Thursday, May 26, 2011

Achieving Success in Weight Loss!

Your weight is a balancing act, but the equation is simple: If you eat more calories than you burn, then you gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.

Since 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound of fat, if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you'll lose approximately 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Simple, right? So why is weight loss so hard?

All too often, we make weight loss much more difficult then it needs to be with extreme diets that leave us cranky and starving, unhealthy lifestyle choices that undermine our dieting efforts, and emotional eating habits that stop us before we get started. But there’s a better way! You can lose weight without feeling miserable. By making smart choices every day, you can develop new eating habits and preferences that will leave you feeling satisfied—and all while winning the battle of the bulge!

Rapid Weight Loss

Fiber: the secret to feeling satisfied while losing weight
If you want to lose weight without feeling hungry and deprived all the time, start eating foods high in fiber. High-fiber foods are higher in volume, which makes them filling. They also take longer to chew, which makes them more satisfying to eat. High-fiber foods also take a long time to digest, which means you’ll feel full longer. There’s nothing magical about it, but the weight-loss results may seem like it.

High-fiber heavyweights include:
Fruits and vegetables – Enjoy whole fruits across the rainbow (strawberries, apples, oranges, berries, nectarines, plums), leafy salads, and green veggies of all kinds.
Beans – Select beans of any kind (black beans, lentils, split peas, pinto beans, chickpeas). Add them to soups, salads, and entrees, or enjoy them as a hearty dish of their own.
Whole grains – Try high-fiber cereal, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat or multigrain bread, bran muffins, or air-popped popcorn.

Counting calories and measuring portion sizes can quickly become tedious. But you don’t need an accounting degree to enjoy produce. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, it’s generally safe to eat as much as you want, whenever you want. No measuring cups or calorie tables required.

The high water and fiber content in most fruits and vegetables makes them hard to overeat. You’ll feel full long before you’ve overdone it on the calories.

Get plenty of sleep
Lack of sleep has been shown to have a direct link to hunger, overeating, and weight gain. Exhaustion also impairs your judgment, which can lead to poor food choices. Aim for around 8 hours of quality sleep a night.

Get plenty of exercise
Exercise is a dieter’s best friend! It not only burns calories, but can actually improve your resting metabolism. No time for a long workout? Research shows that three 10-minute spurts of exercise per day are just as good as one 30-minute workout. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park in the back of the parking lot. Every bit helps.

Drink more water
You can easily reduce your daily calorie intake by replacing soda, alcohol, or coffee with water. Thirst can also be confused with hunger, so by drinking water, you may avoid consuming extra calories, plus it will help you break down food more easily.

Here's 5 tips on how to lose the extra pounds healthily, from The Harvard School of Public Health:
  1. Ban the strange diets. They may work in the short term, but almost any strange, extreme diet is doomed to fail. Your best friends when it comes to losing weight—and keeping it off? Choosing healthy foods (check out the Healthy Eating Pyramid for ideas) and eating smaller portions, slowly.
  2. Be more active. If there's one best weight loss mantra it's "exercise, exercise, exercise." Choose activities you enjoy and do them every day. Exercising with a friend can help keep you on track. For tips on how to fit exercise into your lifestyle, check out the Staying Active section of Nutrition Source.
  3. Turn off the television. Watching less TV can give you more time to be active—and less time to be enticed by junk food ads. Two easy ways to cut back on TV-watching: take the TV out of your bedroom, and make sure it's off during meals.
  4. Skip the sugary drinks. Drinking sugared soda, fruit drinks, or juice can give you several hundred calories a day without realizing it. Research suggests children and adults who drink soda or other sugary drinks are more likely to gain weight than those who don't, and that switching from these to water or unsweetened drinks can reduce weight.
  5. Think before you eat. Before you mindlessly reach for a snack, pause and ask yourself, Am I really hungry? Is there a healthier choice? It's easy to lose sight of good food choices in today's ad-crazy world. Simple questions like these can help keep us on track.
Because most people put on a pound or two every year, the first, and easiest, goal should be to stop any more weight gain, which has big health benefits itself. After that, getting weight down to a healthy level should be the next step. Quick weight control tips? Get active, choose smaller portions, and eat more s-l-o-w-l-y.

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