February is National Heart Month and, according to the American Heart Association, one of ways you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease is to attain and maintain a healthy weight. It also is a great way to reduce your risk of foot and ankle problems as well, something we at Texas Foot Specialists highly recommend.
Remember that change is difficult! Experts estimate that it takes 21 days to break or make a habit. The best way to revamp your eating habits is with small steps. A few tips:
- Keep it simple—don’t go for a complete menu overhaul. Instead try cutting portion size or not going back for seconds. Switch to a smaller plate. Add a salad at dinner or lunch. Easy, manageable steps will bring long lasting results.
- Set realistic goals—again, go for doable. For most people, one to two pounds per week is a reasonable weight loss goal.
- Be patient—you can’t change a 10- or 20-year old habit in a week. You want to be in the mind set of re-educating your palate. Rather than making good choices temporarily so you can binge later, try to slowly change the way you eat, consistently making healthier choices. When you revert to older and less healthier habits, forgive yourself and get right back on track.
- Keep a food diary—write down everything you eat over the course of a few days as well as what time you eat it. Look for patterns—do you eat when you’re bored or anxious? Do you feel the need for some additional calories late in the afternoon? Know what triggers your appetite and be prepared with healthy snacks. If you’re eating even when you’re not hungry, try to take a brisk walk or make a phone call instead. The urge will pass.
- Eat more often—sounds counterintuitive, but eating regularly—small snacks on good-for-you foods like nuts, fruit and raw veggies—will keep you from being ravenous and overeating at your next meal.
Losing weight will take the stress off your feet and lower extremity joints, improve heart health and provide a host of other benefits as well. Ask our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum and Dr. Bruce Miller, about other lifestyle choices that impact your feet when you have your next appointment. Contact our Houston, Pasadena or Sugarland office by calling: 281-242-4448.