Here’s A Check List To Fight Weight Gain

Here's A Check List To Fight Weight Gain

I’m working to lose a few pounds right now and one of my favorite advisers for this is Dr. Roxanne Sukol, who blogs at YOUR HEALTH IS ON YOUR PLATE. Which in many ways says it all. So if you’re like me and thinking about shedding some weight, let’s explore what might be working against us. Here’s a check list.

  • First think about the very last meal you had. If you grabbed a quick lunch or dinner out, that’s a problem, as when we do that we often have no idea what is ON THAT PLATE–well in terms of corn syrup which Sukol reminds us is in almost everything. We are getting hidden sugar that spikes insulin and packs on fat. Corn syrup is in: yogurt, breads, ice cream, salad dressings, sodas and sports drinks, muffins, non-dairy coffee whiteners, and if you love dark chocolate like I do, and eat it thinking you are being virtuous, corn syrup is even in some dark chocolate.
  • Read labels. I’m in trouble here and need to do a lot more. I insist on a certain brand of peanut butter (which I eat almost daily) because is has NO SUGAR. But I need to do more.
  • Portion control is a major problem in the United States. When I was growing up, portions were so much smaller than they are now. As a wealthy country, we seem to use size as a metaphor for success–bigger houses, for a while bigger cars, and certainly increased portion size. Sukol points out a few changes, some you will be aware of: bagels have tripled in size since the 1960s. There’s always room for dessert. You can get a bucket of soda for ten cents more, so why wouldn’t you?
  • Super size is not the answer. Everyone of us can feel full by eating healthy foods. Healthy solutions to fighting hunger include: fiber, fat, and protein. Fruits and vegetables and beans are delicious and filling. Fat is flavorful and satisfying. Protein keeps you going. Want more info on fat, Sukol’s latest post is here.  
  • Your weight gain might also be attributed to irregular sleep patterns which can derail your weight loss efforts. Sukol suggests learning about “sleep hygiene” to see if you are doing something that is actually making it worse. Are you finding it hard to fall asleep because you can’t turn off your mind? Do you wake up in the early morning hours and have difficulty returning to sleep? Maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep, period.
  • Reconsider the bedtime snack. Sukol reminds us that eating a big bowl of cereal before bed (which I have often done to keep my blood sugar level) or a peanut butter sandwich or a candy bar IS A PROBLEM. Her suggestion: Start working on this issue by trying to eat a bigger breakfast and lunch, thereby getting in more calories earlier in the day. You may still want a nighttime snack, but make it healthier and one that does include fiber. Her suggestion: berries which are sweet and satisfying, but low in practically everything else (except fiber). 
  • Sleep hygiene also includes:
  1. avoiding a nap during the day;
  2. avoiding stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and even alcohol, especially late in the day. Though the latter is know to lead you into sleep, research shows that it interrupts sleep as your body begins to metabolize the alcohol;
  3. exercise can promote sleep, but vigorous should be done earlier in the day and relaxing, like yoga, nearer to sleep hours;
  4. maintain daily light exposure so that when night comes, your body is aligned with the  pattern that darkness means sleep; (Note that people who work night shifts like nurses and other first responders, often have difficulty controlling their weight.)
  5. associate your bed with sleep and create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.

You might have discovered your own methods to control your weight or to lose weight when it sneaks up on you. Please share. Or keep this post and decide how some of Sukol’s ideas might apply to you. Start thinking about the one that resonates the most. Because like anything we attempt–it cannot happen over night. So here are last words to consider:

  • one step at a time,
  • one day at a time,
  • one issue at a time.

There are NO QUICK FIXES. Progress is achieved when we set realistic goals. I’m going to start with changing my bedtime snack. What are you going to do?

 Dr. Roxanne Sukol can be found at YOUR HEALTH IS ON YOUR PLATE.

Here's A Check List To Fight Weight Gain

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24 thoughts on “Here’s A Check List To Fight Weight Gain

  1. Great article Beth and good points whether you want to lose weight or even just eat in a more healthy way. Since I am a recent widow and older I have trouble gaining weight, which is a complete turn around from years ago. I know …no sympathy…. My body has changed and now I must be careful to get all the protein, fruits and vegetables – instead of like you said, an easy take out meal that has too much fat or sugar. Its a battle no matter what the direction but healthy eating is key. I love peanut butter and dark chocolate and salty crunchy things like chips – so I try to consciously limit them not eliminate them. One bite at a time, one day at a time.

    • Hi Carol, I love your one bite at a time one day at a time. I am prone to carbs, any kind of carbs, so I need to watch it. And in the last few years I have not read any labels and need to do that more. Have a great week, Beth

    • I know, Haralee. When I am reading late at night, I am always so tempted to snack too. Thanks.

  2. Everyone told me 🙂 but when I was in my 20s and 30s and early 40s I thought I would be different. I am not different 🙂 I need to watch your portions, but more than that I need to eat healthier than ever before in order to maintain the energy I need to live my life and stave off any extra pounds

    • I think you look great and I know you are very active. Those habits will take you far. Forming them now will help you keep them. I can’t see you ever gaining weight!

  3. I’ve always eaten pretty healthfully, but after menopause it became harder to dislodge those extra 10 pounds that seemed to pile on no matter what I did or didn’t do. Last December, on a friend’s suggestion, I decided to try intermittent fasting, eating only during an 8-hour window each day (for me, it’s between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.). I didn’t change the foods I ate (I eat only chicken and fish, no red meat, lots of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, low- or no-fat dairy). I still drink wine and have dessert a few times a week (sorbet, low-fat ice cream). My exercise regimen (mostly walking, some interval jogging) remained constant. And I started steadily losing about a half a pound a week; I’ve plateaued after about a 10-pound weight loss. My “menopot” has diminished and my clothes fit more comfortably. There’s some research suggesting that intermittent fasting is also good for cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It took some getting used to (I used to like having breakfast first thing in the morning), but I like the results so I’m sticking with it.

    • Thanks for this, Roxanne. I am going to do more reading. Intermittent Fasting would probably be hard to start, but any change in a habit is and I’m thrilled for you that you have had great results. I have that menopot too. Beth

  4. Wonderful tips. Stress is a huge factor in gaining weight also. You may thing you’re doing everything right and still gain weight because cortisol creates belly fat. I mean, how else can you keep eating salad with no bottled dressing and still gain weight. So frustrating!

    • Yes, you are absolutely right, Rebecca. And yet adding a little wine at the end of the day can relax you. So when I do that I say forget the calories!

  5. Such great tips! I do try to read the labels of things. I try to stay away from sugared foods. My husband, David, and I went on Weight Watchers 5 years ago. We learned portion control! Portion control is our new my best friend. Now we share the protein portion of our meal. We each have our own salad – no dressing for moi. Then I make several veggies and fruit for dessert. We eat this way even when we go out at night, too. We share the fish, chicken or meat dish of choice and order extra veggies. We snack on veggies or fruit in between meals. When we crave ice cream – we eat frozen grapes instead! YUM! We have both successfully kept the weight off that we lost many years ago! BTW, I did not have to get up my cocktail before dinner!

    • Thanks, Ellen, love your long message. All your choices are great ones and your propensity for fiber in fruits and vegetables and sharing a protein portion are WOW great. I admire that frozen grapes can fulfill that taste for ice cream. Do you ever eat chocolate? Don’t think I could go on without it. Happy Eating, Beth

  6. I’ve found, over the years, as long as I don’t think about dieting or even utter the word under my breath I’m better off. I’ve never been in the ‘live to eat vs. the eat to live’ camps because whenever I think about dieting all I can think of is food. I love to cook and use good ingredients so I keep doing what I’m doing.

    • I love your take on things, Barbara. I really do. We all have weights in our lives in terms of worry and fret. TAKE THEM AWAY. You’ve done that. Enjoy.

  7. Three S’s make a difference when it comes to weight gain and maintenance and you it them here@ Sugar, Stress, Sleep. Actually a 4th S is pretty important, especially for women over 50 – Strength Training. This is where you can boost your metabolic rate. Good luck with your goals!

  8. Losing weight is not easy. I teach a 12-week weight loss program and I’m amazed what people don’t know about eating healthy. I agree , the size of most food bought at a restaurant is too much. Great post!

    • Hi Sherry,

      So kind of you to write. And great that you teach weight loss. I taught diabetes education classes at the health dept. when I lived in Iowa and wow, being overweight leads to so many health issues. Thanks for what you do. Beth

  9. Hi Beth! All good reminders for sure. I have been gradually eating more and more healthy as the years add up so that’s all good. But first and foremost is my exercising. By exercising every day–mainly I walk AT LEAST two miles every day–that helps me maintain my weight and keep my body energetic. So the only thing I would add to your list would be “get a dog.” It sure helps to keep me walking! ~Kathy

    • Thanks, Kathy. I’m glad you enjoy walking your dog and walking is the best. I haven’t walked in two days, feel guilty. But our grandchildren were here. My walking pal is my husband. He gets me out the door.
      Think I’ll skip lunch! Beth

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