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Tips for Weight Loss and a Healthier Life

Updated on May 9, 2011

Weight loss is all about food choices, portion control and getting enough exercise to burn off the calories you consume every day so they don't get stored as fat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is not a "myth". Breakfast jump starts your metabolism. Think of it as firing up your weight loss furnace. It is much healthier to eat six small meals during the day rather than three large ones. The body is not really designed to handle super large meals and it will store a large amount of what you have eaten if you overeat. Translation - weight gain!! Have breakfast a snack about two hours later, lunch, a snack two hours after that, dinner, and another snack in the evening. Just be sure you are not eating too late, try to finish all meals and snacks before 8:00 p.m. for optimal weight loss. Slow down and sit down. Put everything you are going to eat on a plate. When you eat too fast you will over eat.

What to Eat, What to Avoid

Eat lean meats like chicken breasts with skin removed, fish and lean beef. Cottage cheese (1%) is a really great protein also. Eat lots of vegetables and at least three fruits per day. Eat low fat yogurt, drink skim milk and choose low fat cheeses. Avoid potatoes, white bread, they spike your blood sugar and are converted to sugar easily, which if not burned off will be stored as fat very easily. Stay away from processed foods. This includes packaged foods with lots of added salt. Excessive amounts of salt will cause you to retain water and raise your blood pressure. One thing to remember when grocery shopping is to stay in the "outer square". In other words, shop around the outside of the aisles, where the fresh, raw foods are sold. The center aisles contain all of the processed foods, junk foods, and high fat foods.

Watch the sugary beverages. Instead, drink water, non-fat milk and zero-calorie beverages. If you enjoy soup, choose broth-based soups, such as chicken broth, with lots of vegetables instead of cream soups. When you go out to eat, take half of your meal home, portions in restaurants are notoriously large. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter instead of a jar of cookies. Add one cup of chopped vegetables to your favorite soup or pasta meal. Don't keep high-calorie snacks in the house, this will only lead you into temptation. Buy fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat yogurt, and enjoy air-popped or light popcorn. Keep track of calories. Writing down everything you eat (food journal) is a great way to see what you are eating every day and where you can make small changes to improve your eating habits.

Water is Key

You need to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Water is a fundamental part of our lives and not just for weight loss. It is easy to forget how completely we depend on it. Our very survival is dependent on water which has been ranked by experts as second only to oxygen as essential for life. The average adult body is 55 to 75% water. 2/3 of your body weight is water. Everyday your body must replace 2 1/2 quarts of water. The Water you drink literally becomes you! Since such a large percentage of our bodies is water, water is a very important part of your body's function. We need lots of fresh water to stay healthy. Aside from aiding in digestion and absorption of food, water regulates body temperature and blood circulation, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, and removes toxins and other wastes. This "body water" also cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Not getting enough water (dehydration) can be the cause of many ailments, including hypertension, asthma, allergies, and migraine headaches. Every process in our body occurs in a water medium. We can exist without food for 2 months or more, but we can only survive for a few days without water.

Exercise - A little Each Day

Exercise is an integral part of losing weight. It is easier if you choose an exercise that you enjoy and can incorporate that into your life. If you decide to go to the gym and work out for two hours per day, for example, you probably won't keep it up for very long. Walking is much more enjoyable if you can find someone else who likes to walk and you will be more likely to keep walking if you have someone else to keep you company!

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