Mind & Spirit

Ask Your Family Doctor... about Women's Health: Dieting

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

Ask Your Family Doctor... about Women's Health: Dieting

Q: Why don't diets seem to work?

A: “Going on” a diet is not the answer to losing weight. This is because the weight is soon regained after you “go off” your diet. If diets really worked, there wouldn't be so many of them! Instead, your usual eating and exercising patterns need to be changed so that your weight stays right for you.

Q: How much should I weigh?

A: This is a tough question. Even though everyone talks about weight, it's really how much fat you have that matters. Two people can be the same height and weigh the same, but one person may look overweight and the other may look fine. Someone who exercises regularly and has more muscle looks thinner than someone who is inactive and has more fat.

You may think you should weigh less when your weight is already a healthy one. Pictures of models in magazines pressure people into thinking that they should be very thin. This isn't true. Talk to your family doctor about what is right for you.

Tips on achieving a healthy weight

• Eat only until you feel satisfied.
• Begin meals with clear soups, broth or something light.
• Eat vegetables, grain foods or other starchy foods and protein foods at each meal.
• Eat slowly so your body has time to know when it's full.
• Drink eight glasses of water a day.
• Exercise.
• Stock your desk drawers or home cupboards with low-fat snacks.
• Don't keep high-fat foods in the house.
• Avoid alcohol.
• Let yourself indulge now and then. This helps you not feel deprived, which may cause you to eat too much later.

How can I change my eating habits?

You have learned your eating habits over time. Don't expect to change them overnight. Change them one by one. Start by training yourself to eat without doing anything else at the same time. Focus on what you're doing and try to eat slowly. For example, don't eat while you watch TV.

It may not be easy at first. And it will probably be easier to start slowly-maybe adding one new health habit at a time (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or starting a walking program) or stopping one unhealthy habit at a time (like not eating donuts every morning).

For more information on this and other health topics, visit the College of Family Physicians of Canada's (CFPC's) Web site www.cfpc.ca or talk to your family doctor.

If you have questions on this or other health topics you'd like to see addressed in future articles, please e-mail healthtopics@CFPC.ca.

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Ask Your Family Doctor... about Women's Health: Dieting

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