Don’t Focus on Weight Loss! The Numbers You Should be Watching

Don’t Focus on Weight Loss! The Numbers You Should be Watching

As New Year's resolutions start to fade, we slowly give in to cravings and temptations and stop putting our health first. This may be because our resolutions are too lofty to begin with. It's tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel when your goal is to lose 50 pounds before bikini season – that's an unrealistic expectation when there's little to no planning or strategy involved.

Instead of making 2016 your year of weight loss, let's be more objective and steadfast in creating your health goals and objectives. By using your lab work as a starting off point, you can create goals that are measureable and accomplishable – and which will lead to weight loss if you remain focused!

Using lab values enables us to see how changes in eating and exercise is making an impact on our health and wellness through numbers. There is a concrete and direct correlation between the two, and ultimatley, this approach is much more effective than setting a weight loss goal.

If you've got weight loss or healthy living concerns, here are the numbers you should focus on now and throughout the year.

1. Hgb A1C: Is this lab, taken every 90-days within normal range?

  • Normal range is 4-6.
  • For those with diabetes, the number one step is to determine what time of day it is out of range.
  • To do this, test at different times of the day and night.
    • Fasting blood sugar, first thing in the morning
    • Before each meal
    • 2 hours after each meal
    • At bedtime
  • Do this for a week and figure out what is going on. Your doctor may be able to write a prescription to enable you to wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for a few days.

2. Triglycerides: Is this lab, taken every 6 months with normal range?

  • Normal range is under 150.
  • If not, the number one step is to understand your triglycerides become elevated when excessive carbohydrate or calories are taken in compared to limited exercise to burn them off. The resulting fat that is created and stored in the blood vessels is called triglyceride.
  • Decrease excessive carbohydrate consumption.
  • Increase exercise and activity levels.
  • Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids, especially to the therapeutic dosage of 2000-4,000mg of Eicosopentanoic Acid (EPA) found in better quality fish oil capsules and freshly ground flax seed, mushroom caps, etc.
  • Increase fiber intake through vegetables, typically 6-9 servings per day.
  • Consider supplemental fiber, like psyllium fiber, oat bran, and more.
  • Follow up in 3 months to have a new lab drawn to see how much progress you've made.

3. Total Cholesterol

  • Normal range is less than 200.
  • If not, your doctor may consider a statin drug.
  • Definitely consider increasing exercise levels, if possible.
  • Increase vegetables to 6-9 servings per day.
  • Have 3 fruits per day.
  • Increase fiber intake, especially psyllium fiber, oat bran, and more.
  • Follow up in 3 months to have a new lab drawn to see how much progress you've made.

4. HDL-Cholesterol

  • Normal range should be greater than 40, with 60 being optimal.
  • If not, increase exercise and fiber intake as previously mentioned.
  • Replace simple carbohydrates with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) found in foods like avocado.

5. LDL-Cholesterol

  • Normal range is less than 100.
  • If not, increase exercise and fibers as previously mentioned.
  • Your doctor will likely consider a statin drug.

6. Blood Pressure

  • Normal range is 120/80 or less.
  • If your blood pressure exceeds this number, follow doctor's orders on medications.
  • Follow 1,500mg sodium allowance.
  • Consume foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium like leafy green veggies.

If you focus on this objective and methodical approach, weight will come off without that being your sole focus. Health is a delicate balance between diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices. Simply eating more fruits, vegetables, and fiber and moving more will help get you on the road to weight loss, effectively and safely.

Those with a coach or dietitian to help them prioritize typically make a lot more progress than those who don't or those who try to do it on their own. Obtain your labs so you have objective criteria, get help, and stay on a methodical approach as you focus on yourself in 2016!

Nutritional information

Recipe: Creamy Green Strawberry Dream Serving in this recipe:1

  • Calories: 236.6
  • Total Fat: 3.6 g 5.5%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g 1.9%
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg 0%
  • Sodium: 358.7 mg 14.9%
  • Total Carbs: 45.7 g 15.2%
  • Dietary Fiber: 9.9 g 39.4%
  • Sugar: 22.1 g
  • Protein: 8.1 g 16.2%
  • Vitamin A: 481.9% Vitamin C: 244.1%
  • Calcium: 68.5% Iron: 26.1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.