Finding a Balance

Patient Expert

1) I eat right and exercise. How come I'm not losing weight?

Weight is dependent on how many calories we eat compared to how many calories we burn. If you are eating a healthy diet and exercising with no change in weight, then you are in energy balance. While you may be eating right, you are taking in the same number of calories as you are burning. Also, if you are exercising, you are probably losing fat and building muscle. However, muscle is denser than fat. While you may not be losing weight, you are increasing muscle tone, improving your cardiovascular health, and reducing your risk for diabetes and cancer.
You should certainly continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise. However, to lose weight, you need to reduce the total number of calories you are eating each day and increase the amount of exercise or physical activity.

2) How much water should I drink if I'm trying to lose 20 pounds?

Water alone is not the answer to losing weight. However, water is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. We need at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day to meet our daily requirements. As part of a weight loss plan, water is the ideal beverage with no calories. Replacing beverages like soft drinks, juices, and alcohol with water is an easy way to reduce your caloric intake. Drinking water before a meal can also help fill you up so that you eat less at meals.

3) How do you know what is good to eat when you're dining out?

There are two important factors to consider: quality and quantity. Whether you are eating at home or dining out, you should aim for a balanced meal that includes fruits and vegetables. Almost every restaurant offers at least a salad, which is a simple way to incorporate vegetables. It is also best to minimize fried foods and cream based sauces and soups to reduce your fat intake. Choosing baked, grilled and steamed foods is another option to keep calories from fat down.
Portion sizes are also key. Most dining establishments provide entrees in portions that provide more calories than you truly need to meet your energy requirements. One strategy is to eat only half of your entrée and save the leftovers for your next meal. To avoid the temptation of finishing the entire entrée, you can split it in half and ask your waiter to go ahead and wrap it up before you start eating. When it is time for dessert, you can order one dessert and share it with your dining companions. This way everyone gets a chance to indulge his sweet tooth while at the same time not overdoing it.

Learn more about diet, exercise and your health.