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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Top 10 Weight Loss Tips

I am huge fan of queso and since I live in Texas, it’s everywhere! My cholesterol will thank me later. Last night I attempted a homemade queso. The problem with most of my cooking initiatives is that I always make recipe modifications to decrease calories. What I learned from my queso adventure is that you shouldn’t use fat free half n’ half. Much to my dismay, cheese and fat must coexist. We ended up going out for Greek food.

What is the #1 health topic I talk about? Weight loss, of course. So here are my top 10 tips. Again these are my top 10 tips. You may have other tips that worked for you. If so, please share!

10. Skip the fad diets. See my blog Fad Diets are Like False Prophets.

9. Portion control. You can enjoy pretty much any food if it’s kept within portion.  There is a difference between serving size and portion size.  The serving size is the size listed on the food label. A portion size is the amount you choose to eat. For example your portion may be 2 serving sizes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a great synopsis of portion vs serving sizes. 
8. 6 meals a day or 3 meals a day? Either one. For real, either one. The point is to be consistent. Set a pattern of eating habits. If you set up an eating schedule you are less likely to make poor choices.  Sometimes this means you eat whether you are hungry or not.

7. Journal your food for just 3 days. How do you know what to change if you don’t know what is currently happening in your diet? For just 3 days write down everything you eat and drink, include amounts and the time of day too. You can see a pattern of intake. Use a free online website like Calorie Count or My Fitness Pal to analyze your food. See the Resources page. Now you can see where to make changes and what may be holding you back.

6.  Physical activity. Research is very clear that a weight loss endeavor including physical activity is more successful long term than one that does not. Find any way you can to be physical. Don’t go for P90X today if you aren’t active right now. Start small.

5. Tell others what you are doing. Most people will want to support your journey. But if they don’t know what your plans are, they may end up tempting you. Share your goals with the people you are surrounded by the most. Allow them to help support you.

4. Create goals and action plans.  Be specific. You can weasel out of a vague goal. See my blog Failed Another Health Goal?

3. Keep it simple! Don’t worry about over complicated rules or convoluted notions on foods. The more you say you can’t have a specific food, the more you want it. You will see it everywhere. Instead of limiting food options, focus on portion sizes, variety of food groups, and overall caloric intake.

2. Protein. Make sure every balanced meal has a source of lean protein. Im talking eggs, peanut butter, chicken, fish, turkey, etc. Protein takes longer to digest and helps for slow absorption of glucose. In plain terms, it keeps you fuller for longer. You will end up eating fewer calories during the day because you are fuller. Which brings me to my last tip…

1. Calories, calories, calories! Weight loss comes down to a simple equation:

                Calories in – Calories out = Net Gain or Loss

It’s simple to state but not simple to execute, I know.  Calorie reduction and energy expenditure is key to weight loss. I am not usually a fan of intense calorie counting but you may find it helpful at first till you get the hang of it. What calorie level you should use depends on many factors including height, current weight, and amount of physical activity. I usually recommend anywhere between 1300-1800 calories for women and 1500-2000 calories for men.  I would never advise anything below 1200 calories. You cannot meet your nutrient needs below that amount.

As you can see, weight loss takes a little bit of planning which equates to time out of your busy schedule. But it is so worth it! Give yourself the best chance you can by devoting some time to it.

Today’s Verse: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 11-12.


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