10 Best Diet Tips Just in Time for Summer

From the Spring 2012 StayHealthy publication

Off with the sweatshirts and on with the sunscreen! Summer is here and we all want to look our best. If a few extra pounds are holding you back, consider some of these diet tips from Porter physicians.

1. Watch the portions.
Research has shown that Americans often underestimate how many calories they are consuming each day by as much as 25 percent. "Oftentimes people don't realize that a serving of bread is just one slice, for rice or pasta it's a half-cup, for protein it's the size of a deck of cards," explained Zeba Ali, MD, with Portage Medical Group. Ali suggested using smaller plates or ordering a child's portion to maintain portion sizes.

2. Eat smaller meals, but more frequently.

3. Beware of mindless snacking.

4. Celebrate successes but not with dessert!

5. Get enough sleep.
"Adequate sleep is important to weight loss," shared Candice Yu-Fleming, MD, of Portage Medical Group. "Rest is important for two reasons. First, a tired body is more likely to reach for a quick doughnut or sugary snack in search of an instant burst of energy. But secondly, sleep deprivation elevates the appetitive-stimulating hormone ghrelin while it reduces leptin, which tells you you're full. So fatigue can lead to FAT."

6. Eat protein at every meal.
"Protein is the ultimate fill-me-up food and it will keep you feeling full longer," according to Sudhakar Garlapati, MD, with Vale Park Primary Care. "Protein also helps you preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning. Be sure to incorporate healthy proteins, such as seafood, lean meats, egg whites, yogurt, cheese, soy, nuts and beans," he added.

7. Always eat breakfast.

8. Include fiber.
"Fiber is a great way to fill you up without filling you out," said Heather Hazel, MD, with Westchester Medical Group. According to the American Heart Association, adults need 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day, yet we find that most Americans get only half of the fiber they need she stated. "By eating healthy high fiber foods you will feel fuller and more satisfied longer. They also show a positive effect on digestion as well as help to lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease." Hazel suggests jumpstarting your day with a high-fiber breakfast cereal and eating your fruits and vegetables with the skin on.

9. Eat Out LESS.
"Proper lifestyle and eating habits are essential for a healthy weight maintenance," said Natalie Opanasets, MD, with Portage Medical Group. Here is her "Healthy Weight ABC." Make changes gradually and stick to the plan firmly. Set realistic weight loss goals. Eat a variety of foods but cut your serving sizes in half. Eat out less. Home cooked meals are healthier in general. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. Let breakfast be your largest meal. "You MUST become more active. Physical activity is the most powerful tool in your weight management."

10. Drink plenty of water.

The above referenced physicians are all members of the Medical Staff at Porter.

Visit the Porter Health System website
Valparaiso Campus
814 LaPorte Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: 219-263-4600