Long-term weight loss
John Monroe, MD, is a family medicine physician at Banner Estrella Medical Center. His office, is at 750 N. Estrella Parkway, Suite 60.
Question: I am trying to lose weight but have not been very successful. How can I take the weight off and keep it off in long term?
Answer: It is the opinion of most physicians and nutritionists today that restrictive diets are not the answer. Too often they create a rollercoaster effect where you lose and then regain the weight as soon as you go off of the diet.
Instead of dieting you need to change your eating habits to include healthy choices and make them part of your lifestyle. Communicate your goal to your family and friends and ask their support in reaching them. That goes for exercise as well as eating properly. Exercise is an important component in any weight loss program.
Eating five small meals a day will take the edge off of your hunger. Two meals should consist of things such as a couple of pieces of string cheese and an apple, a can of tuna with some whole wheat crackers or a protein bar. Eat sensibly the rest of the day and drink plenty of water.
Portion size is important. Your protein and carbohydrate servings should each be no larger than the size of your fist. The protein will help you feel satisfied while the carbohydrates will give you energy.
There is nothing wrong with having a baked potato periodically as long as you replace the sour cream, cheese and bacon with an omega-3 rich buttery spread such as Smart Balance or salsa. Green leafy vegetables, salads with a small amount of a vinaigrette or olive oil based dressing, whole wheat bread and fresh fruit are all good choices.
I recommend staying away from packaged foods such as snack chips because they have a high calorie count and minimal nutritional value. Use fresh vegetables, lean meats and dairy products instead.
Before starting any type of diet or exercise program make sure you consult with your physician.