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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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A Granola Bar

Condensed from U.S. News by Dennis Thompson

Because of hidden sugars, research suggests that “people think they’re starting out having a healthy breakfast, but they may be setting themselves up to be hungry all day, and eat too much over the course of a day,” Naomi Mandel, a professor of marketing at Arizona State University said. Be careful when you reach for foods labeled “healthy” –  they may have hidden high levels of sugar and you may snack more later.

Research shows that it’s easier to exercise some self-control over sugar-driven hunger, if you are given fair warning through product packaging. So read those labels

Mandel said she’s particularly concerned about the impact from breakfast foods like cereal, yogurt or instant oatmeal, which are marketed as healthy but often contain loads of sugar. Read more

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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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People who eat a high fiber diet are less likely to die of any cause, a study of nearly one million people has found.

  • The benefits of consuming fiber-rich foods have been known for decades, including lowering of blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and insulin, and possibly reducing inflammation.
  • High-fiber foods may also make people feel full sooner, and for longer, which helps curb overeating and weight gain.
  • Eight studies showed a 10 percent drop in risk for any cause of death with each 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake. This can come from two servings of whole grain foods, such as breakfast cereal and two servings of fruit or vegetables. Read more

 

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Condensed from an article by Zahra Barnes for Life by DailyBurn

If So, Here Are A Few Helpful Tips:

Ignore the size of your plate
You’ve heard it before: Small plates equal smaller meals, but if you’re not ready to give up the larger plate, half of your plate should have veggies and divide what’s left equally between protein and starch. 

Serve yourself (some) bad foods
The key to feeling satisfied — The way to avoid binges might lie in dedicating 1/4 of your plate to virtuous foods, and some to vices, according to researchers at Vanderbilt University. Recognizing that few people have the willpower to give up junk entirely. This is a good way to start.

Treat yourself to food that smells awesome
You’d think getting a whiff of really delicious-smelling food would just stoke your appetite, right? But it turns out that the more intense the aroma, the smaller the bite you’ll take.

Ask yourself if you’re really hungry, stressed/depressed or bored before sitting down to eat. You may be surprised at the answer. It may impact your consumption.

Sometimes you can trick yourself into eating less
Try eating with your non-dominant hand. Drink some water before eating.

Don’t deprive yourself. A small portion of a “bad” food can help satisfy you desire and help keep unwanted weight off.

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