Condensed from article in Health Day by Serena Gordon

Fulfilling this years resolutions does not have to be as difficult as it’s been in preceding years. Believe it or not, small steps can make a big difference.

Here are eight ways to get started:

Break it down. Changing your lifestyle to shed weight can seem overwhelming. “Look at it one plate at a time, or even one choice at a time, but start right now, and by this time next month, you’ll see good changes,” advises nutritionist Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.”If you lose 5 percent of your body weight, you can significantly decrease your risk of many diseases…”

Pace yourself. Nutritionist Maudene Nelson, from Columbia University Health in New York City, and Ms. Heller both feel that very low-calorie diets don’t work in the long term because the body goes into starvation mode. “You don’t want to lose weight too quickly, because it scares the body into thinking there’s no food available,” Heller said.

Segment your plate. Half of your plate should be vegetables, one quarter is protein and one quarter is starch. If you finish your plate, and you’re still hungry, she said be sure to refill your plate in the same way. “Don’t just refill on the mac n’ cheese,” Nelson advised. In the morning, you can substitute fruit for the veggies.

Identify trouble times. Kids clamoring, worked late, you’re tired — you don’t feel like cooking. Don’t get into the fast food trap. Make sure you always have healthy snacks in the refrigerator and ingredients for a quick meal. Your family will understand. After all, you’ll all be learning to make changes to become healthier.

Add protein. Protein helps keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and then crashing. Without at least a little protein in your meal (especially breakfast), you’ll be hungry soon after eating because of a fast rise and fall in your blood sugar.

Track it. Both Heller and Nelson said one of the most important things you can do for losing weight is write in a journal or food tracker to keep track of the food you eat.

“You can use your food tracker to see what happened when you did well, or on days you didn’t. If you over-eat one night, you can look back and see that maybe you skipped lunch and were starving. You can use it as a learning tool for the next time,” Heller said.

Don’t drink your calories. Both experts said people often get empty calories from soda and juice. “It’s just not worth it to drink your calories,” Nelson said. What about adult beverages, such as wine and beer? Nelson said those can be considered part of the plate method. Each drink replaces a starch from your plate.

Plan a reward. It doesn’t have to be something expensive, it just should make you feel that you’ve accomplished something in small steps.

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                                                             Cozy Burger by Phil Ferguson 

Condensed from U.S. News ~ Dennis Thompson reporting

Combining a sugary soda with your burger or fried chicken (please think twice about eating these too) can prime your body to pack on more pounds, a new study by lead researcher Shanon Casperson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture found.

Folks who had a sweetened drink with a high-protein meal stored more unused fat, compared to others who ate the same food with a sugar-free beverage, laboratory tests revealed. Their bodies did not burn about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugary drink.

Sodas, sweetened coffee and iced tea drinks, fruit drinks, energy beverages and the like are leading sources of added sugar in the American diet, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six in 10 kids and half of adults drink at least one sugary beverage each day!


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                                                                        Image: Self chec Creative

If you think you’re increasing your knowledge of calorie counting, but your body seems to be disagreeing, here are six things you need to keep remembering before taking another bite:

Colors Count: About half of each meal should be fruits and vegetables. Not only are they low in calories, high in fiber, and filling, but a wide variety of produce provides nutrients that help stave off many diseases.

Read The Labels: What may sound healthy may be junk foods in disguise.

Eat Fiber. Found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, fiber fills you up fast with fewer calories, and because it takes longer to eat and digest, it keeps you feeling satisfied longer.

Don’t Fear Fat. Read the difference between good and bad fat. 

Watch Your Sugar Intake. You’ll get a sugar high and then low that can send your energy levels on a roller coaster ride, and set the stage for more craving down the line. Your best source of sugar is fresh fruit, which provides vitamins and minerals, along with fiber.

Chec The Ingredients. The ingredients list is usually printed below the Nutrition Facts panel on food labeling. 

Chec The Order Of The Ingredients Listed. Ingredients that are listed first make up a greater percentage of the product, compared with the last ingredient listed.


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