After the holidays, we may notice we are carrying a few extra pounds on our bodies. Even eating our customary diet can sometimes result in gradual weight gain through the years.
No matter what your target weight is, try to implement healthy approaches as we begin 2020 to make sure your outlook on diet and exercise can carry you through many years to come.
UC Health’s West Chester Hospital is a wide-ranging campus of medical professionals that can refer each patient to a variety of other wellness-related offerings. The Weight Loss Center assists patients who are pursuing both surgical and non-surgical weight loss strategies.
Registered Dietitian at the Weight Loss Center Haylee Hannah sees weight changes that happen incrementally as some of the hardest to combat.
“As we get older, our default is to gain weight since our metabolism starts to slow down even in our 20s,” says Haylee. “Just maintaining one’s weight is really swimming against the current.”
Dr. Chandra Gravely, UC Health gynecologist and women’s health specialist, also notes that even small habits can have an impact on our weight gain over time.
“There has been a study showing greater weight gain in those who sleep for five or less hours per night, compared to those getting seven to nine hours,” states Dr. Gravely. “Many of us are working sedentary jobs, so we spend less time active during the day than we did when we were younger.”
Haylee and her fellow Registered Dietitians at the Weight Loss Center offer tips that are simple, easy to remember and backed by medical research.
“Our whole mantra here is protein and plants,” she says. “Protein and fiber help you feel full, even if you are at a calorie deficit.”
Experts advise against grazing or waiting all day before eating larger meals; rather, a structured meal plan of either three meals or five smaller meals per day helps keep you from getting too hungry or missing signals that you are already full.
Haylee recommends around 150 minutes a week of exercise at moderate intensity, which is backed by the American Heart Association, and she has a fun way to remember how intense this exercise should be.
“When doing moderate-intensity exercise, you can talk during that exercise, but would not be able to sing,” says Haylee. “If you do more intense exercise, where you can’t really talk, you can cut the time you need to exercise in half.”
Dr. Gravely explains that, even if you have focused on cardio exercise in the past, adding in a strength component is essential for weight maintenance as we age. Haylee concurs, pointing out that it is easy to gain back lost weight if you don’t add muscle during your weight loss journey.
“Losing weight is exciting and motivating, but when you get to your goal, it can be easy for old habits to come back,” says Haylee. “Even if you are happy with your weight, find something other than the number to motivate you: join a running group or make cooking new healthy recipes a weekly hobby.”
The Weight Loss Center at West Chester Hospital’s campus sees a variety of referrals from other departments where weight loss can help to improve outcomes.
“We’ll work with people who are losing weight to achieve other health goals, such as those who want to lose weight to successfully recover from knee surgery,” says Haylee.
If you are looking for simple steps to start this January off right with choices that help you lose or maintain your weight, Haylee recommends a mindful approach.
“We know that self-monitoring is a big piece of the puzzle. Keep a food record of whatever you are eating using an app like MyFitnessPal,” says Haylee. “Then focus on changes you can control, like putting carrots in your lunch or packing workout clothes for after work, rather than a particular number of pounds to lose.”
If you want further accountability and assistance in your weight loss journey, know that you are not alone; you can contact the Weight Loss Center today to learn more about their programs and services.
UC Health Weight Loss Center. 7690 Discovery Dr, West Chester. 513.939.2263 UCHealth.com/WeightLoss
UC Health Women’s Center, 7675 Wellness Way, West Chester. 513.475.8248.