People come to Prevention Medical Center for a variety of reasons, but the majority of my clients ask the same questions. These are questions that almost everyone, regardless of age, weight, or health, has at some point in their lives. Here are the top 10 Nutrition Questions, People ask at Prevention Medical Center.
Yes, you need to consume the food on your meal plan. You do not necessarily have to consume 100% of each meal but the purpose of the meal plan is to start regulating your metabolism by improving its efficiency. Keeping your body nourished at regular intervals will encourage the metabolism to burn calories consistently throughout the day. Your body also needs the nourishment daily in order to receive the 40+ nutrients needed for good health. During the weight loss phase, eating the frequent meals will also prepare you for the maintenance phase, which also encourages frequent meals. Eating frequently will also prevent intense hunger from one meal to the next which could lead to binges or high calorie meals.
You can add alcohol to your meal plan in moderation, but there are a few very important facts that need to be known regarding alcohol consumption. It is very dense in calories for such a small volume and considered to give you empty calories because it provides none of the vital nutrients you need. When you consume alcohol, the body is very limited in its ability to burn fat because alcohol cannot be stored therefore it is metabolized first not allowing the body to burn the stored fat which in turn allows for weight loss.
Alcoholic drinks also stimulate the appetite causing you to eat more at that meal than you normally would without the alcohol. The key to enjoying a drink and still losing weight is moderation. When following a calorie controlled meal plan, do not eliminate your food to make up for the alcohol calories especially if you are on 1200 calories or less a day. One should exercise to burn excess calories and drink alcohol in moderation.
On occasion using these convenience foods is fine. Important facts regarding frozen entrees; is that they are usually very high in sodium and other preservatives, as well as, low in fiber. It would be better to consume one of these items then to skip a meal. If you are prone to high blood pressure or water retention try to avoid these products or use the lowest in sodium possible. To determine which items to choose, add up the calories in your meal plan for that particular meal you will be using the convenience food item and get as close calorically as possible.
Exercise is very individualized and should be discussed with the physician based on your current level of mobility. Keep in mind the equation for burning calories resulting in weight loss is the fact that calories in via foods/beverages consumed needs to be less than calories burned in daily activity. A moving body burns more calories and will significantly aid in your weight loss. According to the experts inactive people with low level intensity exercise can benefit from a 30 minute or more routine 3-4 days per week. This would allow for improved health benefits. Overall health benefits, which include maintaining weight loss, can be reached by performing 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most and preferably all days of the week. Experts also recommend aerobic activity most days with strength training 2-3 days per week.
There are certain foods and beverages you can consume with zero calories. A list of these foods can be found in the Prevention Medical Center handbook. Many of these foods are beverages that are sugar free and caffeine free. Chewing sugar free gum immediately after meals will help curb your desire to want something sweet to eat. A list of very low calorie foods found in the handbook can also be used on a daily basis without significantly increasing calories as long as you limit the frequency.
Another helpful tip to fight off hunger or cravings is to try drinking a glass of water before turning to the food. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are really just thirsty. There are also some frozen treats that can be 35-60 calories per serving, such as, fudge bars, sorbet, and frozen fruit bars that can be worked into your meal plan for occasional use. If foods of this nature are too tempting, stick to the lists of free foods found in the handbook.
We will always strive to meet your personal food preferences at the same time it will be very important to maintain the correct calorie level as well as protein levels. Most of the time the key is to keep the portions in control of many ethnic foods and altering the cooking methods if necessary. For instance, preparing beans without added fat and using whole grain rice instead of white rice for a more nutritious combination.
The most important key in eating healthy when traveling is to be prepared. Make time and effort to continue improving your health progress when traveling. Recuperating from travel will be easier when maintaining your normal routine. It is easy to slip into vacation mode and splurge on foods or drinks but this can easily lead to unwanted pounds and back pedaling in your weight loss efforts. At restaurants make special requests, most of the time you will be satisfied. Instead try packing healthy foods that travel well and maintain your meal schedule.
When you have little control of foods being served, always opt for the protein rich foods eliminating sauces and fried protein foods. Avoid most condiments because the calories they provide quickly add up and provide very little of your vital nutrients. Besides sticking to your healthy eating plan, try to incorporate some exercise; even if it is in between meetings and it consists of walking stairs. A moving body will burn more calories.
The first key is to learn to differentiate between true hunger and emotional eating or habitual eating. If watching television immediately causes you to fix popcorn or grab a handful of crackers, even though you just had dinner that is a habit that can be broken. Eliminate the triggers that cause the mindless eating. It doesn’t mean you have to stop watching television but find something to keep your hands busy while watching or try chewing gum to keep your mouth and hands occupied. Switch the channels when tempting commercials are displayed. The most important helpful hint can be “out of sight out of mind” meaning try to keep foods out of the house that lead to mindless eating. If you still feel the need to eat while watching television or reading a book, work a healthy snack into your plan while maintaining your daily calorie level.
Some research and personal testimonials reveal that many times losing weight seems to be easier than weight maintenance. But, if lifestyle and food habits are actually changed through the weight loss phase, then weight maintenance is accomplishable. Once you reach the maintenance phase, your meal plan will be adjusted in calorie, protein, and carbohydrate levels. Calories will be adjusted based on your new weight and your fitness routine. Your protein level will be decreased but will be at a good level to help maintain appetite control. Carbohydrates will be increased to allow for a little more fruit and whole grain products. Keeping your appetite in control will be dependent on your food choices along with the timing of meals.
Choosing foods that are high in fiber and a good source of protein will keep you satisfied for a longer period of time and prevent blood sugar lows and highs. Adapting a new way of thinking in regards to food is also very important in weight maintenance. Stop referring to your healthy eating plan as a diet and adapt to the fact the eating low fat is a factor in maintaining weight loss but also a key factor in promoting overall good health. Maintenance eating is as individualized as weight loss eating; therefore do what works well for you as long as you maintain the new healthy eating habits.
The holidays can be a difficult time when trying to maintain healthy eating and weight maintenance. A few guidelines whether you are in the weight loss phase or weight maintenance phase are: limit your baking until right before the holiday party or meal, increase the amount of time you exercise, when attending a party at the office or with family and friends bring a healthy dish with you and eat a healthy protein rich snack before going. When you wait to do your holiday baking until right before the festivity, you eliminate the temptations and keep extra calories off of your meal plan. Increasing your exercise time will allow you to burn more calories and help curb your appetite at the parties.
The extra exercise will also give you a little buffer in the “calories in” versus “calories burned” equation and still keep you in a calorie deficit to promote weight loss. When you bring a healthy dish or snack to a party, you are guaranteed to have at least one healthy dish that you can enjoy and feel good about sticking to your healthy eating plan.
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