Lifestyle changes for a new you

January 20, 2009 4:45:05 PM PST
If you're looking to change your life, our guests may inspire you to be healthier and lose weight. Nicole Britvan, spokesperson for the American Heart Association and registered dietician with Kaiser Permanente and Rita Haskins and Eddie Moran, nominees for the Heart Association's Lifestyle Change Award, shares some tips.

Tips for healthy eating and lifestyle change:

Eddie's tips:
Watch "The Biggest Loser" and look for other shows or stories in the media that are motivating. I see how they exercise and that motivates me.

Instead of weighing food or trying to count calories in homemade foods, use small containers to easily measure or eat off small plates. If I want seconds, I can go back and have some more and it's still less than the bigger plates.

Rita's tips:
Schedule time for yourself to exercise and don't try saying you're too busy, Rita is busier: "I have two kids, am a Girl Scout leader, Boy Scout troop committee chair and participate in my children's School Site Councils. "

If you have a family history of heart disease or stroke, take action now: "Changing my lifestyle is very important because my mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage and my father underwent a quintuple bypass a few years ago. He is doing great for a 79 year-old and continues to travel internationally to help construct homes as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity."

Nicole Britvan's tips:
Eat smaller portions.

Eat more fruit. It's a snack that's low in calories, high in fiber, inexpensive. People say fruit is expensive but it is about 80 cents for a banana, $2 for a pastry.

Don't skip meals.

Move on after a slip. The people who are successful, if they ate something unhealthy, they don't fret about it. They move on. They don't throw in the towel. I think many people get tripped up with it.

Exercise no matter what.

Keep the trigger foods out of the house. Trigger foods are things like ice cream, chips, snack foods that are high in calories but low on nutrition. We go towards the fat and salt when we're stressed.

Women have more guilt. They prioritize others before themselves (kids, parents, household etc). This can get in the way of committing to finding time to cook something healthy or to exercise.

Men have long been motivated by heart-related health issues. But heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. In the last decade or so, we realize that women and men have these same exact issues.

To learn more: or call 415.433.2273.

About Nicole Britvan:
Nicole is a registered dietician with Kaiser Permanente and a volunteer spokesperson with the American Heart Association

About Eddie Moran:
Eddie is 45 and works at Thoratec. In 2006 he weighed 305 pounds. He had sleep apnea which kept him awake nights and his blood pressure and cholesterol were both too high. He wanted to lose weight but was too embarrassed to go see his doctor, so he lost 10 pounds first. He went to see the doctor on his birthday. The doctor told him that if he wanted to be around for his children, he had to lose weight. That got his attention. He decided to change the way he was eating. He consulted a nutritionist, who told him to consume about 2,500 calories a day and focus on portion control. 'In the session with her she showed me a day's portion of spaghetti, I said Oh My God. It was a small handful. I said, "I eat about 20 of those". She said "one'. A portion of bread for him, used to be half a loaf. Now he eats about 1 cup of food every 2 to 3 hours. He still eats all kinds of foods but he watches the portions. At home, he eats from small plates and small bowls. For work, he puts food in small, 1 cup containers. Instead of drinking 12 beers in a weekend, he drinks 1. Now he will drink 1.

He also began to exercise in a big way. He began walking 30 minutes a day, then he bumped it up to 45, then 1 hour, then 2 times a day for 1 hour plus walking around the buildings at work. Eddie started using the onsite gym twice a day, at 5AM before work and after work as well. And and then he would walk once he got home.

Eddie has lost over 100 pounds. He continues to walk at least 5 miles a day and work out regularly. He has found that his metabolism has changed and he can maintain his weight without extreme exercise. He has lost a little over 100 pounds. His sleep apnea has gone from severe to mild. His cholesterol and blood pressure are at healthy levels now.

About Rita Haskin:
Rita works for SamTrans. In one year, she has lost 107 pounds, reduced her cholesterol level to 138, reduced her stress level and boosted her energy.

These Bay Area folks have been recognized for their success by the American Heart Association's Start! program. That's a free workplace-based program that encourages all adults to take action to reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke, America's number 1 and number 3 killers. More information at

Lifestyle Change Award nominations are a big part of the annual Start! Heart Walks, which raise money and awareness. Most heart disease is preventable and the folks who have taken big steps to reduce their risk and improve their health can provide inspiration and motivation to everyone.