Monday, October 6, 2008

25 Little Tips for Big Weight Loss

25 Little Tips for Big Weight Loss
By Karen Hammonds | 8/30/2004

You've decided. You're committed. You're ready to drop some weight. Time to slash your food intake and rent a room at the gym, right? Not necessarily. Small, subtle changes can make a big difference over time. And small changes are easier to work into your current routine.

Think in terms of manageable baby steps, like swapping the cream in your morning coffee for nonfat creamer. There are lots of little changes you can make — in your diet and your daily routine — that will add up to healthy weight loss over the long haul.

Take a look at our 25 tips below. You'll learn to eat smarter, fit exercise into your busy day and revamp your daily routine. Start by picking five changes that you're sure you can tackle and put them into practice this week. Then try another five next week. (Click the "printable page" link above to print this page for easy reference.)

Not every idea is right for everyone, so experiment and see what works for you. Lots of little changes can yield big weight-loss results — and a healthier new you!

Eating Tips

  • Good things come in small packages. Here's a trick for staying satisfied while still keeping portions under control: Cut high-calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like you're getting more than you actually are.

  • Don't give up dips. If you love creamy dips and sauces, don't cut them out of your diet completely. Just use low-fat sour cream or mayo instead of the full-fat stuff.

  • Get water-wise. Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water instead of a high-calorie snack. It will help your overall health as well as your waistline. Add some zest with a twist of lemon or lime.

  • Herb it up. Stock up your spice rack, and start growing a small herb garden in your kitchen window. Spices and herbs add fantastic flavor to foods without adding fat or calories.

  • Slim down your soup. Make a big batch of soup and refrigerate it before you eat it. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top. Skim it off the surface for reduced fat content.

  • Doggie-bag that dinner. At restaurants, ask the server to put half your entrée in a doggie bag before bringing it to your table. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you practice portion control.

  • Listen to your cravings. If you're craving something sweet, eat something sweet — just opt for a healthier nosh, like fruit, instead of a high-calorie one. The same goes for crunchy cravings — for example, try air-popped popcorn with soy sauce instead of high-fat tortilla chips. It's just smart substitution!

  • Ease your way into produce. If you're new to eating lots of fruits and veggies, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you already enjoy. Pile veggies on top of your sandwiches, or add fruit to your cereal.

  • Look for high-fat hints. Want an easy way to identify high-calorie entrees? Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin, parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them in moderation.

  • Don't multitask while you eat. If you're working, reading or watching TV while you eat, you won't be paying attention to what's going into your mouth — and you won't be enjoying every bite. Every time you sit down for a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay attention to flavors and textures. You'll enjoy your food more and eat less.

  • Taste something new. Broaden your food repertoire — you may find you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or vegetable (ever had jicama, plantain, bok choy, starfruit or papaya?).

  • Leave something on your plate at every meal. One bite of bagel, half your sandwich, the bun from your burger. See if you feel satisfied eating just a bit less.

  • Get to know your portion sizes. It's easy to underestimate how much you're eating. Don't just estimate things — make sure. Ask how much is in a serving, read the fine print on labels, measure your food. And learn portion equivalents: One serving of pasta, for instance, should be around the size of a tennis ball.

  • Make a healthy substitution. Learn to swap healthier foods for their less-healthful counterparts. Find a substitution that works for you: Use skim milk instead of whole milk; make up a batch of brownie mix with applesauce instead of oil; try a whole-grain bread instead of white.

  • Bring lunch to work. Packing lunch will help you control your portion sizes. It also provides a good alternative to restaurants and fast-food joints, where making healthy choices every day can be challenging (not to mention expensive).

  • Have some dessert. You don't have to deny yourself all the time. Have a treat that brings you pleasure, but this time enjoy it guilt-free — be sure you're practicing portion control, and compensate for your indulgence by exercising a little more or by skipping your afternoon snack.

  • Ask for what you need. Tell your mother-in-law you don't want seconds. Ask your sweetie to stop bringing you chocolates. Speak up for the salad bar when your coworkers are picking a restaurant for lunch. Whatever you need to do to succeed at weight loss, ask for it. Make yourself a priority and assert yourself.

Fitness Tips

  • Improve your treadmill technique. When walking on a treadmill, don't grip the rails. It's fine to touch them for balance, but you shouldn't have to hold on. If you do, that might be a signal you should lower the intensity level.

  • Simon says ... get fit. Here's an easy way to fit in exercise with your kids: Buy a set of one-pound weights and play a round of Simon Says — you do it with the weights, they do it without. They'll love it!

  • Make the most of your walks. If your walking routine has become too easy, increase your effort by finding hills. Just be sure to tackle them at the beginning of your walk, when you have energy to spare.

  • Shop 'til you drop ... pounds. Add a workout to your shopping sessions by parking your car as far from the store as possible, to get more walking in. And try walking up the escalator — getting to your destination faster will be an added bonus.

  • Walk an extra 100 steps at work. Adding even a little extra exercise to your daily routine can boost your weight loss. Today, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stroll down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail or calling.

Lifestyle Tips

  • Brush your teeth after every meal and snack. This will be a signal to your mouth — and your mind — that it's time to stop eating. Brushing will also give your mouth a nice fresh taste that you'll be disinclined to ruin with a random potato chip. At work, keep toothpaste and a covered toothbrush in your desk drawer.

  • Clean your closet! First, it's great exercise. Second, it's an important step in changing your attitude. Get rid of all the clothes that make you look or feel bad. Throw out anything that's too big — don't give yourself the option of ever fitting into those clothes again. Move the smaller clothes up to the front to help motivate you. Soon, you'll be fitting into those too-tight jeans you couldn't bear to part with.

  • Take your measurements. You might not like your stats now, but you'll be glad you wrote them down when you see how many inches you lose. It's also another way to measure your success, instead of just looking at the scale. Sometimes even when the numbers on the scale aren't going down, the measurements on your body are.

1 comment:

CB said...

When it comes to healthy eating, you don’t necessarily need to cut junk foods, like chocolate, completely out of your diet, yet you should limit your intake. If you find that you have a problem cutting junk food or sweets from your diet, you may want to create an eating schedule for yourself. That eating schedule could include days or meals where you allow yourself to have a treat.


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