Thursday, November 18, 2010
Weight loss is a gradual process

Dr. Policastro was the author of last week's column titled "You don't always have to be on the front lines to experience war." His name was inadvertently omitted.

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Everybody knows that it is easier to gain weight than to lose it and there is a very logical reason for this. The average person needs about 1,800 calories per day which amounts to between 600 and 700 calories per meal. This does not include snacks so it is very easy to reach that amount. A typical meal at a fast food restaurant will provide over 1,000 calories at one meal. If someone wants to lose weight they need to eat fewer calories. However, trying to cut calories down below 600 per meal is difficult. Almost anything you eat will provide about 300 calories. Eating three very light meals of 300 calories will get you down to 900 calories for the entire day. That might include a small bowl of cereal with skim milk for breakfast, a small sandwich for lunch and vegetables and fruit for dinner. It is hard for someone to do that even for one day let alone a longer period of time. On the other hand, suppose someone decides to have a Big Mac and medium fries for a meal which is 820 calories. If they have that many calories three times a day that is almost 900 more that the 1,800 calories they need. Thus it is easy to increase the number of calories without eating a lot more. However, it is very difficult to reduce the number of calories because even eating light builds calories quickly. An alternative way of thinking about dieting looks at days won and days lost. Each day, you should be able to get a feel for whether you are splurging on calories or not. The days that you do are days lost. The days that you do not are days won. The goal is to have more days won than days lost. The thing to remember is that most days won are going to be 1,200 to 1,500 calorie (300 calories below the 1,800) days. This is about the best you can expect on a typical day. Most days lost are going to be about 3,000 calorie (1,200 calories above the 1,800) days. For that reason you need about four wins to each loss. Most people would expect that one over day should equal one under day but it doesn't work that way. For this reason, weight loss goals need to be measured in months as opposed to days or weeks. Weight loss of a pound a month is 12 pounds a year and 60 pounds over 5 years. We tend to be in such a hurry that if the results are not immediately obvious, we give up. If you have 24 wins and six losses each month, you should be on a good pace. This would be a good record for any sports team. Perhaps the better approach to weight loss is like a sports team, striving for a good record with more wins than losses.

Flu shots offered to public Sussex County residents paying their property taxes, obtaining marriage licenses or applying for building permits will find one more convenience available at County offices this November: on-the-spot, easy-to-get flu shots. Sussex County government and Bayhealth Occupational Health are teaming up to make flu shots available to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18. The shots are $26 each, and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis in the atrium of the County Administrative Offices building, 2 The Circle, in Georgetown. Only cash will be accepted. No appointment is necessary. Ordinarily, flu shots are offered through doctor's offices, local clinics and the State's Division of Public Health. However, an overstock order of flu shots that had been set aside for another employer made it possible to pass on an estimated 300 doses to the public, said Kimberly Beauchamp of the County's Personnel office. For more information, contact the Sussex County Personnel office at 855-7711, or Bayhealth Medical Center at 674-7947.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford.

The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones held at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The next meeting takes place on Dec. 20 at 4:30 p.m. The Wellness Community, an affiliate of the Cancer Support community, is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. Facilitators are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree or more. Call 645-9150 for information or to register. All support groups offered at the Wellness Community are free of charge. This program is made possible by the support of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

Competition to improve school meals Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge to improve school meals and the health of children across the nation through the creation of exciting new recipes for inclusion on school lunch menus. The competition will draw on the talents of chefs, students, food service professionals, and parents or other community members working together to develop tasty, nutritious, kid-approved foods. There will be a grand prize chosen by the judging panel as well as a Popular Choice winner based on public voting. The judges will also choose award winners for the top two recipes in each category. Winning teams will be invited to prepare their nutrition-packed meals alongside White House chefs. The top ten recipes in each category will be published in a Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook to share with students and families. To learn more about the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, visit The deadline for recipe submissions is Dec. 30. For more information, visit

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month according to the following schedule:
  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rte. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
"New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.