Managing Your Weight the Healthy Way

You may have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight in 2019, or perhaps even honor Black History Month with a goal of becoming healthier this year (this month is also American Heart Month). That’s great news.

African Americans are 33% more likely to die from heart disease than Caucasians.”

Association of Black Cardiologists

The best way to take control of your weight is to shift your lifestyle habits to center on sound nutrition and sensible practices. Focus on your overall health and not exclusively on weight loss. You may be able to prevent or reverse heart disease.

The Association of Black Cardiologists reports that African Americans are 33% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white Americans. Furthermore, among non-Hispanic blacks age 20 and older, 44% of African American men and 48% of African American Women have some form of cardiovascular disease.

The following are tips that can help you keep those extra pounds off, be heart-healthy, and achieve better all-around wellness.

Downsize portions
Reducing the amount of food on your plate at each meal can make a difference. Simple strategies might include always leaving a part of your plate empty, using smaller plates, and avoiding second helpings. Also, take your time and chew your food thoroughly—eating more slowly can help you feel full sooner.

Eat more fiber
High fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains help fill you up faster. Eating a salad or a cup of vegetable soup as an appetizer can help decrease your intake of higher-calorie food in main courses. More importantly, high-fiber foods have a wide range of health benefits—from lowering your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes to helping you have more regular bowel movements and eliminating toxins in your GI tract.

In addition, go for whole, natural foods—unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats—whenever possible. Instead of white rice, which loses most of its nutritional value during processing, look for brown rice or quinoa.

Put more color in your meals
When seeking out fruits and vegetables at the market, look for as many different colored ones as possible. Naturally colorful produce makes for a more fun eating experience and supplies your body with disease-fighting nutrients. Studies have shown that when people are presented with a wide variety of vegetables, they are likely to eat more of them without increasing their calories at the meal.

Simply walking 30 minutes a day has been proven to help in weight loss. It’s something you can do inside or outside, and involves no expense other than a pair of comfortable shoes. Other strategies include taking stairs instead of an elevator and parking in a spot further away than usual from building entryways.

Drink more water
While sport drinks and flavored waters might seem to have minimal impact on your health, these actually are high in added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and calories. Even fruit juices often have excessive amounts of sugar. The best way way to quench your thirst, stay hydrated, and eliminate toxins from your body is to drink plain tap or bottled water.

Treat yourself in moderation
Totally depriving yourself of indulgences will only make you crave those items and make you resent the changes you’re making in your diet. Leave room to enjoy your favorite sweets every once in a while—it will help you learn better self-control and gain a more positive relationship with food.

Larry Hobson

Larry Hobson

Specializes in Bariatric Surgery, General Surgery

Dr. Larry Hobson is the former co-director of the Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery Fellowship at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center and is a veteran of private practice.

Learn more about Dr. Hobson.