Whether it's a new year's resolution, a birthday promise you made to yourself or the prompting of a loved one that's your motivation, we've all vowed to try to be the best version of ourselves, right? And for so many of us, that means losing weight: a goal that's often easier said than done.
We turned to Rachel Cabrera Deatherage, a family medicine doctor at HonorHealth Medical Group for some helpful tips for making it happen anytime of the year.
Q: Why is maintaining a healthy weight so important?
A: Losing weight can be about how we look but it can also be about how we feel. Those of us who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, "bad" cholesterol, strokes and heart attacks. Being overweight or obese is even associated with a higher risk of cancer and osteoarthritis.
Q: How often do I need to exercise to stay healthy?
A: Before starting any exercise regimen, it's important to talk your plans over with your primary care physician. We can help you assess your overall health and help you find a routine that is right for you. As a general rule though, we recommend that adults participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, 4 to 5 times per week.
I also recommend finding ways to stay active during the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk with your family after dinner. Stretch at your desk.
Q: All of the different diets out there are so confusing. What should I really eat?
A: The best diet is the diet you can stick to. This involves making permanent changes to the way you eat. For most people this requires us to make the choice to eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Plan to eat minimum of one vegetable or fruit with EVERY meal.
- Treat meats and animal proteins like a side dish and not the main attraction.
- Use health fats such olive oil or coconut oil.
- Limit sugar. Limit sugar beverages.
- Drink water.
Equally important to what we eat is how much we eat. Limit your portion size. Use a salad plate rather than a dinner plate or measure your food. Again, talk to your primary care doctor. Every person is unique and deserves a plan tailored to their goals and situation.
Q: What advice can you give me to stick to my goals?
A: Know your numbers. BMI is body mass index. This is the calculation we use to find out what your "ideal" weight range is and what category of weight you are in now. Accurate information helps us set more realistic and intentional goals.
Be accountable to someone: be it a partner, spouse, personal trainer, support group or doctor. Having someone that is invested in helping you to succeed can make all the difference.
Q: What if I have more questions?
A: Come see me! Or find a doctor you can talk to.