January 3, 2011

Simple Secrets for Staying Slim

By Molly Hammer-Shattuck, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietician

It’s a new year! Like most Americans do, your New Year’s resolutions are likely about weight control. Have you ever wondered what it really takes to succeed at losing weight permanently? The National Weight Control Registry may have the answer. This is a database filled with information on thousands of people who have lost weight and kept it off. As it turns out, those who successfully lose weight and stay slim share the following four common lifestyle changes.

1. Eat Breakfast Daily: Breakfast simply means to “break-the-fast.” Your body tends to burn fewer
calories as you sleep and will continue to burn less until you eat. Recent studies also show eating a simple breakfast like a bowl of cereal with fruit will actually decrease the total amount of calories consumed for the day by about 200. Over a month’s time, 200 calories less each day equals two fewer pounds on you – or 24 pounds in a year.

2. Low-fat Diet: The long-term losers eat approximately 25% of their calories from fat, instead of the typical American diet of 30% fat. Start looking at food labels and eat between 40 to 60 grams of fat per day. Remember gram for gram, fat adds more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates or protein. So limit fried foods, snack chips, butter, gravy, creams and margarines. Instead eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and whole grain breads and cereals.

3. Exercise: In order to succeed at weight loss, you must get moving. Those successful with long-term weight loss tend to exercise enough to burn approximately 2,800 calories a week or for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Remember – be active and exercise!

4. Monitor Weight & Food Intake: Keep track to stay on track! Monitor your weight daily or at a minimum once a week. Write down what, when and where you eat in a food “diary.” Record the amount of food and even make notes on your moods (like boredom). Remember to include exercise in your diary too. Review your diary weekly to discover trends and problem areas, and make sure to reward yourself for positive changes.

Ask yourself these questions when you’re keeping your diary:

What did I eat? Keep track of everything you eat and drink, including small nibbles and snacks. Count how many calories you consumed; also look to see if you tend to eat a lot of fat and sugar-filled foods.
How much did I eat? Did you eat too little or too much at dinner? Analyze your habits and make adjustments.
Where did I eat? Are you sitting in front of the television or eating while driving? If so, you may tend to overeat.
When do I eat? Do you tend to skip breakfast and eat a big dinner? Eating regularly throughout the day will help keep you slim.
Did I exercise? For successful weight loss, exercise from 30 to 90 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter what type of activity, just get moving!
How did I feel? Moods affect how you eat. Record how you feel – bored, happy, content or mad. Note the correlation between what you eat and what your mind-set is.

Do you struggle with losing weight on your own? Your local Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian can provide the accountability and knowledge you need to stay on track with your weight control resolutions in 2011. Dietitians are equipped to help you lose the weight and keep it off! For more information, contact your local Hy-Vee dietitian.

Molly Hammer-Shattuck is a registered dietician Hy-Vee,
2200 West Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA. She can be reached at 563-391-0213.