Weight Management and Healthy Eating
Click on the link to read ILFA’s leaflet entitled Weight Management and Nutrition for Pulmonary Fibrosis
Weight gain and weight loss are a balance between the energy taken in and the energy burned. If we consume more energy (calories) than we burn, we will put on weight. To lose weight, we need to consume less energy than our body needs.
A lot of things can act as barriers that prevent us losing weight.
- Reduced mobility and an inability to exercise very much means that people with lung fibrosis often have to focus on reducing what they eat to lose weight.
- Medication such as steroids can promote weight gain.
- Motivation and willingness to change are hugely important.
A lack of motivation is probably the most significant barrier to losing weight.
We all go through a number of phases when we are making a change in our life;
The Pre-contemplation Phase during which we are not aware that we have a problem.
The Contemplation Phase when we realise we have a problem and need to make a change.
The Preparation Phase when we begin to look at how we can lose weight, what we need to do, and start think about the pros and cons of different courses of action. A lot of people stay in the preparation phase and never move into the next phase.
The Action phase is the difficult part when you make the changes needed to lose the weight
The Maintenance Phase is when these changes become a part of your normal everyday lifestyle.s
At any stages, you could have a relapse or hit a stumbling block but it is how you deal with the relapse that matters. Do you give up or do you go back to making that change again?
Where are you on this cycle and where do you want to be?
Steps to healthy eating
Losing weight is all about eating healthily as well as being active. See the information on exercise.
Skipping meals does not work. If you skip your breakfast, you are more likely too eat more later during the day and to reach for a chocolate bar or packet of crisps.
To be in control of your weight, you need to be in control of your appetite, so you should eat regularly and have a routine.
Portion sizes are getting larger and therefore we are taking in more calories. You should pay particular attention to the portion sizes of starchy foods like bread, potatoes and pasta.
Click here to learn more about a balanced diet, healthy eating and portion sizes
Be careful of the portions of high fat foods and high in calorie foods such as cake, biscuits, ice cream, and crisps and any other “treat” foods. You should be careful with the amount of butter you put on your bread, and the amount of fat on the edge of meat, chicken skin, cream, mayonnaise, and chips.
Change to low fat
Cut down on sugar
This is an easy way to reduce your calorie intake; use a sweetener instead of sugar if you need to.
Use diet fizzy drinks if you must have a fizzy drink, they have no calories. Water is better!
Eat more fruit and vegetables
You should aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential to protect our body. They are high in fibre so they are filling too, and can prevent you reaching for a bar of chocolate and other treats.
You should try to incorporate some fruit and vegetable into each meal, for example put a bit of banana into your cereal, add a bit of fruit to a diet yoghurt or put extra salad vegetables in your sandwich.
Get enough calcium
Make sure that you get plenty of calcium. Low fat milk may even help with weight loss. Recent research has shown that people who don’t have enough calcium in their diet, have more difficulty losing weight.
It is NOT true that there is a connection between dairy products and sputum.
You should aim for three portions of dairy products a day for example one medium size glass of low fat milk, a pot of diet yoghurt, or an ounce of reduced-fat cheese.
If you are on steroid medicatiton, you will need extra calcium. Ask your doctor if you need a calcium supplement.
Alcohol is very high in calories and it also increases your appetite – a double whammy!
Cut back as much as possible and try to have no more than half the recommended units a week – 21 for a man and 14 for a woman.
Did you know that a quarter bottle of wine contains between 2 and 3 units of alcohol?
Things that can help
- Keep a record of what you eat – a food diary is really useful. Two days a week write down what you are eating, where you are eating and why – you’ll find out a lot about your eating patterns if you do this.
- Get support from your family and friends
- Check your weight weekly – there is no point in doing it any more regularly
- Aim to lose one to two pounds a week. Small steady weight loss is much more sustainable than losing a large amount of weight at once. You will probably put it on again just as quickly.
- Don’t get distracted by fad diets – just eat less and be as active as you can.
- What you are eating
- How much you are eating
- When and how often you are eating
- Why you are eating
Most of us don’t just eat when we are hungry, we eat because we are bored, or because we’re upset, or the people around us are eating.
For more information and helpful recipes see;
The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute at http://www.indi.ie/
The British Dietetic Association at http://www.bdaweightwise.com/
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