08/7 2013

Give It Up (And Lose Weight, Too)

Like winning the Powerball jackpot, the odds of losing weight overnight and keeping it off are slim (excuse the pun).

Instead of expecting miracles, give up a small, unhealthy habit that could make a big impact on your weight long-term. Said again…..

Give up something in your diet you won’t notice you’re missing.

Maybe that something is a store bought scone in the morning. In our family, it tends to be chips. For example, a single serve bag of Lay’s potato chips is 1.5 ounces, or 240 calories (plus 15 grams of fat). If you typically have a bag of chips every workday for lunch (or something comparable), you’ll be consuming 1200 calories and 75 grams of fat every week. If you decide to give them up, however, you’ll be saving 62,400 calories per year. That’s nearly 18 pounds – or that extra weight you’ve been dying to lose.

The catch with this strategy is to pick a habit that is inconsequential to your daily bliss. If giving up a glass of wine at night is painful deprivation, than opt for something less meaningful.

If giving things up isn’t your style, then try one of these easy food-time adjustments to lose or control weight.

Stay busy. Do you ever find yourself with visions of brownies and tortilla chips dancing through your head, especially late morning and mid-afternoon? Stay busy. Get moving. Just get your mind off food and onto something that’s calorie-free!

Serve smaller portions. We can’t control the mounds of food a restaurant serves, unless the menu offers small plates, but we can control what we serve in our own homes. Try using smaller plates and/or bowls, and disguise the portion size altogether.

Remove distractions. If we’re working on the computer, watching TV or playing on the phone, it’s not likely we’re paying attention to what we are eating. So turn ‘em off, converse with others and savor each bite.

Eat more slowly. Whether it’s taking more time between bites or chewing more slowly, it’s important to slow down when eating a meal.  There’s a good chance you’ll eat less in the process.

Fill up on veggies. We’re always telling our kids not to fill up on junk, whether it’s a snack before dinner or French fries during. Why not tell yourself the same? If you load up on healthy veggies, you’ll be less eager for the fattening stuff.

Wait before grabbing seconds. There is debate over how long it takes for the brain to register when the tummy is full, though the consensus is somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes. So the next time you are finished with dinner. Stop, relax and wait a while. If you feel stuffed, you’re more likely to stop.

Be mindful of what you are eating. A concept with Buddhist roots, according to the NYT, mindful eating combines several of the aforementioned principles – eating slowly, removing distractions and savoring each bite. By paying more attention to each morsel of food you eat, you’re more likely to make healthy choices.

Brush your teeth. Who wants to brush and floss your teeth twice in one night? Start cleaning up right after dinner, both the dishes and your mouth.

Go for a walk. If you always eat dessert after dinner, then mix up the routine so you can break the habit. Go for a walk instead of racing to the freezer for ice-cream. Do anything that gets your mind off sweets and onto something more healthy.

Don’t deprive yourself.  Total deprivation may only lead to splurges and binges, so practice moderation in its place. Don’t give up something you love, tone down the affection.

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