50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles aimed at helping Schriever personnel succeed with their popular New Year’s resolutions.
Many people go on a diet at the start of the New Year to help reach weight-loss goals. In their minds, a diet is a tool to help them get to the size they want to or should be. But is a diet really the best way?
There are many four-letter words that people avoid using, especially in front of the children. D-I-E-T should be added to the list.
“The word ‘diet’ has a very negative emotion tied to it,” says Julie Anderson, Registered Dietician with the Peterson Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center. “I prefer to use the term ‘lifestyle change’ and concentrate on improving overall health rather than just weight loss.”
This change in outlook can be the key to actually achieving one’s greater goal especially in the long term.
“You should not be concerned with short term goals or something temporary when it comes to nutrition, forming a new healthy lifestyle is the ultimate goal,” said Staff Sgt. Ronneisha Sargent, Diet Therapy Craftsman, Schriever AFB HAWC.
Fad diets are popular so they must work, right?
“Most of us have fallen prey to a fad diet at some point in our life, but the weight doesn’t stay away for long because they are often so restrictive that sticking to them for the long haul is near impossible,” said Ms. Anderson.
A more realistic approach, which could include journaling, counting calories or the plate method is more likely to achieve the desired results and eliminate the need for fad diets.
People can calculate how many calories it will take to lead to weight loss through the Mifflin St. Jeor, a widely used clinical calorie evaluation tool, located at www.calculator.net/calorie.html.
Members need to be careful when opting to count calories according to the Schriever HAWC.
“The biggest mistake people make with regards to their diet is consuming too few calories,” said Sergeant Sargent. “Most people think less is best, however, consuming too few calories could cause an individual to send their body into starvation mode, potentially causing weight gain.”
Journaling daily intake and physical activity can help members stay on track and accountable to their lifestyle change goals.
A simpler option may be the plate method in which you use a 9-inch plate and divide it in half then divide the right side again so you have three sections. Fill one quarter with a palm size of lean protein, the other quarter with no more than one cup of carbohydrate and the remaining half with fresh or steamed vegetables.
“Eating a balanced breakfast, followed by the plate method at lunch and dinner will automatically decrease your intake and increase your fiber. Add small snacks such as fresh fruit or yogurt in between to stave off hunger and cravings,” said Ms. Anderson.
Eating healthier can help members achieve more than just weight-loss goals.
“Children are being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and high cholesterol as early as age 10,” said Ms. Anderson.
She credits this trend to poor nutrition and limited physical activity.
“Making a family effort to promote healthier eating and increase physical activity is the best thing you can do for your children and loved ones,” she added.
Healthier doesn’t have to be bland and boring and shouldn’t be according to experts.
“Consume a variety of different foods from various food groups. Different foods provide different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants so it’s important to think colorful and variety especially when it comes to fruit and vegetables,” said Sergeant Sargent.
Eating smarter alone may not help people achieve their desired results; increased physical activity is likely to be needed.
“Exercise is just as important as the food you put into your body. The HAWC provides wonderful classes to assist you in starting an exercise program, which is appropriate and safe for you — take advantage of these services and get started today,” said Ms. Anderson.