Weight issues, particularly weight gain issues, are trending to be one of the most concerning complaints for women. The most frequent complaints include weight gain, difficulty with weight loss, hormone changes affecting one’s ability to achieve weight loss, and stressful, busy lifestyles interfering with weight management.
Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic we are facing, the obesity pandemic and our all-consuming obsession with weight including weight management, weight loss, dieting, and obesity continues to be one of the most concerning health issues we face in the U.S. In fact, many studies link obesity to poorer outcomes if you do contract COVID-19, so it’s even more important to address any weight issues you may have.
Current statistics cite that over two thirds of American adults suffer from excessive weight. On average, $33 billion dollars is spent annually in the U.S. on dieting and weight loss. In addition, billions of dollars are also spent to control weight as a comorbidity to disease processes and chronic illness. For women, this is particularly concerning and often leads to frustration.
What is the answer to weight management?
In a nutshell, it really is all about lifestyle modification! Although this sounds daunting for some, it doesn’t have to be difficult, or costly. You already have everything you need to be successful. If you are concerned you may need to adjust your diet and exercise habits, there are several body measurements that can help you begin to improve your health.
When do I start?
Start now! Don’t wait until “after the holiday” or “after the upcoming party.”
How do I start?
Portion Control. Start with your diet. Eat healthy… not as easy as it sounds, right? There are millions of ideas and suggestions about healthy diets, everything from eating more protein, less sugar, less fat, gluten free, less carbs… it becomes daunting and overwhelming. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists is a great resource for Healthy Eating FAQs. Newer research suggests simply focusing on portion control at meals which can be the best way to help control diet.
Here are some easy ways to control your portions:
- Use smaller dinnerware.
- Use your hand as a serving guide. Protein rich foods should fit in the palm of your hand; eat a fist-sized portion of vegetables and salads; a one-cupped-hand-sized portion of carbs; and keep
higher fat foods such as butter, oils, nuts to a serving the size of your thumb.
- Ask for half portions when eating out or take your extras home.
- Start all meals with a glass of water and drink 1-2 liters of water daily.
- Eat more slowly.
- Eat all foods in moderation.Learn to cook. Summer is a great time to try out new recipes and enjoy fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Get inspired by trying out a free recipe, like this Summer Salad with Grilled Peaches recipe from Cooking Light. By learning to cook, you can discover new ways to make healthier versions of the food you love.
Exercise. For many women, the thought of exercising can be very overwhelming, which can lead to making excuses:
“I don’t have money for a gym membership.”
“I am too busy.”
“I don’t know how or where to start.”
There are many easy, inexpensive and quick ways to start working exercise into your daily routine:
Simply going for a walk increases metabolism and reduce stress. Start slow and work your way up to more frequent and longer walks. Listening to music or finding a friend to walk with — either a human friend or a fur friend — can make it fun. When you don’t have time for a longer walk, add exercise in by parking farther away from stores, workplaces and buildings.
As you build your endurance and embrace your new routine, challenge yourself with more difficult aerobic exercises. Running doesn’t have to be long to be highly beneficial. Local gyms and exercise classes offer great ways to get into a good exercise routine. Many gyms have free membership offers, personal training advice, and easy to understand classes to get you going. Online classes including free workout videos on YouTube are often geared to quick exercise sessions, offering 10-minute workouts.
How do I become and stay successful?
Weight management is a very significant part of our daily lives. Take a deep breath and dive in!
- Make a plan, write it down, and stick with it. It takes about two weeks to create a new routine.
- Take advantage of easy resources. There are dozens of weight loss apps and fitness apps available, many of which are free, to help keep track of your progress.
- Look up gym and class schedules and block out the time on your calendar.
- If you need extra resources or help for success, or have other healthcare needs, St. Vincent Healthcare and Billings Clinic both offer weight management help.
Now more than ever, making sure you are taking care of your body and mind is important. Improving your diet and exercise routine will help you reduce stress, build strength and increase your overall wellness — all changes that will help keep you happier and healthier for years to come.
~Aimee Brown, PA-C, Billings OB-GYN Associates