Beating the odds on losing weight for the new year possible

Elizabeth S. Reames  |  12/14/2007 2:38:00 AM

Holiday News You Can Use Distributed 12/14/07

A New Year’s resolution for many people is to lose weight. The increasing rate of overweight and obesity tells us this pledge hasn’t been working, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.

Recent data show that about two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight and almost one-third are obese. Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of adult obesity at 28.2 percent and the ninth highest rate of overweight youths (ages 10-17) at 17.2 percent in the nation, according to a recent report by Trust for America's Health.

To give your New Year’s resolution for being a healthy weight more sizzle, Reames advises developing a long-term plan that starts with small daily changes such as these tips from the American Dietetic Association:

– Set achievable goals.

– Aim for improved health.

– Keep track of your efforts by using food and exercise logs.

– Include plans to reward yourself when you accomplish a goal.

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:

– Tuna packed in water rather than oil

– 1 cup of whole grain cereal instead of two

– Tomato slices, lettuce leaves and pepper strips on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise

– 2 cups of skim milk per day instead of 2 cups of whole milk

– 1 cup of low-fat, sugar-free yogurt, instead of a doughnut

– A glass of ice water with lemon instead of a soft drink

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,” the nutritionist says. “Make a habit of becoming more physically active.”

Physical activity offers many health benefits, including decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, obesity and others.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, published every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity 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. Examples include walking, gardening, raking leaves or even dancing.

The LSU AgCenter Smart 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 Smart Portions Program, contact an LSU AgCenter extension agent in your parish. For related nutrition topics, click on the Food and Health link on the LSU AgCenter homepage at www.lsuagcenter.com.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com.
On the Internet: Trust for America’s Health: http://healthyamericans.org/
Contact: Beth Reames (225) 578-3929 or breames@agcenter.lsu.edu.
Editor: Mark Claesgens (225) 578-2939 or mclaesgens@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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