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Nutrition

Small changes in diet, exercise lead to big results, even if you’re busy

ChooseMyPlate.gov
The Plate Method is an easy way to maintain a healthy diet.

One of my patients took her first step to healthier living simply by removing potato chips from her diet. A month later, she was 5 pounds lighter.

That loss motivated her to eat better, and she gradually eliminated unhealthy food from her diet. After a year, she had lost 50 pounds.

This patient illustrates the key to staying healthy when you’re busy: Small changes matter.

It’s tempting to follow fad diets or attempt to make drastic changes to your lifestyle, but lasting success will come when you resolve to make gradual changes. As you gradually cut unhealthy foods from your diet, for example, it may lead you to wonder how to easily eat well-balanced meals.

MyPlate: An easy guide for portion control

I recommend using the Plate Method for Healthy Portions as an easy way to start and maintain a healthy diet. Here’s how it works: 

  • Make sure you’re using a regular-size plate.
  • Half of your plate will have two sections: a smaller section filled with fruit and a larger section filled with vegetables.
  • A third section – about a quarter of the plate – should contain grains (carbohydrates), such as pasta, breads, or rice.
  • The final section of the plate should contain protein, including beans, fish, chicken, or beef. Although white meat is preferable to red meat, if you choose to eat red meat, the ideal portion should fit in the palm of your hand.
  • You can pair your healthy plate with two to three servings of dairy a day.

How to make exercise part of your day

Incorporating exercise into your daily life is also key to achieving and maintaining good health. The goal is to fit 30 minutes of moderate exercise like walking into your schedule five times a week.

To begin, walk just 10 minutes a day. You can wake up 10 minutes early and begin your day with a walk, or do it during your lunch break for a midday jolt, or grab a family member after dinner for an evening stroll. Eventually, you can do all three, and you’ll have your 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise.

Remember, small changes lead to big results.

You then need to alternate your walks with 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise twice a week, for a total of one hour each week. Building muscle with these exercises will help you lose fat and burn more calories. The weights don’t have to be heavy — just find a weight you can handle. People often worry about the time they’re missing with their family or friends when they exercise, so invite them to join you. Healthy living is for everyone.

We can help

Your primary care physician is on your side to encourage and motivate you on your weight-loss journey. You can easily communicate your questions or concerns by enrolling in MyChart during your next appointment. It’s perfect for your busy schedule and will help you reach your goals, one step at a time.

If you’re in need of a primary care physician in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, request an appointment online or call us at 214-645-8300.

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