Weight Management - A Helpful Guide

The vast majority of information for this posting has come straight from lecture notes provided by my professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. I hope you find this information as helpful as I have. I have tweaked information a little hear and there, but please know that 90% of the information in this posting comes from her lecture notes.

Which Diet Is Right for Me?
There are several diets to choose from and each one works differently for people. A strategy that worked for you 5-10 years ago may not work for you now - that is VERY NORMAL. Our bodies change and we have to make adjustments.

Ask yourself a few questions:
1. Do you have time to cook elaborate meals like some diet plans ask of you?
2. Do you have the time to follow a strict eating plan?

General Suggestions for Weight Management:

  1. Don’t try weight loss during stressful periods in your life. Sometimes simply reducing stress reduces fat especially belly fat.

  2. Have a specific plan and strategies: “I’m going to cut down isn’t specific enough.” The best plans usually aren’t from a book or a magazine. They are usually the ones you created for yourself.

  3. Avoid fad diets. Instead, come up with a healthy eating lifestyle plan that works in the context of your life and that generally follows the dietary guidelines. Write down your menu/eating plan. Go shopping to buy the food you’ll need. Follow it. Don’t be too strict.

  4. Make specific plans and strategies for exercise: “I will walk for 30 minutes in the morning before work. I will lift weights Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.” Exercise is particularly good at reducing belly fat.

  5. Create an environment that supports your plans. For example, shop for the foods on your menu. Get rid of the tempting foods in your kitchen that aren’t. Make sure your exercise equipment is accessible and in good shape. Keep the TV and video games out of sight.

  6. Get enough sleep.

  7. Reduce intake of trans fat (cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, margarine, pie crust, pizza dough, pancake mix, frozen dinner, packaged popcorn, etc).

  8. Take a long look at the factors in your life that help you stay lean and the factors that don’t. Make a long creative list for each. Next, think of ways to expand and accentuate the lean factors and think of ways to address, overcome or minimize the fat factors.

  9. Don’t try to lose more than 1-2 pounds per week. Eat at least 1,200 calories per day.

  10. Keep in mind, if in the obese range, loss of just 10% of body weight can result in significant health benefit. Beautiful and healthy comes in many sizes. Aim for mental and physical health as measured by blood pressure, blood glucose (if pre diabetic) and blood lipids. Do not focus on a number on the scale.

  11. Best weight management book I know: Volumetrics by Barbara Rolls

  12. Weight loss is almost never a linear process. Usually, it’s 5 pounds down and 4 back up…or for many 20 pounds down 25 back up and, later on, down again. Have a plan for overcoming adversity. You are sure to encounter adversity.

  13. To cope with adversity, find a mantra, a prayer, or a poem. Write in a journal. Find what works for you. Failure is as important to learning as is success. Maybe more so. This applies to a lot of things in life. Learning to deal with adversity in weight management will help you in other areas of life too.

  14. Drop the victim thinking. Telling yourself that it’s your mother’s fault (or whoever) or that the medical system stinks, won’t help. Tell yourself that challenges are part of life and they create understanding and compassion. Imagine how arrogant you’d be if everything were easy for you! Embrace your challenges. Overcome them and you’ll be ready to compassionately help others.

  15. Love life, all of life: the good the bad and the real bad. It’s good to feel even if it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Just don’t obsess. Get help if you’re obsessing.

A No Diet Approach to Normalize Eating and Stabilize/Lose Weight.
4 Steps

  1. Take time to eat, and provide yourself with rewarding meals and snacks at regular and reliable times.

  2. Cultivate positive attitudes about eating and about food. Emphasize providing rather than depriving; seeking food rather than avoiding it.

  3. Enjoy your eating, eat things you like, and let yourself be comfortable with and relaxed about what you eat. Enjoying eating supports the natural inclination to seek variety, the corner stone of healthful food selection.

  4. Pay attention to sensations of hunger and fullness to determine how much to eat. Go to the table hungry, eat until you feel satisfied, and then stop, knowing another meal or snack is coming soon when you can do it again.

Energy Nutrients:
"Energy" for the body includes carbohydrates, fats, protein, and alcohol. Please remind yourself that vitamins and minerals do not provide energy – one of their primary roles is to support the processes that convert the macronutrients into usable (by the body) energy.

DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) recommendations for a “healthy” population. These values vary for individuals with different health conditions. The levels for healthy adults are:

  1. Total fat: 20-35% of total kcal

  2. Saturated fat: <10% total kcal

  3. Carbohydrate : 45-65% of total kcal

  4. Dietary fiber: 20-30 g per day (minimum)

  5. Protein: 10-35% of total kcal

  6. Cholesterol: <300 mg/day

  7. Sodium: <2,300 mg/day

(1) Information for this posting was taken from lecture notes provided by Professor Sharon Tessier with the Metropolitan State College of Denver (Nutrition and Weight Management Class 3400).

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