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Author: Mary Kmak

Mary’s Promise – August Results

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she updates us on her progress. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on an exercise regime.

Hello Readers,

How did last month go for you?  Did you stick to your plan? If not, what got in the way of your plan? What would you change this month? I like to reflect back on the changes and see what works and of course, what doesn’t work.

In August, I decided to switch up my level of exercise and tried some new activities to change,  the treadmill and stair stepper. My preference is still the Exercycle, but I did enjoy changing it up and adding a couple of different activities.

I maintained the same calorie allotment, but as noted above had increased my caloric expenditure.

What was the result?

The first two weeks I maintained the same weight, but in the last two weeks I lost a total of two pounds for a grand total of 127 pounds. The small weight lost is not discouraging because I added more minutes to my daily exercises. I had no problem keeping up with this increase and got the ok from my doctors along with the changes in exercise equipment to try. I kept up with my 12,000 steps daily with my walking.  I foresee a great  September with a bigger weight loss and I’m working towards the best loss of the year so far. My plans for September will be:

  1. Stay with the same calorie count, but add more fruits and vegetables.
  2. Continue with more meatless days and increase those to twice a week rather than the one day a week.
  3. Keep to one hour a day exercises, but add the elliptical machine to the mix.  (I will also keep my 30 minutes on the Exercycle and split the other 30 minutes up with the treadmill, stair stepper and elliptical.)
  4. Finally, with temperatures finally beginning to cool down, I plan to do much more walking throughout the day.

Each month I make different changes to see what will help me continue losing weight. Sometimes the changes are associated with my diet, other times with exercise.  I switch these around to provide something to look forward, it boosts my enthusiasm, and with a continued weight loss, however small, I don’t get bored with the same things.  I can’t wait to write next month at this time my update results for September.

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

Breaking Bad Habits – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares how she addresses changing bad habits. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on an exercise regime.

Hello Readers,

Now school is back in full swing and kids are back to class it’s time to get back to good healthy habits and throw away those bad ones we may have picked up this summer. If you’re like most of us, getting rid of those bad habits seems a lot tougher and less pleasant than picking them up.

When I started it off on my journey I knew I needed to make changes. I’d tried before only to fail and find myself frustrated and angry with my seeming inability to change my behaviors. What changed?

Break the negative feedback cycle

The first thing I learned from TMC Wellness classes was not to be so hard on myself. We are often our own worst critics. I stopped beating myself every time I slipped on my journey, and started cheering myself along for the successes, however small, instead.

Identify triggers for bad habits, figure out another healthier response that has a similar benefit.

Rather than focusing on getting rid of the bad habits, focus on supplanting them with good habits. As I mentioned before it seems easy to pick up habits and more difficult to drop them, unless you are pushing them out. Figure out what habits you would like to break, what the triggers are to those bad habits whether it’s stress, time, boredom etc. Can you avoid the triggers if not, have a response ready that is healthier and gives a similar benefit. Have the watermelon already chopped and in the fridge in front of the pie, or have the television unplugged and the remote in another room, but your walking shoes or bike at the ready to go.

Plan ahead

It’s great to identify triggers and possible more positive responses, but make sure you are prepared to have the positive response. ex. If your first response to a rough day at work is to get home open the kitchen cupboards and dive into the cookie tin, fill the cookie tin with apples at the beginning of the week, or delay the cookie dive with a walk around the block.

Set a schedule and not a deadline.

Start with small targets that build toward your larger goal. If exercise is not part of your schedule already, just schedule a little time to begin with. Maybe that half marathon in 6 months isn’t the inspiration you need, but getting out and walking for 15 minutes at lunch and feeling achievement of completing can inspire you to continue.

Make SMART goals

I started out making small goals. Be realistic, achieve your small goals and work them up from there.  A lot of times if you overdo anything you stress yourself out and will get overwhelmed and quit.  Have Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound goals. Specifically pick smaller achievements that aren’t dependent on the scale, but increase your health, ex. I’m going to walk at lunch time four workdays a week. Be realistic and lose slowly so you can keep the weight off and not set yourself up for failure. One to two pounds weekly isn’t what you’re seeing on the reality shows, but in contrast it is maintainable and realistic.  Build on your small gains, to see big changes!

Keep reminding yourself

Get a home calendar. Put your plans for dinner meals and exercise times on each day. This will be your daily reminder.

For example you will be making chicken and vegetables on Wednesday. Make sure you get all the ingredients you need for weekday meals that you plan to make at the grocery store with the rest of your groceries. Put everything on your grocery list.  If you plan to walk every day put the times that you will be able to do your walking on your calendar. Buy a pedometer. Walk an extra 50 steps when you get home from work or after picking up the kids from school. Then tomorrow walk an extra 100 steps, the day after 150. If you’re consistent and gradually increase at your limit then you will meet the daily recommended 12,000 steps. Feel like you can’t possibly fit in another thing to your schedule? Check out this article on how to increase your activity level without a trip to the gym.

Create a routine

Set days and times and stick with them.  If you run out of time or don’t feel like doing it try half of what you planned for that day and do it.  Half is better than nothing.

Build new habits with friends

Build your own support group with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and whoever you respect and will encourage you and wants to make similar changes. Together you can form a support team for each other, hold each other accountable, and celebrate successes together.

What good habits do you plan to use to supplant some bad habits?

Mary Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

 

Breakfast makes all the difference – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares how breakfast has made all the difference. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on an exercise regime.

Hello Readers,

You’ve heard the doctors and dietitians say you should eat breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day and yet so many people of us don’t. Why not? Perhaps you feel you have no time to prepare or  you’re in a hurry to get to work or take your children to school.

Before I started my weight loss journey, I never ate breakfast, I was always too rushed. But convinced by Mary Atkinson RD and Laurie Ledford RD during the Live Well program I started to make the time for breakfast, planning and preparing food the night before so all I had to do was sit  down and eat.

What I’ve found out since getting on the breakfast bandwagon:

  1. I’m no longer starving by mid morning and my bad choice cravings have disappeared.  I may have a healthy snack mid morning, and this helps keep my choices at lunch healthy.
  2. Breakfast fuels me. I feel energized, not tired or deprived which allows me to continue my daily exercises, respond to stresses, and makes me more effective at work and play!
  3. Taking the time to plan, prepare and eat on schedule builds a routine and an expectation, this is a big part of my weight loss success.
  4.  Even a small breakfast is better than nothing.
  5. Breakfast sets the tone for the day. If I start the day with a healthy breakfast it seems to prime my taste buds for the day.

My top 3 favorite breakfast choices are:

  1. Protein-packed vanilla Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. I switch off with half of a banana or 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries or pineapple.  I top it off with either 2 walnuts or 2 natural almonds chopped.
  2. Half cup of cooked whole grain oatmeal with the above fruits and nuts.
  3. Half cup of whole grain cereal with half cup of skim milk with the same above fruits.   I’m trying smoothies and will switch off one of my breakfast choices when I have an appetite for a smoothie which consists of one cup light almond milk, one piece of fresh fruit and one tablespoon each of Flaxseed and protein powder.

I make it a point now to never skip breakfast and plan the night before, it’s making all the difference. How do you start the day? What is standing in the way of you starting off on the right foot eating breakfast?

Mary Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

Eat Well – Mary Kmak’s Cucumber Salad

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares a cucumber salad to add to your repertoire Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on an exercise regime.

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Hello Readers,

One way to make sure your diet is healthy and doesn’t break the bank is to make sure you buy in season. Right now, cucumbers are in season and super cheap! If you’re a vegetable gardener in Southern Arizona you are probably overrun with cucumbers.

This cucumber salad is one of my favorite go to recipes for the family BBQ. Cucumbers are the forgotten veggie that most people use only in their salad toppings, but their crunchy, refreshing taste can be the spotlight in your dish, not just the trimmings.  This recipe not only tastes great, but is quick and easy.

Ingredients

1/4 cup low-fat greek plain yogurt

2 TBSP white wine vinegar

2 stalks celery thinly sliced

1 large seedless cucumber halved and sliced

1/2 small purple onion diced finely

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tsp Fresh or dried dill

In medium mixing bowl  put the sliced celery, cucumbers  and purple onions then set aside.

In small mixing bowl whisk together the white vinegar to the Greek yogurt and add the black pepper and dill. Then pour the mixture into the cucumber and veggies and toss together.

This recipe has many options that you can add to it and bring out more flavors. Use your imagination.  I often add grape tomatoes cut in half or whole along with crunchy  walnut pieces. I have also tried  fresh sliced peeled orange slices which gives it a sweet favor. Eating is all about liking the foods you choose. Be adventurous. Trying a variety of veggies or fruits along with cucumber salad to make it a hydrating summer staple.

Many days I take just plain sliced cucumbers to work to munch on as my snack and of course there is gazpacho!

Mary Kmak

Health Warrior

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Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

125 pounds lost, health regained – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares a milestone in her journey to regain her health. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on a exercise regime.

Hello Readers,

July was not what I expected. It started off with a long summer cold the first eight days which kept me away from my exercise program.  As the month went on I started feeling better and was able to add my exercising back, but I couldn’t do all the changes I planned to make due to the cold. I also went on a much needed vacation break for a week. The last three days of the month I had an emergency visit to the hospital with a three night stay. I have not stayed overnight in the hospital for 17 years. Everything is fine and nothing life threatening although I was laid up in bed without any exercise except for some hallway walks for 72 hours. After all of this I still managed to have a lost of two pounds for a grand total of 125 pounds!

I could not have this successful healthy weight loss without the TMC Wellness and Life Enchantment Programs programs educating me about proper nutrition and exercising.

I am so much stronger after losing 125 pounds and I’m confident that I was able to bounce back more quickly from my hospital stay due to my stronger constitution. All four of my TMC doctors, from the Emergency Department to the unit I was admitted to, said I looked too healthy to be sick. What a great compliment!

Now that I’m feeling back to normal I plan to take August full force.  Here are my goals this month:

1. I will keep the calorie total the same, but I’m shaking up the menu! I am going to add more vegetarian dinners during the week. Trying new recipes helps keep things fresh.

2. I am going to change my exercise routine and add more daily minutes. I will continue my 30 minutes on the Exercyle in the morning before I go to work  and go to the gym in the evening after work and switch off with the Exercycle, stair stepper and treadmill. These added exercises will compensate for the extra walking I am unable to do with the warmer weather. What do you do during the summers to get exercise?

3. I am discontinuing my breakfast smoothies and going back to my food breakfast choices of oatmeal or greek yogurt with fresh fruits and nuts.

Every month I reassess what I’m eating, how I’m exercising and how successful it’s been. With the large amount of weight I’ve lost, my dietary needs have also changed, along with my ability to do more exercise, change is necessary. Remember to be kind to yourself.

If you have followed me over this journey, you know that like you life throws me some curve balls now and again. Through this process I’ve learnt to respond with rededication to my goals, where I once would have succumbed to the desire to eat away the stresses. in my life. Each success helps bolster me, so I won’t quit and will continue until I reach my goals and go into maintenance. I share my story, thoughts and changes with you in hope that you will see that you too can lose weight the healthy way no matter how much you have to lose.

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

3 Questions to ask when you snack – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares tips for keeping snacking healthy.  Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on a exercise regime.Hello Readers,

What kind of snacker are you? Do you find yourself  sneaking in and out of the refrigerator grabbing anything at anytime? Or do you eat pre-planned snacks? I used to grab anything, whenever I wanted, whether I was hungry or not.

How did I put an end to my snacking frenzy?  With the help of the wellness programs at TMC I learned to tell the difference between really wanting a small healthy snack to hold me over until the next meal and whether I was just grabbing something because  it was there or I was bored. I found these three questions critical before I grab that snack:

1. Am I actually thirsty and think I’m hungry?

I will drink a eight ounce cup of water and wait twenty minutes to see if my hunger subsides. A lot of times I find I just needed something to drink, especially here in the desert.

2. Did I have a restless night?

Sleep deprivation can increase levels of gurelin, a hormone that stimulates your appetite.  If I have a restless night I make myself take this into consideration and am wary of cravings.

3. Am I stressed out?

If I find myself stressed out I turn to exercise instead of the fridge.

Healthy snacks are an important part of my day. When I found out that I was pre-diabetic I talked with  family and friends who were type one and type two diabetic to see if they had any suggestions.  One important tip was to have pre-planned healthy snacks to try and keep my blood levels stable and to avoid bad choice cravings.  Although I am no longer pre-diabetic I still follow this advice and continue to eat two healthy snacks daily between 100 and 150 calories each. I take these totals out of my daily calorie allotment. I look forward to these little pick me up snacks mid morning and mid afternoon.

Here are my top favorite daily work week pre-planned  snacks:

1. Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of fresh berries.

2. Cheese stick with four nuts either almonds, walnuts of pecans

3. Half cup of cottage cheese with fresh fruit.

4. Half cup of cooked pinto beans with chopped onions on top.

5. Celery sticks or one sliced apple with one tablespoon of natural peanut butter (make sure there isn’t any added sugar in the peanut butter)

Other snack options are fresh fruits, fresh veggies and nut choices. I no longer eat anything I want whenever I want, but pick two healthy choices daily and stick with them. It keeps me feeling  full and satisfied.

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

Building willpower – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program.In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares some of the tips she uses to build and maintain her willpower. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on a exercise regime.

Hello Readers,
Do you have the willpower  to lose weight? In the past I always thought  I did whenever  I started a diet. But, after failing by quitting or regaining the weight back that I started to question my staying power.

What changed? Why have I now found the willpower to live well? Here are 7 important changes that helped me build my willpower  to success.

 

1. Take photographs

If you’re like me, you just balked at that suggestion! I know, I know, I never liked pictures of myself, but comparing each previous picture with a newer image can help build your willpower to continue.

2. Take measurements

Along the same lines as documenting your progress via photographs, make sure you take measurements before and during your journey. It’s easy to become disheartened when the scale isn’t budging, but the scale doesn’t always reflect big changes in measurement.

3. Start exercising

Add any kind of exercise that you enjoy and will continue to do. Don’t feel you have to run a 5K to begin, if you overdo it to begin with you’re less likely to continue. Gradually increase at your pace and what your doctors advise. I’ve found that exercise lifts my mood significantly and that helps me to keep at it!

4. Set SMART goals.

Have Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound goals. Big goals are great, but set up specific subgoals too. Smaller achievements that aren’t dependent on the scale, but increase your health. Be realistic and lose slowly so you can keep the weight off and not set yourself up for failure. One to two pounds weekly isn’t what you’re seeing on the reality shows, but in contrast it is maintainable and realistic.  Build on your small gains, to see big changes!

5. Don’t wait for some type of health issue to happen.

How many times have you heard, “I was forced to lose weight because I suffered a heart attack  or stroke.” After talking with my doctor I knew my health was at risk and that losing weight could make a big difference. Connecting with supportive medical professionals who monitor my health risks, I build my willpower with every visit.

6. Make portion control routine and painless

This is a must for me. By planning,  preparing, measuring my meals at the beginning of the week, it helps me keep track and go forward, easily without succumbing to temptation. My Sunday meal planning and preparation is now just part of my life’s routine.

7. Build a support system

How does the song go? “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.” Some days my willpower weakens, but having supportive friends and family that I can reach out to or who, without request, reach out to support and encourage me makes all the difference. Who can you include in your support network?

We all have willpower within us, but sometimes we just need to create structures to help maintain it. Let’s do this together,

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

Mary’s June results – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program.In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she updates us on her progress during June. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on a exercise regime.

Hello Readers,

How are you handling these high summer temperatures? Does it affect what you eat? How are you staying active?

June was a very interesting month for me. After finishing with the best month of the year in May, June was looking good. I cut back 100 calories per day and kept my minutes on my exercycle at 45 minutes, snatching 15 minutes before work and 30 minutes after work. The disappointment came when I couldn’t do my extra walking daily because of the scorching temperatures. However, I was still able to lose three pounds total for June.

This isn’t what I wanted or expected, but I’ll take every pound lost.  Why did this happen? I think the loss of extra daily walks made a huge difference for me. My extra walking comes whenever I can which includes outdoor parking lot walks at workplace before work, breaks, lunches, after work before I go home, grocery stores parking lots when the stores are crowded, last minute park walks, etc when I can seize the moment. Of course, with temperatures soaring up to 115 Fahrenheit this June it was just too hot to get out an walk. I need a plan with how to address this!

What else is new this month?
I also tried my own smoothies for breakfast. Yummy! They consisted of one  cup of light unsweetened almond milk, one piece of fresh fruit such as a peach, apple, mango or half of a banana. You don’t need to add sugar or honey, with the fruit it’s sweet enough! If I didn’t have fresh fruits I used a quarter of a cup of frozen fresh strawberries, blueberries, black berries or pineapple. I then added one tablespoon of ground flaxseed and one tablespoon of protein powder and blended everything together. I found the smoothies to be a nice refreshing breakfast change and now enjoy making them throughout the summer. There are a lot more fresh cheap fruit choices during the summer time.

My plan for July will be the following:

  1. Continue my 45 minutes on the exercycle, and make sure I get my 12,000 daily steps. If I don’t complete them during the day, then I will make a stop at the mall on the way home from work and walk inside where it’s cooler.
  2. Keep my caloric intake per day the same.
  3. Keep my smoothies, but only for breakfast for two weeks and switch back to my oatmeal or greek yogurt, fresh fruits and walnuts for the other 2 weeks.
  4. Continue making weekly changes with my foods accordingly. When you lose over 100 pounds it becomes more difficult to lose each pound. I will make the necessary changes and keep going.

It’s my health journey and I won’t stop until I reach my goal weight.  I will never give up and will fight for each pound and know once I find that right balance it will become much easier and I will reach my goal. What are you doing this summer to keep active, while staying cool and hydrated?

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

Mary’s Promise – Taking Grilled Vegetables to the next level

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program.In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares her love of grilled vegetable. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on a exercise regime.

Hello Readers,

It’s summertime! Avoid heating up the kitchen, get outside and utilize the grill.

Who doesn’t enjoy the tastes and smells of a good cook out? I do and in fact I grill all year long, but the grill isn’t just for meat. Grilled veggies are not only healthy, but tasty and quick to make. There are many veggies besides the traditional corn on the cob that can be grilled.

Before grilling I marinate the vegetables in a 2:1 olive oil:balsamic vinegar marinade. Make sure you measure out the olive oil as it is easy to have too much. I use 2 tablespoons of EVOO to 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in a sealed container and shake my chopped vegetables around in the container to make sure they’re covered.

Here are my top grilled vegetable choices:

  1.  Zucchini –  Cut diagonally into 1/4 inch slices pieces
  2.  Eggplant – Cut into 1/4″ thick planks
  3. Bell peppers and onions – Cut both into  1/2″ slices
  4. Asparagus
  5. Tomatoes cut crosswise cut down
  6. Avocado cut in half and grill the cut side down.  (I use a  different marinade of olive oil and a pinch of chili powder whisked together.)

Vegetables make the best side dish with your cook outs. I like to experiment and throw everything on that I like including green onions and cloves of garlic.  Each grill is different so you need to watch your veggies closely.

As always, check out the seasonal vegetables, they are often more flavorful.

Grilled vegetable salsa
What about a grilled vegetable salsa?  I grill the tomatoes, onions, green chilis and blend them together. If you like it spicy add grilled jalapeno. For a more fruity salsa grill fresh mango and add that to the salsa.

Try grilled fruit
Don’t be afraid to try grilling fresh fruits. I always include peaches and pears. I cut them in half and grill the cut side for approximately five minutes. The grilled fruits also make a great dessert served with Greek yogurt. Try some new choices this summer and you’ll be surprised how much you, your family and friends will enjoy.

Here’s to your health,

Mary Kmak

Health Warrior

Also check out these fabulous healthy recipes from Chef Janos Wilder (Tucson’s James Beard award winning chef) and the Carriage House/TMC collaboration.

Portion control, it makes all the difference – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares her approach to portion control. Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on a exercise regime.

Hello Readers,

What does portion control mean to you?

To me portion control means understanding how much a serving size of food or beverage is and how many calories a serving contains. Portion control is important for weight management. If I didn’t learn about portion control in the TMC Wellness classes and follow that advice closely I would have never lost over 100 pounds.

Along my weight loss journey to health I’ve heard many people say to me “I eat what you eat, but I can’t lose any weight.” I was one of those people at one time. Sure I’d eat three meals, salads, and a healthy snack, but upon closer inspection what and how much I was eating did not compare to my approach post Wellness Class.

At lunch I make a big salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell peppers and purple sliced onions. My salad dressing is olive oil and balsamic vinegar and my protein is between two and three ounces of chicken breast depending on my protein quota. They’re having salad too, but upon a closer inspection they’ve added a heavy dressing, loaded the salad down with cheese and processed lunch meats.

My snack may be a few walnuts, pecans or pistachios compared to the whole bag which I’d eat previously.

The bottom line is you may be eating all the right choices, but if you don’t have any portion control you will not lose weight.  Here are my top suggestions that I live by in order to control my portion control.

  1. Don’t skip meals

Best plan is to eat three nutritional meals a day with fruits and one or two healthy snacks depending upon your allotted calorie intake. If you wait too long to eat, you may overeat the next meal. Prior to the wellness class I never ate breakfast, by 10:30am I was ravenous, but now I preplan my daily food intake and include breakfast. I might have a piece of fruit at 10:30am, but the need to eat anything.right.now. isn’t there anymore.

2. Measure and weigh food

Measuring and weighing my food is a must for me. I no longer guess and stay as accurate as I can be. I have a little food scale that weighs ounces for my protein.

3.  Serving size vs. portion size

There is a difference. For example, a small bag of almonds may say it has two servings, so if you would have to double the calories, fats and carbohydrates info per serving listed on the container. Look for a label with all of this information.

4. Plan your meals

Another must for me. Write down what you eat, think before you eat and take your time eating. Enjoy your food by eating it slowly.

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.