If you've gained weight over the winter months, now is the time to start losing it.
The number-one rule to losing weight is the combination of eating less and exercising more.
What you eat is just as important.
There's just no substitute for fresh veggies and fruit.
Fiber can play a big part in losing weight. It keeps your digestive system clean and also keeps you feeling full longer.
Listen in as Dr. Felicia D. Stoler discusses great ways to get that winter weight off quickly and safely.
RadioMD Presents: Train Your Body | Original Air Date: March 17, 2015
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest: Felicia D. Stoler, MD
RadioMD.com. Train Your Body. Here’s exercise physiologist Melanie Cole, MS.
MELANIE: Have you put a little weight on in the winter maybe just 5 or 10 pounds sitting around eating chili and lasagna with the fire. You know, the winter seems to go on for a long time and now it’s spring and you feel like you really need to get this weight off. Maybe you’re going on vacation soon and you feel like you want to get it off a little quicker. You know, it’s not big time weight. You just want 5 or 10 pounds. How do you get it off? Not that slowly.
My guest is Dr. Felicia Stoler. She’s America’s health and wellness expert.
Welcome to the show.
How do we get the winter weight off as fast as we can Dr. Stoler?
DR. STOLER: Food poisoning? No I’m kidding!! (laughing)
DR. STOLER: That’s what my mother always says “I just need a good bout of food poisoning and I’m good."
MELANIE: Mine, too.
DR. STOLER: No seriously. (laughs) I don’t advocate that. Really, I think the most important thing people can do is cut back on their portion size. In terms of not necessarily compromising everything you love to eat, I think the most important thing is cutting back on portion sizes. Most people overeat.
I met some people the other day and the husband told me--so we’re talking, this is March--since September, he’s lost 40 pounds. That’s a lot of weight for an adult male in his 40’s to have lost in a matter of 4 or 5 months. I said, "So, how’d you do it?" And he said, "I cut back on my portion sizes." I mean, I watch people--not that I’m out pointing out to them when they’re overeating--but people eat very large quantities of food. I think that’s the easiest thing for people to do.
MELANIE: I think so too and if you go to some of the restaurants, boy, some of those portions are just incredibly huge and you watch somebody and they eat it pretty quickly. You know, they eat these big huge portions. They eat the whole thing you’re like, "Whoa! How’d you do that?" So, smaller portions, absolutely true. But, when you’re used to eating these big portions and then sitting around afterwards, it’s hard to cut down. It feels like you’re starving yourself.
DR. STOLER: I know. I know.
MELANIE: So smaller portions. What if you want to eat a bigger portion of the healthier, less damaging foods? Some low caloric foods that you can maybe eat a little larger amounts of that won’t damage you and might even help you lose weight?
DR. STOLER: That’s right. And those would be vegetables. (laughs) The foods that people don’t seem to be eating enough of--vegetables. Fruits, second. Vegetables, whole grains going back to that "F word"--fiber. Fiber being very important. The dietary guidelines came out and they basically said that we’re not getting enough fiber and that we’re not eating enough fruit and vegetables. I mean no matter how many times people like myself tell people to eat veggies, they’re just not eating enough of them and if you think about it, a typical serving of vegetables--we’re talking ½ cup of cooked vegetable--can be anywhere from 15-30 calories. That’s not a lot of calories.
MELANIE: No. So, we can load up on vegetables and there are so many on the market today. Gosh, there didn’t even used to seem to be this many. But besides the kale now and chard and bok choy and brussel sprouts and broccoli and cauliflower. I mean, there are 8 million of them and ways you can do stuff. Now, what about people who say, "I don’t even know how to cook all of these things low calorie?" What do you think of all the foods like Lean Cuisine and these kinds of things that you can get in the frozen department and just stick in the microwave and they only have 250 calories and 2 grams of fat. What about those things?
DR. STOLER: I mean, I think for people that want convenience that maybe don’t have cooking skills and, let’s face it, with the internet, you can watch anything. You can get a recipe for anything you want online. You can watch a video on it on YouTube. You can get the recipe. I think the prepared stuff is good for people. My dad, I hate to admit, is on NutriSystem right now. But that’s the kind of thing for him. He doesn’t like to cook. He doesn’t want to think about it. He just wants to eat what shows up at the house every week. Whatever’s going to work for somebody who needs to get their weight down, I’m all for, as long as they're eating and they’re not starving. That is something that I highly recommend. These juice cleanses that are out there, I definitely don’t recommend those. I don’t think that those are the best way to go for most people and, in fact, there are some people that have been doing them that are seeing increases in diabetes and it’s not because it’s because of the sugar, per se, but they’re just not eating right and they’re not getting enough fiber in their diet. I can’t say enough about fiber but there are foods you can buy at a lot of grocery stores. You can buy stuff that is already cut and washed and ready to go. I’ve seen broccoli and string beans that say you can microwave in the bag. All you have to do is stab it with a fork, stick it in the microwave for 4 minutes and boom! It’s done. You can buy pre-washed salads. Eat a salad every day. I tell people that all the time. Whether you eat it for lunch or eat it for dinner, it’s a great way to get veggies in there. There are very few calories in lettuce. Don’t turn it into a bacon double cheeseburger by adding way too much dressing and too much high fat cheese and high fats meats to it.
MELANIE: Now, so foods like avocado, which you and I are both big huge fans of, are also kind of high in calories. And when I was on Weight Watchers, Dr. Stoler I remember them saying stay away from avocados; stay away from bananas; stay away from things that are really kind of high in calories--kind of starchy. What do you think about those things?
DR. STOLER: Well, I would have to say in modern times Weight Watchers has evolved out of that, but I think avocados are terrific. They do have monounsaturated fats which are the good fats but, more importantly, and besides the fiber, eating a slice of an avocado is like eating a multivitamin. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods that are out there. So, whether you consider it a fruit or a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit, but I think that it’s great. You can buy them, you can eat a whole avocado. They have these little 100 calorie snack packs that you can buy. Again, it’s already sort of mashed up for you. I like to use them in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich like a turkey sandwich to keep it a little moist so it doesn’t get stuck in your throat. Again, it is really good for you. For anybody who’s a parent out there, it’s a great first food for babies. My kids, that was one of the greatest foods for them when they were little and when they were able to actually pick it up with their hands. You can cut it into cubes. It’s super easy. The flavor profile is very neutral and mild, so I think that’s a great food for lots of people.
MELANIE: Oh, if you add a little cilantro and lime and a little Tabasco. Oh, boy! I love avocados. I could a whole one every day.
DR. STOLER: (inaudible) I’ve made some really yummy soups/ I like to experiment with foods.
MELANIE: Me, too. And you know now, what about people who say, "I put on all this winter weight?" Now, we don’t have a lot of time, but they say, "I’m just going too fast. I’m just going to eat that one meal. I’m just going to eat one meal," and they end up going crazy because they’re starving.
DR. STOLER: Right. You know, you can’t. Your body, at the end of the day, just wants to get its calories in. The other thing is, by fasting, you’re forcing your body to alter its metabolism. You know, we’ve evolved from people that have survived feast or famine. So, we’ve got those what they call “thrifty genes” where we can slow everything down. We don’t want to hold on to fat. You need to have at least enough calories to sustain your body’s basal metabolic rate--all the amounts of calories we need to just function as a human. We’re not talking about any movement whatsoever. So, just for that you need to have at least enough calories for that and if you don’t, your body just slows down your metabolism. And that is what does it. And let’s not forget the “E” word, "exercise" or the “P” word, "physical activity".
MELANIE: I was just going to say that.
DR. STOLER: They both go hand in hand. You cannot successfully lose weight and keep it off if you are only doing one or the other. You need to do both together in synergy, period.
MELANIE: That is absolutely true and I was wondering if you were going to bring that up or when because we are both exercise physiologists, although you have a Ph.D. and I only have a measly little Master’s degree, but still.
DR. STOLER: Oh, no, no, no. They’re both important.
MELANIE: But, yes, exercise must absolutely go hand in hand. Dr. S wrap it up--weight loss quickly after the winter for spring.
DR. STOLER: Move more and eat less. (laughs)
MELANIE: Okay we have a few more seconds.
DR. STOLER: And also, make sure you’re getting good sleep. We didn’t even talk about that but sleep is important as well because that’s when you burn the most fat for fuel is when you’re sleeping. So, you know if you’re getting enough sleep, you’re not spending more hours up eating and that’s really important. Some people use food to keep them up at night and we don’t want that.
MELANIE: Oh, boy. I love sleeping. That’s a great bit of advice there. So good sleeping, lots of fruits and vegetables, fiber, smaller portions, exercise--these are all ways that you can get some of that winter weight off and keep it off for the summer and the spring to really look your best.
This is Melanie Cole. You’re listening to Train Your Body right here on RadioMD Motivate and Perform with the American College of Sports Medicine.
And if you missed any of our great information you can listen any time on demand or on the go at RadioMD.com. Share them with your friends. Thanks so much for listening and stay well.