June 23, 2020

Healthy Living

Healthy Living


Holly McCamant

CAC, SHIP, DPP, Lifestyle Coach 

SW MT Community Health Center


Eating and Weight Loss


    In past columns, we have discussed healthy eating, which is an important part of weight management.  We have not spent as much time on weight loss.  During this pandemic, many of us, myself included, have gained a few pounds.  In my case, once I got on the scale, I had to pay close attention to what I was eating in order to get things back on track.  Today, we will touch on the key points of eating and tips to help with weight loss.

    Keep Track.  Simply writing down everything we eat is a good place to start.  Note the time and if you do not know the portion size, take time to measure and figure it out.  If you use any type of electronic app, it will likely also keep track of calories, fat, protein, fiber, and more.  Use whatever information you find useful but the awareness of what you eat is the point and is generally an eye opener.

    Limit Processed Food.  As you look back on your food diary, or when you next grocery shop, notice what processed foods you have been eating and substitute ones that are less processed, shopping the outside aisles in the store.  There is no question that our bodies do better with simpler, whole foods.  For example, if you have been buying chips or similar snacks, think of things like nuts, fruit, or raw vegetables instead.

    Pay Attention to Protein.  Consuming adequate protein while losing weight helps maintain our muscle mass while keeping us full and satisfied longer.  Plan on eating some protein with each meal and snack.  You will want to be conscious of high-quality, low fat proteins.  The more obvious choices are chicken, fish, eggs and lean beef and pork.  Low-fat dairy like milk, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, with little or no added sugar, are all great choices.  Beans and legumes are high in fiber and protein, and quinoa is a grain with balanced protein that is good for everyone and especially those who do not eat meat.

    Focus on Fiber.  Plenty of fiber in your diet will help with fullness and satiety and will keep you regular, which can be an issue when cutting back on calories.  Lots of fruits and vegetables, or some, if you do not eat any now, will go a long way toward keeping your nutrients high and hunger level low.  Avoid white breads, rice and pasta and eat their whole-grain, high fiber alternatives.

    Eat Breakfast.  It is a good idea to eat something within an hour of waking up in the morning.  For those who do not like eating breakfast, research illustrates that those who consistently partake weigh less than their non-breakfast-eating counterparts.  If you do not care for eggs and cereal, or are short on time, eat whatever sounds appetizing to you or what you can take as you leave the house.  It will stoke your metabolism and assist in healthier choices the rest of the day.

    Make Changes Gradually.  If you start with tracking and figure out what you want to keep in your diet and what you want to change, do not try to do it all at once.  There may be a few things you want to gradually eliminate or make healthy substitutes for and you can start there.  Or you can work on portion sizes. Choose where you want to start and make one or two changes at a time.

    Set realistic short and long-term goals.  A pound a week is doable for most but if you are losing a half a pound, think of it as two sticks of butter, pat yourself on the back and keep going.  For feeling deprived, one splurge meal per week can help keep you on track the rest of the time.  Whether you only want to lose a few pounds you gained during COVID19, or more, start now, and you will reach your goals in good time!

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