Monday, January 4, 2010

Healthy Me V 2.0

Again blogging from the plane – spent a few days in Massachusetts and got my fill of cold and snow. This time I flew out of Tampa and Providence. I did not lose any of my food and even made it through security with a six ounce container of yogurt. I had a few light cheese wedges, a small snack container of hummus, grapes, a peeled orange, veggie lunch meat, a slice of pizza, crackers, a pita wrap, granola bars, etc. I am telling you this so you might take your lunch box the next time you travel. It saves calories and dollars.

Before boarding the plane this morning, I picked up a print copy of USA today as I have read all my research articles and needed a blog idea. So if you have not seen the paper today, let me tell you about their 2010 wellness challenge.

USA Today has contracted with a nutritionist to create a plan to help people lose ten pounds in ten weeks. That is a very realistic and safe goal of a pound a week. The program is supported through on line tools and recipes. Participants are of course directed to cut their calories and to begin a walking program. The challenge does appear to be geared towards persons who have been sedentary and overweight for some time. Today two people who had volunteered to test the proposed challenge, were highlighted. Each Monday the paper will run a story about people following their plan.

I do not like this as much as Weight Watchers, but it certainly looks sound and doable for “beginners”. I like that it suggests 1500 calories for women and 1800 for men as just a possible place to start. Most people can lose weight on this amount. I like that the program suggests no less than five meals a day and offers meal plans on the website.

Perhaps the most important statement in the article is that a person cannot moderate their calories without having a general idea of what they are consuming now. One of the persons in the story thought he was consuming thousands of calories a day, and he likely was as it is easy to do. If you are eating 3000 cals a day now, then it is going to make sense for you to go to 2500 or 2000 next, NOT to 1500.

There are so many resources and tools that aid in calorie evaluation. Of course, my favorites are also reputable and they are the USDA Nutrient Data Base which has no frills and no “diet” advice, etc… and the Stand Up and Eat site from the Cooper Institute which does also have tools for obtaining and maintaining the ideal “you” weight.

I did not get the sense that USA Today was calling their plan a diet, but it does sound like something temporary. Eating well and watching your weight cannot be a temporary endeavor. People are fond of saying, esp. when they want to treat themselves, “Everything in Moderation.” Okay, sure, everything in moderation, and some things require a little more moderation than others so be mindful.

For those who are active now, say getting 40-60 minutes of cardio most days of the week, and still find themselves with 10 -40 too many pounds, I encourage you to take a few days worth of a food diary and then decide where you can cut 200-500 calories from your day. If HOWEVER, you are already on a very low calorie 1300 or below regimen, something else is going on – see a nutritionist. Also, if you are doing the exact same physical activity/exercise at the exact same pace, duration and effort as you have done for more than six months – that too needs an adjustment.

Just so you know – this healthy lifestyle thing is dynamic. Meaning it should be evolving and ever changing. One does need to reevaluate every now and again – and maybe you need an upgrade to Healthy Me version 2.0!

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