It seems like more than ever, everyone is fitness-conscious. From T25 to hot yoga; no carbs to raw foods, it’s a dizzying weight-loss world out there.
So I invited Dr. Donna Matthew of Caribbean Weight Loss Clinic and Spa to share her advice.
In this interview, Donna, a medical doctor with 10 years of experience, dishes on how to choose a diet, the foods we should eat more of, and how to fit into that New Year’s Eve dress.
Q: Let’s cut to the chase, doc! It’s the holiday season. What are your tips for getting through Christmas without major weight gain?
A: The key this Christmas is portion control and moderation. Practice eating small portions of food, so that you can taste a little of everything without going overboard. And don’t be shy about telling the server or host exactly how much you want. Eat only what you can manage. Also, opt for more proteins and less carbs and sugary foods.
Q: There are so many diets out there: no carb, low carb, apple cider vinegar, Weight Watchers, green drinks…The list goes on. What’s the key to selecting the right one?
A: It can sometimes be difficult to select a diet that works best. To narrow your options, choose a diet that is medically safe: one that draws from your storage fat without compromising your muscle; and one that doesn’t make you feel hungry. I personally like the hCG diet. My patients and I have had a lot of success with it.
Q: But there’s been a lot of controversy about that diet. Is the hCG diet safe?
A: The hCG diet is safe; it takes fat from your storage fat and not your structural fat. There are many benefits of the hCG program. You do not feel hungry and you begin to lose weight from the first week. So, hCG is one of the easier diets and you feel a general sense of accomplishment early on. In addition, it has the unique benefit of resetting the hypothalamus, the weight-control center in the body, which usually functions incorrectly in an overweight or obese patient.
Q: What about the TOFI people out there (Thin Outside Fat Inside). What advice can you share to help them get in shape?
A: Most of the time, persons who are thin outside, fat inside are in good shape physically, but somehow believe that they are fat but they really are not. It might be worth considering seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist to help resolve this issue.
Q: Are there any foods you recommend avoiding to keep the pounds and inches away?
A: Avoid sugars. Sugars in the body are used up for energy and when the body gets enough, it stores the excess as fat. Bear in mind that sugar-packed foods are not always sweet-tasting items such as cake and other desserts. Rice, pasta casseroles, and sweet potato pie may also contain sugars. For the holidays, try following this rule of thumb: choose ONE starch from the spread and take one serving of that. One serving is usually the equivalent of the size of your fist folded tightly. Ensure there are more protein and vegetables than starches on your plate. For dessert, choose one sweet item–one slice of cake or pie, or one scoop of ice cream–not all combined. Also, remember that alcohol and wines contain lots of sugar, so you may want to limit consumption as well.
Q: What should we be eating more of?
A: Eat more vegetables and fruit, and please, drink more water. Veggies and fruits contain roughage, which encourages regular bowel movement and helps with digestion. Drinking water helps with portion control, particularly if you have a glass before each meal. In addition, water helps the body function better and helps improve skin tone and texture.
Q: What advice do you have for girls on the go, who don’t seem to have enough time for cooking meals or working out?
A: We all have busy lives and for some reason, we tend to put everything and everyone first–except ourselves. Please, love yourself, and put yourself and your body first. Add exercise to your priority list. If you have a busy schedule and can’t manage an evening workout, set your alarm for one hour earlier and get up and do it. Your body and mind deserve it. Also make small changes to encourage physical activity. Park a little farther away at the mall and choose to take the stairs even when elevators are available.
Also, try prepping meals the night before, which makes getting ready in the morning easier. And if you must eat out, choose a restaurant that serves fresh vegetables and a variety of grilled meats. They’re delicious.
Q: The countdown is on…but any quick tips for fitting into that New Year’s Eve dress?
A: The challenge for most women is the tummy area. There’s a responsible, healthy way to shed pounds and inches quickly. I recommend cutting out carbs for the next few days and having more proteins and vegetables. Drink plenty of water daily and exercise; specifically, about 3-4 days a week of increased cardio and 2-3 days of strength training. In the 24 hours before New Year’s Eve, do not use salty foods. Salt encourages water retention, which can lead to bloating. If you need more control, you may want to consider a strict diet such as the hCG, which could help a patient lose about 10 lbs between now and December 31, particularly from around the tummy area.
Q: Any other tips for weight control?
A: Portion control. Portion control!
Drink a glass of water before each meal.
Do not “stress eat” but find other ways to de-stress–exercise, massage, etc.
Reduce your sugar intake.
Moms, please do not eat after your kids!
Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
Also, talk to your doctor about a diet that is suitable for you and stay committed to the process.
Dr. Donna Matthew heads up the Caribbean Weight Loss Clinic and Spa. She is a credentialed medical practitioner and holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine Certification.Main image: UNICUS Fitness via Compfight cc / Image 2: BobPetUK via Compfight cc / Image 3: IFeelCook via Compfight cc