10 Ways to Lose 5 Pounds
Tips for Losing Weight
There is no one right way to lose weight. So much depends on finding out what works for you. But there is widespread agreement among experts that losing about 5-7 percent of your initial weight (about 10-15 pounds for someone weighing 200 pounds) -- and keeping those pounds off -- can have tremendous health benefits for people with prediabetes or in the early years of type 2 diabetes. For most people diagnosed with type 2, weight loss can't reverse the disease, but it can help slow its progression and delay the need for additional medications, says Hope Warshaw, RD, CDE, coauthor of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy (American Diabetes Association, 2010) and contributing editor to Diabetic Living magazine.
Weight loss can be more challenging for people with diabetes due to insulin resistance. The body fights even harder than usual to hold on to the pounds. Here are some tips to help you shed just 5 pounds -- a good way to get the ball rolling.
Control Portion Sizes
It's not practical or realistic to weigh and measure everything you eat. So pick one day a week to pull out your food scale and measuring cups and spoons to see if you're eating the proper portions.
"Our eyes grow with time," says diabetes educator Hope Warshaw. "It's easy to rationalize: But it's just a little more."
To fine-tune your skills to eat proper portions, keep essential weighing and measuring tools on the countertop -- a food scale that accurately weighs meats, fruits, and starches; measuring cups for starches, vegetables, and dairy items; and measuring spoons for fats, oils, salad dressings, and more.
Fats are the most concentrated sources of calories; find ways to cut just a little fat, including oils, here and there. The payoff can be big. For instance, instead of 2 tablespoons of regular salad dressing, use 1 tablespoon and dilute it with balsamic vinegar. That one move can cut 90 calories.
"It's not about following a diet, it's about a tweak here or a tweak there," says Warshaw. Those tweaks can add up to real changes.
Distance Yourself from Tempting Foods
If there are foods you just can't stay away from -- chips, ice cream, cookies -- keep them out of your kitchen. If tempting foods are already in the cupboard, fridge, or freezer, toss them.
And don't use your spouse or kids as an excuse for keeping problem foods on hand. Help the whole family eat healthy. If someone else does the shopping, be sure to pass along the ban on tempting foods. "A lot of grandmas rationalize having candy and cookies around the house for their grandchildren," Warshaw says. "Is that really what you want to feed them?" Challenge some of your preconceived notions and encourage Grandma to go healthy, too.
Make Smart Choices at Restaurants
When you go to a restaurant, make smart choices and practice portion control to not overeat, says Jeff Mechanick, M.D., FACP, FACE, FACN, clinical professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
Consider splitting large entrees or putting half in a to-go box right away. "Get a double portion of salad; order broiled, grilled, or baked fish; and don’t let the bread be placed on the table," Mechanick says. Take advantage of healthier menu choices, or ask the chef to prepare a low-fat version of an item.
Embrace Fruits and Veggies
Enjoy a healthy, plant-based eating plan with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables packed with fiber. Aim for five servings a day, and if you can, try for seven servings.
Try the plate method when serving your meals. Fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables. Fill one quarter with a starch, such as rice, and the remaining quarter with meat or other protein. "This reinforces the concept of using the main protein source of your meal as a side dish rather than the meat-centric main course," says diabetes educator Hope Warshaw.
For dessert, eat fruit rather than cookies, cake, or pie. "It's a great way to end a meal," says Marisa Moore, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a registered dietitian in Atlanta. "Fruit often does the trick, and you'll be surprised at how many calories you'll save and still have a sweet ending to a meal."
Downsize Your Dinnerware
The more food you put in front of you, the more you're likely to eat, according to research by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., professor of marketing at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and director of the school's Food and Brand Lab. So serve meals on small dinner plates (7-inch diameter) and use tall, narrow 4-ounce glasses for juice and other caloric drinks. Your brain will reset its expectations of a normal portion size, and you'll find yourself feeling satisfied with less food.
Don't Let Yourself Get Too Hungry
"Don't skip meals," says Marisa Moore, RD. "Be sure you eat regularly to avoid major blood sugar fluctuations that can lead to a ravenous attack on the refrigerator."
Be prepared with snacks when you're on the go in case you need them. Carry a piece of fruit, crackers, string cheese, or yogurt. Tucking away something ahead of time will keep you from being tempted by fast food or vending machines.
Move Throughout the Day
Along with modified eating, incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle. Move throughout the day. Stretch while you make breakfast. Take the stairs at the office. Go for a stroll during your lunch break. It's a myth that you need to sit to digest your food, says professor Jeff Mechanick.
You should get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines. Adults need up to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days to prevent unhealthy weight gain. Those who have lost weight may need 60-90 minutes of daily activity to avoid regaining the weight.
Track Your Progress
It's a proven fact that keeping a food diary is an effective way to eat healthier. If you have to write down what you eat before you eat it, you're more inclined to make good choices. "It's a great way to identify triggers or patterns in your eating behavior that you want to get rid of," says dietitian Marisa Moore. Use a memo pad, online food journal, even your smartphone -- whatever works for you. "When you realize you have to write it down, you aren't as likely to eat unhealthy foods," she says. Journaling makes you feel accountable for what you're eating.
Fill Up with Fiber
Make sure your diet includes plenty of oats, oatmeal, and beans -- all great sources of fiber, Moore says. "Fiber can help you feel full longer and lower your cholesterol."
Aim for 30-35 grams of fiber each day -- two-thirds from soluble fiber and one-third from insoluble fiber, says professor Jeff Mechanick. Soluble fiber is in oat bran, nuts, carrots, and oranges. Insoluble fiber is in dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, wheat, and corn bran. Instead of high-calorie foods loaded with sugar and refined starches, shift to lower-calorie foods with more fiber. Whole foods and whole grains are better than processed. If you feel overwhelmed by the amounts and types of fiber you should be eating, Hope Warshaw, RD, CDE, recommends: “just eat more fiber.”