Lose weight the healthy way
by Marlene Mathis copyright © 2004
Ana Health http://www.anahealth.com
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It's definitely no fun to lose weight -- put it back on, lose weight, put it back on, and so on. Just as you learn the rules of a new diet, you find yourself trying to get around them. What if all you had to do to lose weight was to eat less?
You may think it can't be done. However, experts say it can. Of course it sounds simpler than it is, but it's no more difficult to commit to healthy eating habits than it is to follow the diets most of us have tried.
In the end, it will actually be easier because you will feel less restricted as you begin to learn how to eat right instead of how to follow the rules of the newest popular diet. Here are a few tips to help you started:
* Eat smaller portions, including items with protein, fat, and fiber in each meal. This combination is the one that researchers have found effective in helping to keep hunger pangs away.
* Drink two full glasses of water with each meal. It will help you feel full and keep your body hydrated.
* Eat breakfast. This critical meal jump-starts your metabolism for the day. But avoid empty calories like those found in doughnuts, many cereals, and sugar-laden pastries. They will only leave you feeling tired and hungry by mid-morning. For best results, eat items with plenty of protein and fiber.
* Don't count calories or weigh food. Simply use the palm of your hand as a portion control guide. Most of us are fully aware of what a "too large" portion looks like. We also know how it makes us feel. You should never feel bloated or stuffed-eat only until you are not hungry. You really aren't giving up anything if you save the rest for later. If it helps, think of it as taking a break when you set food aside for another time.
* Give up something. It might be your nightly glass of wine, chocolate bars, or regular soft drinks. Then, commit to doing without the item for one full year. You'll find that you'll feel better without the sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. You certainly won't miss the calories as your waistline begins to shrink.
* Identify your comfort food. What is it that you reach for in times of stress? Pizza, fried chicken, or a burger with fries all seem to top the list of foods people reach for when feeling down, anxious, and tired. Instead of reaching for food to comfort you, engage in a favorite activity. Go golfing, take a walk through your neighborhood, or hop on your bicycle for a quick spin.
* Be aware that food is often used as substitute for other types of satisfaction. Take a look at your job, your family life, and your spiritual connections. Work to improve areas that are causing you discomfort and you will see the desire for unhealthy food fade away. Maybe it's time to start looking for a new job, go back to college, or find a church.
Taking control of your weight is more about taking control of your life than anything else. Don't allow yourself to make decisions based on food. Why be chained to someone else's diet rules when you know yourself better than anyone else. Put that knowledge to work, and watch your weight disappear.
If you want to make weight disappear faster, and to help keep those pounds off, be sure to exercise regularly. Walking 30 minutes daily is something most people can achieve and keep it up right into the senior years.
Marlene Mathis is webmaster at Ana Health, the comprehensive health information resource. Subscribe to her ezine Health Vista at http://www.anahealth.com