10 tried-and-true tips to help manage your weight in the new year
From UK HealthCare’s Barnstable Brown Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle coaches
With the start of a new year, many find a renewed focus on health and shedding a few pounds that somehow appeared over the holidays. Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for those with or at risk for diabetes. Here are 10 tried-and-true tips to manage weight that have worked for our patients and Diabetes Prevention Program participants, and we hope they’re helpful to you too:
- Ask yourself “Is it really worth the calories?” If the answer is “No,” then pass by that food. Why waste calories on foods that don't really satisfy you?
- Rethink your drink. It’s easy to forget about the calories in beverages. For instance, one can of regular soda has about 150 calories. Consider that to lose about 1 pound a week you have to cut out or burn off around 500 calories per day. So, if you drink 3 cans of regular soda each day and switch those to a zero- calorie beverage (like water, diet soda, unsweetened tea), that means you’ve cut out close to 500 calories, which can surely help your weight loss efforts!
- Be mindful of what you eat. This means eating more slowly and being aware of what and how much you eat. Try putting your fork down between bites. That gives your body time to start to feel full, and you may find you are satisfied with less.
- Fit more fruits and vegetables on your plate. In fact, try to fill half of your plate with vegetables that are not starchy. Whether a crisp green salad, steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus, non-starchy veggies will you up with few calories. Fresh fruit can satisfy the craving for a sweet bite and give an added boost of fiber to help fill you up, along with good-for-you nutrients – all for just 60 calories in a portion about the size of a tennis ball.
- Serve meals from the stove instead of the table. This is a simple way to help head-off putting “just a little bit more” on your plate, especially when you may not even truly be hungry. Bypass a second ½-cup serving of mashed potatoes and save 120 calories. Small changes add up.
- View it before you chew it. It’s easy to lose touch with what portion you’re eating when eating directly from a bag, box or carton (think nuts, popcorn, chips). Did you eat 3 cups of popcorn or 6 cups? By portioning what you plan to eat before you eat it, you can see exactly how much you’re eating and make adjustments as needed.
- Take 5-10 minutes to plan 5 meals for the week. It’s been said that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” With the goal of eating healthier in order to lose a few pounds, planning what you’ll eat for most every meal can help you reach your goal. You can then easily make a list and shop for the needed ingredients to have in your kitchen, so meals are moments away when hunger hits. Planning doesn’t mean you have to cook every meal at home. You may include in your plan to eat out at or order out from a restaurant that has healthy options, such as grilled meats, salads and lots of vegetables. Some of our go-to favorites are local Mediterranean restaurants.
- Order a to-go box when placing your order at a dine-in restaurant. Pack up half of the meal before you begin eating so you aren’t tempted to have “just one more bite.” Now you have lunch or dinner ready to enjoy tomorrow!
- Move more – sit less! During waking hours, make it a goal to try to get up every half hour and walk/move around for 2-3 minutes. Or it can be as simple as marching in place. For added benefit, swing your arms as you would if walking outdoors. Over the course of the day, that can add up to over an hour of more active time.
- Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. According to the CDC, that’s the amount adults should fit in. That would average out to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Most anything that gets your heart beating faster counts. Aside from burning extra calories and strengthening your muscles, physical activity can help you feel better right away by reducing stress, boosting your mood, sharpening focus and improving sleep. Over time, physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and live a healthier life.
UK HealthCare Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center in partnership with UK Extension will be starting a new Diabetes Prevention Program series on January 11, meeting over Zoom on Tuesdays around the lunch hour.
This 12-month program is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meetings are initially weekly then spread out to once or twice a month. Diabetes care and education specialists trained as lifestyle coaches help participants gain the skills to change their eating habits, lose weight and maintain a healthy level of physical activity.
This special series is supported by grant-funding and will be offered at no charge. If interested, please call UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center at 859-323-7391 for more information.