Many people will make huge changes in eating habits to try to lose weight. A few examples would be only eating once a day or eating only meat or grapefruits. The problem is most people can't stick to these changes. People become overweight when they eat more calories than they burn. Calories are what our body uses for energy. If more energy is eaten than used, the extra calories turn to fat.
The S.A.F.E. Program focuses on ways to cut back calories and increase activity:
1. S. is for Skip or Stop high calorie drinks
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. More than half of our body is made up of water so it is important that we drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Water is calorie free, it does not cause weight gain.
- Substitute diet sodas for regular or clear sodas. If we drink one 12-ounce soda every day for one year, that is enough calories to make us gain 16 pounds of fat. Many people think clear sodas are sugar free. Clear sodas are caffeine free, not calorie free. Diet sodas are calorie free.
- Limit juice to six ounces (¾ cup) per day. No sports drinks. Juice has many vitamins and minerals but also a lot of calories. Drinking a 12-ounce glass of juice has as many calories as eating three oranges. Also, juice does not have the fiber that fresh fruit does. Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. A better choice would be water with lemon squeezed in it.
2. A. is for Alter your snack habits
- Large snacks between meals cause weight gain. Sandwiches, bowls of cereal and Ramen noodles are examples of poor snack choices because they are nearly half the size of a regular meal.
- Keep snacks small and healthy (fruit and vegetables) A piece of fresh fruit or vegetables with low-fat dressing are healthy options for snacks.
3. F. is for Forget fast food
- If you must, eat fast foods no more than three times a week. Fast foods tempt us with many high calorie choices and large portion sizes, therefore eating out should not be an every day habit.
- Don't super size! Make healthy choices (reduce fried foods). More appropriate meals for children are the kids' meals. Avoid buying them a value meal and never supersize. Make sure to order a diet drink, unsweetened tea, water or milk rather than a sugary beverage. Try to avoid fried foods by ordering a side salad with lower calorie dressing rather than french fries.
4. E. is for Exercise daily
- Try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. We don't expect you to actually count your steps. Inexpensive pedometers can be bought at most sporting goods stores and do the counting for you. 10,000 steps is like walking four to five miles.
- Watch no more than two hours of television a day. Watching TV requires very little energy and often we are found eating while watching it. We see lots of food ads, which only encourage us to overeat. Limit TV to two hours per day. Instead go for a walk or bike ride, play a game or even do some yard work as a family. Standing is better than sitting.
Driscoll Children's Hospital
Children's Diabetes and Endocrine Center
4th Floor in the Joseph M. Sloan Building
3533 S. Alameda St.
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
Clinic appointments: (361) 694-4986
Business Office: (361) 694-4864
Office Fax: (361) 808-2062
For TTY Deaf Messaging Connect to TTY Interpretation by dialing (800) 735-2989.