Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to Lose Weight--A Doctor's Advice

1.  Buy a pack of 3x5 cards.  Each morning, write the date on the card.  Every time you put anything in your mouth, write it down.  This includes every sip, taste, chip, chicklet, or breath mint.

2.  Stop drinking calories.  Don't  drink anything with calories, even if the drink label implies it's "healthy" (e.g., Smartwater, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, or 100% juice--they're all bad).  Calories from drinks cause weight gain without a sense of fullness.  If you drink one 12 oz coke a day beyond your calorie needs, you'll gain 15 pounds a year.  (Some studies even show that diet drinks cause weight gain, despite the absence of calories.)

3.  Walk, or exercise in any way beyond your current activity level, for five minutes a day.  Every week, increase this amount by one minute a week.  In five weeks you'll be up to ten minutes a day.  In thiry weeks you'll be up to thirty-five minutes a day.  If you think you can't exercise, turn on the radio and dance for five minutes.

4.  Stop watching TV.  People burn more calories sleeping than watching TV.  If you can't stop watching TV, reduce your TV watching as much as possible, and resolve never to eat while the TV is on.

5.  If you like to count, don't count calories.  Instead, count:

          a) Grams of fiber.  Eat 40 to 45 grams of fiber per day.  Fiber content of food is available in lists online.  For packaged food, it's available on the package, grams per serving.

          b) Servings of fruits and vegetables.   Eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but not juice.  Fresh, local products are best. Chips and french fries don't count as vegetables.

6.  Make a decision to cook everything you eat for one day a week, minimum.   On this day, don't eat out, don't buy microwavable, canned, or already-prepared meals, and plan to make a meal from real foods:  e.g., poached salmon, brocolli, baked potato, fresh fruit with yogurt.  If you are inclined, work up to doing this to the point where you only eat out once per week.  The time spent cooking should be considered future savings on time spent in the hospital or nursing home.

7.  Eat one serving of beans a day.  Eat one serving of cultured food per day:  yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee, miso, pickles, buttermilk.  If you don't eat cultured foods, take a lactobacillus ("probiotic") capsule daily.  Probiotics help the GI tract utilize nutrients better, and they probably improve the function of the immune system.

8.  Get enough sleep.  For most people, this is about eight hours a night.  Too little sleep triggers production of cortisol, a stress hormone, which then induces cravings for fats and carbohydrates.

9.  Ask a doctor about any of the following prescriptions:  Byetta, Victoza, metformin, Wellbutrin, Topamax, phentermine.  Or consider these supplements:  Rhodiola Rosea, Magnolia officinalis, chromium picolinate, 5-HTP, linoleic acid, phellodendron amurense, hydroxycitric acid, green tea polyphenols, green coffee bean extract ($19.99/mo at Sam's).

10. Join a group:  Weight Watchers, TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), or Overeaters Anonymous are national organizations.  People who participate in a weekly support and information-sharing group focused on weight loss have greater success and more sustained weight loss than those who use the internet or try to lose weight alone.

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