Get Smart About Weight Management
Need to drop a few pounds? Join the club. According to a 2004 survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 71% of men 20 years old and over were overweight — and as a result, have a higher risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Forces such as “super-sized” food portions, cable television, video games and our habit of driving everywhere all converge to add up to more calories, less exercise and extra pounds.
If you’re overweight and ready to get back into shape, start with a physical exam. Your physician can give you a “healthy” weight range and let you know if you need to lose weight. If you do — and even if you don’t — these tips can make managing your weight easier and help you live a healthier lifestyle.
What’s on your plate?
Many guys don’t need to eat less to lose weight — they just need to eat differently. Busy schedules make it easy to default to high-calorie, high-fat “fast” foods like pizza, burgers and greasy tacos. Processed snack foods that are high in sugar, fat and white flour provide lots of calories but little nutrition. Wash them down with a few beers or soda, and the calories really add up.
Start building your meals and snacks around smarter choices, which provide fewer calories and more nutrients. Include a healthy amount of fiber to make you feel fuller and ward off hunger pangs. Make these the mainstay of your meals:
- Whole grain bread, pasta, rice and cereal (check the label — the first ingredient should be a whole grain)
- Fresh vegetables and fruits (frozen is a good option if you can’t buy fresh)
- Low-fat proteins (lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, soy)
- Low-fat dairy products (skim milk, cottage cheese, yogurt)
Keep in mind that no food has to be completely off-limits. It’s fine to have a burger and fries, just not day after day. And check your portions, especially when eating out.
Need help getting started? Try a healthy cooking class or a consultation with a dietitian. Once you have a plan, you’ll often find that healthy eating becomes second nature.
The other half of the weight management equation is exercise. Join a gym, find a cycling group to ride with or take the dog for a run. As a general rule, aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week. It’ll pay off not just for weight management, but in keeping your heart healthy as well.
- Schedule a physical exam with your physician to discuss your weight goals. For a referral, call 1-800-SCRIPPS (800-727-4777) or see our doctor finder.
- Attend a free weight management, healthy eating or cooking workshop. See our upcoming classes and programs for current listings.
- Schedule a consultation with a dietitian.
- Sign up for an exercise class in your area. Many community centers offer classes.
- For some patients, the surgical option may be the most effective way to regain their healthy weight. Read more about Scripps bariatric surgery services.
The weight management programs at Scripps aim for one important goal: getting patients back to their healthy weight. Being under- or overweight can have serious, long-lasting health consequences, making it imperative to bring them back to health as quickly as possible.