Strategies For Weight Loss
Sitting on the veranda of a beautiful inn on a lovely bay in eastern Long Island, I met a delightful woman, Sharon, who is a nurse practitioner. She happens to specialize in helping people lose weight. A senior herself, she said she is always trying to lose the last proverbial ten pounds. (I can tell many of you are nodding in recognition.) Of course, it’s hard to know precisely where our weight should be so thinking we have ten to lose is more a myth than a fact. It is such an accepted part of our diet lexicon that we say it in a knee-jerk fashion without a thought. Should we weigh the same, as when we graduated from college/got married/before our first child was born/won the gold medal in shot put? Actually, none of the above. As we age, our metabolisms slow, our muscle mass diminishes, our hormones change, our joints get a little creaky. We are not the same. We are what we are NOW.
Without preconceived notions about where our weight SHOULD be, a better place to start is your level of health and fitness. Because aren’t those really the most important factors? Obesity is linked to all kinds of gnarly health conditions. If your goal is to improve your overall health, your weight should also normalize in the process. So keep your eye on the worthy goal of improving your health markers. Slow but normal weight loss will be a happy side effect of that approach.
Remember Eddie, the electrician? He was driven by his desire to improve his health. He started eating in a healthful manner in order to achieve that goal. And what happened? He lost a lot of weight, just deciding to eat healthfully. He didn’t diet as much as he improved his eating habits. And the excess weight dropped off his body.
It would be too much for me to expect you to give up all of your bad habits at once. So start slowly and once you’ve mastered getting past one bad habit, you can focus on the next. Yes, this IS a slow process. Take your time and enjoy the ride. You should start seeing improvements even with one change and hopefully, that spurs you to go the next step. If you are a soda or sweetened beverage or artificially sweetened beverage or juice drinker, this is a good place to make your entry into healthier eating. It’s an easy fix with plenty of viable alternatives.
Sharon, the nurse practitioner, says she is very frustrated getting patients to even reduce their soda consumption from 6 cans per day to 2 cans per day. I will try a different approach with you – try not to drink ANY sweetened soda, even and especially, diet soda. None. Nada. Don’t drink any sweetened beverages at all, for that matter, even and especially artificially sweetened beverages. Zero. Niente. No sweetened ice tea, no lemonade. No fruit juice, for the juice, without the rest of the fruit, is just soda in a seemingly healthier jacket. I didn’t say you must cut out all sweets. Just the sweet beverages – for now. Remember Dr. Watson who gave up his beloved jelly beans, and then grew to hate them? This is what we are trying to achieve!
It’s not that I NEVER have a sweetened beverage now. But I don’t really like them anymore. They don’t taste good to me. I never feel deprived of them. I suppose it’s all in what you get accustomed to – if we hadn’t started bad habits, we wouldn’t need to lose them. But you can lose them. Don’t listen to the cola ads. They’re wrong. They have a product to sell you. It’s in their best interests to have you buy more of their product. But it’s not in your best interests to do so.
Not to leave you out in the cold about what to drink, here are some suggestions: 1) filtered water or sparkling water straight up or enhanced with a wedge of lemon or lime, a few crushed berries, a slice of orange, apple or pear. 2) Hot or iced tea without sweetener. 3) Hot or iced coffee without sweetener.
It’s simple to make iced tea. Use a tea of your choice – there are many unsweetened flavors to choose from. Steep 4 tea bags per quart of hot water. When cooled slightly, store in a glass container in your refrigerator. Serve over ice, adding only a lemon or lime wedge, or other fruit as noted above, and/or a sprig of mint, basil or thyme. One of my favorites is iced green tea with lime and a sprig of mint. You have now substituted a beverage that brings you ill health for a beverage that supports your good health. Bottoms up!
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are my researched opinions and are provided for educational purposes only. They are not intended to replace sound medical advice from a board certified physician.
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