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Living Well and Healthy: The Holidays, Weight Challenges

Because the weather makes it harder and harder for physical activity, by the time the season is over, we find ourselves making the all-too-popular New Year’s Resolution we make each year: The weight loss goal!

Hooray! The holidays are here and it’s a great time of year. Starting on Halloween through Thanksgiving to Christmas, the majority of people let go. The period is full of foods we find hard to resist. And because the weather makes it harder and harder for physical activity, by the time the season is over, we find ourselves making the all-too-popular New Year’s Resolution we make each year: The weight loss goal!

HOLIDAY RESULTS: Typically, we gain weight. There is a spike in consumption of fats, sugars and alcohol in addition to high-sodium foods. The result is either worsening of earlier diagnosed medical problems like congestive heart failure and diabetes, or development of new conditions –– especially for those already on the verge. Typically hospitalizations for these problems increase right after the holidays.

OBESITY: We all know that being overweight or obese is undesirable. However, for most people, the motivation to lose weight is linked to visual and not for health reasons.  We lose sight of the most important reason why our weight should match our height. The concept is called the Body Mass Index (BMI).

THE BMI: The BMI is a guide to what our ideal weight should be for our height. The categories range from underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese and morbidly obese. Professionally, we look at BMI because there is a direct correlation of BMI to serious disease processes like Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes, Hypertension and High Cholesterol.

ALERT: Know your risk! Folk with Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, Kidney Failure, Hypertension and COPD are particularly at risk of harming themselves around this time of year; but everyone should know what their personal risk is. Visit your primary care doctor.

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO: Weight loss and living healthy should begin at the START of the season and not at the end. We need to make a conscious effort to implement these strategies as we enjoy the holidays so we don't make a resolution we never keep! 

1.     Read the labels: high sodium, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils and high calories are warning signs. High sodium leads to fluid and water retention, which can worsen of hypertension and congestive heart failure.

2.     Cook fresh, use very little fats, choose olive oil.

3.     Substitute greens for starches (and don't fry your greens!!!).

4.     Drinks lots of water, eat fruits, reduce alcohol, and soda consumption.

5.     Keep a consistent exercise routine.

6.     Bake more, fry less.

7.     Chose fish over meat, white meat over dark meat, trim the fat off the meat, remove the skin off chicken.

8.     Portion control. Portion control, Portion control.

9.     Closely monitor your weight, know when to implement action.

10.  Choose healthy snacks: fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Dr. Kwame Says: This is a great time to enjoy family -- and food underlies great celebrations. A little guilty pleasure with a whole lot of self-control will lead to a healthy holiday season. And when things get difficult, remember your doctor is always someone to turn to for help.

Dr. Kwame Fiakpornoo is a Board Certified Internist/ Primary Care Doctor and Medical Director of CobbWest Internal Medicine Associates located in Dallas GA.

Visit http://www.cobbwestim.com or call 678-324-7021 for more information.

Greg Becker December 10, 2013 at 04:35 AM
I used this to work out my BMI: https://www.getguidance.com/calculators/210-take-our-advanced-bmi-calculator

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