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Monday, April 23, 2007

Five healthy, pain-free changes you need to make today!


So you're convinced you need to do something, but you're not ready to commit to any drastic changes. Here are a few things you can do to start moving in the right direction. Are you going to drop 20 pounds overnight? No, but I'd like you to consider these effective weight management strategies to help you start moving in a positive direction.

Switch to lowfat or fat-free dairy products

Slowly transition from full fat dairy products to lower fat versions. If you drink whole milk, try 2% until you become accustomed to it, then switch to 1%, etc. Switching directly to skim is not an easy transition so ease into it. By the way whole fat milk is 3.25% milkfat so even switching to 2% is a 40% decrease in fat. The reasoning behind the switch is two-fold. First, you'll cut a small, but significant source of calories that you won't miss. Second, and most importantly, whole dairy products contain loads of saturated fat. Reducing dietary saturated fat is a big step in reducing your LDL (bad) cholesterol level. It's even more effective than reducing your dietary cholesterol!

Drink more water

Besides being necessary for all bodily functions, water can reduce hunger cravings. By drinking lots of water, you can reduce hunger by keeping your stomach filled. Aim to drink a gallon of water a day. Is that a lot? Yes. Here's a water drinking tip: Get yourself a 16 oz. or larger cup. Fill it with water. Drink the water. When you need to go to the bathroom, refill the cup. Repeat throughout the day.

Eat more slowly

By eating slowly you give your brain time to process the fact that you have eaten food and are less likely to overeat.

Eat smaller, more frequent meals

OK, so you want to make a dietary change, but you are not quite ready to give up the Big Macs or enchiladas. Like I’ve said in the past ANY foods can be a part of a healthy diet, in moderation. A great strategy for eating in moderation is to eat smaller, more frequent meals…5-7 meals per day. By splitting up your normal meals into 2 meals, eating one at mealtime and one 2-3 hours later you will get more satiety for the calories consumed and are less likely to overeat later in the day or during the evening. If you take your lunch to work, simply package the meal into 2 smaller meals. If you go out for lunch, get a to go box and put half of the meal in the box BEFORE YOU START EATING. Then take the rest back to work and eat it as an afternoon snack. If you don’t make any of the other changes listed here, make this one. It works.

When snacking, don't multitask

Feel like you’ve just got to sit down and have a snack. Try not to plop down in front of the television to do it. If you want potato chips, you’re much more likely to over consume if you are concentrating on something else and not being mindful of what you are eating. Who hasn’t plopped down in front of the television with a bag of chips only to realize that the bag is now empty. What happened to the chips? You won’t have any doubts the next time you step on the scale. Eat the food you enjoy, but be mindful of how much.

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