US Government – Helping Americans Slim Their Waistlines
By Nurse Kimberly
Chronic Diseases and Obesity are taking over our friends, families, and loved ones. Don’t let it take over your life.
Yesterday, on Monday January 31, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans. This is the seventh edition since first, released in 1980. The government is concerned about our current obesity epidemic. The government also knows that obese or not, eating a poor diet and not getting enough physical activity can contribute to increased rates of morbidity and mortality.
Have we really gotten to the point where the government needs to tell us what to eat? Evidently we have because statistics don’t lie. The majority of adults in this country are overweight. What’s worse is that one out of every three children is overweight.Are you one of these statistics? Do you know how to eat healthy and what foods you should be feeding your family to help support their growth and development? If you don’t know and you have concerns there is no need to worry. You are no different than the majority of the population.
It doesn’t matter how much you weigh. It is not too late to decide what kind of life you want to live. If you want to lose weight and slim your waistline, the United States Government says it is up to you to make it happen. It’s absolutely true. You cannot change genetics, but you can control the choices and decisions you make. Today I am going to share with you three simple ways to start improving your healthy, reach a healthy weight, and teach your family how to make healthier choices.
The one and only way to truly lose weight and sustain a healthy weight is by balancing calories with physical activity. This may seem like a simple answer for such a catastrophic problem, but it is the right one. However, we are a country constantly influenced by food advertisements and gimmicky weight loss strategies. So what do we do? What did I do to help myself?
First, stop listening to everyone other than true medical professionals and everything they have to say. Second, educate yourself and your family. My Family Plate offers a variety of information on health and disease, everything A-Z, to help you get healthy! Third, get off of your butt and take action! Do it NOW, TODAY, Seriously!!! If you take this challenge, I promise you it will be the best thing you could ever do for yourself and your family.
Some of the recommendations in the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines Report were key contributors to my weight loss. Just by implementing these recommendations you can begin to build a solid foundation for your new healthy lifestyle. Earlier I said the one and only way to lose weight, and keep it off, was to balance calories with physical activity. What does this mean? If you need to lose weight, like I did, it means eat less and play more. That’s your new equation. The number of calories you burn (play) needs to be higher than the number of calories you eat. If you are already at a healthy weight it is still important to balance your calories in with calories out for weight maintenance. Below I picked out three of the recommendations I found to be very helpful.
Tip #1 Eat Less
One of the worst habits that contributed to my ongoing weight gain was the amount of food that I put on my plate. When I was little girl I would often eat two bowls of pasta on spaghetti night. There was hardly ever a time when I did not go back for seconds. It doesn’t matter if you are eating fruits or veggies, you should still monitor your portions. There is no reason anyone should be eating like a Philadelphia Eagles linebacker who is in training camp. By the way GO EAGLES!
Rule number one in eating less is never go back for seconds helpings. You also want to be cautious of the amount of food you are putting on your plate. Talk to your doctor about what size of food portions you should be eating. You don’t need to get crazy with weighing and measuring out foods. You can enjoy food but just in moderation. For example, if you decide to make a home made pizza for dinner, have one slice of pizza with some salad and fresh fruit. There was a time when I used to eat four pieces of pizza. I had to change. I had to learn the healthy way. If food is running over the side of your plate or six inches high, chances are you probably have too much on it. If you are a parent who hates to say no, get over it. Kids need you to lead them in the right direction and set an example. If you tell them they don’t need that third slice of pizza you are doing them a huge favor. Be strong and hold your ground, you are the adult.
Tip #2 Play More
Make time. This is easier said than done but you have to so this. This applies to everyone, overweight or not. Get it? Play more. Notice that I said “play more”. There is a misconception about adding activity into your daily life. This doesn’t mean you need to spend an hour or more on the treadmill everyday. It does mean you need to find ways to decrease the amount time you spend sedentary. In other words- get off your butt and move. Recently there have been research studies that have shown spending the majority of your time being sedentary can lead to cardiovascular disease. Jog up and down the stairs or in place during commercial breaks, turn on some tunes and dance with your kids, or wash and vacuum out your car. Find ways to move and be active in all of your activities of daily living. Don’t spend hours in front of the computer or television. Pack your gym clothes and take them with you to work so you can go as soon as your work day is done. Do some vigorous house cleaning or updates like painting, cleaning out the garage, or trimming the bushes. There are endless ways you can be active everyday. You just need to make “moving” your new habit! Remember losing weight, being healthy, and deciding to have the life you want is all up to you.
Tip #3 Make what you put in your mouth count
Get rid of the sugary beverages like soda and juice. They don’t provide you or your family with any of your daily nutritional needs. Replace them with water, something your body does need. Look at labels. Many soups, pre- packaged frozen dinners, and boxed foods are loaded with sodium and other fillers that are not good for you. One of the USDA recommendations was reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. In addition to reading labels for their sodium content, ask your doctor how much sodium per day you should have in your diet. If you have high blood pressure then your daily allotment of sodium will be considerably less than someone who has normal blood pressure readings.
Another change I have made in my diet that helps reduce the amount of sodium is adding herbs and salt free seasonings to foods when I cook. There are so many delicious ways to bring out flavors in food without adding salt. Browse the spice and seasoning aisle at your grocery store. There were spices and herbs I had never heard of before.
Start filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods. Teach your family the My Family Plate ABCD technique. This goes along with the USDA’s recommendation for filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Color your plate and try new things. Growing up I ate the same foods all of the time. The only vegetables I ate were canned corn, green beans, and lima beans. Not much of a variety.
Now I am addicted to trying new foods and cooking new things. There was a time when I could barely boil water. Don’t get me wrong I don’t spend endless hours in the kitchen. It doesn’t take hours to cook a healthy and flavorful dinner. Do you have 30 minutes? Most likely you do. This might mean you need to plan and organize a little better but you can do it, I did.
When it comes to grains the key is “whole grains”. Your body needs the fiber and nutrients that whole grains offer. When refined grains are made the fiber is removed. So throw out the white bread, white rice, and white pasta. Replace all three with a whole grain option.
Eat a variety of proteins. Most of my protein growing up came from a limited selection of eggs, beef, and fried chicken. Now I have seafood at least once a week. Sushi is one of my favorites! I never thought I would say that. Also, try making stir-fry with scallops, it is so good. This goes back to my suggestion of trying new things. Introducing new foods and flavors can make changing the way you eat fun.
Instead of always buying beef, I substitute in lean ground turkey for taco night and when I’m grilling burgers. Beans, lean pork, and boneless skinless chicken breasts are also healthy protein options. When you are at the grocery store, be sure to read the food label. For meat 93% or greater lean is the best choice.
Try these three suggestions. Remember, you are the one who controls your choices and decisions. The choices and decisions you make about the food you eat and how active you are directly impact the shape of your health now and in the future. If you are a parent, your choices influence what your child will decide to do. Get started today. Change your life. Decide to live. My Family Plate is here if you need support. Chat with us by email, leave comments, or visit us on FACEBOOK. And don’t forget if you need a plan and some guidance, download the FREE Getting Started Guide, it’s a huge help!