Slim Down!

April 27, 2010 | Health Advice | By: Ben Legler | Tags: , ,

You leave the doctor’s office with the simple message, “you need to lose some weight,” but honestly, what is the best way to go about this? There are fad diets aplenty on the internet, and your best friend will be happy to tell you what foods will make you get skinny fast. Or maybe you could just work out four hours a day?! With all the hype suggesting so many ways to lose weight, how do you navigate and find what really is the optimum way to get in shape?

The first aspect of losing weight has to begin with a healthy diet. Everyone should try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limit the amount of red meat in the diet. Simple ways to create this habit are to add fruit to cereal and eat those delicious veggies for snacks. It is also important to do your best to avoid saturated and trans fats. The best way to do this is to choose chicken, fish or beans to replace red meats and cheeses as well as using cooking oils such as olive oil and canola oil instead of those containing animal fats. When you have to eat fast food, pick the grilled chicken over the greasy hamburger without blinking an eye.

A good source for finding out how many calories you really need per day is freedieting.com. Select the calorie calculator and enter some information about yourself, which will give you a great idea on how much you can eat to lose weight. Eating 500 fewer calories a day than you need will lead, on average, to one pound of weight loss per week. However, the French Silk Pie at the company lunch provides a great obstacle to this plan. So what if you cannot stand to eat much less than you are used to, what else can you do?

The solution is regular exercise. The beauty of exercise is that you burn calories while you are working out and often burn more calories even after you have completed your workout. It is important to start exercising slowly, probably only a few minutes at a time but increase your exercise as your body tolerates. The goal is to exercise at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week. (Yep, that’s 150 minutes a week!) However, you do not have to exercise thirty minutes at one time, instead you can break this up into three ten minute sessions or two fifteen minute sessions as your busy schedule allows. The best exercise includes aerobic work to raise your heart rate, strength and resistance training for your muscles, and of course stretching.

In summary, the best plan to lose weight is to combine better eating habits with increased physical activity. Mix your exercise up, walk with your clubs instead of taking the golf cart, water the garden yourself instead of setting out the sprinkler, walk Bowser yourself instead of having Susie from down the street take care of him, and pick the salad instead of the double whammy mambo burger at your favorite fast food joint. Follow these tips and you will find yourself shedding the pounds and feeling better in no time!

For more great websites, visit our patient resources page.

Thanks to Ben Legler, KU Medical Student, for this article!