Spring is in the air

Deborah L. Hopla, DNP

What a terrible winter we have had in South Carolina, but it is only a matter of time until the warmer weather brings us all out of our coats and thoughts of the beach, shorts and swimming suits penetrate our thoughts. What about all this winter weight!

Nurses are always being asked what diet works best. Many diets are fads and unhealthy. In order for weight loss to happen, there must be calories in and calories out. A reduction of two hundred to five hundred calories a day results in significant weight loss, so it is important to watch your portion sizes. Remember that protein size should be about four ounces or the size of your palm. Serving sizes for vegetables are about a half a cup or a little larger than the size of an orange.

Water consumption is equally as important for bodies. Often, dehydration is the cause of hunger. We are a society of high caffeine intake with energy drink consumption abounding. Caffeine leaves our bodies dehydrated. Exercise can also dehydrate our bodies. It has been suggested that a body needs eight to ten eight ounce glasses of water per day just to keep up with our daily requirements. More water is important to help our bodies eliminate ketones and keep us feeling fuller.

Exercising for thirty minutes a day helps your heart to stay healthy and your weight to reduce. Find an exercise you like to do and just do it! Walking is a great exercise that requires no gym membership. Start out slow and warm up your muscles before increasing your intensity. Weight lifting becomes more important as the body ages. Keeping muscles toned and strong prevents injuries and burns more calories. Stretching after exercising is important to elongate muscles and keep them from becoming injured.

Sleep is the final important aspect for weight loss. Not getting enough rest causes us to have increased appetites. Stress is harder to manage when our body has not had rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. Sleep restores our cells, eliminates cortisol (stress hormone) and allows us to focus the next day on our priorities.

Spring is in the air and the coats are gone! It is time to shed that winter weight.