lose weight http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/327/all en-US The Cheap Girl’s Guide to Lowering Cholesterol Without Suffering http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheap-girl-s-guide-to-lowering-cholesterol-without-suffering <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-cheap-girl-s-guide-to-lowering-cholesterol-without-suffering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eating_apple.jpg" alt="Woman eating an apple on a hike" title="Woman eating an apple on a hike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Two months ago, I had a nasty little note in my mailbox at work. It was not a good way to start a Monday.</p> <p>A laboratory near my hospital department needed volunteers to have their blood drawn so that their new employees could practice. I have easy-to-find veins, and their manager asked me to help, so I signed up. In return, I was told that I would receive a free printout of my cholesterol levels. So I submitted to a lab tech, let her practice on me, and promptly forgot all about it. When I arrived at work a couple of days later, I noticed a note in my mail basket, and opened it to find the cholesterol test results. Shocker! For the first time in my life, some of my cholesterol levels were &ldquo;borderline.&rdquo; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes&nbsp;You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>I am sure that those of you who read my posts about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-ways-to-eat-hot-dogs">hot dogs</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-swanky-sauces-to-glamorize-dinner">sauces</a> are now thinking, &ldquo;Well, duh, stupid!&rdquo; Whoops, almost forgot about those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feelin-flakey-7-delicious-corn-flake-ideas">corn flake cookies</a> (which are truly exceptional). Anyway, I&rsquo;m just shamelessly plugging my posts, and I digress.</p> <p>I spent a little time bothering my co-workers with my results (oddly, they didn&rsquo;t seem shocked or surprised). I also whined to my husband, who suggested I check to see what Paula Deen recommended. He&rsquo;s a laugh a minute.</p> <p>Finally, I sat down with our friend, the Internet, and did some reading. Sure enough, my diet needed some work. Yes, readers, I admit it &mdash; I have been in total denial. In retrospect, I think I was just wondering how long I could get away with my life of dietary debauchery.</p> <p>The answer &mdash; 49 years. There you go.</p> <p>I was not interested in using drugs to lower my cholesterol, nor was there an indication from my physician to do so. As you know from my previous posts, I always prefer the do-it-yourself approach.</p> <h3>What You Should Know About Cholesterol</h3> <p>If you are age 20 or older, you should get checked at least once every five years. This is especially true if you are overweight, have a family history of heart problems, are not physically active, are diabetic, or eat a high-fat diet.</p> <p>Finding the lab results page a little confusing, I did some research about what the terms mean. From the <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol-test/MY00500/METHOD=print&amp;DSECTION=all">Mayo Clinic</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Total cholesterol.</strong> This is a sum of your blood's cholesterol content.</p> <p><strong>High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.</strong> This is sometimes called the &quot;good&quot; cholesterol because it helps carry away LDL cholesterol, thus keeping arteries open and your blood flowing more freely.</p> <p><strong>Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.</strong> This is sometimes called the &quot;bad&quot; cholesterol. Too much of it in your blood causes the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries (atherosclerosis), which reduces blood flow. These plaques sometimes rupture and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.</p> <p><strong>Triglycerides.</strong> Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells. High triglyceride levels usually mean you regularly eat more calories than you burn. High levels are also seen in overweight people, in those who eat too many sweets or drink too much alcohol, and in people with diabetes who have elevated blood sugar levels.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, just how much cholesterol should a normal, healthy person be eating? The magic number is about 300 mg a day.</p> <h3>What I Have Been Doing to Improve</h3> <p>I need to point out to you that I refused to suffer. I love to cook, and eat, and if I couldn&rsquo;t make things that tasted good, it wasn&rsquo;t going to work.</p> <p><strong>Diet Changes</strong></p> <p>My husband, always supportive, purchased several cookbooks for me. One of them has become a sort of bible &mdash; the American Heart Association&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/American-Association-Low-Fat-Low-Cholesterol-Cookbook/dp/0812926846"><em>Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook</em></a>. I also purchased Mark Bittman&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Food-Matters-Conscious-Eating-Recipes/dp/1416575650/"><em>Food Matters</em></a>. Besides a lot of information about healthy eating, it contains great recipes. The internet also contains hundreds of low-cholesterol recipes. It's just a matter of educating yourself and picking up some new techniques. I have become a huge user of herbs. We eat a lot more fish and vegetables. I even snack differently &mdash; now I will have a handful of nuts instead of some slices of sharp cheddar. I have really re-vamped the way I shop and cook.</p> <p>What foods should you look for? I started by following the Mayo Clinic's &quot;Top Five&quot; recommendations:</p> <blockquote><ol> <li>Oatmeal, oat bran, and high-fiber foods</li> <li>Fish</li> <li>Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts</li> <li>Olive oil&nbsp;</li> <li>Foods with added plant sterols or stanols (these help to block your absorption of cholesterol)</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>For breakfast, I love eggs. I made the switch to egg whites, and now I scramble them with leftover brown rice and whatever vegetables I have handy. Not only is it fast and easy, but I find it equally satisfying. Lunches are usually either a half of a sandwich on wheat bread, or leftovers. Dinners are my favorite meal to cook, and I am enjoying the challenge of using the &quot;Top Fives.&quot; For example, fresh pesto made with walnuts, olive oil, just a little Parmesan, and fresh basil is great over oven-baked fish and whole-wheat pasta. &nbsp;</p> <p>My big nemesis is portion control. It isn't enough to change what you eat; you have to stop OVER-eating. The American Heart Association recommends, for the general public, these guidelines:</p> <blockquote><ul> <li>Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.</li> <li>Eat at least six servings of grain products daily.</li> <li>Eat no more than 6 ounces (cooked weight) of lean meat, fish, or skinless poultry per day. &nbsp;Have at least two servings of fish per week.</li> <li>Limit yourself to less than 300 mg of cholesterol and less than 2,400 mg of sodium daily.</li> <li>Include low-fat and fat-free dairy products, legumes, and poultry in your plan.</li> <li>If you drink, limit yourself to one drink per day if you are a woman and two drinks per day if you are a man.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><strong>Exercising Regularly</strong></p> <p>Why exercise? It helps you to lose weight, and if you are overweight, you tend to have more LDL (&quot;bad&quot;) cholesterol. A good basic start is to get at least 30 minutes a day. You do not have to join a gym &mdash; check out Andrea's great post about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fitness-for-people-who-hate-exercise">Fitness for People Who Hate Exercise</a>, Janey's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal">Exercising in a Winder Wonderland</a>, or Camilla's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-free-or-cheap-yoga-classes">Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes</a>.</p> <p>I am still not where I want to be with exercise, but I have found several types that I like (wait &mdash; make that &ldquo;tolerate&rdquo;). I walk, use a mini-trampoline, do a little morning yoga, and am occasionally dragged by friends to Zumba. When the weather improves, I&rsquo;ll swim. I know it is a matter of commitment and increasing duration.</p> <h3>What Are My Results?</h3> <p>In roughly two months:</p> <ul> <li>My total cholesterol dropped 27 points, from 209 to 182, and my HDL (&ldquo;good cholesterol&rdquo;) increased from 73 to 75. Unfortunately, my volunteer test did not provide my LDL (&ldquo;bad cholesterol&rdquo;), so I have no benchmark to compare, but my second test shows it at an acceptable 73.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>My triglycerides, which should ideally be under 150, actually went up from 158 to 169. There are several factors which may be influencing it, and I hope those are my underactive thyroid, since I have issues with that, or another medication I take.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I have saved money. Over two months, I have saved $160 from my grocery budget. All you vegans and vegetarians can scream, &quot;I TOLD YOU SO!&quot; As it turns out, vegetables and grains are pretty cheap. Who knew? &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I have lost 3 pounds.</li> </ul> <p>It&rsquo;s a start. I am going to keep working on it, because I love a challenge and I know it&rsquo;s high time I took better care of myself. My new goals include:</p> <ul> <li>Monthly &quot;try a new grain&quot; recipes.</li> <li>Increasing my exercise time from 30 minutes a day to 45.</li> <li>Building my low-fat/low-cholesterol cookbook collection (the used bookstore has been a treasure trove).</li> </ul> <p>And finally, here's a link to one of my new favorite recipes, from The American Heart Association's <em>Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook</em> &mdash; a <a href="http://www.ccmcks.org/recipes/recipe1201.html">turkey and vegetable calzone</a>.</p> <p><em>If any of you smarty-pants vegetarians or vegans have recipes that are really, truly, good, please share. I now have an open mind. </em></p> <p><em>Before embarking on any diet or exercise programs, consult with your physician.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheap-girl-s-guide-to-lowering-cholesterol-without-suffering">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-steps-to-weight-loss">Small, Cheap Steps to Weight Loss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ready-to-eat-meals-for-weight-loss-can-they-fit-into-your-food-budget">Ready-to-Eat Meals for Weight Loss: Can They Fit into Your Food Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diet-trends-that-can-hurt-you">7 Diet Trends That Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water">8 Reasons to Drink More Water</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-delicious-homemade-gluten-free-bread">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Delicious Homemade Gluten-Free Bread</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty cholesterol diets lose weight Fri, 30 Dec 2011 11:24:17 +0000 Marla Walters 837045 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons to Drink More Water http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000005353844Smallcr.jpg" alt="woman drinking water" title="woman drinking water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's old news by now that we don't really need to drink eight glasses of water per day. Nobody really knows where the &quot;8 x 8 Rule&quot; originated, and most researchers agree it isn't supported by science. But don't put down that bottle or cup yet; there are still plenty of reasons to keep well hydrated, and water is the best option. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda" title="22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a>)</p> <h3>1. Water Regulates Body Temperature</h3> <p>Water has &quot;high <a href="http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/spht.html">specific heat</a>,&quot; which means it is resistant to changes in temperature, up or down. Body temperature affects the rate of the chemical reactions that keep us going; normal body temperature, which can vary slightly depending on person, mood, or time of day, is the most efficient. When it's hot, we sweat, and the evaporating water on our skins cools us. When it's cold, blood vessels near the skin contract, holding blood and water closer to our cores to provide more insulation and to prevent heat loss.</p> <h3>2. Water Lubricates Our Joints</h3> <p>Most of our joints contain a dense, egg-yolk-like liquid called <a href="http://dictionary.webmd.com/terms/synovial-fluid">synovial fluid</a>, which nourishes cartilage, removes waste, reduces friction between cartilage, and acts as a shock absorber. Elsewhere, the fluid in our organs helps them keep their shape because water is resistant to compression.</p> <h3>3. Water Is Essential to Proper Cell Function</h3> <p>Water transports all the sugars, salts, fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals our cells need. About two-thirds of our water is found <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytosol">inside our cells</a>, which are mostly microscopic drops of water with dissolved ions of sodium, potassium, and other elements; and larger protein molecules doing this and that. Metabolism, the transformation of food into energy and building blocks, happens in these little drops of water. Afterward, water carries away cell waste and other toxins via the lymphatic system.</p> <h3>4. Water Is Important to Digestion</h3> <p>Digestion begins with the first bite, and water plays a <a href="http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/yrdd/">key role throughout</a>, first as enzyme-rich saliva, next as the enzyme-rich mucus covering of our stomach lining, and eventually as the food and enzyme-rich fluid that passes into our intestines.</p> <h3>5. Water Is Critical to Metabolism</h3> <p>Water is the medium within which &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_pathway">metabolic pathways</a>&quot; take place. These step-by-step biochemical reactions transform food into energy and everything else. Hydrolysis is a fundamental metabolic reaction in which complex sugars are broken down into the simpler sugars our cells use by adding hydrogen and oxygen ions taken from molecules of water.</p> <h3>6. Water Can Prevent Hangover Symptoms</h3> <p>Alcoholic beverages cause a net loss of water, as alcohol in the bloodstream triggers the pituitary gland to stop producing a hormone called <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003702.htm">ADH</a> (or vasopressin). A shortage of ADH in the bloodstream tells the kidneys to start producing urine, and our cells respond by giving up some of their water. Dehydration may be a big factor why a big headache accompanies alcoholic intake. Drink a glass of water along with your evening glass of wine to keep your body water balanced.</p> <h3>7. Water Helps Brain Function</h3> <p>Water comprises as much as 75% of our brain cells (about the same percentage as muscle cells) and researchers have noted that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20336685">dehydration impairs brain function</a>. The electro-chemical reactions that allow our nerves to send and receive signals also require water to function.</p> <h3>8. Water Has Zero Calories (and May Have <em>Less Than Zero</em>&nbsp;Calories)</h3> <p>A cool glass of water is not the only way to replenish your body's needs, but it's probably the healthiest. Drinks sweetened with sugar are higher in calories, and the diuretic effect of caffeinated beverages (such as many sodas and coffee) means replacement isn't one-to-one. And that cold glass of ice water has another advantage &mdash; it can help your <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20040105/drinking-water-may-speed-weight-loss">body burn more calories</a>. The effect is minimal, just a few calories per glass, and the causes are unclear, but over the course of a year, an extra 1.5 liters of water a day can add up to five pounds of additional weight loss, not counting extra trips to the rest room. Drink up!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a post by Lars Peterson from our sister blog, <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/">Healthy Theory</a>. Visit Healthy Theory for more health tips and news.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/natural-alternative-cold-treatments">Natural Alternative Cold Treatments</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/10-minute-vegetarian-managing-a-chronic-health-condition-with-a-vegetarian-diet">10-Minute Vegetarian: Managing A Chronic Health Condition With A Vegetarian Diet</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/tomatoes-and-vascular-disease">Tomatoes And Vascular Disease</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-theory">Healthy Theory</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-drink-tea">10 Reasons to Drink Tea</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-waste-your-money-on-these-6-workout-snacks">Don&#039;t Waste Your Money on These 6 Workout Snacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-list-of-hangover-cures">The Ultimate List of Hangover Cures</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty beverages drinks hangover lose weight Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:00:10 +0000 Healthy Theory 465601 at http://www.wisebread.com Small, Cheap Steps to Weight Loss http://www.wisebread.com/small-steps-to-weight-loss <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-steps-to-weight-loss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007119511XSmall.jpg" alt="Take the stairs" title="Take the stairs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There really is no magic diet plan that can help you lose&amp; weight &mdash; the key is to burn more calories than you consume.</p> <p>Eliminating calories from your diet doesn't have to involve drastic cuts or detailed meal planning. You don't need a gym membership to get exercise. If you prefer baby steps to great strides, try these tips and tricks for cutting calories from your diet and burning off some extra pounds. The results may take longer than what you would see with a crash diet or personal trainer, but because these changes are more incremental, you might find them easier to stick with. [Note: this is not medical advice; I'm just a blogger who refuses to pay for a Jenny Craig diet. As always, consult with your doctor before making any big changes in your diet or routine].</p> <h2>Eat Less</h2> <p>Eating less can be a bit tough, because we are often so busy and in such a hurry that we scarf our food down while standing up, or in the car. Also, so many people are emotional eaters that gorging becomes the trend, rather than the exception. Here are some simple ways to eat less.</p> <h3>Fiber and Water</h3> <p>You've probably heard that eating more fiber can help fill you up faster and keep you satisfied longer. You've probably also heard that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less. Well, there's an easy way to combine these two bit of advice into one: Metamucil.</p> <p>[insert 'regularity' joke here]</p> <p>Yeah, yeah, I know it's sort of a grandma thing, but it actually works. Metamucil is a <a href="http://www.metamucil.com/metamucil-powdered-drink-mixes.shtml">fiber supplement in a powder form</a>. You mix a tablespoon with 8 ounces of water and drink it before it gets too gooey. The taste is rather like Tang, but less overtly sweet. The sugar-free versions only have 20 calories per serving. <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033">Increasing your fiber intake</a> can have a number of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of digestive issues in the future. It's important to get helpings of both soluble fiber (the kind found in Metamucil) and insoluble fiber (the kind you get in vegetables). Although they seem to counteract each other (soluble fiber absorbs water in your intestinal track, which means that it takes you longer to digest your food, resulting in a feeling of fullness; insoluble fiber sends the food through your intestines faster), they are actually complimentary.</p> <p>If taken before a meal, soluble fiber (like the kind in Metamucil) will help you eat less by making you feel fuller faster. But if you eat enough insoluble fiber in your meal, your food will still move through your system in a timely manner.</p> <p>It might sound like you're in for a real <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/10304/saturday-night-live-colon-blow">colon blow</a>, but Metamucil is surprisingly gentle on your digestive track. I was surprised how much less I ate the first time I tried drinking a glass before a meal, and I didn't find myself stuck on the porcelain throne for days or anything.</p> <h3>Eat a Salad/Soup Course</h3> <p>I've written before about how eating meals in courses makes it easier to eat less. Anyone who knows me well knows that I really don't like preparing and serving food, but there are easy ways to break your meal into baby steps. One of these is to eat a <a href="/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-iii-the-crisper-from-hell">vegetable bisque</a> or salad course before you eat the rest of your meal. This can provide the aforementioned insoluble fiber, and will also fill you halfway up.</p> <p>By the way, one of the only problems I have with salad is that I often find myself forced to drench flavorless lettuce leaves in a creamy dressing in order to make them halfway palatable. There are two things I have done to change avoid this:</p> <p>1. Eschew romaine lettuce. I know it lasts a long time and is always crispy, but darn it, the flavor can be downright nauseating. I now try to buy more exciting lettuce (baby romaine or mixed spring greens or red leaf), especially when it's on sale for a 2-for-1 at Safeway.</p> <p>2. Use herbs like they are any other green. I use my plentiful herb garden all the time, and I tend to eat most of the herbs raw. I'll throw plenty of basil, oregano, arugula, thyme, and tarragon into any salad, and the wonderful flavors more than make up for the relative blandness of the lettuce. As a result, I don't have to use an excessively decadent dressing &mdash; just a light oil-and-vinegar dressing will be enough to dress the whole thing.</p> <p>By the time you finish your soup or salad, you'll probably notice that you're already partway full. Take advantage of this and only eat 50% of what you would normally eat for a main course.</p> <h3>Smaller Plates</h3> <p>American dinner plates are huge. I've quit using mine altogether, and serve my food on my salad plates. A very healthy serving looks positively HUGE when served on a smaller plate, and I can't really overload it in one trip to the stove.</p> <h3>Sit Down, Slow Down, Turn Off the TV (Mindful Eating)</h3> <p>It's much easier to overeat if you aren't paying attention to what, and how much, you are eating. Although it seems incredibly tedious to chew your food, put your fork down between bites, and drink small sips of water when you are finished chewing, it goes a long way into keeping you from eating too much. You might think it's purely mental, but the truth is, it takes between 12-20 minutes for your mouth and stomach to inform your brain that they are fully satisfied. Most of us can easily wolf down a foot-long Subway sandwich in 6 minutes.</p> <p>Eating while watching TV or surfing the internet is a sure-fire method for gulping down an entire meal without realizing it. It's OK to have some distractions (radio in the background), but while eating, try to <a href="http://www.mindfuleating.org/BMB.html">concentrate on the act of eating</a>. It's a form of meditation that we don't generally practice, and it can be hard to be &quot;in the now&quot; with such a mundane task, but try it once and see if it doesn't affect the amount that you need to eat in order to feel full.</p> <h3>Eat Decent Food</h3> <p>The key to eating slowly, of course, is to eat well. I don't mean that every meal has to be a gourmet masterpiece, but part of the reason we eat so fast is that we eat stuff that actually tastes pretty bad. Have you ever chewed a Doritos chip slowly and savored the taste? Probably not &mdash; chips are designed to be shoveled into our mouths at lightning speed. Try it one day &mdash; put a chip in your mouth and chew it very slowly, smelling the scent and noticing the texture. You may find, as I have, that it tastes odd and chemically.</p> <p>Contrast this with the slow, mindful consumption of a ripe tomato or slice of <a href="http://wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-the-rising-cost-of-bread">freshly-baked bread</a> with a smear of butter, and you'll understand why junk food and fast food are eaten quickly: because if you really take the time to taste them, you'll notice just how nasty they are.</p> <p>You don't have to shop at Whole Foods to get good-tasting food &mdash; frozen meats and veggies can be made into delectable pot roasts and casseroles. The trick, though, is to eat food that is not heavily processed, but rather largely made from scratch. You don't have to make Beef Wellington every night, but try substituting real meat and vegetables for canned food.</p> <h2>Cut Calories from What You DO Eat</h2> <p>Cutting calories doesn't really have to be about deprivation. Try these tricks to cut a few dozen calories out of your diet every day.</p> <h3>Change Coffee Habits</h3> <p>While I don't loathe Starbucks (I actually quite like the one in my neighborhood), I think that morning beverages have gone too far. I have a former coworker who has a real love of <a href="http://www.starbucks.com/retail/nutrition_beverage_detail.asp">Frappucinos</a>, so much so that during the summer, she would get one every day at 10AM. If this were her breakfast, it might be one thing, but this was a midmorning snack. A midmorning snack that contains 420 calories.</p> <p>A normal cup of drip coffee served black has roughly 8 calories.</p> <p>If you're in it for the caffeine, consider being a regular Joe and just...getting a cup of regular joe (I'm also quite fond of Diet Red Bull, despite my better judgment). If you crave the sweetness, ask for your drink to be made with half the normally allotted amount of syrup, and add Splenda if you need more sweetness. If it's the overall package (the sweet, the caffeine, the whip cream), order the same drink in a size smaller, or see if you can make such coffee drinks more of a splurge (every three days or so) rather than a daily event.</p> <h3>Skip the Beer/Wine (or water it down)</h3> <p>This one really pains me, because my feelings on alcohol are: it makes life worth living. However, beer and wine contain a lot of calories, and even if you limit yourself to one drink per night, that's still an extra thousand or so calories a week. A Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve has about 130 calories in it. A Jack and Diet Coke has under 70.</p> <p>A glass of red or white wine is still delectable if watered down into a spritzer using Fresca.</p> <h2>Exercise More</h2> <p>Exercise is one of the hardest things to desire once you are significantly out of shape. But you don't have to pour yourself into a pair of sweat pants and get tangled in a pilates machine to shed some pounds. Consider some of the easier options.</p> <h3>Park a Block Away</h3> <p>It's funny how some people will circle a parking lot for minutes trying to find a spot that is close to the entrance. Not only does it waste gas (and ultimately time, as it's faster to park far away and walk than to wait five minutes for a good spot), but usually, people who engage in this behavior are about to go into a mall and walk a good mile to two miles.</p> <p>Rather than looking for that perfect spot, save time and money and just park a block away from the entrance of wherever you are going. It's not the biggest workout in the world, but the added exercise makes a difference over time.</p> <h3>Stride Around the Mall</h3> <p>Shopping burns calories. If you can happily window shop without blowing all your money, do it. Malls are generally comfortable and safe places to walk around, especially during cold winters.</p> <h3>Take the Stairs</h3> <p>Lordy, I hate taking the stairs, but the difference that it makes in your quads and hamstrings IS remarkable. If you have fewer than ten flights to go up (any more than that gets ridiculous), see if you can avoid the elevator.</p> <p>Climbing actual stairs is much more difficult than the &quot;stair climber&quot; at the gym, so even people who work out regularly find themselves struggling to keep their breathing even after a six-flight traipse. Take your time &mdash; if you get winded, you can stop and rest. When I first started taking the stairs, I used to stop after three flights, walk across the length of the office building hallway, and then finish the rest of the flights.</p> <h3>Dance Around Your House</h3> <p>If you can't afford a Wii fit or just hate trying to get exercise in front of a TV, there's no reason you can't shake your booty all over your house for a decent workout. No one has to see you &mdash; draw the curtains or blinds, blast your favorite playlist, and make like a pudgy Paula Abdul (C-c-c-cold hearted snake! Look into his eyes...). Shake what your mama gave ya, and you'll find that, in time, you'll be jiggling less than before.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-steps-to-weight-loss">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-drink-tea">10 Reasons to Drink Tea</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-diet-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 5 Diet Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheap-girl-s-guide-to-lowering-cholesterol-without-suffering">The Cheap Girl’s Guide to Lowering Cholesterol Without Suffering</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-green-tea-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-its-close">Is Green Tea All It&#039;s Cracked Up to Be? It&#039;s close.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-green-workout">The Ultimate &quot;Green&quot; Workout</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty diet tricks eat less exercise green tea lose weight overweight weight loss tips Thu, 28 Aug 2008 22:41:59 +0000 Andrea Karim 2372 at http://www.wisebread.com