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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Lose weight: Look slimmer, feel trimmer!

Simple Slimming
Spring is right around the corner and retailers have already begun stocking their floors with warm-weather goods -- including swimsuits. Besides looking great on the beach, commonsense tells us that one of the best things you can do for your overall health is to drop a few pounds. Or maybe more than a few pounds.
Being overweight significantly increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer ... the list seems almost endless. Plus, if you do get sick or need surgery, being overweight can make any treatments riskier.

You know the drill when it comes to losing weight -- take in fewer calories, burn more calories. But you also know that most diets and quick weight-loss plans have about as much substance as a politician's campaign pledges. You're better off finding several simple things you can do on a daily basis -- along with following the cardinal rules of eating more vegetables and less fat and getting more physical activity. Together, they should send the scale numbers in the right direction: down.

1. Once a week, indulge in a high-calorie-tasting, but low-calorie, treat. This should help keep you from feeling deprived and binging on higher-calorie foods. For instance:
Lobster. Just 83 calories in 3 ounces.

2. Treat high-calorie foods as jewels in the crown. Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of salad.

3. After breakfast, make water your primary drink. At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That's nearly 90,000 calories a year -- or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don't trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.

4. Carry a palm-size notebook everywhere you go for one week. Write down every single morsel that enters your lips -- even water. Studies have found that people who maintain food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don't.


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