exercise-group began with 4 months of exercise counseling and then received combination exercise/nutrition counseling, and the simultaneous group received combination exercise/nutrition counseling for the full 12 months. In all groups, the exercise goal was 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. The diet goal, for all groups, was to reduce saturated fats to 10% of total calories and to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
Only the participants assigned to the combination exercise and nutrition group who received counseling in both areas at the start of the trial reached both the diet and exercise goals. The diet group did reach the diet goal and the exercise group did reach the exercise goal, while the control group did not reach any goals. The CALM study revealed the benefits of combining exercise and nutrition. The study also revealed the importance of lifestyle counseling to achieve health goals.
Lifestyle change is difficult and most people need help in the form of counseling to reach their goals. The focus of lifestyle counseling is to make patients better at self-change. Kathy McManus, director of the nutrition department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says that “Over time people place more importance on healthy behaviors and become more confident in their ability to make changes. Without confidence, behavior change chances are slim. We go from that, to where the individual is driving his or her own intervention and behavior change.”
If you would like to help reaching your health and wellness goals, join us at Well+True, MD in Denver. We can help you start a personalized exercise and nutrition program today!