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Sutter dietitian asks patients to take action in National Nutrition Month

Offers tips for healthy diet, lifestyle
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Good to know

If you have decided to start a healthy eating plan, keep these points in mind:

· When you are trying to develop your new healthy eating habits, you have a better chance of success if you make a plan ahead of time.

· Know why you want to eat healthier. This can help you make the changes you need in your eating habits.

· Start with small, short-term goals that are easily reached.

· Get support from your family and friends by letting them know what you are trying to achieve. Don’t hesitate to ask for their help and encouragement.

One in three adults is obese in America and Sutter Health registered dietitians are taking advantage of National Nutrition Month to raise awareness of the many strategies to combat the obesity epidemic.

“You can reach healthy weight goals by making gradual, healthy and reasonable changes in your eating and activity,” said Debbie Lucus, registered dietitian with Sutter Options for Success, one of the medical weight-loss programs in the new Sutter Weight Management Institute.

In order to lose weight, it is important to eat a healthy diet. What does that mean?

“Eating less fat and fewer calories than what you are currently taking in.” Lucus explained. “There are three ways to do it: Eat high-fat, high-calorie foods less often, or in smaller amounts, or eat  lower-fat, lower-calorie foods instead.”

She added being physically active must be a priority.

“It helps you feel, look and sleep well. It also makes you more physically fit, which helps you lose weight and keep it off.” And that, Lucus said, can lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

One tip Lucus tells her patients is to recognize “cues” that make you want to eat. These cues include hunger, your thoughts or feelings, the sight and smell of food or certain activities like watching TV or reading. Once you identify your “cue,” you can stay away from the cue, keep it out of sight and build a new, healthier habit.

“These cues also work for helping maintain a higher level of activity,” Lucus said. “Keep your tennis shoes, gym bag, yoga mat or workout videos in sight. Set up a regular ‘activity date’ with a friend or family member. Or, use your phone to send you an alert that it’s time to get moving.”

It’s important to take slow and steady steps to tip the scales in your favor. You might even join a class or support group. People in these types of groups often face the same challenges as you and they can help provide support and encouragement when you need it.

Lucus is one of the class leaders in Sutter Options for Success, a 12-week interactive group session for weight loss that teaches strategies for a healthy lifestyle. The program emphasizes a balanced, calorie-controlled, low-fat diet; increased physical activity; and behavioral techniques to modify unhealthy habits. Classes are offered in Roseville, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Davis and Fairfield, with new classes coming soon to Auburn and Yuba City. To learn more, or to register, call the Patient Education Department at (916) 774-8885.