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Bara'a Osama Al-Ries

Maintaining weight loss during festive season

ABU DHABI, December 19, 2016

1.    What are the best recommendations to maintain your ideal weight after losing the extra pounds?

Maintaining an ideal weight is not easy, yet it is not as hard as it seems. It is important to keep an ideal weight because it reflects an overall healthy body and protects you against diseases on the long term. The easiest way to maintain an ideal weight is to balance the calories we consume with our workout. Balancing calories means following a healthy diet that contains all the food groups, making sure it is colored and varied to avoid losing interest, and also giving your body all the important nutritional elements, such as vitamins and minerals. Below are some tips to help us stay in shape after losing weight.

•    If you feel thirsty, drink water instead of soda or sweetened juice.
•    If you feel hungry, eat snacks and appetizers, such as fruits and veggies instead of desserts.
•    Exercise portion control during your three main meals. Giving up a meal will make you feel more starved and may put you at risk of eating a larger portion in the next meal.
•    Eat fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, veggies, beans, lentil and whole grains, as they will make you feel full.
•    Use smaller plates to eat your meals. Fill half the plate with carb-free veggies, a quarter with protein-rich food, such as fish, meat, chicken or beans, and the final quarter of your plate fill it with carbs, such as rice, pasta, potatoes or bread.
•    Do not eat your meal while watching TV.
•    Chew your food slowly, as eating too fast causes you to eat a larger quantity. It is also recommended to drink water between meals.
•    Sleep well at night. Lack of sleep may cause hormone changes, which would result in you eating larger quantities of food and consequently gaining weight.

2.    What is the average amount of weight loss per week?

The average amount of weight loss per week is ½ -1 KG. Losing weight too fast puts us at risk of gaining it back or even putting more weight than we had before.

3.     What mistakes do we usually make after following a particular diet and losing weight?

Most people who have completed a particular diet and reached their desired weight, start changing their lifestyle and reverting to their bad eating habits. They start eating large quantities of food, especially desserts and fried food, and their preference goes back towards unhealthy foods, skipping breakfasts, eating fatty meals at night before going to bed, and becoming too lazy to do any exercise.

4.    How many meals should we eat a day?

Organizing your daily meals is very important for maintaining an ideal weight after reaching your target. It is recommended that you eat controlled quantities in all the 3 main meals. Skipping one meal will make you feel more starved and may cause you to eat a larger portion in the next meal. Light snacks (2-3 snacks) can be taken between the main meals every day.

5.    Is eating bread after a diet a major reason for gaining weight?

Certainly not. Our bodies need a balanced diet that contains all the food groups, with varied and colored options of these food groups. What causes us to gain weight is eating large quantities and not varying our foods or not cooking our meals in a healthy way. We can eat carbs; it is better to opt for whole grains, with controlled quantities.

6.    What happens if you go back to eating desserts after giving them up for a long time? Is this going to make us gain weight?

Among the bad eating habits commonly developed, especially after following a weight-loss diet for some time, is eating large amounts of food, cakes, and desserts after skipping them for a long period of time, which causes a severe indigestion. Therefore, for our own safety, we should exit our diet gradually.

7.    What are the best five snacks that we can eat between main meals? What is the allowed quantity of chocolate a day?

Eating some snacks between meals can prevent you from overeating in the next meal. Therefore, you should make sure you eat some snacks during the day. The healthy snacks should be small meals, containing the nutritional elements that may be lacking in the rest of the meals. Examples of snacks are fresh or dried fruits, vegetable slices, such as carrots or cucumbers, raw nuts (unsalted) or milk (low-fat), and some dairy products or a dark chocolate (30 grams) which is the amount allowed per person per day. Always remember that even if your options are healthy, do not take excess quantities of them.

8.    Which types of desserts contain the highest calories?

The highest calorie desserts include those containing high amounts of fats, sugar and cream, such as fried pastries, sweets or cake covered with cream, among others.

9.    What habits should we follow at dining table in order to have control over the food quantity we eat?

You can control the amount of food you eat daily by following some tips, such as:

•    Learn to limit the quantities you eat. You can use tools to help you measure the amount of food and the size of fluid you consume, such measuring cups, a teaspoon, or a food scaler.
•    Use a smaller size plate. If you replace your plate with a smaller size one, you will not notice the difference in feeling full neither in the amount of food. Also, avoid putting the main plate on the dining table, but instead, try to scoop the appropriate portions in the plates in advance. This will help reduce your appetite for having another serving, since it is away from your eyes or reach.
•    Control the amount of food you eat in the restaurant by eating half a meal, or sharing the meal with your friends. If you are having a salad, ask for the sauce to be put on the side of the dish rather than inside the salad, and opt for a low-calorie sauce-- a teaspoon of olive oil with a little vinegar or mustard can be enough.
•    Add vegetables to your meals. Try starting your meal with a bowl of vegetable soup, as it is low in calories. Starting your meals like this makes you feel fuller quickly. Also add vegetables to your plate or sandwich so as to increase the size of your meal and feel full quickly without having to consume more calories.
•    Do not listen to false hunger pangs. Eat when you are really hungry, and stop eating once you feel full. Do not forget to drink water regularly. In most cases, feeling thirsty can be why you are feeling hungry.
•    Drink plenty of water. Drinking water makes you feel your stomach is full, and feeling thirsty may be the reason why you feel hungry as well.
•    Chew your food well. Chewing food well and longer gives the brain enough time to register the feeling of fullness more quickly, and keeps you from eating more food.

10.    What are the steps we should take through the holiday season to maintain our weight?

The holiday season is approaching, bringing with it all sorts of delicious food and beverage. We can avoid gaining weight in the holiday season by adopting healthy eating habits, such as the following:

•    Do not go out on an empty stomach. Before going out to the concert, be sure to eat whole-wheat cereal, a plate of fruit salad or sliced vegetables such as carrots. Skipping your daily meals and going to a party while hungry cause you to increase your intake of calories, which you should avoid.
•    Eat your food slowly. Take your time and enjoy your food. Make sure you eat a small amount and chew it well and slowly. The brain takes around 15-20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full, which means that when it’s time for desserts, your stomach will have become full already.
•    Eat the food that suits you first. Start with the food that appeals to you, along with a bowl of gravy or green salad to reach fullness quickly.
•    Shop Smart. When buying your food for the holiday season or the holidays, always choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned food. As for desserts, use natural sweeteners that taste just like refined and processed sweeteners. Low-fat dairy products and whole grains are also healthy and good alternatives.
•    Plan wisely. When you invite guests to your place, do not plan to prepare a menu that includes food choices containing fatty sauces or high calories. Instead of fried chicken, go for a roasted chicken, cooked with vegetables in a healthy manner.
•    Serve healthy sweets. Dissolve at least 70 per cent of a piece of healthy dark chocolate, then dip strawberries inside and serve with fresh fruit pieces as a delicious, tasty and healthy dessert.

Bara'a Osama Al-Ries is a clinical dietician at Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi.




Tags: weight loss | Dehydration |

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