Weight, Weight, Don’t Tell Me!
By Dr. Tim Fargo, Chiropractor
I recently took a short vacation to play golf in Arizona. While I was there, I had a photo taken with my playing partner and was a bit surprised by what I saw. I always had this image of myself as being in relatively good shape, but the image staring back at me was that of a slightly round-bellied, older guy. When I got home I discovered that I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. Now, in my defense, I had just had abdominal surgery six weeks prior and, as a consequence, had not been exercising at all, and probably had not made the wisest food choices while I was resting on my laurels. I decided that I had best take some control of the situation, and also thought it a good opportunity to share some strategies for losing weight.
The average American gains 3 pounds a year. That, in and of itself, is neither surprising nor alarming. The problem is that over a 10 year time span that equals 30 pounds, and that is a problem. Obesity has been linked to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Also, and very relevant to living in the middle of a pandemic, is an increased susceptibility to infection. We hear a lot, these days, about people with “comorbidities”, or people with “underlying health conditions”. Obesity, and all of the conditions that flow from it, is one of the main complicating factors that makes people more susceptible to severe illness and death from COVID. The statistics clearly indicate that populations with the highest obesity rates also have the highest rates of severe illness and death from COVID. It therefore behooves all of us to put a bit more attention on improving our body composition and lowering our risk.
If you are not interested in doing a formal, monitored weight loss program, or even if you are, here are a few tips about how to get your body composition moving in the right direction and keep it there.
- Try not to be so hard on yourself. Guilt, blame, regret, and recriminations will never help you lose weight. See yourself as you are, accept yourself as you are, and then make a decision to change. It is all about making a decision. I think it is critical to remind yourself, on a routine basis, about why you are making the sacrifices that are an inevitable part of any weight loss regimen. Behavior modification, in the absence of modifying one’s fundamental beliefs, is doomed to failure.
- Realize that it might be best, rather than viewing it as a “weight loss program”, to view it as a “health restoration program” because, really, this is about getting and being healthy for the rest of your life.
- Start by cutting your portions down. If you are used to filling your plate, having an entire steak, or a whole plate of pasta, just cut it in half and keep the rest for leftovers.
- Focus on having the right balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat). Have a protein portion the size and thickness of the palm your hand and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables. Do that with every meal. Vegetables contain all the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that you need, are low in calories, high in fiber, and very filling.
- Cut out sugar and other “empty” carbohydrates. Unfortunately, I consider such things as pasta, bread, cookies, cake, crackers, pop, candy, etc. as empty carbohydrates. It is not that these foods are necessarily always bad for you (I love a great piece of bread from time to time); it is just that such carbohydrates trigger an insulin response and signal your body to store fat as fuel. Seriously, folks, if you want to lose weight, you need to cut the carbohydrates down, and that includes alcohol. Beer is probably the worst- sorry.
- Drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water every day. Just drinking a lot of water will help curb your appetite, make you feel full, detoxify your body, and facilitate weight loss.
- Identify and eliminate foods to which you are sensitive. Eating foods you are sensitive to will cause you to retain fluid and increase inflammation. Neither of these things are favorable for weight loss. At Chiropractic Health and Wellness we do food sensitivity testing. If you have concerns in this area, please chat with one of the doctors.
- Make sure you get adequate sleep. It is very difficult to lose weight, and also to make good food choices, when you are overtired.
- Engage in moderate exercise every day. It could be something as simple as walking the dog for 20 or 30 minutes, or riding your bicycle, or going salsa dancing. Anything to get your body moving will increase your metabolic rate and facilitate weight loss. If you really want to go the extra mile, start doing some resistance training, simple things like push-ups, squats, sit ups, and working with light dumbbells is just fine.
- Allow yourself a little cheat day once a week. Enjoy yourself, and then get back on the tracks.
If you don’t want to do this all by yourself, then at Chiropractic Health and Wellness we have a program specifically designed to help you lose weight quickly and safely. The program, called “Ideal Protein”, allows you to lose fat without losing muscle. The average woman on this program loses approximately 2 pounds of fat a week, and the average man may lose as much as 4 pounds of fat a week – sorry ladies. The diet works by forcing your body to burn fat for fuel. This is what is known as a “ketogenic” diet. The other factor that I think is critically important is that when you are on the Ideal Protein program you meet weekly with our nutrition coach, and she provides both accountability and concrete assistance. The fundamental is that if it were easy to lose weight, more of us would do it, and do it more successfully. Having an accountability partner makes a huge difference. If you are interested in this program, then chat with either one of the doctors or our administrative staff about meeting with our coach for a complimentary consultation.
If you do the things that I’ve outlined above, even if you don’t do a formal program, and you persist for a few weeks, you will lose weight and you will feel better. Please let me or the other doctors know if we can assist you in any way. I too am on this journey and am happy to help. Call for a free new patient consultation today!