Commentary by David Pletzer, MD
Weight management is a health concern for many adults. Since being overweight and obesity are linked to a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, controlling weight – especially as you grow older – is an important health priority. Here are some tips for effective weight management:
Eliminate “comfort foods” and foods that cause temptation. In addition to purging your pantry and refrigerator of junk foods that offer no nutritional value, consider which comfort foods tempt you and refrain from buying them.
Manage portion sizes. For weight control, the amount of food you eat is often more important than what you eat. Use a salad or smaller plate when serving dinner, and consume only two-thirds of the food, saving the rest for another meal. This helps reduce calorie intake. Eat healthy snacks in between meals or drink a glass of water or tea mid-day to ease hunger.
Snack smart. While healthy snacking during the day can increase metabolism and stave off the hunger that often results in overeating at mealtime, avoid any type of snacking after dinner.
Make exercise or physical activity a daily priority. Aim to exercise or do some kind of physical activity every day to burn calories, which in turn helps control weight. Daily walking – even just 10 minutes down the hall at work or across a parking lot—gets you up and moving. Don’t let weather be a deterrent. When dressed appropriately, short walks are possible in most weather conditions.
Keep track of food intake and activity. Write down daily food consumption and exercise in a journal or consider some of the popular apps that help count calories and steps. It’s also important to weigh yourself frequently to maintain target weight goals.
Seek help, if needed. If efforts to manage weight are unsuccessful, consult your primary care doctor. Your doctor knows your health history and situation and can help you develop a personalized plan. He or she can also discuss diet options and refer you to sources of credible information. Personal trainers are also good resources.
David Pletzer, MD, specializes in family medicine. He is a guest columnist located at IU Health Physicians Primary Care – Allisonville, 11530 Allisonville Rd., Suite 190, Fishers. He may be reached by calling 678-3850.