Today I turn my column over to Charlyn Fargo, Hy-Vee dietitian and instructor, Lincoln Land Community College Culinary Institute
Many people focus on weight loss with their January resolutions, but I find today – right now – is a great time to think about trimming up your waistline and getting back in shape.
Why wait until Jan. 1?
Start a new exercise routine. Find some healthy recipes. Commit to losing weight and eating healthier. There’s nothing magical about a New Year’s resolution. The best time to start is now.
New research shows that avoiding weight gain with age is one of the best ways to help you live a longer and healthier life. And if you’re female, consider weight loss, if for no other reason than to lessen your chances of having breast cancer. It’s never too late to lose weight to lower breast cancer risk.
My mom is a two-time survivor, and I’m thankful for that. I know my risks are high, and one of the things I can do to lessen that risk, is maintain a healthy weight. You too.
A study, done at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., included data on more than 61,000 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative, a large, long-running study of older women by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The women were all ages 50 to 79 when they entered the study between 1993 and 1998. None had a history of breast cancer and all had a normal mammogram when the study began.
Researchers found that a five percent or greater weight loss after menopause could lower the odds of breast cancer by about 12 percent. For a 170-pound woman, a 5 percent weight loss would be 8.5 pounds.
Your first step? Get a new mindset. While losing weight in your 40s, 50s and beyond may be somewhat challenging due to age-related changes and hormones, it’s certainly not impossible – or even as hard as you may think. Weight loss experts say there’s no reason why the majority of people can’t reach a healthy weight. (That includes you.)
Here are five research-backed tips for losing weight at any age – and none of them involve the latest diet craze.
1. Weigh daily. Yep, it helps keep you on track. If you’re up, eat less that day. If you’re down a pound, celebrate (with something other than food).
2. Consider a meal replacement for at least one meal a day to jumpstart your weight loss. Meal replacements are portion controlled and can vary from something like a bottle of SlimFast to a protein bar, bowl of cereal or a healthy frozen dinner (I like SmartMade or Healthy Choice.)
3. Eat most of your calories earlier in the day. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper. In a study at the University of Alabama’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center, dieters who ate a 700-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 200-calorie dinner lost nearly 18 pounds in 12 weeks, compared to seven pounds lost among participants who ate a 200-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 700-calorie dinner.
4. Make protein part of your breakfast. Breakfast with eggs or Greek yogurt has proven to be a winning weight-loss strategy. Studies show that dieters who eat high-quality protein as part of their first meal help ward off hunger pangs, reduce cravings and help lose fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, women who ate eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 65 percent more weight and 34 percent more belly fat than women who started their days with a bagel breakfast equaling the same calories.
5. Limit alcohol. One of the most effective ways to get your younger physique back is to cut back on alcohol intake – or avoid it completely. A couple of glasses of wine with dinner or a couple of beers while watching a game adds up to 300 extra calories. And that alcohol can increase your appetite and make you crave calorie-rich choices. In one study, researchers found that men who had one alcoholic drink before lunch ate, on average, 85 additional calories (besides the drink) during their meal compared to no-alcohol meals.
6. Commit to exercise. Strength training is important as well as cardiovascular exercise – walking, jogging, cycling or swimming. Strive for 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week – and even more will help you lose more.
The bottom line? Losing weight starts in your mind. Write down what you eat, how long you work out and keep track of results. Before long, your weight will be headed in the right direction.
Here’s a Hy-Vee recipe for Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili to get you started on your weight loss journey. Choose 99 percent lean ground turkey breast and make your own seasoning mix to lower the sodium.
Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili
Chili Seasoning Mix
2 tbsp. ancho chili powder
1 tbsp. Hy-Vee garlic powder
1 tbsp.Hy-Vee ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. Hy-Vee kosher sea salt
Hy-Vee nonstick olive oil cooking spray
1 ¼ 99 percent lean ground turkey breast
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 recipe Chili Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp. Hy-Vee tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can Hy-Vee crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz) can Hy-Vee no salt added dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Thinly sliced green onions
Chopped cilantro, optional
Bottled hot sauce, optional
2 tbsp. green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 dash(es) bottled hot sauce, if desired
Spray a stockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Place turkey, onion and bell peppers in stockpot. Cook and stir over medium heat until turkey is lightly browned and vegetables are tender. Add Chili Seasoning Mix and tomato paste. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Transfer turkey mixture to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add canned tomatoes, beans and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, or LOW for 6 hours. Stir in chopped tomatoes. Serve Chili topped with green onions, cilantro and/or hot sauce, if desired.
Per serving: 240 calories, 28 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 9 g total sugars, 2 g fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 12 g fiber, 470 mg sodium