An article that appeared today in the health section of http://www.nbcnews.com highlighted the story of a woman and her husband who embarked on a weight loss journey together. A big part of the article talks about what sparked the change and how the two of them set out to make healthy changes in their lives. Their choices and approach are instructive and are highlighted in the article in a sensible way.
Samantha Cassety, a dietitian and weight-loss expert in NYC whose articles I have referenced in the past, drew some conclusions from this story.
Any diet that leaves you feeling deprived has less of a chance of success in the long run. Recognize what you need and make sure you get at least some of it.
Having a supportive partner–or someone who is going through the process with you–can bolster chances of sticking to the plan. Joining forces with someone else to get healthy is a powerful thing.
In contrast to the top bullet point, identify not only what doesn’t work for you, but what does work for you. The process is highly personal and what is beneficial for one person won’t necessarily be effective for someone else. One size does not fit all.
Watch your weight in a way that makes sense. Monitoring is important–whether it is daily, weekly or at some other interval. This is especially helpful in triggering you back to the right path after vacations, holidays, etc., where eating habits may have changed. One size does not fit all, so find what is best for you.
Don’t just focus on the numbers; be aware of what comes with healthy habits: increased energy, greater mobility, ability to participate in activities, clothing fitting better, etc.
The main point is really that the process must be specialized to each person. Recognize negative triggers. Understand what you need. Understand your weaknesses and strengths. Find others who will support you or join you in your journey.
The healthy choices we make today, affect the health we have tomorrow.
As some of you may recall from my June 17 post “What I Hadn’t Counted on After Surgery,” I am working on taking off the weight that I put on after my foot surgery. I had even turned to a subscription weight-loss app to help me; the jury is still out on that.
I have been counting calories using the app and generally feel like I am depriving myself of a lot of stuff I really like…(mmmm, pastry). Not seeing the results I would like yet, but I am being patient. I am also trying to follow the advice that I give to others about what they eat: a lot less processed foods, more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc.
In my mind, I am trying to remind myself to “eat clean.” I first heard this term from a personal trainer and wasn’t sure exactly what it meant. Turns out, there is no one definition of what eating clean means. To me, it means trying to eat the right stuff–cutting out junk foods, fatty foods and overly-processed foods.
Turns out that the term “eat clean” has some pretty serious connotations for a lot of people. There are those who argue that this kind of terminology makes moral judgments. I think this is a bit far-fetched. A donut is a donut; it does not have moral implications. It has no moral force for me, but for others it does. Can eating a brownie make a person feel somehow “less than?” I guess so.
Beyond the journey that I am on now to lose the weight that accumulated after my surgery, I know that I want to continue to eat in healthy ways after I hit my goal. It is not about being “clean” as a opposed to being “dirty,” but rather about remembering that I am what I eat. While I may not see this directly as a moral issue, I do see it as a way to help me live a longer and healthier life.
In my May 2, 2019 post about metabolism, I shared an article by registered dietitian Samantha Cassety. Among the many points she made about how our foods are used as energy, was an explanation about the difference between a diet made up of more processed foods versus more unprocessed. Bottom line: your body has to expend more energy (calories) to absorb unprocessed food, ie, to “process” it; processed foods are much more easily absorbed and burn less calories.
An article out a few weeks ago on http://www.cell.com, reiterated this point and brought a recent study to prove it. Here is the link: https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(19)30248-7 . Not only does Cassety’s explanation hold up, this article goes further to say that generally speaking those who eat processed foods are more likely to overeat than those who eat unprocessed foods. The methodology of the exam is very interesting; one group had no choice but to eat either highly processed foods and the other to eat unprocessed foods. The results were unmistakable. Eating highly processed foods contributes to weight gain.
What do we learn? There is a price to pay for the convenience of prepared foods. The deeper question: is that price worth it?
Thanks to my colleagues at the Mandel JCC, Brandon Colon and Jeff Yannarell, for sharing this article.
This article, by Samantha Cassety, was featured on http://www.NBCNews.com. It is a pretty thorough explanation of how we can and cannot affect our metabolisms…and just what metabolism is in the first place.
The conclusion is something that those in the Fitness industry have been saying for years: regular exercise is good for us but may not necessarily help us lose weight; our diet is most important to dropping those pounds. On our journeys to weight loss and fitness, we need to assess our approach: we have little control over how many calories our bodies will burn, but we have total control over how many we will put in our bodies!