Karen Ensle Ed.D., RD, FADA, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
There are numerous fad diets that you can follow to lose pounds quickly. Unfortunately, most of them will leave you feeling hungry and deprived. Instead, take small steps to change your food and activity habits by tweaking your food choices and lifestyle habits.
Remember, one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. By eliminating 500 calories a day through reducing food calories and increasing activity, you can lose about a pound a week. If you only need to maintain your current weight, shaving 100 calories a day is enough to avoid the extra 1-2 pounds most adults gain each year. By keeping the weight off permanently you will achieve improved health and look great. Try following these simple strategies to help lose weight without dieting.
- Eat Breakfast - Breakfast is a “must” for those losing weight and keeping it off. Many people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but they usually end up eating more throughout the day. Those who eat breakfast have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who skip. They also perform better in school or at work. Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy for a quick, nutritious start to your day.
- Ban Night Eating - Establish a time when you will stop eating. Don’t give in to mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else.
- Choose Healthy Beverage s- Make water your beverage of choice. Sweetened drinks pile on the calories and do not reduce feelings of hunger like solid foods do. Drink water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice added to water. Limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver as these calories add up quickly.
- Make Half Your Plate Produce - Eat lots of veggies and fruit which are low-calorie/high fiber foods. Let them crowd out other high fat, high calorie foods. Move your meat to the side of your plate with some whole grains leaving the other half for produce. Start out your meal with a large salad or with a bowl of broth-based soup. Keep the volume up and the calories down!
- Eat Whole Grains - Substitute whole grains for white bread, cakes, cookies and pretzels to add fiber and bulk to your diet. Choose whole-wheat bread, pasta, rice, bran flakes, and whole-rye crackers.
- Follow Healthy Meals at Home and Away. Make sure you control your environment by keeping foods at home healthy and choosing restaurants that offer lots of options. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and make sure you eat your meals and add healthy snacks to avoid that “starving” feeling.
- Use Smaller Plates, Glasses, Cups and Bowls - Keep portion sizes small and eat a variety of healthy foods each day.
Small steps can make a big difference in your health and weight. Start taking one or more small steps today.