The day came when I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. Here I was 5”7’, and tipping the scales at 225 lbs. I was asking myself, “What on earth can I do about this?” The first thing that came to my mind was all of those ads on television and in magazines that say a person can lose weight with their plans quickly and easily. I have never considered trying a fad diet. With that thought in mind, it didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that there was not going to be any type of quick fix that could get me out of this. Something told me to make an assessment of my health. Afterwards, I realized I had medical issues to consider as well. I have hypertension, type two diabetes and I am a survivor of prostate cancer. Another factor for me to consider in my situation was the required daily medication I was taking; Lisinopril, Janumet, Simvastatin, Pantoprazole and Oxybutinin. After thinking about my situation, I decided to make an appointment to see my doctor.
My doctor explained that there are a number of factors such as age, genetic make up, medicines, and lifestyle habits that may affect someone’s weight. When considering losing weight, always consult your health provider first. Together, you may be able to create a plan to help you reach your weight and health goals.
Once all of the above factors have been taken into consideration, you and your physician can create a healthy eating plan that replaces less healthy options with a mix of fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein foods, and low-fat dairy products.
Limit added sugars, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and saturated fats.
Eat low-fat protein: beans, eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts, and poultry.
Try making half of your plate fruits and veggies, choose foods with vibrant colors that are packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
- Red: bell peppers, cherries, cranberries, onions, red beets, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
- Green: avocado, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, dark lettuce, grapes, honeydew, kale, kiwi, spinach, zucchini, blueberries, grapes, plums, purple cabbage, purple carrots, purple blueberries, grapes, plums, purple cabbage, purple carrots, purple potatoes
- Orange and yellow: apricots, bananas, carrots, mangoes, oranges, peaches, squash, sweet potatoes, blue and purple: blackberries
Many of us have busy life styles and we tend to dine on fast foods several times a week. There goes a red flag, because those foods tend to be higher in calories and fat; therefore, they can be an unhealthy choice and affect weight gain. However, if you do eat fast food, choose menu options with care. Choose healthy foods that are nutrient rich, low in calories, and smaller in portion size. To choose healthy, low-calorie options, check the nutrition facts. These are often offered on the menu or on restaurant websites. And know that the nutrition facts often do not include sauces and extras. You may want to avoid “value” combo meals, which tend to have more calories than you need in one meal. Choose fresh fruit items or nonfat yogurt for dessert. Limit your use of toppings that are high in fat and calories, such as bacon, cheese, regular mayonnaise, salad dressings, and tartar sauce. Pick steamed or baked items over fried ones. Sip on water or fat-free milk instead of soda.
Another factor to consider is the amount of exercise we have in our daily lives. Many of us spend a lot of time sitting in front of computers, desks, hand-held devices, and TVs. Perhaps we should break up our days by moving around more and getting regular aerobic activity that makes you sweat and breathe faster.
We should attempt to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense or vigorous physical activity each week. Basketball, brisk walks, hikes, hula hoops, runs, soccer, tennis—choose whatever you enjoy best! Even 10 minutes of activity at a time can add up over the week.
Strengthen your muscles at least twice a week. Do push-ups or pull-ups, lift weights, do heavy gardening, or work with rubber resistance bands.
Lifting weights or doing activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can help you build strong muscles, which can help you burn more calories. To strengthen muscles, you can lift weights, use large rubber bands (resistance bands), do push-ups or sit-ups, or do household or yard tasks that make you lift or dig. Doing strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week may improve your body tone. Intense strength training, along with certain genetics, can build larger muscles.
When shopping be mindful of The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts label, which appears on most packaged foods. It tells you how you can use the Nutrition Facts label to track your caloric intake and number of servings to make healthier food choices. This can help you in the selection of items lower in fats, salt, and sugar and higher in fiber and vitamins.
Now that you are motivated to lose weight it is important to prepare for change. Always remember that changing a behavior is a highly individualized process.
- Try not to overreact to the scale;
- Anticipate lapses because some days you eat more or less than intended.
- Strengthen your resolve by keep your goal in mind.
- Try to stay motivated.
- Put the breaks on as much stress as possible.
- Keep track of your progress.
Listen to your body to notice positive changes and enjoy the success. Develop positive self-statements. Tell yourself that you are getting stronger and better everyday.
David Turk & Dorothy Holloway, RN
Adapted from The Mayo Clinic Diet
- Rose Prissel R. D. Clinical Nutrition, “Eating to The Pyramid;” 75-79
- Sara Wolfe R. D. “No Food Scales or Calculators Needed,”81-87
- Michael Jensen M. D. Endocrinology “Understanding Nutrition And Weight Control,” 113-121
- Paula Ricke Health And Wellness Specialist “ How to Change Behaviors” 133-155
- Kris Schmitz “Making Meals Easy,” 157-165