LAMAR, Mo. — Fueled by Holiday remorse, millions of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight according to Lindsey Stevenson, county engagement specialist in nutrition and health with University of Missouri Extension.
“The New Year finds many starting fad diets and extreme exercise plans, even though experts agree the best and safest way to lose weight and keep it off is with a slow and steady approach,” said Stevenson. “That approach also doesn’t hurt your wallet or your health.”
Adopting healthy eating habits and exercising more does not have to be extreme.
“If you incorporate good habits that you enjoy, these simple changes over time can compound to losing the weight, and keeping it off,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson offers three simple tips to help with weight loss.
Bring on the vegetables. The majority of us don’t eat the daily recommended servings of vegetables, and we’re missing out on important nutrients, as well as fiber.
For people who believe vegetables don’t taste good, Stevenson suggests roasting them.
Mix up a bunch of vegetables together. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes and roast for 20-30 minutes. Another option is to use carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, and radishes and roast for 30-40 minutes.
To prepare the veggies, cut them up and throw in a minced garlic, or a dash of salt and pepper. Toss everything with extra virgin olive oil until they are well coated. Dump in a single layer in a baking dish and set the timer.
“The roasting will bring out the sweetness of the veggies, and the browning will cause a little caramelization of the natural sugars in the veggies,” said Stevenson.
Begin building lean body mass. There are many great benefits to starting a strength-training program, and it is important for all ages. It’s vital to start where you are. You may need to start with just one or two sets of five to ten reps of body weight exercises, and progress from there.
“You will not only burn calories and build muscle, but you will also benefit your emotional health,” said Stevenson. “Increasing muscle mass can help maintain metabolism and promote long-term weight control. This, in turn, can lead to improved self-esteem.”
Pay attention to your mental and spiritual health.
“This can pay big dividends with weight control since you won’t be reaching for food to combat anxiety,” said Stevenson.
Some suggestions that have been proven effective for reducing stress, anxiety or fear include keeping a gratitude journal, cultivating friendships, setting boundaries for involvement (it’s okay to say no), restructuring priorities, being physically active, practicing breathing exercises, praying, meditating, and volunteering.
“Remember that success in developing healthy habits means starting small and building from there, taking it a day at a time,” said Stevenson.
For more information on nutrition contact any of these nutrition specialists in southwest Missouri: Lindsey Stevenson in Barton County at (417) 682-3579; Stephanie Johnson in Howell County at (417) 256-2391 or Mary Sebade in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551. The regional office of the Family Nutrition Education Program is located in Springfield and can be reached at (417) 886-2059. Nutrition information is also available online http://extension.missouri.edu.