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Volume 2 Published - 14:00 UTC    08:00 EST    03-February-2001      
Issue 34 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST    04-February-2001      

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Back To Vidyya Embrace Your Health! Lose Weight If You Are Overweight

Patient Education
What causes a person to be overweight?
Why should an overweight person lose weight?
Looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight?
Ready, set . . . lose!
How big is a serving?
Limit your portion size.
Aim for a healthy weight!
Maybe you've been thinking about losing weight for some time now. Perhaps you have even tried to lose weight before. Reading this brochure shows you have the motivation to get started again. Follow the steps below to help you form good habits to keep you going until you reach your goal weight.

What causes a person to be overweight?

Two common reasons for being overweight are eating too much and not being active enough. If you eat more calories than your body burns up, the extra calories are stored as fat. Everyone has some stored fat. Too much fat results in being overweight.

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Why should an overweight person lose weight?

Losing weight helps you feel better and makes it easier to be more active. Losing weight is not easy but take the challenge. You can do it!

If you are overweight, here are some other good reasons to lose weight.

  • Your blood cholesterol levels may improve.
  • Your blood pressure levels may go down.
  • Your blood sugar level may be better controlled.
Even if you don't have health problems due to being overweight, a healthy weight can help you lower your risk of heart disease.

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Looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight?

Don't be fooled. Be wary of misleading programs that offer quick weight loss. Some famous phrases like, "Eat all you want and still lose weight," or "Melt fat away--while you sleep," may come to mind. Some other phrases to be wary of are:

  • Breakthrough
  • Easy
  • Effortless
  • Fast Guaranteed
  • Magical
  • Quick
  • New
  • Discovery
  • Immediate
  • Miracle Cure

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Ready, set . . . lose!

You can make losing weight a family project or set your own personal goal. Pick a day to begin. Focus on making simple changes on a daily basis. Make these changes slowly. Stick to them. Try these tips:

Choose lower fat, lower calorie foods.

  • Prepare food by broiling or baking more often instead of frying.
  • Eat fewer breaded and fried foods. Breading and frying foods like fish, shrimp, chicken, and vegetables add fat and calories.
  • Eat lean meat, fish, and poultry without skin. Choose poultry breasts and drumsticks more often than the wings and thighs.
  • Eat more fruits, whole grain, and vegetables. If you are a nibbler, choose fruit and vegetables as snacks more often.
  • Use the food label to choose lower calorie foods.
  • Drink fewer alcoholic and high-calorie beverages.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.

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How big is a serving?*

One Portion of:
Serving Size
Is About the Size of
Meat 3 ounces cooked a deck of cards
Cheese 1 ounce a pair of dice
Potato 1/2 cup an ice cream scoop
Bread 1 slice half a bagel, half an English muffin, half a hamburger or hotdog bun
Cereal 1 ounce 1/2 to 1 cup depending on the type of cereal
Rice or pasta 1/2 cup cooked a very small bowl that side dishes are served in at a cafeteria
Salad dressing or gravy 2 tablespoons half a ladle of dressing at a salad bar
Fruits and vegetables 1/2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned a very small bowl that side dishes are served in at a cafeteria
  1 piece a medium apple or orange
Juice (fruit or vegetable) 3/4 cup a small juice glass

*These serving sizes are the same as those on the Nutrition Facts food label.

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Limit your portion size.

  • Eat smaller portions--do not go back for seconds.
  • Try eating only one serving of high-fat, high-calorie foods like pizza, ice cream, or chips. Slowly cut back on your portion size. Substitute with lower fat, lower calorie foods during the rest of the day.

Keep moving:

  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, or as much as you can. It really helps you to lose weight if you are more active.

Try these to move more:

  • Park your car a block or two away and walk.
  • Get off one or two bus stops early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Use the stairs.
  • Dance. See if you remember all the steps or learn some new ones. Add more moves for a personalized workout.

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Aim for a healthy weight! Are You Overweight?

Weight Chart

My weight is _______ pounds.

Use the chart above to find out if your weight is within the healthy weight range suggested for people of your height. Weights above the healthy weight range are less healthy for most people.

Try not to gain extra weight. If you are overweight, try to lose weight slowly. Lose about 1/2 to 1 pound a week until you reach a healthy weight. Keep track of your progress. To help you lose weight, ask for help from your doctor or a dietitian.

Check two or three things you will do now to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight.

Your long-term goal should be to do them all.

Check box Choose lower fat, lower calorie foods more often.
Check box Eat more slowly.
Check box Eat more fruits and vegetables for snacks.
Check box Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Check box Drink water instead of soft drinks with sugar.
Check box Use less high-fat cheeses, cream, shortening, and butter when cooking.
Check box Limit alcoholic beverages.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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