RX For Readers: Adopting healthy eating habits

Readers get answers to their health-related questions.

Unhealthy eating (Illustrative) (photo credit: RICK NEASE/TNS)
Unhealthy eating (Illustrative)
(photo credit: RICK NEASE/TNS)
I am a 52-year-old man who generally needs to lose five kilos. I try, but I have not been able to lose weight and keep it off. Now, after the High Holy Days, with all the fattening meals my wife and various friends and relatives prepared, I have gained five more kilos since Rosh Hashana. How can I get back on track and keep the excess weight off?
-T.M., Beersheba
Dr. Olga Raz, head of clinical nutrition at Ariel University’s Heath Sciences Faculty, replies:
This time of the year is not simple in terms of maintaining a healthful diet and avoiding the large quantities of food we have become accustomed to eating during the holidays. The very act of leaving the ordinary daily routine, combined with a multitude of social and family gatherings that include heavy and excessive meals, makes it difficult to return to the routine of proper nutrition. However, whether you went on holiday or not, there is no reason that the holiday season will ruin the entire year. In fact, getting to a proper weight all depends on changing your thinking.
Try to make a firm decision to adopt new eating habits.
Step 1: The decision stage. Tell yourself that this year, you are making changes – eating, buying food and cooking differently. In short, organize your life differently. Give yourself new habits to lose weight, maintain it for a long time and improve your health. The New Year is a good opportunity to start a new page, and it is the perfect time to choose a different form of eating for you and your family.
Step 2: Carrying out your decision. Significantly reduce purchases and consumption of sweets, cakes, cookies and chocolate. Totally avoid drinking sugary beverages and juices, including natural juices. Prefer water even to diet beverages.
Make sure that there are no temptations in your surroundings that you cannot overcome. Buy food that you should eat, not food that you have decided not to eat. Don’t buy junk food for other family members either. The common excuse “If I’m on a diet, why should everyone suffer?” is wrong. You are not on a diet for yourself but you are giving your family a healthier existence, too. It will prevent them from having to go on a diet in the future.
Divide up your daily food into several small meals during the day and night. Eating properly every few hours is preferable to gorging a lot of food in one or two large meals.
For example, make a sandwich on low-calorie, wholewheat bread, with lowfat, unsweetened spreads such as white cheese with up to 5% fat, hummus, tehina and so on). Or have vegetables or chicken salad or tuna or yogurt with oatmeal or an omelet with wholewheat bread and a salad.
Eat plenty of vegetables in a variety of colors and shapes (stir-fried, antipasti, salad, soup and more).
Drink plenty of water, plus tea or coffee, 10 to 12 glasses daily for men or eight to 10 cups for women. You can use natural stevia or other beneficial sweeteners.
To help lose weight from the holidays, increase your physical activity. The weather is not too hot, and it isn’t yet too cold or wet. Go for a walk or, if you can, run; go bicycling, swimming, dancing and any activity that you love and that is accessible for you.
My 92-year-old mother suffers from a pressure sore. She is not bedbound or chairbound, but owing to balance problems, she sits a lot – hence the sore on her buttock. She has a foam-cushion device on her chair and bed, but this has still not resolved the problem.
I would like to know if there is there a cream I could buy overthe- counter or by prescription that would help heal the sore. I suggested that she use aloe vera as it is a good skin healer, and she also takes tablets of zinc, which I know is a skin healer as well. I know that the only way to heal these sores is to prevent them, but...
-E.N., Givat Shmuel
Dr. Ephraim Jaul, director of the department of complex nursing at Jerusalem’s Herzog Hospital, replies:
Your mother suffers from a problem of instability and falls, thus preferring to be seated on a chair or lie on a bed. Doing this on a hard surface for a long time without proper cushioning is a problem.
The question is why she suffers from unstable walking and if using a supportive walker would not solve the problem. As soon as she gets up and walks even a few steps and sits down, she is already taking the pressure off the buttocks.
The second is the need for a dynamic seat made of viscoelastic gel or air cushions. This will lower the pressure. There are various brands available on the market. Consult with Yad Sarah about what she needs. The problem is not what ointment she should apply on her skin but the need to prevent pressure. The moment she doesn’t sit for a long period of time but rather walks a few steps with a walker and undergoes physical therapy to give her confidence, the pressure will be reduced and the sore will heal and, it is hoped, not return.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 9100002, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527 or email it to jsiegel@jpost.com, giving your initials, age and place of residence.