Quickly approaching are our springtime Jewish holidays: Purim, Passover and Shavuot. Soon enough, we will be shedding our warm winter layers that hid our figures.
Did you spend the winter season curled up on the couch with a cup of hot soup or cocoa snacking on nosh while watching television? If you did, it is time to get moving and eating healthily. Keep in mind, the upcoming bar/bat mitzvah … engagement party … wedding. If you want to look and feel good for the event, stay tuned!
Suggestions for Successful Weight Loss and Healthy Living
1. Select healthy food sources: Meals and snacks form the foundation of the human diet. Make your diet 50% fruit and vegetables, 25% whole grains and 25%. Total fiber intake should be 25-30 grams daily and consume six to eight cups of fluid daily.
Eliminate trans fats from the diet and minimize the intake of saturated fats, which have a strong link to various illnesses such as coronary artery disease and cancer. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature, like margarine and butter. Marbling is the unhealthy fat visible in raw meat.
Instead, consume monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as vegetables oils, nuts, flaxseed and fish.
Foods to Include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal
Foods to Avoid:
- Fatty red or processed meats
- Baked goods
- Processed foods
2. Keep a food and weight diary: Self-monitoring what you eat is critical to weight loss. Use a paper diary, mobile app or dedicated website to record every item of food you consume each day. Record your weight weekly. You can also keep track of body mass index (BMI) using a BMI calculator (http://bit.ly/3ZsuqwZ).
Those who track their success in small increments and identify physical changes are much more likely to stick to a weight-loss regimen.
3. Engage in regular physical activity and exercise: Regular exercise is vital for both physical and mental health. Increasing the frequency of physical activity in a disciplined and purposeful way is crucial for successful weight loss.
Truth be told, there is no escaping exercise to lose weight and live healthy. Diet and exercise go together—they’re teammates!
Keep an exercise journal along with your food journal to enhance compliance.
4. Eliminate liquid calories and nosh: Sugar-sweetened soda, tea, juice and alcohol are “empty calories.” These provide extra energy content without any nutritional benefits. Chips, pretzels, cookies, cake and ice cream—the nosh all add extra salt, sugar, fat and unnecessary calories to the diet.
Instead, stick to water or unsweetened tea and coffee. Adding a splash of fresh lemon or orange to water can provide flavor. Snack on fresh fruit or vegetables.
5. Measure servings and control portions: Avoid estimating a serving size or eating food directly from a package or box. Use measuring cups and serving-size guides. Guessing leads to underestimating and the likelihood of eating a larger-than-necessary portion.
The following size comparisons can be useful for monitoring food intake when dining out:
Quarter of a cup is a golf ball.
Half of a cup is a tennis ball.
1 cup is a baseball.
1 ounce of nuts is a loose handful.
1 teaspoon is one playing die.
1 tablespoon is a thumb tip.
3 ounces of meat is a deck of cards.
1 slice is a DVD.
6. Eat mindfully: Mindful eating involves being fully aware of why, how, when, where and what you are eating. Healthful food choices are a direct outcome of becoming more in tune with the body.
Eat slowly and savor your food, concentrating on the taste. Making a meal last for 20 minutes allows the body to register all the signals for satiety.
It is important to focus on being satisfied after a meal rather than full, and to bear in mind that many “all natural” or low-fat foods are not necessarily a healthful choice.
Consider the following questions when you choose foods:
Is it good “value” for the calorie cost?
Will it provide satiety?
Are the ingredients healthy?
How much fat and sodium does it contain? (Check labels.)
7. Stimulus and cue control: Social and environmental cues encourage unnecessary eating. You are more likely to overeat while watching television, eating at dinner parties, and even when passing a bowl of nosh to someone else.
8. Plan: Stock your kitchen with diet-friendly foods and create structured meal plans, which will result in more weight loss. Clear your kitchen of processed and junk foods. Ensure you have the ingredients to make simple and healthful meals. This can prevent quick, unplanned and careless eating.
Planning food choices before getting to social events or restaurants might also make the process easier.
9. Seek social support: Embrace the support of loved ones. This is an integral part of a successful weight loss journey. Invite friends or family members to join you. Share your progress on social media.
10. Stay positive: Weight loss is a process. If the pounds do not drop off as quickly as you anticipated, don’t be discouraged.
Reset your goals and adjust caloric intake. Change exercise patterns. These can make a difference.
Keep a positive outlook and be persistent in working toward overcoming barriers to successful weight loss.
11. Losing weight: Weight loss does not require a branded diet plan, such as Slimming World or Atkins. Eating fewer calories and moving to achieve a negative energy balance is the way to go. Weight loss is primarily dependent on reducing the total intake of calories, not adjusting the proportions of carbohydrates, fat and protein in the diet.
A reasonable weight loss goal to start seeing health benefits is a 5-10% reduction in body weight over a six-month time frame.
Most people can achieve this goal by reducing their total calorie intake to somewhere in the range of 1,000-1,600 calories per day.
A diet of fewer than 1,000 calories per day will not provide sufficient daily nutrition.
After six months of dieting, the rate of weight loss may decline. The body tends to plateau because people use less energy at a lower body weight. Continued healthful eating habits and regular physical activity are the best way to avoid regaining weight.
People with a BMI greater than 30, with no obesity-related health problems, may benefit from prescription weight-loss medications. These might also be suitable for people with a BMI equal to or higher than 27 with obesity-related diseases.
Overview: Maintaining weight loss involves a commitment to a healthful lifestyle, from which there is no “vacation.” You can feel free to enjoy a special meal out, a birthday celebration or a joyful holiday meal without feeling guilty, but it is important to not lose focus on your goals.
If you or a loved one want to lose desired excess weight, Nutrition Transformations can help you succeed. We offer FDA-approved weight loss medication to jump-start your weight loss process.
Look good, feel good, be good at your simcha and thereafter.
Yours in good health,
By Jennifer B. Chapler MS RD CDN