Health/Wellness

Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight

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Heart disease, diabetes and arthritis have all been associated with being overweight or obese.  You can now add cancer to that list too.  Research has shown that at least 11 types of cancer are linked to excess body fat and/or weight. Choosing to lose weight does not have to be an all or nothing endeavor; it takes time, patience and work. Wherever you are on your weight loss journey, making simple changes to promote a healthy weight can also reduce your risk of chronic health conditions.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Eat your greens…

Instead of worrying about measuring and weighing, follow the plate method–half your plate non- starchy vegetables, ¼ healthy carbohydrates, and ¼ protein.  The goal of the plate method is for the majority of your diet to be vegetables (think broccoli, spinach, and summer squash), which are low in calories, high in fiber, and some of the most significant sources of cancer-fighting antioxidants.  Aim for 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and include different varieties every day to the get the maximum amount of health benefits.

…and your protein

Protein is essential for your body and also your weight loss goals.  It can keep you full longer and helps build muscle mass.  Protein is not just meat–dairy, soy, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans are all healthy and a hearty sources of protein.  Studies have shown that following a more plant-based protein diet decreases your risk of cancer and heart disease. Aim for protein at every meal and snack and make some of those meatless!

Hydrate

What’s the first thing you need to do to maintain your weight–drink more water! Water is the most essential nutrient your body needs and most people do not drink enough.  If it is hard for you to remember, drink a big glass of water before you eat anything.  This easy trigger will help you meet those fluid goals and also decrease the amount of calories you take in daily.  Don’t like water? Spice it up with fruit or vegetable slices.

Eat real food

We are so lucky to have healthy and delicious food from natural sources.  Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts all have incredible healthy benefits and come straight from the ground!  Stick with ingredients you recognize and limit the food that comes in a box or is made in a lab.  For example, artificial sweeteners sound like a great option, but research shows that an increased intake of these sweeteners can actually cause you to gain weight, instead of lose. A whole foods approach to eating will benefit your health and your waistline.

Get moving!

The current goal for exercise is 30 minutes per day, or 150 minutes per week.  If that seems unreachable right now, start small! Aim for 10 minutes and then gradually increase.  Even if you break your 30 minutes daily into 3-10 minute increments, it still counts.  Research has shown it may be more beneficial to break your exercise up into small bouts throughout the day to keep your metabolism revving all day long!

Monitor for accountability

If you aren’t seeing changes right away, don’t give up! It may be helpful to track your food intake; you may be eating more calories than you realize.  A good way to monitor is to start a food journal,
writing down everything you are eating and drinking, even if it is just 1-2 bites. In most cases, if you have to write it down, you might change your mind about eating it!  If you prefer a more 21st century approach, there are a handful of useful food tracking apps you can download onto your phone or tablet.

Make simple changes

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you do not have to overhaul your whole diet or life! Making small easy changes every day can produce the results you want without the added stress.  Have a sweet tooth? Keep a small piece of dark chocolate in the refrigerator for an after–dinner treat. Love pizza? Choose thin crust and fill it with antioxidant rich veggies.  Prefer your coffee with extra cream? Try doctoring up your daily cup with coconut or almond milk and a dash of cinnamon.

Watch out for hidden calories

Even foods that seem like good choices can have hidden calories and be full of saturated fat.  Condiments, beverages and higher-fat meat sources can go unnoticed but can add up to a significant amount of extra calories.  Take a look at an example–taco salad.

Traditional: Taco Salad
Iceberg lettuce

Chopped tomatoes

Ground beef

Spanish rice

Cheddar cheese

Sour cream

Taco shell

Ranch dressing

 

Before: 700 calories, 33 g protein, 42 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 3 g fiber

 

 

Made over:  Taco Salad
Baby spinach

Chopped tomatoes and cucumber

Ground turkey

Black beans

Avocado

Non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Pumpkin seeds

Salsa

After: 403 calories, 31 g protein, 20 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 12 g fiber

 

Making a few tweaks to your typical taco salad can save you 300 calories and provide your body with more fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and heart-healthy fats.

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight does not happen overnight and can take work.  The manageable changes mentioned above can keep you accountable and set you up for success.  Soon the changes will become a lifestyle, making it easier to stay on course. Healthy choices most of the time will create a good balance and beneficial relationship with food. Will you fall off the wagon one day? Probably so! The key to weight maintenance is moderation and starting over, every day.

If you enjoyed this recipe there are plenty more in our Meals to Heal Cookbook–written to meet the unique needs of cancer patients and caregivers and offering 150 recipes to make eating less stressful, more convenient, and simply more enjoyable. Created by oncology-credentialed registered dietitians, these delicious, nourishing, easy-to-prepare dishes are full of the nutrients you need to maintain strength during treatment. Loaded with essential nutrition info and recipes coded by common symptoms and side effects (including fatigue, nausea, digestive issues, mouth sores, taste and smell aversion, and others).

 

Susan Bratton

Susan Bratton

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Susan founded Savor Health in 2011 after a career on Wall Street where she represented and focused exclusively on early and growth stage healthcare services and insurance companies. During her tenure on Wall Street, Susan was a member of the healthcare groups at firms including Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Robertson Stephens and Wasserstein, Perella & Co. Susan brings to Savor Health over 25 years of industry experience in healthcare and business as well as expertise in strategy, finance and management. She is actively involved in a number of industry associations including Women Business Leaders in Healthcare. She also serves on the Advisory Board of HCap, the national leading venue for healthcare providers and capital to meet, and is the Secretary for Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee. In addition to her role as CEO of Savor Health, Susan speaks nationally on the role of proper nutrition in the cancer patient at industry association meetings as well as advocacy group summits and other oncology meetings.  Her work in oncology extends beyond Savor Health and speaking on the role of nutrition to her volunteer work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in pediatrics and as a runner for Fred’s Team to raise money for research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Susan earned a B.A. from Duke University and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.

 

Jessica Iannotta

Jessica A. lannotta

MS, RD, CSO, CDN, Chief Operating Officer

Jessica is a registered dietitian and certified specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO). She studied nutrition at Cornell University and completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. She obtained her Master’s degree through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Jessica has worked in inpatient and outpatient oncology settings since 2001 in the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Jessica is in charge of all operations including clinical and culinary operations ranging from menu development to evidence-based website content, relationships with registered dietitians and social workers and developing processes and protocols for intake, management and outcomes analysis of patients.

 

Savor Health is a trusted cancer nutrition expert that patients, caregivers and healthcare enterprises rely on for safe, effective and evidence-based nutrition information and programs. Savor Health is working to put an end to the one third of cancer deaths due to severe malnutrition by providing cancer patients and survivors with individualized disease-specific nutrition solutions through nutritional counseling, menu planning, customized recipes and a 150 recipe cookbook – Meals to Heal.

 

To learn more about Savor Health please visit www.savorhealth.com.

 

 

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