Achieve Permanent Weight Loss
It's impossible to read the news without seeing yet another article about the growing obesity problem in the United States and worldwide. To complicate matters, there is growing evidence that most diets are ineffective in the long term. Most dieters lose weight only to gain most (if not all) of it back in the months and years following the diet.
What can a person do who wants to take off some excess weight? The answer is making lifestyle changes that will be permanent. Diets by their very nature are temporary, and the weight loss they help you achieve is often temporary as well. To lose weight permanently, you need to make permanent changes to your lifestyle. None of these are particularly difficult, but when implemented over time, they can make a significant difference in your health and weight.
Sipping on sodas, juices, even coffee and tea (with cream and sugar) can add hundreds of calories per day. Even worse, liquids aren't particularly filling, so you'll still be hungry even though you just drank two hundred calories! Instead, substitute water for calorie-laden choices. You'll save calories and be doing something healthy for your body.
Give up Junk Food
We all love chips, candies, cookies, and the like, but these add lots of calories to our diets and very little nutritional value. Because they're made with refined flour and sugar, they're not even very satisfying, so you can easily eat a handful and still feel hungry. Skip the junk food and choose healthier snacks instead. Fruit and fruit-flavored yogurts are good choices if you want something sweet or creamy. If you prefer salt, try popcorn or a handful of nuts. Salted cucumber slices or even salted raw potato slices make a great crunchy snack.
Close the Kitchen
Choose a time in the evening and "close" your kitchen after then. It's all too easy to add hundreds of calories to your daily total while watching television or hanging out with the family. Clean up after dinner and put away any leftovers so they won't tempt you. Pack lunches right away so you won't snack while doing so later.
Food and Television Don't Mix
Make a new rule in your home and ask that everyone follow it. Eat in the kitchen and nowhere else. It's easy to "forget" how much you eat when you snack in front of the television. Instead of noticing what you're eating, you concentrate on the program you're watching. Before you know it, you've eaten half a bag of chips! By eating in the kitchen and away from the television, you make yourself notice what you're eating and how much.
Make Smart Substitutions
It's easy to make small changes in your diet that will help save calories and boost your nutritional intake without denying you the food that you enjoy. Choose lower fat dairy products, like milk, sour cream, and yogurt. Try foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Substitute whole grain breads for those made with refined flour. Experiment with different brands and find out what you and your family like.
Eat Your Veggies
Your mom was right; you should eat your vegetables. While the dietary recommendations are for five fruits and vegetables each day, many doctors recommend you strive to eat even more than that. How can you work that many fruits and vegetables into your diet? Practice adding vegetables to other dishes. Eggs can be mixed with spinach, mushrooms, onions, etc. for a delicious omelet. Add vegetables to lasagna or other pasta dishes. Serve a green salad (made with dark leafy greens, not iceberg lettuce) a few times a week. Try working in some variety to your diet as well; choose vegetables that you haven't tried before, or cook them in ways you haven't tried.
Exercise will not only help you lose weight and keep it off, it's a wonderful way to keep healthy over the years. You don't have to do extremely strenuous exercise; start with doing something each day that gets you moving. Wear a pedometer and start tracking your steps. Get some light dumbbells and begin doing some lifting. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure it's something you enjoy doing and will continue to do as time progresses.
Small changes can help you make powerful improvements to your health and body. As time progresses, you'll improve your health, feel better, and look better.
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