Family Health Magazine - NUTRITION
Battle of the Bulge
Sensible tips on managing weight
Weight control is a big concern for many people today. To control weight during your lifetime, changes in diet must become a permanent part of your lifestyle.
Keep your goal in mind and the kitchen out of sight
Effective, long-term weight control cannot be maintained using a low-calorie “quick fix” diet. There are three components that must be addressed:
- Maintaining an ideal body weight
- Participating in regular physical activity
- Eating a well-balanced diet. That means choosing food that supplies appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals and energy.
In very simple terms, weight is determined by the balance between the number of calories you take in and the level at which you burn those calories over a period of time. A weight gain occurs when you consume too many calories or do not use up enough calories in activity.
Learning how to make wise food choices from Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating and following some general 'trimming' tips will go a long way to helping you keep your weight to an idea level.
Shopping and in the home
- Shop on a full stomach and shop with a grocery list. Make your list and stick to it.
- Store all food in one area of your house - such as the kitchen. Keep the most tempting, high-calorie food items out of the house or at least out of eyesight. Hide them in high cupboards or the basement deep freezer.
- Start meals with low-calorie appetizers that curb hunger pangs. Try a vegetable soup, consommé, bouillon or vegetable juice.
- Serve yourself the quantity of food which you have allowed yourself in your meal plans and then sit down to eat. Do not take second helpings and avoid temptation by leaving serving dishes on the stove rather than on the table in front of you.
- Smaller amounts of food will be more satisfying if you eat slowly. To slow down your rate of eating, try putting down your utensils every two or three bites.
- Eat with others. Conversation stretches out a meal and makes it more pleasant. Remember it is dangerous to talk or laugh with food in your mouth.
- The atmosphere at mealtimes should be relaxed and pleasant. Being tense and nervous may make a person eat too much and too quickly.
- Do not skip meals. If you do, you may get so hungry that you will snack on the wrong foods or eat twice as much at the next meal.
- Enjoy your meal. Pay attention to colour, texture and taste.
- Do not snack on leftovers. Instead, keep them for the next meal.
- Use smaller plates. That way, the same amount of food will look like more.
- Plan ahead for meals by preparing low-calorie dishes in large quantities and freezing the food not used at that one meal.
- Try low-calorie dressings, tomato juice, lemon juice, vinegar, plain yogurt - or dilute your favourite commercial dressing for salads.
- Prepare lean meats by baking, broiling, steaming, microwaving or barbecuing to avoid added fats from frying. Trim visible fat from meats and drain off fat left over from cooking.
- Keep flavourful condiments on hand to spice up your meals. There is no need to give up flavour by giving up fat. Try flavoured vinegar, salsa, mustards and no-salt herb seasonings to wake up your meals.
- Always keep 'rabbit' food on hand for nibbling. Try carrots, lettuce, celery, cabbage, green pepper and cucumber. You can use these for quick snacks, to pack in lunches or as meal add-ons.
- Drink low-calorie drinks and use artificial sweeteners to invent new drinks.
- Buy fresh fruit in season to use for desserts and snacks. Keep these on the counter or easily visible for you and your family to have at any time.
- Start a meal with a large salad topped with a low-calorie dressing - such as lemon juice; or even ask for the dressing on the side so you can control the amount put on your salad.
- Avoid foods on the menu which are breaded, fried, deep-fried or served with rich sauces or gravies. Instead, choose items from the menu which have been baked, broiled, steamed or poached.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrient value. Try white wine spritzers, mixtures of wine and club soda.
- To ensure a low-fat meal, don’t be shy about asking your waiter how the meals are prepared.
Finally - exercise!
- Walk at least 30 minutes per day. Brisk walking is great exercise for your heart and helps to burn fat.
- Use stairs instead of elevators.
- If you take the bus, get off or on one stop away from your usual stop.
- Park your car further away and walk part way to your destination.
A sensible weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds (half to one kilogram) per week is suggested. It is not advisable to lose weight quickly. Why not?
- It can be difficult to stick to a low-calorie “quick fix” diet.
- Fast weight loss may mean a greater loss of muscle than body fat.
- It is generally not a healthy way to lose and often weight is quickly put back on and to a higher level on the scale.
- Nutrition is often sacrificed in a very low-calorie diet.
Remember: Don’t expect overnight miracles. You did not gain your weight overnight nor will you lose it that way. There is lots of time to improve your health through a change to healthier habits of eating and exercise.
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specifid medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physican promptly. Copyright 2012, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6 [NU_FHa93]