Tips for meaningful weight-loss gains
Grand River Health
Are you familiar with the saying “I” is the only difference between fit and fat?
Well, it’s true. This year invest in yourself with small changes that can have a big impact on your bottom line (pun intended).
I‘m not talking about a New Year’s resolution … you know the one that lasts for two weeks and then you are back to where you started, or worse. This year, focus on small lifestyle changes you can make and stick to.
Several tiny healthful changes made on a daily basis really add up over time, and lead to improved wellbeing and weight loss.
Achieving a healthy body weight not only reduces your risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, it also leads to better sleep at night and increased energy levels throughout your day.
Think small. For real weight loss, experts agree that tweaking your existing diet is by far the smartest approach around.
“Small changes will set you up for success,” says Michelle Hosack, director of Grand River Health’s Changing Lifestyles program. “And small changes are easy to fit into an already hectic life.”
We all know 1 pound of body fat equals roughly 3,500 calories. By shaving off just a few calories from your diet every day, you can see impressive changes with no extreme dieting, no meals-in-a-drink concoctions and no denying yourself your favorite foods and opting for the no-fat and sugar-free impostors that taste like sawdust.
Where do you start? First, keep a food diary and write down everything that you eat every day, don’t worry about figuring out calories or fat content. Then, look for areas where you can make minor adjustments. Chances are those areas will stand out like a sore thumb.
To help you get started, here are a few small changes you can implement today. Make these substitutions just five days a week, and you can give your extra weight the goodbye wave for good.
Eating more frequent, smaller meals will also keep your metabolism revved up and burning calories. Don’t starve yourself … you will only be setting yourself up for failure.
Skip the bakery bagel with 2 tablespoons cream cheese. Instead, go with two pieces of whole-wheat toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
Calories saved = 300
Potential weight loss per year = 23 pounds
Payoff: White bread products are a great place to make changes because they’re easy to overeat. For fewer calories, the fiber in whole-wheat bread and protein in the peanut butter will make you fuller faster and keep you satisfied longer. On the food label, look for the words “whole-grain” or “whole-wheat.”
Mid-morning Snack Tip
Swap the large glass of juice for a piece of fruit.
Calories saved = 90
Potential weight loss per year = 7 pounds
Payoff: Weaning yourself off juice (or sweetened soda) is one of the simplest ways to slash extra calories. Eating a piece of fruit takes longer, plus you’ll get all the benefits of filling fiber that juice doesn’t have. Remember small tweaks in your diet, rather than radical changes, will set you up for success.
Skip the sweetened yogurt and choose a plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt with 1/2 cup of your favorite sliced fruit.
Calories saved = 100
Potential weight loss per year = 8 pounds
Payoff: You’ll lose tons of added sugar and gain vitamin and fiber-packed fruit.
Mid-Afternoon Snack Tip
Swap the tall mocha with a tall latte with 1 percent skim milk or almond milk.
Calories saved = 165
Potential weight loss per year = 11 pounds
Payoff: Lattes contain more calcium and much less sugar. Love chocolate? Sprinkle cocoa powder on top.
Skip the large plate of pasta (2½ cups) with ½ a cup red sauce. Instead, go with a 4-ounce skinless chicken breast with 1 cup of pasta and ½ a cup red sauce.
Calories saved = 240
Potential weight loss per year = 18 pounds
Payoff: Lean meats such as chicken are satisfying and low-calorie, and a good balance to carbohydrate intake.
Skip the 2 cups of fat-free ice cream and go for two miniature (0.7-ounce) candy bars instead.
Calories saved = 200
Potential weight loss per year = 15 pounds
Payoff: It’s easy to go overboard with fat-free foods. Miniature candy bars offer instant portion control, plus full-fat versions of foods are usually more satisfying.
Bonus Tips: Move your body
Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
Park in the spot farthest away in the parking lot.
Take a walk around the block during work breaks.
Don’t settle for another failed New Year’s resolution. Small, achievable lifestyle changes are possible, while still enjoying the foods you love.
Reanna Moore is a registered dietitian at Grand River Health.
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