“Eat less, and exercise more!” Those are the guides to losing weight that we’ve all heard so many times. So why are the numbers of overweight Americans increasing every year? It’s simple: the food is “fast” and high-calorie, and the exercise is almost nonexistent. Many of us have to work in an office all day, and then come home to another full-time job—the family! But all is not lost, and you are not doomed to be overweight. Despite the negative statistics you may have read, many people do lose weight—even well over 100 pounds—and keep it off. Following are some of their tips.
- Water, water, water! Drink lots of it; water is filling and cleansing. And it’s easy to start carrying water bottles with you everywhere—in your purse, in your car, at the office, on the baby stroller. If you have it with you, you’ll be more likely to remember to drink it. Some people wear bracelets to remind them to drink water.
- Join a group, such as TOPS or Weight Watchers, or start one of your own with friends or family. Have weekly weigh-ins and “pep talks.” Arrange with a buddy to exchange calls when cravings overtake you!
- Move it on up! Now is a great time for evening strolls, dog walking, mowing, raking last fall’s leftovers, chasing a ball, or putting on the CD and dancing the night away. Many successful dieters attribute their weight loss to regular exercise more than any other factor. Get a friend to go with you, and have fun groaning together! It only takes 5 days for something—good or bad—to start becoming a habit, so why not make it a good habit?
- Keep a food diary for a week just to see what you are eating. Most people are surprised to find out how many calories they take in in one day (that tiny Hershey’s kiss has 26 calories, so a bag of them can easily help you exceed your daily recommended calories). One Anchorage resident recently lost 40 pounds over a few months simply by stopping drinking 4 cokes a day. Then, if it’s still not obvious that you are overeating, count the calories, or bring your list into our clinic and see one of our physicians for an assessment.
- No, a balanced diet does not mean a cookie in each hand. Simply put, have some variety. Too many of us forget the minimum 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day we should eat. In fact, if you increase your fruits and vegetable intake, you’ll probably start losing weight, because you’ll be fuller and eating fewer high-calorie foods. Try it for 2 weeks and see if you lose weight and feel better!
- Set rules. Write yourself a contract. You know yourself best, and you know what works for you. Do you need to have something sweet everyday? Set limits on what it is and when. Are you good at following through on set schedules or calendars? Then make a weight loss and exercise calendar. One Palmer woman lost 50 pounds by giving up chocolate 363 days a year. The other 2 days she ate “everything chocolate from midnight to midnight,” but it worked for her. She kept the weight off for over 4 years.
- Relax and reward yourself. Often we overeat sweet foods because we are overstressed and need the comfort. Are there other things that make you feel better about yourself? A massage? A new book? A movie? Give yourself gifts. You can also design a reward program for each pound (or 5 or 10) lost, such as a bouquet of flowers or a new candle or a trip to a beauty salon.
- Be nice to yourself. Don’t let excess weight ruin your mental health. Love yourself as you are; dress well, eat well; do the things that make you happy. Think of dieting as a gift to yourself instead of a punishment.
Could It Be Your Thyroid? About 10 percent of women suffer from an underactive thyroid by the time they turn 50; by 60, that figure rises to 17 percent. Basically, hypothyroidism occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid. The disease is not as common in men. If you are having trouble with weight gain, tiredness, or dry skin and hair, it might be a good idea to check, and we can run a blood test in our office and usually give you back the results the next day. No fasting or appointment is required, so come in for your thyroid screening.