Here are eight simple changes to make that will help you drop weight without really trying:
Stop the pop.
Soda consumption can add pounds in a hurry. A majority of sodas and fruit-flavored drinks are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, which has been shown to cause weight gain and ultimately insulin resistance that can lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Soda is also high in calories. Substitute water instead, which is what your body is really craving anyway.
- What is the Problem with Soft Drinks?
- What to Know About Corn Sweeteners
- Can Artificial Sweeteners Make You Gain Weight?
Walk away from bad snacks.
Snack foods, such as packaged cookies and cakes, crackers, chips and doughnuts, are tempting, easy to eat and even easier to eat too much of. There's not a lot of nutrition in these snacks, and they are usually loaded with sugar and fat. If it's in a crinkly cellophane bag or brightly colored box, chances are it's a bad snack.
Eat a green thing.
Or a red thing ... or an orange thing. Fruits and vegetables are nature's best snacks. They are low in calories, full of fiber, a great source of antioxidants and (with a few exceptions) virtually fat free. What's not to like?
Don't eat anything creamy.
Creamy equals fatty. Cream soups, sauces, salad dressings, gravies, anything that shimmers, undulates or oozes is a waistline buster. If it tops or coats another food source, it falls in to the same category. Just step away.
Say no to fried foods.
Grilling, baking or roasting food is much lower in calories than frying it in hot grease. Sure, fried food is crispy and flavorful, but did you ever taste it when it's had time to cool down? Cold, leftover fried food is sodden, heavy and greasy. It's got the same amount of fat in it when it's hot out of the fryer, but we don't notice it then because it tastes so good. Hot fat has as many calories as cold fat. Trans fats are also used in deep frying and can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Beware of the drive-thru window.A drive-thru window is like a portal with a gravitational pull that can suck you in to the land of high-calorie, high-fat fast food. Sure, you could order something low calorie or low fat, if they even have it on the menu. When you pull up to that window, though, the smell of fried wonderfulness hits you in the face. All virtuous healthy thoughts are blasted out of your head and the empty place is filled with longing for whatever that is that smells so good. Drive away. Drive away now.
Eat at home.
I haven't seen any fancy studies that tell me that if I eat at home, I'm going to save calories. So you may say that I've done my own study: I have discovered that if I make my own lunch, I can pack it with as many flavorful, healthy foods as I want and bypass restaurant meals. If I cook breakfast, my egg and toast will have a lot less calories than a fast food breakfast sandwich. In other words, if you cook it, you will lose.
Need some easy low fat or low carb recipes to start you on your way? Check out these About.com websites...
- Easy Recipes from Fiona Haynes, About.com Guide to Lowfat Cooking
- Low Carb Recipes from Laura Dolson, About.com Guide to Low Carb Diets
Take a walk.
As you're walking away from unhealthy food choices, consider walking for 30 minutes a day. That's a stroll around the block or a promenade around the mall. Park in the far back corner of a parking lot or a few blocks from your destination, and walk the rest of the way. Sneak the walking in and pounds will disappear.
Little changes are easier to stick to than a complicated diet plan. Weight loss, decreased risk of heart disease and lower blood sugar levels are all benefits that can be had when changing your lifestyle for the better.
George A Bray, Samara Joy Nielsen and Barry M Popkin, (2004, April). Consumption of High-Fructose Corn Syrup in Beverages May Play a Role in the Epidemic of Obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79, Retrieved July 30, 2008, from http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/79/4/537
Herman, Robin (2001, February 15). Study Finds Increased Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Promotes Childhood Obesity. Retrieved July 30, 2008, from Harvard School of Public Health Web site: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/archives/2001-releases/press02152001.html
Matthias B. Schulze, DrPH; JoAnn E. Manson, MD; David S. Ludwig, MD; Graham A. Colditz, MD; Meir J. Stampfer, MD; Walter C. Willett, MD; Frank B. Hu, MD , (2004, August 25). Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle-Aged Women. JAMA, 292, Retrieved July 30, 2008, from http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/30/11/2951