Simple changes to your lifestyle can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Sure, you can lose weight quickly. There are plenty of fad diets that work to shed pounds rapidly -- while allowing you feeling hungry and deprived. But what good is losing weight only to regain it? To keep pounds off permanently, it's best to lose weight slowly. And many experts say you can do that without taking a "diet." Instead, the key is making simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
One pound of fat -- is equivalent to 3,500 calories. By shaving 500 calories a day through dietary and exercise modifications, 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.
Adopt one or more of these simple, painless strategies to help lose weight without taking a "diet":
1.- Eat Breakfast Every Day. One habit that's common to many people who have lost weight and kept it off is eating breakfast every day. "Many people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but they usually end up eating more throughout the day, says Elizabeth MS, RD and Ward author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. "Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than breakfast-skippers and perform better, whether in school or in the boardroom." Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy for a quick and nutritious start to your day.
2.- Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or 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," suggests Elaine Magee,MPH and RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
3.- Choose Liquid Calories Wisely. Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but don't reduce hunger like solid foods do. Suit your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small servings of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly. If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver.
4.- Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The United states government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with lots of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with minerals, phytonutrients, vitamins and fiber and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."