According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the past 20 years, the diets of most Americans have changed, consuming too many calories and too few nutrients. This type of diet leads to weight gain – 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese – and 9 out of 10 Americans fall short of many essential nutrients in their diets. With on-the-go lifestyles, many people find it difficult to eat right, exercise regularly and keep their diet in check.
Dr. Melina Jampolis, author of “The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life,” knows that even small, consistent steps can lead to big changes over time. “Eating a well balanced diet, keeping to a fitness routine and maintaining one’s weight are all tactics to support a healthy lifestyle. As a doctor specializing in nutrition and weight loss, I’ve been helping people navigate life’s challenges using a motivational and simple, year-long approach.” The “Calendar Diet,” shows you how to maintain a healthy lifestyle month-by-month, allowing you to cut calories without depriving yourself.
Dr. Melina shares the following recommendations:
Eat wholesome foods
“A menu filled with seasonal fruits and vegetables will give you a big nutritional boost,” suggests Dr. Melina. Vegetables, she explains, are packed with fiber and water, and are low in fat, so they decrease the calorie density of your diet, while boosting overall nutrition.
Opt for lean protein in your diet as well, which helps control hunger, stabilize blood sugar levels, support your metabolism, as well as build and protect muscle. Add moderate amounts of “good” fats – found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil – to keep calories under control and support the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.
Supplement your diet
“When you reduce calories, you reduce nutrient intake. I recommend dietary supplements to my patients who are restricting calories and who want to achieve optimal health,” says Dr. Melina. “When choosing supplements, it is important to go with a reputable brand such as Nature Made,” says Dr. Melina, “which has rigorous quality control standards in place to ensure what is on the label is in the bottle.” Dr. Melina also recommends looking for products carrying the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Verified Dietary Supplement mark, as a way to ensure the product has met stringent quality criteria for purity and potency. Nature Made was the first company to obtain the USP Verified Dietary Supplement mark for many of its products.
For most of her patients, especially those who are overweight or obese, live in northern latitudes, or are at an age greater than 65, Dr. Melina recommends taking a vitamin D supplement as this key nutrient plays a supporting role in bone, heart and immune health. “To determine if you have low vitamin D levels, speak with your doctor about having your blood levels of vitamin D checked,” says Dr. Melina, who recommends adults take 1000 to 2000 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D3 daily to fulfill their vitamin D requirement.
Up your activity
Always speak with your doctor before beginning a new workout regimen. Make sure you get the recommended amount of activity into your week. “The key is to gradually increase your activity levels,” says Dr. Melina. “By switching up your routine every month, you can continually challenge yourself, improve fitness levels and work major muscle groups in different ways to prevent plateaus.”