By M. Kathleen Figaro, MD, MS
It is that time of year again, and New Year’s resolutions abound. My personal resolution is to maintain a meditation practice, what’s yours? If it is weight loss, you have work ahead of you, and I would like to help. The goal of weight loss is admirable, and sometimes hormonal imbalances can get in the way. Obesity has steadily climbed, while the time to exercise, leisure time, and home cooking have steadily declined. People are often away from home between 5 to 7pm most days of the week. Others work second shift and are sleep-deprived, inducing a cascade of hormonal issues. I think that often thyroid issues are considered, but what about your adipose cells themselves, or your inherited heterozygous lipodystrophy, or your metabolic syndrome that is progressing to diabetes? You need help to identify and target your risk factors.
So, here are some tried-and-true tips to help the harried.
- Give your thinking-self a break and do not try to make food-related decisions when you are tired and hungry. During your day off is the best time to plan the menu for the week and make sure the main ingredients are there in the freezer or pantry. I can help you determine if there are hormonal aspects to your increased hunger and treat them.
- Prioritize rest in a dark and cool environment to get the most out of the sleep time you have. Without sufficient sleep, your levels of ghrelin and cortisol hormones are higher and increase your hunger.
- Just like a penny saved is a penny earned, a calorie not eaten is a calorie that does not need to be worked off. It is far easier to avoid eating 100 calories than to exercise to expend 100 calories. Both are equally effective for weight loss, but the range of caloric limitation is upwards of 1,000 per day; it is nearly impossible to get enough aerobic exercise to expend 1,000 calories.
- Calories matter; while eating more protein (especially vegetable protein) means more energy expended per calorie consumed, this is at most a 10-percent discount and less than the 1,000 calories you can save per day (depending on how many you are eating now.)
- There is a diet for everyone. Since it is a means to the end of lowering calories, adopt one that seems palatable to you and keep it for life. Being overweight is a chronic condition, so pace yourself; weight loss is a marathon. If you need individualized attention for weight loss, and you are struggling with one or more of the important aspects of weight management, come in for an evaluation and for support in our weight management clinic
Heartland Endocrine Group is located at 4620 E. 53rd Street, Davenport, IA. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call our office at 563-424-6306 or visit us online at www.heartlandendocrinegroup.com.