Top 10 Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight
Making little changes can make a big difference
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Weight control is all about making small changes that you can live with forever. As you incorporate these minor adjustments into your lifestyle, you'll begin to see how they can add up to big calorie savings and weight loss. Here are my top 10 habits to help you turn your dream of weight loss into a reality:
1. Evaluate your eating habits. Are you eating late at night, nibbling while cooking, finishing the kids' meals? Take a look around, and it will be easy to identify a few behaviors you can change that will add up to big calorie savings.
2. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. You need a strategy for your meals and snacks. Pack healthful snacks for the times of day that you know you are typically hungry and can easily stray from your eating plan.
3. Always shop with a full belly. It's a recipe for disaster to go into the grocery store when you are hungry. Shop from a prepared list so impulse buying is kept to a minimum. Eating right starts with stocking healthy food in your pantry and refrigerator.
4. Eat regular meals. Figure out the frequency of your meals that works best in your life and stick to it. Regular meals help prevent bingeing.
5. Eat your food sitting down at a table, and from a plate. Food eaten out of packages and while standing is forgettable. You can wind up eating lots more than if you sit down and consciously enjoy your meals.
6. Serve food onto individual plates, and leave the extras back at the stove. Bowls of food on the table beg to be eaten, and it takes incredible will power not to dig in for seconds. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your mind to get the signal from your belly that you are full.
7. Eat slowly, chew every bite, and savor the taste of the food. Try resting your fork between bites and drinking plenty of water with your meals.
8. Don't eat after dinner. This is where lots of folks pack on the extra pounds. If you are hungry, try satisfying your urge with a non-caloric beverage or a piece of hard candy. Brushing your teeth after dinner helps reduce the temptation to eat again.
9. If you snack during the day, treat the snack like a mini-meal. The most nutritious snacks contain complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fat.
10. Start your day with breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. After a long night's rest, your body needs the fuel to get your metabolism going and give you energy for the rest of the day.
Originally published Sept. 22, 2003
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