Updated: Jul 8
With the arrival of the New Year, I’ve had more than a few calls from clients sharing their resolutions and commitment to make changes to improve their well-being. These resolutions range from broad-based to the specific—more wholesome eating, reducing carbohydrate intake, monitoring their food-related health issues, losing pounds, going gluten-free, opting for weight-loss surgery and several others.
The important thing to remember when deciding to change your lifestyle is to give serious consideration to what will work best for you. You know better than anyone else your strengths and weaknesses. If you are an avowed chocoholic, the sure path of self-sabotage is to choose an eating plan that eliminates all sweets. By the same token if you crave crunchy snacks, no-carb and low carbohydrate diets may be your demise.
When deciding to change your diet, make a commitment to changing your lifestyle and try to pinpoint what will really motivate you. Is your goal to feel better and have more energy, slip into a size you’ve grown out of, or avoid diet-related health issues? These are key questions you need to consider in choosing a diet or changing your eating habits. Following is a summary of factors to think about when your goal is weight loss, a gluten-free diet, or a surgical remedy to your weight challenges.
If weight loss is your goal, you’ll need to focus on increasing your activity levels to burn more energy and alter your diet so that you are consuming foods with fewer calories. For every pound you shed, you need to burn or cut out 3500 calories. Consider low-fat, lean protein sources such as fish, poultry and plant-based proteins. Limit your intake of high sugar beverages and juices. Increase the fruits and vegetables in your diet; they are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The higher fiber content helps regulate your digestion and will help give you a “full” feeling and not leave you feeling hungry.
Some folks choose to eliminate gluten from their diets due to gluten sensitivity, celiac disease or as an option to determine if a gluten-free diet will improve their health. When considering a gluten free diet, give some thought to exactly what foods you will need to eliminate. Hamburger buns, sandwiches, wraps, snacks, cakes, cookies, crackers, etc. will need to be omitted or replaced with gluten-free versions. Now the choice to go gluten-free does not mean you can’t enjoy these foods in the future, just consider that often when gluten is removed to create a gluten-free choice, the gluten may be replaced with sugar and or fat.
It is important to read food labels and look for gluten-free products that are fortified so that you will continue to get the nutrients provided by foods that contain gluten. By reading food labels you will be able to make informed decisions about exactly what food products contain. Replacement grain choices that do not include gluten are millet, quinoa, rice, corn, buckwheat and amaranth.
Bariatric surgery includes several procedures which can reduce the size of the stomach. These procedures include stomach reduction via gastric band, or through the removal of a section of the stomach, or by re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch. The latter is known as gastric bypass surgery.
If you are considering weight loss surgery, it is essential that you discuss the procedure, the options, risks and post-surgery side-effects with your doctor. As you evaluate surgical options, remember the surgery will be helpful in shedding excess weight, but it is not a panacea. You will have to carefully consider your diet and make wise food choices to ensure that you are able to ingest the nutrients your body needs.
Take Away: The commitment to change your lifestyle for better health is a positive move. Thoughtfully consider the choices available to ensure a healthy and happy you.
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