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A Slimmer You in 2012
By Carol LeBeau
1/1/2012 3:21:54 PM

There’s still no magic bullet for losing weight! 

If you’re among the millions of Americans starting the New Year in your “fat” jeans, don’t despair.  It may not be as bad as you think. 

Despite reports to the contrary, most of us did not gain10 pounds over the holidays.  In fact, according to the American Medical Association, the average American gained just a tad over one pound between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  That’s the good news.  

Unfortunately, many of us never lose the accumulated weight. Over the years, those holiday pounds add up – resulting in expanding waistlines and an increased risk of medical problems.  So if you’ve resolved to lose weight and get fit in 2012, good for you. If you’re wondering how to do it, allow me to pass along a little advice from a doctor “friend” of mine, Dr. Dean Edell. 

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Edell, he was a popular syndicated radio talk show host for 30 years.  I was an avid listener of Dr. Edell’s call-in “ask-the-doctor” program back in the 80’s and 90’s. I loved the way he summarized complicated medical material in terms I could understand.  When it came to controversial medical topics, I always found Dr. Edell a refreshing voice of reason. 

I’ll never forget his response to a caller’s question regarding the best diet for losing weight. Listening on my car radio, I eagerly anticipated Dr. Edell’s response.  Would he point to one of the popular diet plans such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or Atkins?  Perhaps he knew of a secret diet regimen…a magic bullet that would guarantee immediate weight loss.   

So, what’s the best diet?  Amazingly, Dr. Edell said this,  “Any diet you’re on.” He went on to explain being “on” a diet means you’re aware of and control what you put in your mouth. Every diet includes calorie restriction.  If you take in fewer calories, you’ll lose weight.  It’s that simple. 

So don’t worry about diet plans. Just watch what you’re eating. Start by eliminating “mindless” eating.  Plan ahead what you’re going to eat and you’ll make better choices.  Lean meats, omega-rich fish, whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables…good, “real” food!  Come on, you know this!  Cookies, chips, sodas and other processed food items should be special occasion foods only – or what I call, “just a taste” goodies. 

Add these few, easy lifestyle “tweaks” to your game plan and you’ll jump-start your way to a leaner, healthier 2012: 

1. Eat breakfast.  Skipping breakfast can increase your risk for obesity four-fold!  Stoke your “furnace” first thing in the morning and those calories will begin to burn! 

2. Get More Sleep.  If you’re sleep-deprived your metabolism doesn’t function as efficiently.  A good night’s sleep also affects the hormones that control appetite.  (Plus, you just feel better with enough zzzz’s!) 

3. Hydrate. Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger.  Try to drink two liters of liquid a day. 

4. Keep Moving. Doesn’t have to be anything grand.  Take a walk.  Take the steps.  Play with the kids.  Physical activity (30-60 minutes a day) is key to speeding up your metabolism and burning more calories. 

5. Don’t graze before bed.  People who eat at night gain three and a half more pounds a year, on average, than those who don’t.  

So, there you have it.  No magic wands.  No miracle pills.  For now, most weight control is still based on simple science and the wisdom of Dr. Dean Edell.  

Now, go have a great healthy New Year!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.