Monday, January 11, 2010

Nutrition Resolutions and continuing a Weight Loss Program

For most people the number one New Year's resolution is weight loss. This morning on WUSA9 News Now, Judy Caplan, the nutrition editor for FAMILY Magazine talked about nutrition resolutions and how to continue a weight loss program. Judy discussed how we can stick to our goals so that by the end of the month we have not returned to our old habits. REALLY????
This is good stuff!

Here is what Judy had to say:
Resolutions – Are They Still Happening?
We all start out gung-ho about what we want to accomplish in the New Year. Dietary resolutions are usually numero uno on everyone’s list. How can we keep our good intentions alive? How can we make this year different so that next December, at year’s end, we are kicking up our heels and celebrating our successes?

Researchers have studied individuals who are successful at weight loss. Individuals who have lost thirty pounds or more and kept the weight off for at least five years have a few things in common. You might be surprised to see what makes them so successful. Let’s take a look at three of their most important tools:

Tool One: Keep a Food Diary
Awareness is the number one key to success when trying to lose weight. If you are aware of what you are doing, then you are paying attention. Paying attention means you are following what you set out to accomplish.

Most people fail to reach their goals when they start to stray from their plan. Staying on the plan or getting back to the plan after a day, week, or month of straying is the key to success. The act of writing down your food intake actually makes you stay on your plan. It keeps you honest, focused, and motivated. It allows you to see results and it builds on habits that will help you keep the weight off.

I recommend keeping a food diary until six months after you have achieved your weight goal. You have to build a system that keeps you accountable to yourself. Whether you keep your record in a notebook, a Blackberry, or on scraps of paper, the act of being accountable is HUGE.

Tool Two: Eat Breakfast
Many of us wake up in the morning; look in the mirror and say, “I will not eat today. I am sick of being fat.” Those good intentions are usually gone by mid morning as the first donut lands in the break room. Then it is off to the races.

Eating breakfast not only sets your blood sugar pattern for the day, but also helps prevent overeating after dinner when you start to crave sweets. Breakfast also gives you more energy throughout the day so at day’s end you will be ready to hit the gym. Here are some examples of easy to grab, healthy breakfasts:
• Egg white omelet with fresh spinach, topped with salsa and sliced avocado
• Vitalicious Muffin Top (frozen foods Giant, Whole Foods)
• Uncle Sam’s Cereal (3/4 cup) (Whole Foods, Giant)
• Two slices whole wheat bread spread with almond butter and Polaner All Fruit
• Fage 2% Fruit Yogurt + 1 T. ground flaxseed

Eating more food earlier in the day fills you up, usually with healthy food (unlike food you eat after dinner) and avoids drops in blood sugar that cause irritability and sweet cravings and lead to trips to the vending machines to seek out junk. The desire to visit the snack shop or machines means your blood sugar is dropping and should be a signal that it is time to eat a healthy snack. Plus when you start off the day doing something good to your body, your body responds with better brain function so you are more likely to continue treating yourself well…and achieving your goals. Here are some healthy snacks:
• 12 raw almonds, cashews or walnuts
• 1 T. dried cherries
• 1/3 cup hummus with 8 whole wheat stick pretzels
• Cut up veggies (peppers, fennel, carrots)
• 2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
• Sliced avocado/marinated artichoke hearts/sliced red pepper
• 3 oz. grilled chicken breast
• Fresh fruit/apple/pear
• 1 T. natural peanut butter
• 1 bag free range dried buffalo or turkey jerky
• Bottle of bubbly water

Tool Three: Exercise
Just remember, pounds lost will never stay off if you don’t exercise regularly, approximately one hour a day. The goal is to not to have to revisit the weight loss again. Once the weight is gone, exercise is the key to keeping it off forever.

Exercise builds muscle and muscle increases metabolism so you burn more calories at rest. Therefore, once you start exercising, you will actually be burning more calories. That is a good thing if you spend most of your day at a desk, sitting on you rear end. Because exercise burns calories, it allows you some leeway in your dietary choices. No one eats perfectly all the time and thankfully exercise offers a buffer doing those stressful moments when you are traveling or having crunch times at work. You may not lose weight when life is crazed, but it will help prevent any further weight gain. Then once things calm down, you get back on target and continue the weight loss program, in earnest, all the while not stopping your exercise routine.

Exercise also takes on a life of its own. Once you start, something about the act of exercising is replenishing and you keep on doing it. The endorphins exercise produce promote feelings of well-being and these endorphins help reduce sadness, depression, and many other feelings that can derail us in our weight loss attempts.

So staying on top of your resolutions is really as easy as one, two, and three.

Do you have any suggestions on how someone can get and then stay motivated while establishing a weight loss program? Please share them with me!

Happy Parenting, Brenda

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