Release Date: 1/6/2012
Winter weight control isn't fun or easy - but it is possible
Dr. Wagstaff, a family practitioner with a special interest in women’s health, practices at Telegraph Road Family Medicine.
The holidays have come and gone, and those New Year’s resolutions you made have crumbled like leftover Christmas cookies. Now it’s nearly February, and you’re feeling fat instead of fit.
You’re not alone. People often gain weight in the winter because they eat more and exercise less due to the cold weather. It’s just too tempting to cocoon on the couch with some pizza and potato chips instead of taking a brisk walk outdoors or on the treadmill. The result is less energy and more pounds.
Despite Americans’ ongoing obsession with dieting – from Atkins to South Beach to Mediterranean – the sad truth is we are getting fatter. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the early 1990s 56 percent of American adults were overweight and 23 percent were obese. The most recent figures show 68 percent are now overweight, with one-third of those obese.
Also documented is an increase in childhood and teenage weight. Over the last 20 years, rates of obesity have doubled in children and tripled in teens. The latest CDC statistics place 17.5 percent of children and adolescents age 2 to 19 (12.5 million children) in the obese category. And, since most children’s diets are too high in calories, fats and sodium, as many as one-fourth of children age 5-10 have high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels or other early warning signs for heart disease. This is a serious concern because many life-threatening health problems are directly related to obesity.
The solution is simple (but not easy) – get into shape now. Don’t wait for spring or your high school reunion or next New Year’s. Do it in February, for no particular reason except that you want to look and feel better. Do it because you want to live a long and healthy life, set a good example for your children and take control of your body.
Here are some tips to help tip the scales in your favor:
- Get real – no one can get by without some sweets, but take smaller helpings.
- Go for balance – using the five basic food groups, balance your food allowance accordingly.
- Remember that lots of fruit and vegetables help moderate your intake of richer foods.
- Exercise your body as well as your will – when you overdo eating, increase your exercise.
- Avoid the “gain now, lose later” mentality. More than 50 million Americans will go on diets this year. While most succeed in taking off some weight, only about five percent will manage to keep it off.
It’s not glamorous, it’s not sexy, it’s not fun – and, don’t kid yourself, it’s not easy. Riding a bike when you’d rather be riding your easy chair takes resolve. Playing a pick-up game of basketball instead of picking up some fast food takes commitment.
Eating healthy and exercising regularly has to be a conscious lifestyle change. The good news is, it’s never too late to start – you haven’t missed the January deadline.
One word of caution – before starting any diet and/or exercise program, consult your family doctor to be sure it’s the right program for you. Your doctor also can offer additional tips for eating healthy and exercising safely.
Dr. Wagstaff, a family practitioner with a special interest in women’s health, is a member of St. Anthony’s Physician Organization. She practices at Telegraph Road Family Medicine, 4438 Telegraph Road, 314-543-5996. For a referral to any St. Anthony’s physician, call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 1-800-554-9550.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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