Along with exercise, eating healthy is one of the keys to losing weight. Davis Memorial Hospital Director of Community Wellness Marjory Moses said people need to be honest with themselves about why they are overweight and their eating habits.
"Too many of us just eat too much for reasons other than being hungry,"
Moses said. "People need to decide if they are willing and ready to change eating habits they may have had for a lifetime."
Moses said dieting will work for many people as a "quick fix" but developing new healthful eating habits for the long term is what keeps individuals at a healthy weight.
"Our bodies are basically machines and food is the fuel that makes them work," Moses said. "If we focus on a balance of the fuels we must have, water and nutrients, for our bodies to work at their best, it can be a little easier to see the things we eat that we don't really need snacks, too much sugar, pop and too much unhealthy fat."
Moses said one of the best things a person can do to jump-start a weight loss program is to commit to plan on simple and quality nutrient-rich foods for their meals and snacks. She said another key is to make sure people eat the recommended portion sizes.
"Many packaged foods that have reduced fat or no fat have added sugar to make them taste better."
Davis Memorial Hospital director of Community Wellness
"Every food can fit in a balanced diet, but we have got to stop eating large portions," Moses said. "A portion of spaghetti is a half cup, not a plate full. The 'carb', the spaghetti, is not the problem. It doesn't cause us to gain weight; the plate-full portion size is the problem."
Moses said people also need to look for hidden sugars in their foods.
"Everyone knows that cookies, cakes and Coke have sugar, but yogurt, ranch dressing, fruit juice, spaghetti sauce and breakfast cereal do, too," Moses said. "Many packaged foods that have reduced fat or no fat have added sugar to make them taste better."
Moses said reading labels is key to knowing what people are eating and making wise choices every time they eat will make a difference in their waistline.
"I know people who have only made one change: switching from soft drinks to water and have lost significant numbers of pounds," Moses said. "It's important that people know that it is very possible to enjoy healthy, filling, delicious food, and lose weight at the same time, without starving, being hungry, or feeling deprived. It's all about knowledge and good choices."
Moses suggested local groups like Weight Watchers and TOPS as effective tools for people who want group support.
She also suggested using the Internet and reputable sites like WebMD.com for information.
"Locally, at Davis Memorial Hospital we are offering a three-hour weight loss jump-start workshop on Jan. 9," Moses said. "To learn more about it and reserve a seat in the class, folks should call 304-637-3139."