Importance of Maintaining Optimal Weight
The benefits of losing weight and maintaining your optimal weight cannot be overstated. By getting your weight under control, you will look better, sleep better, have more energy, and lower your risk of developing certain diseases. For example, being overweight is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis. Studies have consistently shown that overweight women have 4 times the risk, and overweight men have 5 times the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis when compared to people who are normal body weight.
So, intellectually, it makes sense to strive to be your optimal weight. I'm sure you would like to shed excess, unwanted pounds. When your doctor advises you to do so, that provides even more incentive. You want to be compliant -- but why does it have to be so difficult to lose weight -- and then keep that weight from coming back?
Fad Diets Don't Cut It
There are myriad diets that many of you have tried -- The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Zone, The Beverly Hills Diet, SugarBusters -- just to name a few. Then there are diet pills that range from over-the-counter Alli to banned Fen-Phen. How does a person even remotely know where to begin?
There are those who think they have weight loss completely figured out -- they claim it's a matter of counting calories. For those interested in counting calories, try Calorie Count at http://caloriecount.about.com/.
Certainly, that's one approach to weight loss but it's detailed and tedious to keep track of calories. Besides, do you really want to know how many calories are in your favorite mocha chocolate creme cookies? I didn't think so.
No Magic Bullet
I've been thinking about how many people are frustrated with their weight and told by their doctor to lose weight. If there were a magic bullet, I'm positive it would have been headline news.
At a routine doctor appointment recently, our doctor walked into the examination room looking fit and trim. It was obvious he had lost some pounds. So I grabbed hold of my opportunity and asked "How did you do it, doc?"
Sometimes, someone else's success can serve as your motivation. The simplicity of his answer surprised me but it resonated with me as well. The doctor said "Eat right and eat less. There is no magic bullet."
I looked in his eyes as he repeated what he said even more deliberately, "Eat right and eat less. There is no magic bullet."
Focus On Eating Right
Now that the message is clear -- eat right and eat less -- how do we do it? The Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture which were updated in January 2005 and are due for another update in 2010 is a great starting point.
Eating Well. Eating Right. AARP. Accessed 5/24/2009.