LOSING WEIGHT THE RIGHT WAY

Mazel tov; the big day is almost here!

It’s your son’s bar mitzvah or your daughter’s wedding. You look in the mirror and think to yourself, “I wish I could lose 20 pounds or more; I really need to fit into that new dress I saw. It would be perfect for such an occasion.”

Trying to lose weight? Remember to never skip meals and that fruit and berries are nutritious and healthy.

You’ve got six to eight weeks to make it happen. Don’t fret; it’s not going to take liposuction or something drastic; just a little discipline can make it happen. But you’ll need to set some goals.

First, you’ll need to think about what you’re eating. More than 33 percent of the adult population in America is obese and 17 percent of children. If this trend continues, more than 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030.

The cost for healthcare related to obesity was $147 billion dollars last year, and medical experts believe that this generation will have a shorter life span than the one before it. There are now more people in the world that are obese than those that are starving, and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are all diseases that have tripled in the last 20 years because of our unhealthy diets.

 

What’s Going Wrong, and What Can I Do About It?

So let’s explore a few healthy choices that might make a difference in your life:

Are you on a roller-coaster dieter? Do you have problems losing weight even though you think you eat healthy and go to the gym a few days a week?

Sometimes the problem is a sluggish thyroid or hormone imbalance. Occasionally people can’t shed pounds because of food allergies and often certain foods can cause an inflammatory process in our bodies that we aren’t even aware of. The good news is that today there are diagnostic tests that can help us figure out which foods we aren’t digesting properly.

Of course, the biggest problem for most of us is simply eating too much; most people take in more calories daily than they will burn. These extra calories will become stored fat. It’s important to not only be aware of the amount of calories you take in, but also what food source they are coming from. Empty calories from white food products turn into sugar in the body, which then becomes stored fat.

Speaking of, fats are another major problem. There are good fats and bad fats. It is saturated fats that make up the latter category. They come mostly from meats and dairy products and can clog up your arteries, leading to heart problems. Stay away from these types of fats.

Good fats – those unsaturated – are separated into mono and poly and can both have beneficial effects. Polyunsaturated fats can be a source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. They are found in cold-water fish, nuts, oils and seeds, some dark leafy greens, flaxseed and some vegetable oils.

Doctor’s Orders

I tell my patients eating healthy is the key to losing weight. Eating foods out of a box or can is not healthy, as most of these foods are depleted of nutritional value. To lose weight and look great, increase protein intake by eating lean meat, fish and poultry, fresh vegetables, fruits and legumes.

When my patients want to lose weight quickly, I tell them to start their day with a protein shake and fresh fruit. For lunch, have a piece of protein the size of your palm and two small servings of complex carbohydrates, one consisting of vegetables and the other of fruit. Do not eat fruit after 3 p.m.

For dinner, eat another piece of protein the size of your palm and two portions of veggies. Don’t skip meals and eat snacks consisting of nuts, celery sticks and fruit.

People ask me which grains to eat and which to stay away from, and I remind them that anything processed is not good for us. Most grains we eat today are processed, such as oatmeal, wheat, rice and cornmeal.

Your best bet is to eat grains that are easy to digest. Quinoa is great; spelt, millet and brown rice are good and easy to digest. Stay away from breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal and products containing corn.

Drink lots of water every day. The “eight-by-eight” rule is easy to follow: Eight glasses of eight ounces of fresh clean water each day. Stay away from soda of all kinds (including diet) and most fruit juices, which have way too much sugar.

Losing weight is not a “one-size-fits-all” sort of process. There are many different routes to take. A physician supervised program combining life coaching, proper nutrition, supplementation and weight loss prescriptions can get you started and keep you on the path of being healthier, happier and living longer.

SPECIAL FOR THE JEWISH TIMES

 Dr. Jeff Semel represents the Atlanta Medical Institute. For additional information on fitness and dieting, visit fitpal.com and myfitnesspal.com.