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Weight Matters

At least half of all Americans are overweight or obese. Excess weight poses many health risks. Obesity increases the chance of developing numerous diseases, including:

*Type 2 diabetes

*Hypertension

*Lipid Abnormalities

*Coronary heart disease

*Peripheral vascular disease

*Stroke

*Gallbladder disease

*Osteoarthritis

*Sleep apnea and respiratory problems

*Certain cancers, including endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon

Input versus Output

If the calories you eat are roughly equal to the calories you burn, then theoretically, you will stay about the same weight. When caloric intake exceeds the body’s requirements, excess calories are stored as fat.

One pound of body fat stores roughly 3,500 calories! Ouch! To get rid of one pound of body fat requires using 3,500 calories out of storage. That won’t happen in a day. Weight takes time to put on and takes time to take off. A caloric deficit of 500 calories per day can mean losing one pound per week. To achieve this, it’s best to combine caloric restriction with an increase in energy expenditure through regular exercise.

Small dietary changes can make a difference over time. Giving up 150 calories per day saves you 54,750 calories per year! (150 calories is the amount of calories in either 1-ounce of regular potato chips, or 12 ounces of regular soda.) When cutting back on calories, be sure to eat a varied and well-balanced diet. You still need the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals. The food pyramid is one tool to assist you in following a balanced diet.

A suggested rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Health benefits can be realized with even modest amounts of weight loss. Health experts recommend an initial weight loss goal of 5-10 percent of current weight. I usually advise women who are working on weight loss to eat at least 1,200 calories per day, and men who are limiting their diets to eat at least 1,400 calories per day.

Eating for non-hunger reasons

Sometimes people eat in response to situations or events other than hunger. Situational eating and emotional eating at times is normal, but if not kept in check can contribute to weight and health problems. Individual counseling, classes, workshops, and support groups may be valuable in breaking patterns that lead to overeating.

Behavior Change Tips

*Identify what triggers “non-hunger” eating.

*Create a strategy for making a change.

*Predict challenges and devise a plan to overcome them.

*Act on your plan.

*Get support, if needed.

*Evaluate your progress.

*Don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up!

*Refine your plan, or make changes to your plan as needed.

100 Tips for Successful Weight Management

Set realistic goals.

Take it one day at a time.

Keep a food record.

Don’t use food as a reward.

Don’t eat on the run.

Take small bites and savor each bite before swallowing.

Don’t eat in the middle of the night (unless, of course, you’re experiencing hypoglycemia).

Make an appointment with a registered dietitian.

See a counselor about behavior change.

Make crafts instead of baked goods.

Ask your family and friends to be supportive of your weight loss efforts.

Use smaller plates, cups, bowls, and glasses.

Serve food from the stove and not from serving bowls at the table.

Set your fork down in-between bites.

Eat slowly.

If hungry, have a small, lowfat snack an hour before the meal to curb your appetite.

Drink a glass of water before each meal.

Drink a glass of water before each snack.

Limit sweets and desserts.

Don’t skip meals; it sets you up for overeating later.

Choose calorie-free beverages.

Don’t eat for emotional reasons such as anger, depression, or stress

Don’t shop for food when you’re hungry.

Don’t shop for food when you’re tired.

Don’t overeat at holidays or celebrations.

Be patient with yourself.

Choose smaller portions of high-calorie foods and larger portions of low-calorie foods.

Keep meat portions the size of the palm of your hand, up to twice a day.

Keep fat portions the size of your thumb for each meal.

Packaged snack foods should have less than 3 grams of fat per serving.

Use a measuring cup to measure reasonable portions.

Think positive thoughts.

Take a field trip to the grocery store to look for lower-fat, more healthful options.

Use lowfat cooking methods.

Choose lean meats.

Choose nonfat and lowfat dairy products.

Read food labels to compare calorie content and fat grams.

Limit fast food restaurant dining.

Eat vegetables at every meal.

Choose higher fiber foods.

Don’t buy tempting foods.

Limit alcohol intake.

Let your friends and family know what your food needs are.

Include regular exercise in your life.

Take the skin off the chicken and turkey.

Don’t eat fried foods.

Start your meal with a broth-based vegetable soup (choose low sodium, if appropriate).

Bring a healthful snack along when traveling or away from home.

When at work, don’t eat at your desk.

Skip the butter, margarine, and mayo (or use nonfat/lowfat varieties).

Use diet soft drinks.

Share dessert when dining out.

Join a support group.

When served large portions, put half of your restaurant meal in a to-go bag before you eat.

Don’t eat standing in front of the refrigerator.

Don’t eat in front of the television.

Don’t eat standing up.

Chew a piece of gum while preparing meals.

Brush and floss your teeth right after dinner.

Love and accept yourself.

Strive for five: eat at least five portions per day from the fruits and vegetable groups.

Reward yourself for making progress (but don’t use food as the reward).

Visualize yourself losing weight.

Don’t eat a larger portion just because it’s a reduced-fat version.

Bring a healthful dish to parties so that you know there will be an appropriate choice available.

Drink at least 8-10 cups of fluid each day.

Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, but no more than once a week.

Snack on raw vegetables and fat-free dip.

Make a plan in advance for how you’ll handle a tempting situation.

Make a list of reasons why you want to lose weight and review it often.

Avoid fad diets.

Look for the words lowfat, nonfat, or fat-free on the package.

Divide your food evenly throughout the day; don’t eat heavy evening meals.

Don’t go to sleep right after a meal.

Finish your meal with a walk instead of dessert.

Call a buddy when things get tough.

If you do eat a food that isn’t a good choice, limit the portion size.

If you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon, get back on.

Don’t give up.

Pick up new hobbies.

Keep healthful snacks handy.

Plan your menus in advance.

Buy a lowfat cookbook.

Shop from a list; don’t impulse buy.

Package and freeze leftovers for future use.

Don’t strive to be a member of the clean plate club.

Wait at least 15 minutes after you finish your meal to decide if you’ll have seconds.

Start your meal with a salad; use lowfat dressing.

Fill at least half of your dinner plate with vegetables.

Have fresh fruit for dessert.

Don’t skip breakfast.

Eat only when you’re truly hungry.

Stop eating when you’re satisfied.

Don’t arrive at a restaurant or party too hungry; have a small snack first.

Schedule main meals 4-6 hours apart.

Schedule snacks at least 2 hours after a main meal.

Use a small teaspoon to sample while you cook.

Politely refuse, rather than feel obligated to eat something you shouldn’t.

Ask the waiter which menu selections are low in fat.

If it’s a high-fat but favorite item, include it in small portions and infrequently.

Locating a Registered Dietitian in Your Area

Call 1-800-366-1655 to locate a registered dietitian near you.