Think Weight Control, Not Weight Loss

Think Weight Control, Not Weight Loss

Fifty million Americans will go on diets this year, spending some $30 billion on diet programs and products. Some will lose a few pounds. Only a few -- about one out of 20 -- will keep the lost weight off in the long run.

Before you tackle another weight loss program, consider these facts: Any claims that you can lose weight with little or no effort are false. Very low calorie diets or fasting can be risky and should not be attempted without a doctor's supervision. Fad diets that call for radical departures from normal eating habits rarely work in the long run.

The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make permanent changes in your eating and exercise habits.

Ten effective weight control changes suggested by family physicians are:

  1. Exercise more.
  2. Commit to lose weight by signing a contract with your doctor, your friends and yourself.
  3. Keep track of calories and the fat content of what you eat to make sure your diet is balanced.
  4. Notice if you tend to eat more when stressed or bored.
  5. Eat three well-balanced, normal-size meals a day that include the four food groups (bread-cereal, vegetable-fruit, dairy, and meat or meat alternatives).
  6. Before food shopping, make a healthy food grocery list and stick to it.
  7. Give away high-risk foods (high-fat/high salt/high sugar) to skinny friends or to a food bank.
  8. Build new eating habits eat only at the table, eat slower and put leftovers away before you sit down to eat.
  9. Cut down the fat in your diet. Bake, broil, boil, or steam instead of frying. Try to limit total fat intake to 30% per day (not necessarily per food item).
  10. Plan to take weight off slowly÷track your progress on a chart.

Finally, ask your family physician if you might have other health problems that cause you to gain too much weight. Family physicians are trained to treat 9 out of 10 medical problems and can help you design the weight control and exercise program that best meets your needs. Teaching patients how to lose excess weight and staying healthy are part of the family physicianâs commitment to promoting good health and preventing disease.

The preceding article was provided as a public service in support of Family Health Month by The American Academy of Family Physicians, 8880 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri 64114-2797 USA, (800) 274-2237, ext. 4218, or (816) 333-9700; FAX: (816) 333-3344; e-mail: 7414...@compuserve.com

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