Weight loss after the holidays
by Nancy Schmidt, R.L.D.
Now that the holidays are over, are you ready to lose weight? Start by making small, gradual, realistic changes that you’ll be able to stay with and build a healthier future. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
• Think “choose well,” not “diet.” Instead of starving yourself, choose foods that allow you to fill up on fewer calories. Foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar and fat are good choices. These include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals. Always pick leaner protein foods such as white-meat poultry without the skin, pork loin, beef labeled choice or select, legumes and seafood. Prepare these with herbs and seasonings and limit added fats.
• Make exercise fun. Sign up for a group exercise you enjoy such as a charity walk, water aerobics or aerobics class. Make a goal with a friend to exercise five or six days a week. This will give each of you a valuable support buddy.
• Eat only when hungry. Recognize your eating habits such as eating out of boredom, depression or stress. When you get the urge to eat when you’re not hungry, take a walk or call a friend.
• Eat out wisely. Enjoy eating out, but go prepared and be comfortable asking questions about how the food is prepared. Ask to have food baked or broiled versus fried, leave sauces off or have them put on the side and ask for fruit or vegetables instead of high-calorie side dishes like french fries or regular chips. If portions are large, split the meal with someone or take half home.
• Shop smart at the grocery store. Grocery shop on a full stomach and make a grocery list. Avoid processed convenience foods and stock up on fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, chicken and lean cuts of meat.
• Eat healthy snacks. Avoid packaged snacks and enjoy snacks out of the bag such as fresh fruits and vegetables with low-fat dips. Plan snacks ahead of time and keep healthy snacks on hand and easily visible.
• Use less fat. Prepare foods following lower-fat cooking methods such as baking, grilling, broiling, roasting, steaming or stir-frying. Trim visible fats from meats to eliminate excess fat. Drain and rinse cooked ground beef. Remove skin from poultry after cooking.
• Don’t skip meals. Don’t skip any meals, especially breakfast. Studies show that skipping meals causes an increase in calorie intake. Start the day with a high-fiber, low-fat breakfast to help you eat fewer calories the rest of the day.
Nancy Schmidt is the Director of Nutrition Services at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital. She is a Registered Licensed Dietician.