Krysta Anderson, Gleaner Writer
After consuming a wide variety of delicious dishes over the past festive season, many of us are wondering, "How will I shed this weight?"
Getting rid of those extra, unwanted pounds is a constant challenge, so Flair spoke with Frances 'Franny' Mahfood from the Heart Foundation about the practical ways to rid ourselves of these excesses.
She stressed that in order to lose any weight, one has to adopt a healthy lifestyle, affirming that "the power of weight loss is in portion control". She brought up the point that Jamaica has access to some of the healthiest foods (fruits, vegetables and ground provisions). She stressed, however, that more focus should be placed on having a more plant-based diet which includes incorporating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and ground provisions into one's daily meals.
She suggested lean protein as the daily meat of choice and the method of preparing such protein should either be baked, boiled or broiled. Daily meals should consist of vegetables, proteins and starches.
Changes should also be made as it relates to sugar intake. "Aim to eat products low in saturated fat and trans-fat, which is found in a lot of commercial-based products, such as donuts, cakes and cookies," she stated. Mahfood also advised Jamaicans to "limit a lot of sweet and sugary drinks and snacks and discontinue or avoid drinking your calories, and if dairy is necessary, have low-fat dairy". Alcohol should be consumed in moderation: three to five drinks per week or one drink per day is recommended.
She highlighted too that printed diets are not effective because the chances of them actually fitting into a person's lifestyle are very slim. Eating on time, eating the right amount of food is what is extremely important in achieving a balanced diet and, in turn, losing weight. She highlighted that if individuals eat approximately the same amount of food at the same time each day, three to four hours daily, that will prevent one from overeating at the next meal and consequently help in regulating weight loss.
If Jamaicans become mindfully smart eaters, and develop discipline as it relates to exercise, then they will eventually shed the Christmas weight in no time.
25 weight-loss tips
Here are some useful tips for losing weight from registered dietitians Dawn Jackson Blatner, Elizabeth Ward, Bonnie Taub-Dix and Keith Ayoob:
1. Set realistic weight-loss goals. One-half a pound to two pounds a week is about right.
2. Keep track of what you consume. Dieters who keep track of everything they eat lose twice as much weight as those who don't, research shows.
3. Motivate yourself. Get a pair of jeans or pants that are too tight and hang them in the kitchen instead of the closet to keep yourself inspired.
4. Enlist the help of family and friends. Dieters who have support from a partner at home lose more weight than those who don't, studies show.
5. Move it to lose it. Research shows that people who do physical activities such as walking or biking for two to four hours a week during weight-loss efforts lose extra pounds.
6. Pay attention to portions. A three-ounce portion of meat, poultry or fish is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards; one teaspoon of butter or margarine, a standard postage stamp; a cup of cold cereal, berries or popcorn, a baseball; four-inch pancake or waffle, the diameter of a CD.
7. Clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Get rid of the foods that sabotage your weight loss.
8. Create a 'dinner deck'. This would include 10 favourite quick and healthful dinners written on index cards. Each card should list the ingredients for the recipe on one side and directions for making it on the other.
9. Avoid hunger. Eat regular meals and snacks. Make sure you have some protein foods such as yoghurt, tuna, beans or chicken for most meals. Research suggests that protein helps you feel full longer.
10. Keep produce on hand. Place a bowl of vegetables such as broccoli, snap peas, cucumbers or carrot sticks in the refrigerator. You can eat them as a snack or when preparing meals to take the edge off your hunger.
11. Stock up on 'impulse fruits'. Keep things like grapes, clementines, small apples, small bananas and pears around the house. These foods are easy to eat without having to do much cutting and slicing.
12. Make some stealth changes. This will get everyone in the family eating healthier. Buy low-fat one per cent or skim milk, low-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat cheese instead of the full-fat versions. Use them in recipes to cut the fat and calories.
13. Cut out liquid calories. Eliminate soda and sugary drinks such as sweetened iced tea, sports drinks and alcoholic beverages. Liven up the taste of water by adding lemon, lime, cucumber or mint. Choose fat-free and one per cent low-fat milk.
14. Practise the 'Rule of One'. When it comes to high-calorie foods, you won't go wrong if you allow one small treat a day. That might be one cookie or a fun-size candy bar.
15. Pace, don't race. Force yourself to eat more slowly, and savour each bite.
16. Hydrate before meals. Drinking 16 ounces, or two glasses, of water before meals may help you eat less.
17. Downsize plates, bowls, glasses, silverware. Using smaller versions of your serving ware will help you eat less food.
18. 'After 8 is too late.' Adopt the motto for snacks after dinner.
19. Buy a pedometer and get moving. Health experts recommend taking at least 10,000 steps a day, which is roughly four to five miles, depending on your stride length.
20. Treat yourself occasionally. If your chocolate craving is getting to you, try diet hot-chocolate packets. If you need a treat, go out for it, or buy small pre-packaged portions of ice cream bars. If you love chocolate, consider keeping bite-size pieces in the freezer.
21. Dine at a table. Eat from a plate while seated at a table. Don't eat while driving, lounging on the couch or standing at the fridge. At restaurants, ask for a doggy bag at the beginning of the meal, and pack up half to take home. Take one roll and ask your server to remove the bread basket from the table.
22. Eat out without pigging out. Figure out what you are going to eat in advance of going to the restaurant. Order the salad dressing on the side. Restaurants usually put about one-quarter cup (four tablespoons) of dressing on a salad, which is often too many calories. Best to stick with one to two tablespoons. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad.
23. Get plenty of sleep. Scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. Lack of sleep also plays havoc with your fat cells, recent research showed. This can lead to overeating and weight gain.
24. Weigh yourself regularly. That's what successful dieters and those who manage to maintain weight loss do. Some step on the scales once a week. Others do so daily. Some find once a month is enough.25. Reward yourself. When you meet your incremental weight-loss goals, say losing five pounds, treat yourself to something - but not food. Buy a CD or DVD you've been wanting or go out to a movie with a friend.