Elizabeth S. Reames | 4/16/2005 1:41:46 AM
Too many New Year’s resolutions start out with a bang, but fizzle quickly. To give your New Year’s resolution for being a healthy weight more sizzle, develop a long-term plan that starts with small daily changes, advises LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
The nutritionist recommends following American Dietetic Association guidelines: set achievable goals, aim for improved health, keep track of your efforts by using food and exercise logs and include plans to reward yourself when you accomplish a goal.
Although overeating to excess or failing to get any activity certainly can lead to weight gain, Reames says the reality is that only a very small amount of extra calories or lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain.
According to the University of California Wellness Letter, the average American gains about 2 pounds a year. Since every pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories, 2 pounds translates into a mere extra 19 calories a day.
Many healthy weight plans suggest eating just 100 fewer calories a day, which can lead to about a 1 pound weight loss per month. Changes in your intake that equal 100 calories can be as simple as tuna packed in water rather than oil, one cup of whole-grain cereal instead of two, tomato slices, lettuce leaves and pepper strips on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise, two cups of skim milk per day instead of two cups of whole milk, a cup of low-fat, sugar-free yogurt instead of a doughnut, and a glass of ice water with lemon instead of a soft drink.
In addition to making small changes in food choices, Reames recommends making a habit of becoming more physically active. She says physical activity offers many health benefits, including decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, obesity and others. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, such as walking, gardening, raking or even dancing.
For additional information about healthy eating, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. For information on related nutrition, family and consumer topics, visit the FCS Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/