La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


November, 2010


The holidays are upon us now and what does that mean? People are giving thanks for what they have (which is a good thing) and also sharing some of it (also a good thing). However, with all of this giving and good cheer - people associate love and caring with food. That's not a problem in itself, but can be if things are taken too far for too long.

For example, you want to indulge on Thanksgiving Day - no problem! But, some people indulge and celebrate for an entire 2 months with the thought that, "I'll start a diet for my New Years' resolution." I've done research on this topic, but have found gains between 1 to 10 pounds over the holiday season. In my own household - it's been about 5 pounds.

The reality is, for most of us - even one pound is too much. Over time, those pounds stay on if we're not careful. So, with all of that being said, I'd like to give you guys some tips to stay your fit and trim self, or help you jump start your New Years' resolution!

Happy Turkey Day!

Dr. L

You are what you eat!

All right - you have all heard that phrase, right?

Well, on some level it's true. If you eat a lot of fatty fluffy foods, you are going to be fat and fluffy. You've all also seen the food pyramid which has made a metamorphosis in recent times. Notice the fruit and vegetable section: You need to eat a lot of those. Most of the foods in your day need to be plant based if you're going to maintain a reasonable body weight.

Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense, meaning that you get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. I know what you're thinking, "I can't plan my meals, I can't go to the store regularly, I don't like those, I don't eat raw foods, etc." I know that because this is what patients tell me. The fact is that it can be difficult to incorporate some of these foods, but here are some easy ways:

  1. Eat a piece of fruit on the morning drive to work and on the way home from work. This will not only wake up your metabolism in the morning, but it will fill you up with fiber and may make you eat less. Now, I'm talking about an apple, pear, or orange - not a banana. It takes more calories to eat and process an apple than it is - so you're losing weight when you eat this. Also, it displaces other food that you might put in it's place (donuts, candy bar, etc.)
  2. Add vegetables to your normal dinner. I make Chinese food quite a bit at home and I buy bags of frozen vegetables to add close to the end of the cooking. This gives us the veggies, it's not much work, and it also makes the meal more filling.
  3. Drink V8. This will really allow you to get your vegetables in without a lot of work. They also have a fruit version too that's pretty good. Again, will satisfy a sweet craving without too many calories.
  4. Don't eat late. This is one that a lot of people get into trouble with. Just make a plan not to eat past 6 or 7. You will see some pounds drop off. Particularly if you snack at night.
  5. Have one splurge meal per week. This is what I'm saying about Thanksgiving dinner - it's not typically a problem if you only do that. It's the fact that this meal has a "pre game" (appetizers) and a "post game" (leftovers for days).

Move it and Lose it!

Now, diet is important, but you can't forget about exercise. Not only does it burn calories, but it builds muscle and gives your body some definition.

Remember, muscle burns more calories than fat. Though it's only about double per pound, that can add up. But that's not all, working out prevents the continual loss of lean body mass that happens as we get older. Lean muscle mass makes our bodies more attractive. Most importantly, it allows us to bounce back easier from illness and injury. I did a forensic evaluation on a person once and she was in a major accident. All of her reports talked about how fit she was and how that helped her reach a goal in rehab that they would have never thought possible.

How to incorporate some exercise into the regimen:

  1. Plan a date with your mate. My husband and I work out 2 days per week with one another to decompress, get away from everyone else and just hang out together doing something healthy. We still do our individual exercise on the other days, but these are days and times I look forward to. Make them a family affair!
  2. Stretch or do some calisthenics between commercials. It's only 2 minute bursts, but it's enough over time to make a huge difference. I have a patient now that's lost over 30 pounds adding these little bursts into his day.
  3. If you're stressed or need to blow off some steam - do push ups. They are difficult, and they improve the tone in your upper arms and shoulders which is something most of us can use. They can be done almost anywhere! No special equipment required!

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