Shake It, Shake It, Shake It, Baby!

By John R. Partridge, M.D. | April 28th, 2017


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OK, the holiday food glut took its toll. There you are, more of you than you wish. All your efforts at the gym and coaching by your personal trainer have not turned this around. So, you ask, what else can you do to slim down?

First, it helps to use psychology to motivate and sustain you in your quest for a slimmer body. Realize that small, shorter term goals seem more reachable and less discouraging than setting an initial target of 30 pounds reduction. Set a goal of 3 to 5 pounds over a month or two. When you succeed, move the bar some more.

Working with a friend can make a big difference. You’ll find you will be more motivated if you are regularly comparing progress with that friend. And if that friend does go for workouts with you, you’ll really get over to the gym even if you’d rather not, so you won’t disappoint her.

Keep in mind that successful weight control requires a combination of more exercise to burn calories plus better food selections and smaller portion sizing. Exercise by itself won’t do the trick. It takes way too much exercise to burn off a Twinkie!

You don’t really need protein with every meal or even every day. Some days, stick with just veggies and fruits. When you do eat high calorie food like meat, make your serving small enough to fit on the palm of your hand and no more than a half inch thick.

Almost all diets advise cutting down on caffeine (to avoid stimulating appetite) and drinking lots of water (to fill the stomach, satisfy more quickly, and give energy). Drink a glass of water before you eat and another with your meal.

Cutting down sharply on breads, cereals, and pastas helps many people. Simple starches like potatoes are thought worse for the weight than starches with more fiber like squash.   Many diets call for eliminating ‘anything white’ (except chicken and fish).

To help satisfy a sweet tooth, at the end of your meal try chewing sugar free gum (if you are not sensitive to artificial sweeteners), or even regular gum. Or drink an herbal tea with some sweet undertones like acai.  Another tactic to avoid high Cal deserts is to plan an activity right at the end of the meal. By the time you finish that activity you may have lost the craving for something sweet.

What new insights have come out of medical research that might help? It turns out that during our sleep hours, neurochemicals are released in the brain that help normalize appetite and metabolism. It seems best to seek 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. What goes on in the gut in the balance between really nasty bugs and more friendly bacteria influences blood sugar and appetite (see the sister article from April 4). So foods that are low Cal but improve healthy gut bacteria will help. These include pickles, Greek yogurt, and sauerkraut. Eating just once or twice a day causes the body to ratchet down metabolism and hold on to calories in fat stores. You’ll find it easier to trim down and stay trim if you eat at least 3 and perhaps 5 or 6 times a day (small meals, of course). And it is very important to not skip breakfast.

Food combinations matter. If you eat something with fiber at the same time as something rather sweet, the sugar gets absorbed more gradually and doesn’t spike blood sugar so high. Eating something with healthy oils and protein like almonds or walnuts right before eating something sweet helps lower the insulin spike after eating. This translates to less building of fat stores.

Is there a quick fix? Once you have trimmed down, you may still have pockets of souvenir fat like love handles, thunder thighs, or jiggly fat under the arm. The Cool Sculpting procedure can be of help. Cool Sculpting is a noninvasive procedure in which a probe is placed on the skin and activated to freeze the underlying fat in that area. The technique works well in eliminating a local collection of fat. If you hold your weight pretty steady you won’t regain fat in those areas again.

With a combination of all these strategies, you can really succeed in trimming down to the weight and body contour you desire.   Then, when you “Shake It!” you will also feeling like you want to “Twist and Shout” with joy!

For additional information on Cool Sculpting and a free consultation, please visit our website.