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FOR RELEASE: January 25, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Lose Those Holiday Pounds!

Do your clothes seem a little tighter now that the holidays are over? Did you make another New Year's resolution to lose weight?  Are you thinking of uttering that four letter word: DIET?  Well, you're not alone.  Each holiday season, millions of Americans overeat and then begin the new year wishing that they hadn't!  

Health and nutrition experts at the Oklahoma State Department of Health have the following recommendations. Before you embark on any drastic weight reduction plan, take a look at the ABCs of a healthy lifestyle from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans.    

A -- Aim for a healthy weight. Find out what your Body Mass Index (BMI) is. BMI measures weight in relation to height. To figure your BMI, divide your body weight in pounds by your height in inches squared. Then multiply by 704.5.  A healthy BMI is 18.5 to 25.  Overweight is 25 to 30, and obese is 30 and higher.  If yours is higher than 25 that means you are at increased risk for:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • stroke
  • diabetes
  • certain types of cancer
  • arthritis
  • breathing problems.

B -- Build a healthy base. Let the Food Guide Pyramid be your guide! Different foods contain different nutrients. That's why it is important to choose foods from every area of the Pyramid.

Food Group   Children ages 2 – 6
Some older adults
Older Children
Teen Girls
Active Women
Most Men
Teen Boys
Active Men
Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta Group    6 9 11
Vegetable Group 3 4 5
Fruit Group 2 3 4
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese Group 2-3 2-3 2-3
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group 2, for a total of 5 ounces 2, for a total of 6 ounces 3, for a total of 7 ounces

C -- Choose sensibly.  While you wouldn't want to dwell on every bite you put in your mouth, it's good to follow some general guidelines such as:

  • Reduce the amount of fat in your diet, especially saturated fat.
  • Bake, boil and broil foods more often.  
  • Remove visible fat from meats and skin from poultry before cooking.
  • Limit intake of bacon, sausages, salami, bologna and other cold cuts.   
  • Use egg whites and egg substitutes more often than whole eggs.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheeses.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables more often.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.  
  • Choose and prepare foods with less salt.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcohol has almost as many calories per gram as fat, offers no nutrients, and alters judgment.  

In addition, health officials suggest the following weight reduction tips:

  • Get a smaller plate!  Correct serving sizes may look like rations if your plate is oversized.
  • Chew your food well.  Slow down and enjoy every bite!
  • Begin to recognize when you're full and stop eating.  Food is wasted whether it goes in the trash or as permanent storage on your body!
  • Enjoy foods you really love, perhaps less frequently and in smaller amounts. There are no bad foods, just bad diets.
  • Balance your day!  If you know you'll be dining out in the evening, eat a light breakfast and lunch.
  • Practice forgiveness.  Try as we might, sooner or later we'll overeat. That's okay.  Just go back to your food plan the next time you eat.  
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise!  Never underestimate the power of being physically active! You can burn as much as 25 percent to 40 percent more calories if you're physically active than if you're not!  

To be safe, consult your health care provider before starting a new vigorous physical activity plan if you have a chronic health problem, or if you are over age 40 for men or 50 for women.


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