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February 22, 2011 > It's Never Too Late to Start Managing Your Weight

It's Never Too Late to Start Managing Your Weight

Upcoming Seminar Focuses on Weight Management Tips for Seniors

Eating healthy is a good idea for everyone. But, as people grow older, a nutritious diet takes on an even greater role in helping them feel good, stay energetic and control their weight. If you're over 50 and overweight, it's important you find a way to manage your weight that works best for your lifestyle. At the same time, you should keep in mind your unique dietary and health needs as you age.

"I am a big believer in lifestyle modification as an effective way for anyone to feel good and manage their weight. This includes seniors," says Than Luu, M.D., a family practice physician who practices at the Washington Township Medical Foundation's Newark Clinic.

On Tuesday, March 1, at 1 p.m., Dr. Luu will present a free educational seminar titled: "Weight Management for Seniors: Learn How to Eat Better!" Dr. Luu will be accompanied by Anna Mazzei, R.D., a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Washington Hospital. The two will discuss ways seniors can manage their weight by eating nutritious foods that helps them to lose weight and keep it off. The class will take place in the Conrad E. Anderson M.D. Auditoriums, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. To reserve your spot, register online at www.whhs.com and look under Upcoming Seminars, or call (800) 963-7070.

"Older adults tend to need fewer calories as they age because they are not as physically active as they once were and their metabolic rates slow down," says Mazzei. "At the upcoming seminar, I'll discuss ways for seniors to eat more nutrient-rich foods and paying closer attention to portion control."

To achieve the lifestyle that is best for you, Dr. Luu explains, you shouldn't feel like you're giving up anything. Rather, make small modifications tailored to your needs to help you lose weight. Here are two basic premises on weight management for seniors that Dr. Luu will discuss at the seminar:

First, your most important goal is to maintain good health and don't expect results to be too dramatic. Be realistic and try to understand that, as a senior, you should focus on staying healthy-and avoiding sickness-during the later years of your life.

Secondly, good nutrition is important in helping you feel energetic while working to manage or prevent chronic disease. It helps to understand that when you eat is as important as what you eat, continues Dr Luu. In general, he recommends that seniors eat heavier meals earlier in the day and lighter meals in the evenings. He also suggests that you should try to stop eating five to six hours before going to bed at night.

"It takes awhile for food to work itself through your digestive system," he says. "If your body is still in the process of digesting your dinner when you wake up in the morning, you may not feel good."

You should also consider what times of the day you eat your highest amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fiber. This is true for everyone, not just seniors. Ideally, you should have your highest carbohydrate meal at breakfast, your highest protein meal at lunch, and your highest fiber meal at dinner. At the seminar, Dr. Luu can provide examples of foods and menus that fit this pattern.

Finally, as they begin their weight loss efforts, Dr. Luu reminds his patients they don't have to do everything perfectly all the time.

"I tell them to just try my recommendations for three months and see how it goes," he says. "The goal I have for all my patients who need to lose weight, especially those who are elderly, is to live a lifestyle they can adhere to each day. That includes eating foods that are accessible to them and affordable."


Washington Hospital Offers Nutrition Counseling

Washington Hospital's Outpatient Nutrition Counseling program is available by appointment to provide nutrition counseling for individuals with specific medical needs as well as those who wish to maintain optimal health. Call (510) 745-6542 or visit www.whhs.com/nutrition for more information.

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