Elizabeth S. Reames | 12/22/2005 3:35:27 AM
A New Year’s resolution for many Americans is to lose weight. Unfortunately, many Americans are unable to keep that resolution.
Recent data show that 65 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese, an increase from 56 percent 10 years ago. Thirty percent of adults are obese, up from 23 percent in the same period.
To help you keep your New Year’s resolution for a healthy weight, LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames says to develop a long-term plan that starts with small daily changes.
The nutritionist says to set achievable goals, aim for improved health, keep track of your efforts by using food and exercise logs and reward yourself when you accomplish a goal.
Reames notes that only a very small amount of extra calories or lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain.
"Eating fewer calories while increasing physical activity are the keys to controlling weight," she says.
Many healthy weight plans suggest eating just 100 fewer calories a day, which can lead to about a 1 pound weight loss per month and can prevent gradual weight gain.
Changes in your intake that equal 100 calories can be as simple as eating tuna packed in water rather than oil, eating 1 cup of whole-grain cereal instead of two, substituting tomato slices, lettuce leaves and pepper strips on a sandwich for mayonnaise.
Other changes include drinking 2 cups of skim milk per day instead of 2 cups of whole milk, eating 1 cup of low-fat, sugar-free yogurt instead of a doughnut and drinking a glass of ice water with lemon instead of a soft drink.
In addition to making small changes in food choices, Reames says to make a habit of becoming more physically active. Physical activity offers many health benefits including decreased risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, obesity and others.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily to reduce disease risk and 60 minutes a day to prevent weight gain. For sustaining weight loss, at least 60 to 90 minutes a day of physical activity may be required. Exercise examples include walking, gardening, raking or even dancing.
The LSU AgCenter Portions Healthy Weight Program provides current, research-based information and recommendations to help Louisiana citizens achieve and maintain a healthy weight by setting realistic goals for better health and learning to balance the food they eat with appropriate physical activity. For additional information about the Portions Program, contact the Extension agent in your parish.
For related nutrition information, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter home page, at www.lsuagcenter.com.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com
Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3929, or firstname.lastname@example.org