Looking to Lose Weight…Try Starting With Small Changes

The Problem:  Recent statistics have shown that more than two out of three adults are classified as overweight or obese.  To make matters worse, this classification often comes along with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and stroke.  Even with these risks clearly defined, the challenge of losing weight can often be seen as too much work or too difficult to even contemplate starting.

The Solution:  Making small lifestyle changes regarding physical activity and nutrition.  A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that small changes in these areas helped to reduce weight and may be more effective than major changes which often times can’t be maintained.  Below are some examples of small changes you can make from the Small Steps Big Rewards program provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Your Challenge: Read through the list and identify one change that you can make starting tomorrow to improve your health.

Remember This:

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
Henry Ford

Eating Healthier:

At home

  • Choose foods that are not fried. Instead of fried chicken, try it grilled or baked. Instead of greasy french fries or potato chips, slice potatoes, mix them with a little bit of oil, herbs, and pepper, and bake them in the oven.
  • Lighten your recipes by using reduced-fat (light) or fat-free versions of items such as sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheese and salad dressing.
  • Wrap up and refrigerate leftover foods right after cooking so you’re less tempted to go back for seconds.
  • For dessert, eat a piece of fruit. Also, try fat-free or low-fat frozen yogurt or sherbet instead of ice cream. Instead of cakes or brownies, have one scoop of vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt with a tablespoon of fat-free chocolate sauce on top.

In-between meals:

  • Choose foods that are not fried. Instead of fried chicken, try it grilled or baked. Instead of greasy french fries or potato chips, slice potatoes, mix them with a little bit of oil, herbs, and pepper, and bake them in the oven.
  • Lighten your recipes by using reduced-fat (light) or fat-free versions of items such as sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheese and salad dressing.
  • Wrap up and refrigerate leftover foods right after cooking so you’re less tempted to go back for seconds.
  • For dessert, eat a piece of fruit. Also, try fat-free or low-fat frozen yogurt or sherbet instead of ice cream. Instead of cakes or brownies, have one scoop of vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt with a tablespoon of fat-free chocolate sauce on top.

At work or on the run:

  • Drink lots of water. Choose water or sugar-free soda instead of a regular 20-ounce soda or juice drink. By doing this, you can cut about 250 calories.
  • Chew sugar-free gum between meals to help cut down on snacking. Reach for a piece of gum or a hard candy instead of a snack high in fat or calories.

When eating out:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for items not on the menu or to have a meal prepared with less or no added fat.
  • Choose steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
  • Always order the smallest size meal instead of the larger, super-sized versions at fast-food restaurants.
  • You can eat half of what you order and take the rest home for a second meal.
  • Order salad dressing, gravy, sauces, or spreads “on the side.”
  • Order a salad for starters and share a main dish with a friend.

Increasing Physical Activity:

Build physical activity into your day.

Start or end your day by taking your dog—or a friend’s dog—for a brisk walk. When shopping, park a little further away from the store’s entrance. If it’s safe, get off the bus a stop or two before your work place and walk the rest of the way. While watching TV, walk or dance around the room, march in place, or do some sit-ups and leg lifts. Double bonus: cut out a TV show and get moving instead!

Move more at work.

Try to get a “movement break” during the day. Take a walk during lunchtime. Deliver a message in person to a coworker instead of sending an email. Walk around your office while talking on the telephone. Take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office.

Have fun.

Getting more physical activity doesn’t have to be boring. Turn up the music and boogey while cleaning the house. Go dancing with friends and family members. Play sports with your kids. Try swimming, biking, hiking, jogging, or any activity that you enjoy and gets you moving. Vary your physical activities so you won’t get bored.

Jeff Butz
Wellness Director
Fond du Lac Area Businesses on Health (FABOH)

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One thought on “Looking to Lose Weight…Try Starting With Small Changes

  1. vizzini

    Excellent page. Metabolism also plays a big role when we discuss the female body especially and how to lose stomach fat for women. Once again, excellent page. Thanks.

    Reply

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