What advice do you give your patients who are trying to lose weight?
Don’t diet. We need to change our eating behaviors and lifestyle. Weight loss requires two simple things: portion control and exercise. It’s the first law of thermodynamics – energy in versus energy out. To lose weight, you need to decrease caloric intake (energy in) and increase exercise (energy out), preferably both in a sensible fashion. As a rule of thumb portions should generally be no larger than your fist and it is best to avoid processed foods while eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meat. Great ways to exercise include swimming, jogging, and biking. However, exercise can be as simple as a brisk walk for 30 to 45 minutes. It is recommended that you exercise at least 4 times a week. While it can be difficult to find time for exercise in busy daily schedules, it is a critical part to a healthy lifestyle.
While focusing on consistent, healthy eating, do not deny yourself the foods you enjoy or you may find that your diet will fail; it’s all about portions and frequency. Have that piece of pie, just not every day and not seconds or thirds! If you enjoy ice cream, there are many low fat varieties that are very good. Have a scoop once in a while.
Again, diets may work for a short period of time but lifestyle changes stay with you. Weight loss takes time and requires self-control and will power. There are a few programs, based on holding oneself accountable, that work well. There is no magic pill.