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January 17, 2006 > Healthy Weight Doís and Doníts

Healthy Weight Doís and Doníts

Itís a new year, and you know what that means. Nearly everyone is trying to lose weight. You canít go anywhere without hearing the latest advice on how to shed those unwanted pounds. In honor of Healthy Weight Week-Jan. 15 through Jan. 21-hereís advice from the experts-a registered dietitian and an exercise physiologist-on things you should and shouldnít do to reach the weight thatís healthy for you.

DONíT diet.

"A diet implies something you get on and off of, and that doesnít work," says Anna Mazzei, R.D., clinical dietitian with Food and Nutritional Services at Washington Hospital. "You need to adopt a new healthy lifestyle. So, start by making a commitment to eating healthier forever. But, donít go to extremes. The changes you make should be reasonable, so you can live with them for the rest of your life."

DO lose weight slowly.

"The faster you lose weight, the faster youíll gain it back," advises Ivar Blomquist, M.S., exercise physiologist with Washington Hospitalís Cardiac Rehabilitation Department. "Aim to lose one or two pounds a week over a longer period of time. If you are slow and consistent with the changes you make, you will start losing."

Ivar also leads Washingtonís Ladies Chioce Program, which provides fitness guidance and exercise for women who want to manage their weight.

DO learn to self-manage.

You are your own best coach. To monitor your progress, plan to weigh yourself every couple of weeks (not every day). Keep a record of the food you eat and be honest. Donít let one lapse pile on top of another. If you eat too much at lunchtime, donít use that as an excuse to scuttle your healthy eating plan for the rest of the day. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. Donít berate yourself or lie to yourself about what you are really eating.

DONíT avoid exercise.

The basic formula for losing weight is still "calories in, calories out." So, you need to burn more calories than you take in every day. Increasing your exercise routine helps make this possible. Exercise most days of the week, as long as there is no medical reason why you shouldnít. Then, extend yourself just a bit.

"Find your comfort level and push a little outside it each time, but be sure not to overdo it," adds Blomquist.

DO remember a little goes a long way.

"Research has proven, losing even 10 percent of your weight can improve common conditions related to overweight, such as high blood sugar or high blood pressure," explains Mazzei.

Make small changes to your diet and exercise routine that you can stick with forever. For example, if you are eating the equivalent of two cups of cooked rice each day and you cut out one cup, you will eliminate about 250 calories. Then, burn an additional 200 calories a day through increased exercise. With this strategy alone, you can lose a pound a week. In two months, you will have lost eight pounds.

No matter what your healthy weight goal, you have to start from somewhere. So, why not draw a line in the sand and start here. What have you got to lose?


Anna Mazzei will conduct a Health & Wellness seminar on healthy weight management on Tuesday, February 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. The seminar will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located in the Washington West Building located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

Washington Hospitalís Ladiesí Choice Program meets Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cost for the initial evaluation is $70. After that, each session attended costs $8.50. For more information, call (510) 494-7022.

Ladiesí Choice will also be a featured on InHealth, Washington Hospital cable channel 78. The program will begin airing in late January. An InHealth program guide is published weekly in the Tri-City Voice and on the hospital website at

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