Doctor’s Tip: How to achieve and maintain ideal body weight
March 12, 2018
Last week's column was about the health problems associated with weight gain. Weight loss in this country is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are many diets out there, some of which work short-term. However, if you look at the research that's been done on different diets, the only thing that works long-term is not a "diet," but rather a lifestyle modification: regular exercise and consumption of plant-based, unprocessed food with no added oil, salt or sugar. If you adopt the following tips, you will achieve your ideal body weight; and if you follow them the rest of your life, you will maintain it. A side benefit is that you will also achieve optimal health:
• Avoid calorie-dense food, which includes meat; seafood (if you're going to cheat though, cheat with fish); dairy; eggs; sugar (read food labels — 4 grams of sugar is a teaspoon); and added vegetable oil (120 calories per teaspoon).
• Substitute foods that are low in calorie density but high in nutrients — fruit, vegetables and whole grains (if the total carb/fiber ratio on the food label is 5:1 or less, the product has lots of fiber and whole grains).
• Don't skip meals, especially breakfast.
• Chew your food rather than drink it.
• Eat slowly and mindfully — Italian actress Sofia Loren once said that the reason Americans are overweight is that they don't enjoy their food enough. Consider eating with chopsticks.
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• Eat high-fiber food, which fills you up without giving you lots of calories. Plants have fiber, animal products don't.
• Eat food that feeds the health-promoting bacteria in your gut, particularly the bacteria that help regulate your metabolism — that would be plants.
• Avoid addictive food: salt, sugar and fat. Big Food is shameless about adding these things to their products.
• Although what you don't eat is much more important for weight loss than exercise, the latter is important for weight maintenance. Exercise hard enough so you could talk but not sing, for at least 30 minutes a day.
• If you have a sit-down job, get up and move around every 30 minutes, and/or use a standup desk.
• If you watch a lot of TV, get up periodically or buy a small device you can pedal to put in front of your TV chair.
For more information, a good book to read is "The End of Dieting," by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Good plant-based cookbooks include "Oh She Glows" (some of the recipes call for oil — substitute ground flaxseed and/or unsweetened apple sauce), "Forks Over Knives Cookbook," "Isa Does It," "Thug Kitchen," "Simply Delicious," "Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen." For local, fresh plant-based meals contact AnaClarissa Norris at 970-366-4874 or email@example.com; or call me for information about a Nepalese woman who cooks delicious, cost-effective vegan meals. For plant-based cooking classes contact Ardis Hoffman, at 970-340-9009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For support in making these lifestyle changes, come to a free power point presentation in the Third Street Center in Carbondale at 7 p.m. the first Monday of each month, or the plant-based potluck at 6:30 p.m. in the TSC the fourth Monday of the month. Or contact me — contact information is at the end of the tagline.
Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family physician, has a nonprofit Center For Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Nutrition. He is available for free consultations about heart attack prevention and other medical issues, and to help people with hospital or other medical bills they don't understand or think are too high. Call 970-379-5718 for an appointment. For questions about his columns, email him at email@example.com.