Questions & answers on how to lose weight | News, Sports, Jobs

Many people struggle with how to start losing weight or getting in shape. Changing the types of food you eat and getting more exercise are good places to start, says Dr. Pamela J. Huerter, MD, of Free State Family Medicine at LMH Health.

Huerter, who has a certificate in culinary medicine, says you can think of food as just another medicine for managing and preventing disease. But exercise is also important, and both lifestyle changes are often necessary for weight loss.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about weight loss.

Can exercise alone lose weight?

Eating too many high-calorie foods can lead to weight gain. If you eat food that can be quickly broken down into energy, your body has to use that energy right away; if it can't use that energy, it gets stored in fat cells, eventually leading to weight gain.

This means that to lose weight, your body must burn more calories than it consumes. So in addition to exercising, you also need to pay attention to the calories in the food you eat. The important thing is to burn more calories than you take in.

“If you don't exercise at all and then start exercising, you may find yourself in a calorie deficit leading to weight loss,” Huerter said.

Whether you're trying to lose weight or keep it off, exercising is a great way to get in touch with your body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults exercise 150 minutes a week. If you're having trouble seeing weight changes, you can increase the amount of time you exercise, such as 60 minutes a day.

“For someone who just wants to maintain or lose a few pounds, 150 minutes per week is a good rule,” says Huerter.

Should you be eating salad if you're trying to lose weight?

Salads can be a great way to eat more vegetables, but not all salads are good for weight loss. It's important to look at the various ingredients, including toppings and condiments. If you're looking for low-calorie and nutritious foods, vegetables are a great place to start.

“What helps us control how much we eat is how our stomach feels when it's full,” Huerter said. “Fiber in food helps your stomach realize it's full. Water also helps tell your body it's full, so filling your stomach with fluids helps too.”

When evaluating how much food and what type of food you should eat, it is important to consider the energy density of the food and the amount you need. You should also read the serving sizes on foods to help you gauge how much you should be eating. Eating more slowly also helps your body recognize that it's full.

Is cutting carbs a good way to lose weight?

Carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy. You should be eating carbs, but be mindful of what kind you're eating. Look for carbohydrate sources that contain fiber, such as whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

“Our bodies love whole foods. They go through the process slowly, giving your body more time to use energy,” says Huerter.

For weight loss or weight management, reducing your intake of processed foods can help. Processed foods often have fiber removed, making them more accessible for energy, which is part of the reason why eating a lot of processed foods can lead to weight gain.

Does Eating Dinner Cause Weight Gain?

Our bodies use and store calories based on movement and activity. Eating late at night can affect how your body digests food. When you sleep, your body slows down, which causes your energy expenditure to drop. If you eat late at night, the drop in energy expenditure will require your body to store excess calories, Huerter said.

In addition to weight gain, eating late can also affect sleep quality. It can cause symptoms of acid reflux and may counteract the body's natural circadian rhythms that regulate sleep-wake cycles.

“Our food tends to digest better when we're upright,” Huerter said.

If you do choose to eat late at night, a good rule of thumb is to eat something small with fiber and protein. Eating complex carbohydrates, such as fiber-rich fruits or vegetables, allows your body to slowly process it overnight.

“If you have high blood sugar overnight when you're inactive, there's less opportunity to use the extra energy, which means it's inadvertently turned into stored energy like fat,” says Huerter.

• • •

As you set out to set weight loss goals, it's important to remember that cutting out certain foods doesn't necessarily lead to weight loss. Moderate amounts of simple carbohydrates and sugars are fine. Pay attention to what your body needs and what you are consuming.

If you have any questions about making changes to your diet or exercise routine, please consult your primary care physician. They will be able to help you set health goals that are in your body's best interest.

• Kade Han is a social media and digital communications specialist for LMH Health, a major sponsor of the Journal-World health section.

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