Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weight Management

As some of us age, it becomes harder to keep the weight off. I've had this personal struggle since around 2000. After losing 40 pounds in 2002, I've slowly been putting it back on. The only reason that I haven't gained back every pound and then some is because I started exercising and I'm fairly active throughout the day. Exercise is clearly not my problem so my weight management issues can be traced back to my diet.

I recently attended a wellness seminar sponsored by my employer. Most of what the speaker said, I already knew. But, he did mention five things that I know would help me if I could just stick to them.

1. Consume no more than 25 grams of sugar per day --including fruit. I've always had a sweeth tooth. I gave  up sugar completely when I lost the first 40 pounds. The only way I survived was eating lots and lots of fruit. I would eat whole pineapples for dinner because I wanted sweets so much.  There are 20 grams of sugar in one cup of grapes, 23 grams  each in an orange and an apple. Fruit is my favorite snack.  This is not something I could sustain long term. I don't think I would last a day.

2. Don't eat after 9 pm. I'm a snacker and I tend to snack at night. Stopping would be hard but I think I can stick to this one with a little practice.

3.  Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and right before bed. I'm really bad about drinking water but this seems like a good way to at least establish a good habit.

4. Eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day. The theory is that a high fiber diet keeps you satisfied so you don't eat as much. I guess that would be true if hunger were the only reason I eat. It's not. Boredom and anxiety are the biggest reasons I eat, not hunger.

5. Get 8 hours of sleep per night and sleep in complete quiet and darkness. He mentioned that a big reason why some people struggle with their weight is because they're not getting enough sleep.  I am usually in bed by 11 pm and the alarm goes off at 5 am. That's about 6 hours of sleep per night. I would love to get more sleep but with everything we have going on, it's the best I can do right now. I'm also guilty of sleeping with the TV on. One of us will wake up and turn it off eventually. But, apparently falling asleep with noise and light interferes with natural sleep patterns and prevents you from getting restorative sleep.

I believe we all know how to live a healthier lifestyle. But, most of us don't want to make the sacrifices that lifestyle requires. Weight management is mostly mental and the right attitude makes all the difference. I'm really hoping that this is the year I get in the right frame of mind so I can get back to my goal weight and get off this diet roller coaster.

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