UTSW Heart

by Susan Rodder, M.S., Clinical Instructor and Registered Dietitian, UT Southwestern Medical Center

The holidays are here, and so is the tempting food!

Special holiday foods constitute part of the holiday tradition, but there is no need to panic or give in to every temptation. Rather, keep holiday eating in perspective with the following tips.

  • This is not the time to go on a diet, but don’t let the holiday season be your free pass to eat anything and everything in sight. Moderate your indulgences so that you satisfy your desire to celebrate without impacting your long-term health.
  • Plan ahead by anticipating what foods you may be served at holiday parties. This thought process will allow you to adjust your day’s overall consumption so that you eat fewer calories at your other meals. For example, have a high-fiber cereal for breakfast and a salad for dinner if the office luncheon is laden with high-calorie goodies.
  • Choose to spend your calories on unique foods available only during the holidays, such as Grandma’s pumpkin pie or Mom’s cornbread stuffing. Avoid high-calorie, everyday items like chips, cheese and crackers, and breads.
  • Don’t arrive starved. To help curb your appetite, eat a low-calorie, high-fiber food (such as a small salad, carrot sticks, or an apple) before you head out the door.
  • Be the slowest eater by starting last and finishing last. Concentrate on your conversations, the atmosphere, and overall festivities rather than on what you are eating. If food is served buffet-style, make only one trip through the line and use a smaller plate if available.
  • Drink less alcohol. For most people, alcohol stimulates appetite, so order your drink closer to when the main meal is served or have a nonalcoholic “spacer,” such as mineral water, between alcoholic beverages.
  • Keep perspective. One day’s indiscretions should not become your excuse to eat whatever you want until January 1, 2015. The day after the office holiday party, pack your lunch, and don’t forget to exercise!

Lower-fat gravy recipe 

One of the best ways to cut calories from a holiday meal is to prepare... (read more...)


Join us this Saturday, December 13, 9-11 a.m., at Andy Brown Park East, and...

UTSW Heart

These days, it can be hard to find time to exercise. In our busy lives, other things can take precedence.

There’s good news for those who are busy but want to do some exercising. According to a study released in July 2014, even minimal amounts of exercise may be enough to increase life expectancy and significantly lower the risk of heart disease.

The study, conducted at the Cooper Clinic here in Dallas, focused on running. It followed 55,000 people for 15 years and measured the frequency, duration and speed of their running. This study, along with our own work here at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has highlighted the importance of even small amounts of exercise. The researchers concluded:

  • Running 5 to 10 minutes per day can lead to a 50 percent reduction in death from heart disease and a 29 percent reduction in death from all causes.
  • Running at a slower pace (6 miles per hour – so a 10-minute mile) provided nearly the same health benefit as that received by those who ran faster.
  • Most of the health benefits from running are received from doing at least a few minutes and then it begins to level off with longer durations of exercise.

What does this mean?

First, some people think it’s pointless to exercise unless they can go for 30 minutes straight. This is not true.

Even a little bit of exercise can have a big impact. Doing something is much better than doing nothing.

Also, some people think the longer your exercise sessions, the healthier you will be. This study, however, concludes that the most health benefit comes early in the run. (Read more...)


 Join the UT Southwestern Heart Team this Saturday, December 13, 9-11 a.m. at Andy Brown East Park in Coppell and...

UTSW Heart
Profile photo of Susan Matulevicius

Susan Matulevicius, M.D., M.S.C.S.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Internal Medicine


Why I Walk – And You Should, Too!

October 13, 2014

Join us this Saturday in Coppell for our next Get Moving! walk.

With all the obligations surrounding work, family, and community, combined with the various sources of stress we all face every day, it’s easy to feel like we don’t have time to commit to ourselves. Not so long ago, I was one of those people. My BMI was in the overweight category. I would go to work every day, come home to help my kids with homework and feed them, impulsively snack while finishing up my work, finally go to bed, and then wake up the next morning and do it all again. I found it hard to counsel my patients on weight loss and exercise, especially when I could not follow my own advice.

But then about three years ago, I decided I needed to commit to doing what was best for me so that I could, in turn, do what’s best for my patients and family. I began watching what I ate and exercising every day at 5:30 a.m. I became committed to being a role model to my patients, family, and friends. I learned that if you value yourself as much as you value your work, your home, and your family, you will improve your health and be able to give more to your family in the long run.

Your Most Valuable Possession

A big part of valuing yourself involves leading a healthy lifestyle. In fact, (read more...)