Why Fad Diets Don’t Work OU Medicine nutritional experts offer tips for weight loss that really works
The Grapefruit Diet … The 3-Day Diet … The Chocolate Diet … And so on and so on …
The list of the “latest and greatest” diets is a long one. Perhaps you’ve even tried one or two of them. While fad diets may produce short term losses, nutritional experts with OU Medicine say they seldom work in the long run.
“The fact is true, lasting weight loss is not a quick fix. Most fad diets focus on making drastic changes for short periods of time, but achieving a healthy weight is about making small changes, consistently over time. For instance, it’s about finding ways to add more foods that are rich in nutrients to your diet, while reducing those “empty calories.” Slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to reaching and maintaining your ideal weight,” said Amanda Jones, registered dietitian at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.
Unfortunately, many of us will begin the New Year trying to unload that extra five to ten pounds we packed on during the holiday season. Weight loss remains the number one resolution at the start of each year. However, Jones and her colleagues at OU Medicine say losing weight doesn't, and shouldn't, mean starvation. Losing weight in a healthy way consists of eating better and being more physically active. And it should be tolerable -- perhaps even fun.
“Shift the focus away from the scale. In fact, try not to weigh yourself every day – once a week is sufficient to let you know if you are on the right track,” Jones said. “Losing about a pound a week by eating better and moving more is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.”
Losing a pound a week means eating 500 fewer calories or burning an extra 500 calories each day. That adds up to 3500 calories a week or one pound lost.
Jones said the best diets really aren’t diets at all. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight means acquiring a lifestyle that includes food you enjoy, exercise and healthy habits.
Here are some tips from OU Medicine to help you reach and then maintain your new healthy lifestyle:
- Eat a Variety of Foods Every Day o Aim to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily o Choose leaner proteins; more complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruit and vegetables; and more healthy fats like avocadoes, nuts and olives or olive oil.
- Watch Portion Size o An easy trick is to switch to a salad plate instead of dinner plate for your meal. o If you must have seconds, serve yourself vegetables only.
- Eat Smaller Meals More Often o Plan small, nutritious snacks between meals. Aim to eat every three to four hour throughout the daily o Try taking low fat cheese with whole grain crackers, an apple or orange, or a serving of raw or toasted nuts to school or work. Blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries are great snacks – rich in healthy antioxidants, high in fiber and low in calories and fat. o The goal is to find foods that are healthy and keep you full.
- Clean Out Your Pantry or Kitchen Cabinets o The goal is to eliminate “empty calories” and temptation. Toss out all of those high-fat or sugary foods (chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, candy bars, etc.) that are packed with calories but empty when it comes to nutrition.
- Go Grocery Shopping o Successful change starts with the right tools and that means having the right food in the house. o Fill your kitchen pantry, freezer and fridge with lean protein, fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, healthy fats, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Avoid Empty Calories o Eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks like soda, energy drinks and fruit drinks too.
- Get Moving o Start by adding a few steps to every day. For instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further out in the parking lot. o Your goal is to get moving 150 minutes each week. That means moderately intense activity like a brisk walk after dinner or lunch. o Moving doesn’t have to be formal exercise either. It can be doing things you like too, like gardening, walking or dancing.
A New Year – A New You! OU health experts offer resolutions for a healthier 2014
Oklahoma City - Every year, we make resolutions. Losing weight often tops the list. This year, though, health experts at OU Medicine recommend a new resolution – Resolve to be healthier in 2014.
Cancer, heart disease and diabetes take a tremendous toll on all of us,” said Dr. Rachel Franklin, OU Physicians Family Medicine. “Interestingly, there are lifestyle changes we can make that help protect us from all of these. For many of us, that means losing weight and exercising more, but there are other important changes that can significantly impact your health too.”
Resolve to Manage Your Blood Pressure High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is called "the silent killer" and for a good reason: You can have high blood pressure and not even know it. In fact, the American Heart Association reports about 75 million Americans over the age of 20 have high blood pressure.
“Managing your blood pressure starts with knowing what it is. Because high blood pressure has no symptoms, the first sign of it could come in the form of a heart attack, a stroke, heart failure or kidney failure. That’s why it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly,” Franklin said.
A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80, it means your heart is working harder than it should. The good news is that high blood pressure is easily detected and it can be controlled. But it is up to you to take action.
Reduce sodium in your diet – less than 1500 mg of sodium a day. Exercise for your heart. Even a moderate amount of exercise can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. Walking is a good choice. It is easy to do and is easy on your body.
Exercise can also reduce stress, which in turn reduces your risk of high blood pressure. Quitting smoking also reduces blood pressure.
When lifestyle changes aren’t enough, or if you have other health problems, medication may be necessary to manage your high blood pressure. There are more than 50 medicines to treat high blood pressure and they are very effective when taken properly.
Resolve NOT to Miss Important Health Screenings An annual visit to your doctor is a great way to catch problems early, including cancer, diabetes and more. Your doctor can help ensure you have appropriate preventive screenings at the appropriate ages. With the new health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, Franklin said it is really important to take advantage of the one preventive doctor’s visit provided free of charge each year under those plans.
Women need to be sure to have their annual exam. This should include a pelvic exam, pap smear and a breast exam or mammogram depending upon your age.
At the age of 40, men should begin having an annual prostate cancer screening. And both men and women should be screened for colon cancer every three to five years after the age of 50.
Doctors may recommend more frequent screenings if you have a strong family history of certain cancers.
“We tend to make sure our children and grandchildren get to the doctor’s office each year for a well-child checkup. We need to be doing the same for ourselves, especially as we get older,” Franklin said. “The goal is to prevent problems before they occur and to catch health issues early when treatment is most effective.”
Resolve to Quit Smoking You know you should quit smoking. You know it increases your risk for cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. But you still haven’t done it.
Here are a few more reasons to commit to quitting in the New Year: • You will have a better chance of living a longer, healthier life. As soon as you stop smoking, your body starts to recover. Within two weeks to three months, your heart attack risk declines and lung function improves. • Your cholesterol levels will improve, significantly lowering your risk for heart disease. • Your smile will be brighter. With every puff, nicotine and tar coat and stain your teeth. After you quit, make an appointment with your dentist to have the yellow stains cleaned. Your whiter smile can remind you of your accomplishment. • You will develop fewer wrinkles. Nicotine can block the blood supply to your skin, which can cause wrinkles. Tobacco smoke can dry your skin and make it more prone to wrinkles. • Food will taste better. Smoking takes a lot of the pleasure from eating by interfering with your senses of taste and smell. • You may not get sick as often. Smoking damages your airways and makes you more prone to coughs, colds and infections. • You will have more money in your pocket every day. The cost of cigarettes continues to rise. If you smoked a pack a day for a year, you'd spend a few thousand dollars. Think of what else you could do with that money!