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Weight management can be complex and there are many different theories – and diets – that relate to weight. Generally speaking, it’s better to manage one’s weight by balancing good foods with a regular exercise program. Otherwise, one can focus on reducing food intake alone, which can rob the body of the needed energy to do exercise, which is beneficial to the heart, muscles and joints. A healthy person should exercise regularly and eat balanced meals. Trying to “starve” yourself down to a target weight is often non-productive because the body’s own protective mechanisms take over and lower your metabolism. This creates a scenario where the body needs less and less food to survive, so a person can find they are gaining weight as they eat less. The ideal is to speed up your metabolism so you can eat balanced meals without gaining weight. This can be done by eating frequent, but smaller meals.
If you are exercising regularly, but still not achieving your target weight, consider the tips below, or consult your doctor.
- Instead of trying to starve yourself, eat three meals a day. This will help kill the urge to snack on trash foods like potato chips. When you do eat your regular meal, eat a reasonable portion. Remember, it can take your brain 20 minutes to receive a signal from your stomach that it is full, so eat somewhat slowly.
- Nix the fatty foods. While it’s not good to skip lunch so you can binge at dinner, it’s equally non-productive to horse down a double cheeseburger at lunch with fries and a shake. Consider low-fat alternatives like chicken (without the skin). Even better, consider eating fruit for lunch, or a salad.
- Watch your portions. Okay, so you’re off the hamburgers in favor of chicken. But how MANY pieces of chicken are you eating? Keep a WRITTEN food log that notes what you are eating, and the size of the portions, e.g. one chicken breast or three?
- Don’t eat to combat boredom, tension or anxiety. Some people who quit smoking have to wrestle with weight because they substitute one oral fix (food) for another (cigarettes). Others consume a bag of potato chips at their desk over the course of an afternoon to whittle away the time. If you must have something in your mouth, try gum, carrots or celery.
- Test at your doctor’s office can also give you important information about your triglyceride levels. More and more research is indicating that when these levels are elevated, there’s is an increased risk of heart disease.
Triglyceride is a big word describing fat. It’s the form of fat in food and in your body tissue. A high-caloric intake, whether from fat or carbohydrates and proteins, can raise your triglyceride levels sky high. That’s because the body, converts all excess calories into triglycerides and stores them as fat. The trouble with triglycerides, aside from adding weight to your waistline, is that they can cause plaque to build up in your arteries. This can lead to high blood pressure. A combination of high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels is common in people with severe heart disease.
The normal level is less than 150 mg/dL. To keep your triglycerides in check: watch your weight; cut down on fat and cholesterol; exercise; eat fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids like tuna and salmon; and just as important, limit your alcohol intake. If your total equals four or more points, you may be at higher than normal risk of heart attack compared to the normal adult population. The more points over four, the higher your risk. If you scored over 4 points, you should see your physician regularly to manage and lower your risk of heart problems.