Friday, November 6, 2009

You Don’t Need a Knife to Cut Calories

Today on FOCUS Friday I present a column of mine which was originally published in The Henry County Times on October 28, 2009. I hope it inspires you to consider your health and the decisions you make because remember there are many who love and care for you.

You Don’t Need a Knife to Cut Calories

According to the Center for Disease Control, 67% of Americans are obese or overweight. This indicates we need to make a change in our lifestyles. We may not need a knife to cut calories but we do need a diet. Notice I said “a” diet not “to” diet. If you are looking “to” diet then you are only looking for a short term fix. A diet is simply the foods we eat. Dieting is something people do to lose weight but I really do not like that term. It implies once we lose the weight we no longer need a diet. However, I have found if you are not committed to changing your habits and developing a healthy lifestyle, once you finish dieting you fall back into those old habits and you gain all of the weight you lost and more. This is known as the yo-yo effect. In our journey to achieve the weight loss we desire there are many simple things we can do to cut calories out of our diet. Below are a few of the things which have helped me to lose over 100 pounds.

• Keep a journal of what you eat. This is one of the most important steps. If you don’t know what you are eating, how will you know what to change? This can be done simply by using a pad and pencil, your computer or a PDA. Include everything from the smallest nibble to your main meal writing down the calories and/or fat grams.
• Pay attention to nutritional labels to insure you are recording the information correctly and to find the actual serving size. In the beginning it is important to weigh and measure your food to learn what portion sizes look like.
• Eat some nuts about 20 minutes before dinner. Nibbling on some walnuts, almonds or peanuts are a source of good fat. Do not eat a lot of nuts; just a few will help produce a hormone that tells your brain you are full.
• Use a smaller plate as your dinner plate. This will fool your mind into thinking you are eating more.
• Always put your food on a plate. If you see what you eat instead of reaching into a bag or jar you are less likely to overeat.
• Sit at the table when you eat. Make a rule not to eat in front of the TV or computer.
• Eat your low calorie items first. If you fill up on salad or veggies you will not eat as much of the meats and starches.
• Use whole grain breads and pastas. Refined grains remove many of the nutritional health benefits that are found in whole grains. Oatmeal and whole wheat flours are great sources of whole grains.
• Use mustard instead of mayonnaise.
• Use skim milk or one percent milk instead of whole milk.
• Drink water before meals. This helps fill your stomach where you will not eat as much. Drinking plenty of water is essential to our good health.
• Only have one glass of fruit juice a day. Fruit juice is usually as high in calories as soda.
• Get off of the regular cola. Studies have shown by switching to diet you will lose 25 pounds a year. This goes for sweet tea and lemonade too.
• Eat your fruit instead of drinking it. It will fill you up more.
• Eat soup and/or veggies for lunch. Have non-creamy style soups.
• Bring your lunch to work instead of being tempted to eat at high calorie restaurants.
• Eat at home. You know what is going in your food and how it is prepared.
• When eating out divide your meal in half and get a doggy bag for the rest. Ask for nutritional information or look it up before you go. If you are going to eat dessert, order one and share.

If we just take it one step at a time we will be successful in our weight loss goals. I know that sounds cliché but it is true. We cannot expect to lose all the weight overnight. We did not put it on overnight, how can we expect to lose it quickly? But if we take it slow and set small goals in time we will achieve success. If you find it difficult to do everything on the list at once, then make one change today. Little by little start following another guideline. Make the commitment to yourself to make a lifestyle change, continue to strive towards your goals and you will be successful.

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  1. I so need to lose weight. A mountain to climb...but I'll try.

  2. some very very good tips here! well done!!

  3. Thank you for your good tips.
    Have a great week-end

  4. Great tips, Oldman... I need to lose 20 pounds. *sigh*


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