The surest way to succeed in keeping your health goals is by making small changes. Think in terms of manageable baby steps, like swapping the half-and-half in your morning coffee for fat-free or low-fat milk. There are lots of little changes you can make — in your food plan and daily routine — that will add up to a lot of weight loss over the long haul.
Take a look at our health tips below for eating healthfully, fitting exercise into your busy day and revamping your daily routine. Start by picking five changes that you’re sure you can tackle and practice them this week. Then try another five next week. Not every idea is right for everyone, so experiment and see what works for you. Lots of little changes can yield big weight-loss results — and a healthier new you!
1. Good things come in small packages
Here’s a trick for staying satisfied without consuming large portions: Chop high-calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like you’re getting more than you actually are.
2. Get “water-wise”
Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water instead of a high-fat snack. It will help your overall health as well as your waistline. So drink up! Add some zest to your six to eight glasses a day with a twist of lemon or lime.
3. Doggie-bag that dinner
At restaurants that you know serve large portions, ask the waiter to put half of your main course in a take-home box before bringing it to your table. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you practice portion control.
4. Ease your way into produce
If you’re new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you already enjoy. Pile salad veggies into your sandwiches, or add fruit to your cereal.
5. Look for high-fat hints
Want an easy way to identify high-calorie meals? Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin, parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them in moderation.
6. Don’t multi-task while you eat
If you’re working, reading or watching TV while you eat, you won’t be paying attention to what’s going into your mouth — and you won’t be enjoying every bite. Today, every time you have a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay attention to flavors and textures. You’ll enjoy your food more and eat less.
7. Taste something new
Broaden your food repertoire — you may find you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or vegetable (ever had plantain, bak choy, starfruit or papaya?).
8. Leave something on your plate at every meal
One bite of bagel, half your sandwich, the bun from your burger. See if you still feel satisfied eating just a bit less.
9. Get to know your portion sizes
It’s easy to underestimate how much you’re eating. Today, don’t just estimate things — make sure. Ask how much is in a serving, read the fine print on labels, measure your food. And learn portion equivalents: One serving of pasta, for instance, should be around the size of a tennis ball.
10. Bring lunch to school or work tomorrow
Packing lunch will help you control your portion sizes. It also provides a good alternative to restaurants and takeaways, where making healthy choices every day can be challenging (not to mention expensive).
11. Simon says… get fit
Here’s an easy way to fit in exercise with your kids: Buy a set of 1 lb weights and play a round of Simon Says — you do it with the weights, they do it without. They’ll love it!
12. Make the most of your walks
If your walking routine has become too easy, increase your effort by finding hills. Just be sure to tackle them at the beginning of your walk, when you have energy to spare.
13. Shop ’til you drop…pounds!
Add a workout to your shopping sessions by walking around the mall before your start spending. And try walking up the escalator — getting to your destination faster will be an added bonus.
14. Walk an extra 100 steps
Adding even a little extra exercise to your daily routine can boost your weight loss. Today, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stroll down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email or calling.
15. Take your measurements
You might not like your stats now, but you’ll be glad you wrote them down when you see how many inches you’ve lost. It’s also another way to measure your success, instead of just looking at the scale. Sometimes even when the numbers on the scale aren’t going down, the measurements on your body are.
In today’s fast-paced world, many of us struggle with an over-packed schedule and little time to actually sit down to eat. As a result, busy people gulp and go while others – not necessarily under a time crunch – have the habit of eating too fast. The result? They take in too many calories before they realize they’ve eaten enough. After all, it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness.
A recent study has revealed just how much weight gain can be expected based on eating speed. As researchers of this study expected, faster eating was associated with weight gain, but they were surprised at the actual amount of weight gain. The Department of Human Nutrition researchers recently analyzed the relationship between self-reported speed of eating and Body Mass Index in over 1500 middle-aged Australian women. Researchers determined that for every one-step increase in speed in a five-step scale, BMI increased by 2.8 percent, which equates to a weight gain of approximately 4 pounds.
It’s true that eating slowly and taking smaller bites can be very difficult to do, especially when you are busy and famished. But you’ll find it easier to slow the pace if you eat regular meals, and never allow more than four hours to pass between meals.
Still can’t slow down the pace? Try a few tricks we’ve put together at RLGLER to help you put the brakes on speed eating and recognize a full belly. Here are tips to slow down eating.
RLGRER Tip #1: One of the major reasons for eating too fast is not chewing long enough. To slow down your eating, chew every bite a minimum of 10 times–but shoot for 20.
RLGLER Tip #2: Put down the fork or spoon after each bite. This will slow down the automatic response of fork-to-mouth.
RLGLER Tip #3: Sip water regularly or in-between bites. It forces you to put down the fork.
RLGLER Tip #4: Make meals a social time. If you eat with your family or friends engage in conversation. Since you don’t want to be impolite and talk with your mouth full, it will take longer for you to eat. Plus a good conversation and good meal make a great combination.
RLGLER Tip #5: Eat with chopsticks. They automatically slow down your rate of eating and the amount of food you’re going to eat. If you’re a pro with chopsticks, however, use them in the opposite hand! As an added bonus, chopsticks allows heavy sauces to fall through the cracks and stay on the plate where they belong.
RLGLER Tip #6: Don’t wait to eat until you’re ravenously hungry, or you’ll eat quickly and too much. You’ll find yourself inhaling food.
RLEGER Tip #7: Sit down to eat and use a plate. Those who stand are usually rushing through the meal to get on to other things.
RLGLER Tip #8: Eat foods that require some work – artichokes, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pomegranate, crab or lobster. You have to work for your food here and that will help slow you down.
We can actually learn a lot about eating slow from pistachios. A great concept developed by Dr. James Painter , Ph. D., R.D., called “The Pistachio Principle” is a basic idea of slowing down when eating and you will eat less. When eating a pistachio, you must first break open the shell to get the nut out. By having to break each shell open, the consumption rate is much slower. A study found that people who ate in-shell pistachios ate 50% fewer calories. The participants in the study also reported feeling satisfied even having eaten fewer pistachios.
Another study also found that when the empty pistachio shells were left on a table in plain site after eating, 35% fewer calories were eaten. This is kind of a mind trick on the brain. It looks as if you have eaten a large amount of nuts due to the shells but in reality, you have only eaten a few.
RLGLER Tip #9: Try the Bite Counter, a new wristwatch-shaped device that, like a pedometer, keeps count of a specific repetitive physical movement. The machine is described as having the ability to counts bites taken with and without the use of a fork or spoon, such as eating an apple.
Be creative, and develop your own tricks for slowing down your eating.
If you are one of the many people in the battle to fight the bulge you will be pleased to learn that there are actually foods that may help you burn fat. Certain foods have a strong metabolism-boosting impact when eaten. Some of the calories in food you eat are burned off just to digest them, so the net amount of calories is less than the amount contained in the food. This process is called dietary induced thermogenesis. The following list of foods speed up the rate at which your body burns calories in different ways. These foods get a green light, so eat and enjoy!
Low-Fat Dairy: Milk, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese:
Studies show that not getting enough calcium may trigger the release of calcitrol, a hormone that causes us to store fat. Therefore, meeting your daily calcium needs through consumptions of low fat dairy products helps to burn fat more efficiently. Dairy products can boost weight loss efforts, according to a recent study in Obesity Research. People on a reduced-calorie diet who included three to four servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories. Low-fat yogurt is a rich source of weight-loss-friendly calcium, providing about 450 mg per 8-ounce serving, as well as 12 grams of protein.
Berries are high in fiber and fiber keeps you full and satisfied all day on little calories. A 1 cup serving of raspberries contains 8g of fiber and only 60 calories! Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are all high-fiber berries. Fiber also acts like a sponge and absorbs and moves fat through our digestive system faster so that less of it is absorbed.
Foods that contain Vitamin C help metabolize fat faster and make losing weight less difficult. You only need 60 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C a day to meet your body’s basic needs, but raising your daily intake to 500 mg could boost your fat burning potential during exercise by 39%. Researchers at Scripps Clinic found that participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal in a 12-week period lost an average of 3.6 pounds. The study indicates that the unique chemical properties in this vitamin C-packed citrus fruit reduce insulin levels, which promotes weight loss. NOTE: If you are taking medication, check with your doctor about any potentially adverse interactions with grapefruit.
Green tea contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant that can help you body burn more calories while at rest. Caffeine speeds up the heart rate and also frees fatty acid stored in the body, making them more readily available for energy use. Also, green tea contains a compound called ECGC that may help to boost your metabolism as well by speeding up the brain and nervous system.
Water helps to rid the body of toxins and chemicals that may be slowing down your overall metabolism. A new study seems to indicate that drinking water actually speeds up weight loss. Researchers in Germany found that subjects of the study increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Make sure that you are starting your day with a big glass of water and drink throughout the day not just all at one time.
Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Trout, Sardines):
These fish all contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which, besides being incredibly healthy, seem to affect metabolism. Omega-3′s alter levels of leptin, a hormone in the body which directly influences metabolism and determines whether you burn calories or store them as fat. Fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) increase the levels of fat-burning enzymes and decrease the levels of fat-storage enzymes. It’s been shown to boost metabolism by as much as 400 calories per day.
Lean Proteins (Lean Beef, Chicken and Turkey):
Eating lean protein helps to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, keeping metabolism running at full speed. Countless studies have shown that protein can help boost metabolism, lose fat and build lean muscle tissue so you burn more calories.
Spicy Peppers (Jalapenos, habaneros, chili pepper):
Studies show that the chemical compound capsacin, found in peppers, speeds up your heart rate and metabolism. Eating a very spicy meal can actually speed up the metabolism by about 25% for up to 3 hours. Keep Crushed red pepper on the table to spice up everything from scrambled eggs to soup to pasta.
Study after study links calcium and weight loss. Broccoli is not only high in calcium, but also loaded with vitamin C, which boosts calcium absorption. This member of the nutritious cabbage family also has plenty of vitamin A, folate and fiber. And, at just 20-calories per cup, this weight-loss superfood not only fights fat but also contains powerful phytochemicals that boost your immunity and protect against disease. Try it chopped in your salad, or sautéed and used in an omelet or as a side dish.
Despite fewer super-sized meals, American’s waistlines continue to expand, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
According to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers who conducted the study and examined surveys of daily eating habits over a 30-year period, the number of daily meals and snacks consumed by U.S. adults rose to 4.8 in 2006 from 3.8 in 1977.
Many health professionals say that frequent eating in small doses revs up the metabolism and controls hunger, and is a healthier way of eating than three big meals. However, much consideration must also be given to what and how much you eat over the course of the day, not just how often you eat.
Case in point: the analysis also found that although the size of meal portions has stabilized in recent years, the number of total calories consumed is rising. By 2006, the end of the period studied, Americans were consuming 570 more calories per day than they did in the late 1970s. A chief culprit behind the calorie gain: Americans now consume 220 more calories daily from sugar-sweetened soft drinks than they did in the 1960s, the study found.
So it’s okay to switch to diet soda, right? Not so fast. Two new studies presented recently at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Scientific Sessions have linked drinking diet soda to weight gain and that the artificial sweeteners in them could potentially contribute Type 2 diabetes.
In one study, researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, looked at aggregate data from 474 older adults in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, or SALSA. At the time of enrollment and at three follow-up exams thereafter, all participants reported their diet soda intake and were measured for height, weight and waist circumference. The researchers wanted to track any association between diet soda drinking and body fat over time.
People who said they drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced waist size increases that were six times greater than those of people who didn’t drink diet soda, according to researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Researchers said their results were adjusted for other contributing factors like diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level and age.
The data didn’t say why diet sodas might play a role in weight gain, but previous research suggests it has to do with the idea that the brain is wired to expect a big load of calories when foods taste sweet or fatty, but because diet foods fail to deliver, it throws the brain out of whack. Studies in animals suggest that artificial sweetener consumption may lead to even more eating and weight gain, perhaps in part because it triggers the body to start storing more calories as fat.
A second study that found the sweetener aspartame raised blood sugar levels in diabetes-prone mice. The researchers, also from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, fed aspartame, a calorie-free sweetener used in some diet sodas, to diabetes-prone mice. One group of mice ate chow to which both aspartame and corn oil were added; another other group ate chow with only corn oil added. After three months, the mice that ate aspartame showed elevated blood sugar levels. The findings aren’t directly translatable to humans, but may still be meaningful. Maybe it’s time to switch to carbonated water.
Whether your trying to eat healthier, lose weight, incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, or reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates in your diet, these tips will be helpful in making a positive dietary shift.
Start slow – For people who eat sugary snacks more than once per day, starting to choose more healthful snacks, such as fresh fruit, represents a monumental shift in behavior. You might start by substituting fruit for your usual afternoon cookies. Keep track of how many fruits and veggies you’re eating a day right now and add more to your diet – a small, positive change. Then, after a few days, make another change, and then another. Remember, once you get started, the hardest part is over. For most people wanting to make a lifestyle change, the first step is often the hardest.
Set realistic goals – Don’t try to lose 50 pounds in a month – it simply won’t happen. Making positive changes to your diet can help you lose one to two pounds a week healthfully and in a sustainable manner.
Healthy can be delicious – There’s a common misperception about a healthful diet: It’s laborious, expensive, and bland. You can easily convert your favorite dishes into family favorites. For example, you can replace beef burritos with beans, low fat cheese and vegetables for a delicious been burrito. Find recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients.
Think positive – Instead of thinking about all of the things you can’t have, think of all of the things you can have: a rainbow of delicious fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Pile up your plate with lots of servings of these foods for a satisfying, healthy meal.
Change your mindset – Being healthy isn’t just about how much food you have on your plate, but it’s how you think about food. Think about food as something to be enjoyed, not something to simply eat because you have to. Enjoy your meals. Savor them. Arrange the food on your plate so that it’s eye appealing. Plan for family dinners and don’t eat in front of the television.
Variety: eat the rainbow of color – Fruits and vegetables should be the cornerstone of any healthy diet. When selecting what to eat, go for the colors of the rainbow:
Greens are rich in zinc, Vitamins A, C, E and K, iron, potassium and help strengthen the blood.
Fruits provide antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. Apples provide fiber; berries are cancer-fighters; oranges and mangos offer vitamin C.
Sweet veggies can curb cravings for other sweets. Examples of sweet vegetables are sweet potatoes, winter squash, certain onions, corn, carrots and beets.
It may take weeks, months, or even years to reach your goal. Use these tips as a guide to making continuous efforts for your specific dietary goals. Every positive change makes a difference!
“Weight can be inherited, but it can also be contagious.” -Brian Wansink author or “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think”
Brian Wansink, an author of over 100 academic articles and books on eating behavior, has found that when we are with people we enjoy, such as friends, we often lose track of how much, how fast, and how long we are eating for. It seems when we are with others we tend to mimic the speed at which they eat and how much they eat.
Similarly, a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that obesity spreads socially not because friends have shared ideas about acceptable body size, but rather because they share environments and carry out activities together that may contribute to weight gain.
In other words, shared social behaviors, such as eating out at restaurants, and shared surroundings, likely play a bigger role in the obesity “friend effect” than do shared social norms.
Researchers interviewed 101 women and 812 of the their friends and family members (both men and women) and calculated the Body Mass Index for everyone in the study. The initial women in the study were 2.4 times more likely to be obese if their friends were obese. And they were 3.6 times more likely to be obese if their close friends were obese which confirms earlier findings that obesity spreads in social networks.
Participants were asked to choose their ideal body size from nine line drawings of people of different sizes. They were also asked how much they agreed with stigmatizing statements about obesity, such as “People are overweight because they are lazy.” And they were asked whether they would rather be obese or have one of 12 other stigmatizing conditions, including herpes or alcoholism.
The researchers found very little support for the hypothesis that friends’ shared views about acceptable body size cause obesity. Although friends tended to have similar BMIs, their views about body size did not account for this effect.
Therefore, this may suggest that interventions that try to change people’s ideas about how fat or thin they should be won’t be very effective.
Instead, efforts should focus on promoting healthy environments, for instance, making people’s neighborhoods more exercise-friendly and increasing access to healthy foods, the researchers of this study say.
More studies need to be done to find out what accounts for the spread of obesity among friends, but in the meantime, share these tips instead of fatty dips with your friends:
Pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table
Decide how much you want to eat prior to the meal
Avoid temptation by always leaving some food on your plate as if you’re still eating
The word has been out for a while that lack of sleep can mess with weight loss and weight management, but get this: According to a small study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, when dieters in the study got a full night’s sleep, they lost the same amount of weight as when they slept less. When dieters got adequate sleep, however, more than one half of the weight they lost was fat. When they cut back on their sleep, only one fourth of their weight loss came from fat.
Participants were placed on an individualized, balanced diet, with calories restricted to 90% of what each person needed to maintain his or her weight without exercise. Each participant was studied twice: once for 14 days in the laboratory with an 8.5-hour period set aside for sleep, and once for 14 days with only 5.5 hours for sleep. Cutting back on sleep appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting.
Getting adequate sleep also helped control the dieters’ hunger. When sleep was restricted, dieters produced higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure. Higher ghrelin levels have been shown to reduce energy expenditure, stimulate hunger and food intake, and promote retention of fat.
Aside from lack of sleep, rumor also has it that by not eating after a certain time of night, you’ll lose weight. However, it’s not necessarily the time cut-off that will rid you of the pounds. Calories count. Whether you eat them at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m., a calorie is still a calorie. However, if you give yourself fewer chewing hours, you’ll likely take in fewer calories and have more active hours to burn them off. This is especially helpful for late-night snackers who reach for the chips and cookies late night. If this sounds familiar, a cut-off time for eating might be helpful to you.
A recent global survey of worldwide sleep patterns from the Philips Center for Health and Well-being shows that Americans are some of the most sleep-deprived people in the world. So, what can you do about it? Now is your chance to learn which foods to eat and which to steer clear of for a good night’s sleep.
Should you reach for tryptophan-rich foods?
The hormone serotonin is an important factor in triggering sleep. Since our nerve cells use the amino acid tryptophan to make serotonin, much attention has been given to the role of tryptophan (and tryptophan-containing foods) in promoting sleep. Studies of tryptophan’s impact on sleep have found that it is only one phase of sleep – the falling asleep part – that is enhanced by tryptophan. Other aspects of sleep, such as the amount of deep-sleep reached during the night, may actually be harmed by supplemental tryptophan.
Many animal foods are relatively high in tryptophan and might sound like logical candidates for improving sleep. However, these same animal foods are also fairly high in other amino acids (like tyrosine) that could be used to produce other substances (like adrenalin) that would usually decrease with the onset of sleep. In summary, trying to up your serotonin by increasing your evening intake of high-tryptophan foods as a way to improve your sleep is not recommended.
Our serotonin levels respond to other aspects of our diet, however, and one of those aspects is carbohydrate intake. Eating foods higher in carbohydrates raises our blood insulin level. This is because carbohydrates are digested relatively quickly and raise our blood sugar level more quickly than proteins or fats. Along with this increased insulin level there is an increased transport of amino acids into our brain, including tryptophan. More brain tryptophan leads to more brain production of serotonin and increased likelihood of sleep onset.
Put down the burger and chips!
Sometimes we rationalize and think that a big meal will actually help us get to sleep by exhausting our body and having it slow down from exhaustion as it tries to digest the large meal. It’s tempting logic, but research evidence points in the opposite direction. A large meal does the opposite of slowing our body down. It asks our circulatory system to move more blood to our digestive tract. It asks our stomach to secrete more gastric acid. It asks our pancreas to become more active and produce digestive enzymes. In short, a large meal does anything but relax us. Research also shows that people who often eat high-fat foods not only gain weight, they also experience a disruption of their sleep cycles.
Beware of hidden caffeine
It’s no surprise that an evening cup of coffee might disrupt your sleep. Even moderate caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, but don’t forget about less obvious caffeine sources, like chocolate, cola, tea and decaffeinated coffee. For better sleep, cut down your caffeine consumption and avoid caffeine in the hours before going to bed.
With respect to sleep, if you are going to eat a snack 1-2 hours before bed, a small carbohydrate-based snack that includes some protein and some fat would make the most sense. Snacks to get you snoozing might include: 100% whole grain crackers with a schmear of almond butter.
While they might not realize it, parents play a huge role in their children’s eating and exercise habits. Kids are still spending most of their time at home and eating most meals at home. Parents buy and prepare food, and decide what and how much kids can eat. They are responsible for providing opportunities for children to be active and can set rules for TV and video game use.
With obesity increasingly becoming a critical medical problem in children, parents need to step up to the plate. In the United States, a whopping 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years are obese, as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but mom and dad, don’t fret.
According to a study recently published in medical journal Pediatrics, diet and exercise programs with parental involvement, parent and child centered program, are the best way to help kids stay trim and fit.
The study involved 165 overweight children between ages 6 to 10 years old, who were randomly assigned to one of three interventions: a diet program taught to parents by dietitians that focused on goal setting, problem solving and positive reinforcement from parents; an activity program for kids taught by physical education teachers, with parents taking part early on and encouraged to do more at home with their kids; and a combination of the two programs, with parents and children both participating.
Children in all three groups reduced their body mass index and waist circumference after two years, with the diet program and the combination program yielding better results than the activity program.
Therefore, parents’ input might actually be necessary to see results. They can be trained to be effective agents of change where management of obesity in children is concerned. After the study, parents reported feeling more comfortable saying “no” to their children’s demands, setting limits on the type of food the children could eat, limiting the amount of time they spent watching TV or playing video games, and establishing consequences for breaking the rules.
This study shows that interventions that target parents alone may be an effective and non-stigmatizing strategy for achieving effective weight loss in obese children. Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right’s child and parent centered program utilizes this strategy, and enables parents and children to make the right food choices and have fun eating healthy, wholesome meals. Power to the parents, you can do it!
Halloween can be a scary time- not because of ghosts or monsters but because of all the high-calorie, fat-loaded, yummy candy! Halloween candy is some of the worst stuff that you can eat. It is high in saturated fat and the calories can really add up. Because Halloween candy comes in “fun size” or mini bags, people tend not to worry about the calories as much. It’s true that each small piece may not break your calorie bank but when you eat more than one (and who sticks to just one?), the calories add up quickly! Normally we don’t have bags and bags of candy sitting in their kitchens. But on Halloween we are sure to have lots of it on hand. It’s so tempting to sample the candy, but the reality is we don’t want to be eating all those extra calories!
Some strategies can help keep these treats out of our hands (and mouths!). Wait to buy your candy until the day before, or even on the day of Halloween. Why tempt yourself longer than you actually need to? I know that if candy is in my house, I am a lot more likely to eat it! Another strategy? Don’tbuy your favorite candy! What’s worse than having candy in your house? Having your favorite candy in the house! Buy stuff you don’t love so you aren’t as tempted to eat the candy while handing it out. It will also make it easier to give away once Halloween is over. Chewing sugarless gum or drinking low-calorie hot chocolate is a great way to your sweet tooth without indulging in unwanted calories. It also keeps your hands and mouth busy and away from the candy treats. If you don’t like hot chocolate, sip a cup of herbal tea instead.
If you decide that you are going to sample from the candy jar, remember that planning ahead is the key. Certain candies are considered some of the worst choices. For example, 3 Twix miniatures have 150 calories and 8 grams fat. Try 3 Tootsie Rolls instead for 70 calories and 1.5 grams fat. One single serving “fun size” Butterfingers has 100 calories and 4 grams fat. Try a Three Musketeer “fun size” instead for 63 calories and 2 grams of fat. One of the worst candies you can eat is Airheads. 3 pieces have 140 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. They also have trans fat which is the worst kind of fat to eat. Try 3 Dum Dum pops instead for 77 calories and 0 grams fat.
A good tip at the end of the night is to set the bowl of candy on your front porch. Chances are the bowl will be emptied by the morning. If you leave it in your house, it’s too easy to grab a handful everyday on your way out or in. These little handfuls can really add up! Snacking on 300 extra candy calories a day will add a pound of fat to your frame in less than 2 weeks. Also, remember that Halloween is a one day event. If you going to allow yourself a little sugar splurge, limit it to October 31st. Don’t make it a week-long holiday. Eating junk food doesn’t just satisfy cravings-it creates them. You might just find it “frightfully” difficult to break the candy habit long after Halloween ends!
We are often harder on ourselves than anyone else. The way we think can make a huge difference in our motivation and our results. Positive thinking leads to better weight loss and more enjoyable exercise. If you really want to achieve your weight loss goals, you need to think positive.
It is important to acknowledge small achievements. For example, if you lose 0.4 lb in one week, be proud! Those small losses add up to being a big deal towards your goal. Remember that slow and steady wins the race. It’s so important to weed out those negative thoughts from your mind and replace them with positive ones. When you tell yourself something can’t be done, you end up doing worse. When we practice positive self-talking, we increase our motivation, making us feel more empowered and capable.
Once we start making an effort towards an achievement of a goal, we tend to get empowered. The most important thing is not to allow negative comments to get in our way. If someone tells us we can’t do it or makes us feel bad, we often feel defeated. We need to empower ourselves. Nobody else can do it. Think about the life you want to lead once you reach your goal. One good way to achieve this is to write down your reasons behind your desire to lose weight. Stick the list on the wall so that you can see it every day. When a negative thought pops up, replace it with a positive one. For example, remind yourself that once you lose the weight you will be more comfortable with yourself. When you think “I can do this “, you really raise your odds of success!
This type of positive self-talking applies towards exercise as well. If you are negative after your workouts, all you will think about is how horrible the entire experience was. This will make it much tougher to return to the treadmill next time. Instead, focus on how good you feel for having completed your workout. Think about how your body feels after burning some energy and gaining strength. If there are exercises that you absolutely hate to do, don’t do them. Find a different exercise that may produce similar results. This way you won’t dread working out and you’ll be much more likely to continue your program. Find a few workouts that you like, or can at least tolerate, and mix them up. Listening to music can help motivate you to finish your workout if you are struggling. Usually up-beat music that pumps you up works best!
Focus more on the good things you’ve done and less on your slip-ups. It’s so important not to have your expectations too high but make them realistic. Learn to accept and be happy with the weight you have already lost and don’t obsess over what didn’t happen. This will keep you motivated and less likely to get discouraged. It’s important to be flexible and not have an all-or-nothing mindset. If you miss one workout, you don’t need to quit your entire plan. Instead of beating yourself up when you deviate, plan to get back on track by your next meal or the next day.
It’s so important to pat yourself on the back for sticking to your goals. Be happy with your achievements no matter how big or small they may be. Over time, positive thinking will occur naturally and can have a healthy impact on more than just your weight!