Dietitians from The University of Toledo Medical Center are helping with a citywide initiative to help Toledoans shed a few extra pounds and improve the overall wellness of the community.
Michele Lovett, chief clinical dietitian at UTMC, recently met with Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz as part of the kickoff for Take It Off, Toledo!, the city’s wellness and weight loss challenge.The University of Toledo and UTMC are among the city’s key partners in the mayor’s yearlong initiative, which began May 1.
Lovett will be joined by other UTMC dietitians this weekend at several Toledo Lucas County Public Library locations to provide free, 15-minute consultations to help people get started on their own health and weight-loss journey. A more formal appointment can be made with the dietitian when referred by one’s primary care physician.
“I know there are a lot of people who struggle with their weight and making healthy choices,” Lovett said. “We want to help educate the public and give them small steps that they can take so they can have a healthier lifestyle and enjoy their family and friends.”
UTMC has a team of dietitians who regularly provide outpatient counseling and nutrition guidelines to individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure. They also can advise patients who need help with weight management or need to improve their overall health prior to surgery.
Take It Off, Toledo! is a good reminder to be thoughtful about the decisions that influence health, Lovett said.
“We all have a general idea of what we should be doing to stay healthy, but this wellness and health initiative is reminding us to reset, take another look at our lives, and think about how we can do better with our nutrition and physical activity,” she said.
Lovett offered five starting tips for individuals who are seeking to lose weight and get healthier:
• Have plan in place. Know what your goals are and think through how you want to achieve them. Make a deliberate effort to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and have them ready for tomorrow’s meals or snacks.
• Get physical. Aim to be active for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day. Many jobs are sedentary. Get up a few times a day to hit those benchmarks. The activity doesn’t have to be done all at once. For example, exercising 10 minutes three times a day would work.
• Cut the sweets. Sugary drinks are extra calories we don’t need. Replace regular pop and sports drinks with water when you can and avoid sugary snacks.
• Find support. Support yourself by removing temptations where you can, such as finding a different route home that doesn’t take you conveniently close to a favorite fast-food restaurant. Ask for support from friends and family. For extra motivation, work out with a friend. Keep a food log or use a food-tracking app to stay accountable.
• Exercise portion control. Tools like the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s My Plate guideline can help you with understanding how much of each food group should be included with each meal. You also can use visual cues. A serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. One cup of vegetables is about the size of a softball.
On Saturday, May 18, UTMC dietitians will be at the Locke Branch Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Heatherdowns Branch Library from 1 to 3 p.m.
On Sunday, May 19, UTMC dietitians will be at the West Branch Library from noon to 2 p.m. and the Heatherdowns Branch Library from 1 to 3 p.m.