Dr. Kevin Most made his weekly visit to The Steve Cochran Show to educate us on Parkinson’s disease and crash diets.
We all know that weight change is a fairly simple equation, what we take in as food vs what we use as energy. If we take in more food than we need, the body being smart will stock the extra calories for later , often in the form of fat. One other simple thing to consider each time you eat is think higher protein, lower carbs for all of your meals. Protein stays in the stomach longer so you have a full feeling longer and is needed to build muscle not fat.
Lets try some simple things first. We are all tempted by foods we crave, often they are salty or sweets. Both are bad and worthless calories. So eliminate those from the house, no more chips and cookies, replace them with bags of vegetables. The great thing about summer in Chicago is you have opportunities to go to a local farmers market. Pick up fresh fruits and veggies, clean them and cut them up. If you have these as your snack options you can eliminate a lot of worthless calories right away. If you don’t think you can go without your chocolate fix, buy a bag of mini chocolates and set aside 2 for your daily fix but have the will power to not grab a handful. Often placing them out of sight is helpful.
Farmers markets are also a great source for other key foods used in weight loss plans. For example eat sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, why? Sweet potatoes have flavor and do not need the butter and sour cream added to them. Pick up watermelons, they are filling yet are mainly water, so using this as a snack is a great way to decrease calories. Pick up apples, high in fiber and low in calories and again will offset that hunger between meals.
With the weather the way it is, exercise should be scheduled into your day. If possible do your workout in the morning before having breakfast. This has been shown to burn more fat than working out at the end of the day after eating. Waking up early and getting out for a run or brisk walk in the morning is great for you. It also sets a tone for you for the day. Getting your heart rate into your cardio zone for at least 30 min, 3 times a week. Keep a diary of your work out and it will be a motivator. Find a friend to work out with, it is harder to say no to a workout when you have a friend expecting you to join them for the walk or run. Taking a brisk walk with your spouse gives you quality time together and keeps you healthy.
The most important thing is calorie intake, if you can set your calorie intake to 1,200- 1,500 calories a day for a month, you can lose 10-15 pounds easily. This can be done but eliminating some foods are key. No fast foods and minimize sugar and salty snacks. Limit your carb intake by eliminating breads from your diet will make a huge difference. Pick your foods correctly.
For example, for your protein use egg whites, remove the skin from the chicken and bake it or grill it don’t fry it. Add white fish . For your snacks try walnuts or almonds, they are a great source of protein and not a lot of calories. For your carbs- think vegetables, broccoli, spinach and berries. There are many great cereals that are healthy and have good carbs, oatmeal is a great one, that helps lower cholesterol as well. When cooking with oil use canola or olive oil, stay away from vegetable oil and shortening. For your fluids push water, many think diet soda must be good as it says diet on it. Many studies have shown that diet soda actually ends up backfiring and weight is added. I know this may sound weird but limit the sauces you use to cook, sauces make food taste much better, thus we eat more food. I love bar b q sauce and put it on a lot of things but if I were to minimize the sauces I would eat less. Eating bland food will allow you to not overeat. It may be boring for awhile but you want to lose weight.
If you need to add some flavor to your meals consider using cinnamon, mustard, cayenne pepper and ginger. All of these have been shown to increase your metabolism, thus helping you burn calories.
When going out to dinner, order a salad and split an entrée with your spouse. 2 things happen there, one is you limit your intake and the second is you have a negotiating conversation on the entrée choice, both are good for you and your relationship. Also get the dressing on the side for your salad, that way you control how much goes on. Salad dressings are loaded with calories so minimize or use an oil and vinegar based dressing.
Many others want to do a “cleanses” and feel this is healthy. Does it help you lose weight? It does as it clears you digestive tract. But we need to be concerned about how this is done and how often. The concept is you take a solution that will stimulate the digestive tract and clear it. For those of you who have had a colonoscopy this would be similar to the prep you do before the procedure. Will you lose weight ? Yes but it is not a true weight loss as it does not impact fat in your body or actual weight loss. Some people feel that they need to do this a few times a year, but it is more psychological than anything else. Be careful doing this in the summer as these make a person dehydrated as the pull fluid out, so doing a cleanses on a hot time in the summer can actually be dangerous.
The big message is , eat better, eat less and work out more. Limiting your intake over a 4-6 week period to 1,200-1,500 calories coupled with daily exercise will get you into your summer clothes in no time.