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Summer is the season to be active and exercise


Eating a good diet and getting plenty of exercise are the healthiest ways to lose weight.

Summertime is the time of year when a lot of people become more active and try to lose weight. Patients often tell me about an upcoming family reunion, class reunion, wedding or even a vacation where they would like to look their very best. I will take that motivation to exercise and lose weight from wherever I can get it. However, I do remind patients that summer bodies are made in the winter.

I have also heard of some very extreme diets. I generally ask patients to be cautious when dieting. We want you to look great but it is most important that you do it in a healthy manner.

One of the misconceptions I see the most is that people believe they can exercise all the weight away without making significant changes to their diets. Diet is a key element. You need to decrease the calorie content but it is important that the diet be nutritious to refuel the body and provide the protein needed to heal the body with the extra exercise that occurs.

There are different ideas on what to eat and when to eat. Some believe that eating frequent meals on a regular schedule to keep one's metabolism up is the way to go. Others believe that periods of fasting are the new way to go. There are pros and cons to each of these ideas. I recommend looking at yourself and figuring what works for you.

There are diets that have no carbohydrates, sugars or other restrictions. Each diet has its pros or cons but most of the extreme diets are not ones that can be maintained for extended periods of time. The question then must be asked, what happens when the extreme diet is no longer practiced? How will you eat then? Will the weight be regained quickly?

You have to really take the time to look at yourself and ask several difficult questions. How much does it mean to you to lose weight? How committed are you willing to be for this goal? Are you in it for the long haul or until your goal is attained? Losing weight is very hard and keeping it off is even harder. Having mental toughness is important.

Most diets will work. Make sure they are healthy. If you have doubts about whether a diet is risky or may exacerbate your health problems, ask your healthcare provider.

Exercise does not have to be extreme or involve a gym. Walking regularly is a great start. Once you see some weight loss and others notice, it often helps with the motivation to stay on a diet.

Losing weight will not only help you look better, it will help with your general health so you may live a better quality and longer life.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Email Dr. Bland at