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Change your Habits- Tips to Lose Weight

September 18, 2010

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             People don't realize that 80% of your weight comes from what you put into your mouth. To really lose weight you have to change your lifestyle. Change the way you eat and you will start to notice the difference right away. Replace high calorie, high sugar snacks with fruit and vegetables. If you normally have a side of fries, change it to a small salad or a cup of fruit salad. Increase your protein and fiber intake. Protein increases your metabolism so your body uses more calories for energy and burns fat. Fiber helps to make you feel fuller quicker. Make sure you eat breakfast. Many people's downfall is that they skip breakfast. They are actually hurting themselves by doing this. By eating breakfast you are actually jump starting your metabolism for the day. A faster metabolism allows you to burn sugar and fat in your body. When your metabolism slows down, your body goes into fat storing mode rather than fat burning mode, which can hinder weight loss.

Remember portion size is important. Even if you are eating the right foods, if you are overeating you're not helping yourself. Proteins such as beef, chicken and fish should only be about 4 oz. Vegetables should be 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. Fruits include 1 medium piece of fruit or 1/2 cup cut fruit. Good fats should be limited to 1 Tbsp of oils, or 2 Tbsp of peanut butter or salad dressing.

Not everyone has the time or ability to weigh out all of their foods to the exact portion. Use household items to compare sizing. Four oz. of meat is about the size of the classic I pod. One serving of cheese is equal to the size of a matchbox. One serving of oil or salad dressing is equal to the size of a 1 oz shot glass. Once you know the approximate size of each serving it will be easier for you to portion out each serving size.

Prepare your meals and snacks ahead of time to save you time and effort. If you are like me I determine what I want to eat based upon what I feel like eating. This makes it difficult to set a schedule a week or month in advance. So instead I prepare my meals the night before. This still saves me time in the morning. It also keeps the portion sizes correct. Another preparation tool for people who can’t or won’t plan their meals ahead of time is to prep your foods. After you come home from grocery shopping, chop up all your fruits and vegetables and put them in tuber ware, this way when you need them all you have to do is grab from the container. You save time on cutting and chopping and cleaning. Also if you buy your meats in bulk separate the meat into a single serving size or meal serving size and rewrap or pack in tin foil, sandwich zipper bags or plastic containers. This way you don’t have to worry about cooking too much you just choose beef, poultry or fish and you cook the amount that’s already portioned out. 

Remember that your body's metabolism needs to be replenished every couple of hours. That is why it is recommended to eat a small snack every 2-3 hours. This keeps you from overeating at larger meals. Keep healthy snacks (portioned out) around you all the time. Nuts and dried fruit are good healthy snacks that can be kept at work, in your car or on your person.

Although exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, you can't just jump into it and expect to be able to do everything at once. Muscles atrophy overtime if not used. It takes time for muscles to rebuild themselves. Set goals for yourself. If you haven't worked out in a long time start out small and build up. Start out by walking 10-20 minutes a day. After a week increase your time. Try jogging for a couple minutes to increase your heart rate. Always stretch before and after working out. Stretching relieves tension that builds up in the muscles. Yoga and Pilates are good stress relieving exercises that are good for stretching and flexibility.

Don't try to make all of these changes at once. You may be overwhelmed by all the changes and don't stick with them. Start by making one or two small changes until they become habit, and then add another. Soon you will be on the right track to losing the weight you want to!