Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 7, 2013

Small changes in eating choices can have big impact

On Fitness
The Andover Townsman

---- — QUESTION: If a 55-year-old has been 20 or more pounds overweight for decades, what small changes can they make to lifestyle that will jump start a new way of living healthfully?

Expert: Jamey Lachiana

Exercise Physiologist

Yangs Fitness Center

Answer: Small changes can make a gigantic impact on someone who has been overweight for most of their life and are looking to better their wellness. The very best way to lose weight is to decrease the amount of food/calories you consume on a daily basis. This can start as a very minute change such as going from whole milk in your coffee to skim milk or drinking it black, like I do. Or it can be a more proactive change like cutting down on your extras throughout the day i.e. snacking, alcohol, desserts and large portions. Cutting down on sugar-filled sport drinks or sodas, and replacing them with water, can make a huge impact on your waist size as well.

As we age, many people tend to become less active. Mom isn’t setting up play dates anymore, friends are too busy with work to get together, or being a parent takes up a lot of the day. However, we need to be proactive enough that we replace our old activities with new, healthy activities. Working out even 30 minutes a day can cause a major change on the scale.

A great example of a recent success story is my father. He is in his late 50s and has been holding onto 30-plus pounds for decades. After years of nagging him to make changes, he finally gave in. He now works out 20 to 45 minutes a day. He spends half of his time doing cardio intervals and the other half doing various weight exercises I taught him. He cut down his portion sizes, and makes healthier food choices. Those changes alone have cut down his food urges greatly.

Over the last five months has lost over 40 pounds. He has more energy than I ever remember. He is now off all health- related medications (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) and has an amazingly positive attitude toward exercise and health in general. What more can you ask for by just making a few simple changes to your lifestyle?

Expert: Art McDermott

Owner, Matrix Strength & Fitness

Answer: This is a tough one and describes MANY people out there. The key to the question is “small change.” I promote an idea from the business world called the Keizen Principle. This means that small changes done consistently amount to huge results over time.

Here are some suggestions which, if done consistently, cause little pain, but pay large dividends. Keep in mind here are roughly 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat.

One glass of wine versus two glasses. If you drop just one glass of wine per week, you save 6,500 calories per year.

Six ounces of meat instead of 8 ounces. If you eat meat three days per week, you can save a whopping 16,224 calories per year.

Remove two slices of bread from your diet per week without replacing it. This removes more than 13,000 calories per year.

QUESTION: On nutrition, be specific. What do YOU eat and drink every day? Breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks, drinks…

Expert: Art McDermott

Owner, Matrix Strength & Fitness

Answer: Here you go:

Breakfast: Four eggs with low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella and some blueberries or strawberries.

Snack 1: Mixed nuts – walnuts, cashews and almonds. About ½ cup.

Lunch: A chicken breast and a veggie. Usually broccoli.

Snack 2: Protein shake with natural peanut butter and a ½ teaspoon of Chlorella. This is a “superfood” known to help remove toxins from the body.

Dinner: Six ounces of meat and more veggies.

Snack 3: A bite or two of chicken and maybe some more mixed nuts. My meals generally decrease in size throughout the day, as caloric needs lessen.

I drink water constantly during the day, well above the cliché of six to eight glasses. I don’t believe this recommendation is nearly enough water.

Guilty pleasure: a few squares of dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or above).

Nutritional downfall: diet soda. I dislike the taste of coffee, and use this as my caffeine source. I am doing my best to minimize my intake here.

Cheat meal: Sunday evening. I have one high carb meal per week to prevent my metabolism from slowing and to keep the production of the fat burning hormone, leptin from slowing.