There was an article in the Los Angeles Times about the grim data on U.S. obesity. There’s only one state with an obesity rate under 20% – Colorado squeaked in at 19.8. Compare that to Mississippi with a rate of 34.4%. That means over a third of their population is not just overweight but downright FAT.
What can you to do? Here are 13 simple tips to take the bathroom scale in the other direction:
Slow down and chew your food. Quit inhaling it. Give your stomach time to signal your brain that you are full. This takes about 20 minutes. Have you lost the pleasure of dining and exchanged it for gulping?
Put your fork down between bites. This really slows down your eating, allowing you to savor your food.
Eat fruit between meals instead of grabbing a latte and a cookie. Your mid-morning and mid-afternoon hunger can be healthy – some nuts, a piece of fruit, maybe some crunchy carrots and a piece of cheese. A stroll at this time of day helps get your blood circulation going and that’s good if you have a desk job.
Stop drinking anything about 20 minutes before a meal. This creates a better environment in your stomach for digestion. If you have to drink with your meal, take small sips. Better digestion means more nutrients are absorbed. You may experience fewer cravings.
Go for a walk after dinner. This doesn’t have to be a race. A 20 minutes family walk after loading the dishwasher can take pounds of the scale and inches off your waist. It’s okay to stop and smell your neighbor’s flowers, but keep going.
Step up your exercise gradually. Start by parking further away at the grocery store or the office. Go for the parking place that allows you to stretch your legs a bit, not the one right beside the door. Over time, this little change pays off.
Leave temptation on the shelf at the store. If you want a treat make it healthy like a piece of fruit. Keep the ice cream, cookies, candies, cake, chips and crackers out of your home and you will have a better chance of losing weight.
Open your mind to new ways to celebrate success. Instead of a big night out and a huge meal to congratulate yourself, how about tickets to a concert, a play, an overnight trip, a sports event or something else that doesn’t center on food. How about a new pair of shoes? That makes me happy!
Scan the buffet line BEFORE filling your plate. It is easier to make better choices that way.
Aim for feeling full instead of stuffed when you get up from the table. One way to do this is concentrate on eating greens like salad or cooked vegetables along with protein and pass on the starches like potatoes, rice and bread.
Keep yourself hydrated. We often mistake thirst for being hungry. Try this for a week: instead of grabbing coffee in the morning when you get up have 8-16 ounces of water. Sip water throughout the day and aim for 8 glasses. Dehydration can sometimes be diagnosed as dementia in the elderly.
Read labels and make good choices. Keep the grams of sugar in packaged foods to 7 grams or less per serving. It’s often the sugar in our food that keeps us fat, not just high fat foods. Sugar seems to fuel our appetite for even more sweet foods. Wean yourself off sweets and you’ll see the pounds disappear.
Lose the soda. There is nothing good about soda. It’s loaded with calories if it’s regular soda and loaded with artificial sweeteners if it’s diet soda. Either way, it’s loaded with chemicals and it doesn’t hydrate you the way water does. Plus, diet soda can actually make you crave more calories and sugary foods.