January is officially over… so how are those resolutions you made a month ago holding up? Many of us made plans to hit the gym on a daily basis or cut sugar from our diets. But the best of intentions are sometimes hard to uphold! Especially when the goals that we set are unattainable. Now is a good time to take a look at your fitness goals for 2011 and reevaluate them if necessary.
There are many health reasons for losing weight. Complications from obesity are the second leading cause of death in the United States. Obesity can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, sleep apnea, and even infertility. The first step to losing weight is taking stock of your current health. Finding out your body mass index (BMI) might be frightening at first. Compare yours to a healthy weight to set a goal. Calculate your BMI here.
The second step to a slimmer you is to keep a food diary. Keep track of what you eat and how much you exercise. Most people tend to underestimate how many calories they consume. Write down each snack and each meal to give you an idea of where your weaknesses are. Portion control is a huge factor in reaching your weight-loss goals. Portion sizes at restaurants and at home are growing. When faced with a larger serving, people tend to eat more calories than they should. Here are some tips to keep in mind when eating a meal:
- Split a meal with a friend when dining out–most restaurants serve enough for two!
- Ask the server for a “to-go” box as soon as your meal arrives and put half of it away.
- Use a smaller plate–it really does work! The smaller your plate, the smaller your portion.
- Wait 15 minutes before going back for seconds to determine if you are still hungry.
- Don’t eat snack foods like chips straight out of the bag. Put them on a plate first.
- Drink a glass of water before your meal.
- Mix a little juice into sparkling water for a flavorful drink with fewer calories.
The third component to weight loss is exercise. Losing weight all comes down to the number of calories you consume, minus the amount your body burns. Exercise is the best way to burn more calories. The key to successful weight loss is adding exercise into your daily schedule. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Pick a physical activity you enjoy; otherwise you won’t stick with it! To determine the best kind of activity for you, talk to your doctor for suggestions. Keep in mind that making lifestyle changes takes time, and you may not see results immediately.
Weight loss surgery is a long-term solution for some. Our physicians specialize in weight loss and bariatric surgery Find out more about whether you may benefit from the LAP-BAND procedure.
For more information about living a healthy lifestyle and losing weight, contact us at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Visit us online or call our Consult-A-Nurse®line at 727-341-4055 to speak with a registered nurse.