5 Things to Do Right Now for Your Health and Lose Weight

February 28, 2010

1. Learn to Read Nutrition Labels

I’m not sure why companies still try to fool us all with their labels, but learn how to read them, paying close attention to serving size.

The FDA does a good job of showing you exactly how to read them.

The size of the serving on the food package influences the number of calories and all the nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label. Pay attention to the serving size, especially how many servings there are in the food package. Then ask yourself, “How many servings am I consuming”? (e.g., 1/2 serving, 1 serving, or more) In the sample label, one serving of macaroni and cheese equals one cup. If you ate the whole package, you would eat two cups. That doubles the calories and other nutrient numbers, including the %Daily Values as shown in the sample label.

Along with this, ask for nutritional values at restaurants – if they’ll provide them (some don’t).  If they don’t provide them, it’s a good sign that what you’re eating is probably not going to be great for you.  Most places have HUGE serving sizes, so ask for a “to go” box at the beginning of your meal and put half of it in the box RIGHT AWAY.  You’re not 5 years old, there are no prizes for cleaning your plate.

Once you start reading labels then…

2. Start Tracking What You Eat

“I eat right, I don’t know why I’m not losing weight!”

Most people cannot properly estimate the calories they eat.  Inevitably they estimate too low.  The best way to combat that is religiously track what you eat.  I guarantee it will open your eyes.  A couple of free sites:

FitDay

SparkPeople

The Daily Plate which is part of Livestrong.com – (my personal favorite)

Track everything you eat for at least a couple of months until you have a good handle on what you should be eating.

3. Don’t Skip Meals, Especially Breakfast

You know how you’ve always heard that it’s the most important meal of the day?  Well, it’s a saying for a reason.  Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast eat fewer calories throughout the day.

A lot of excuses with breakfast are linked with time.  As with any excuse, you need to move the resistance out of the way – prepare your breakfast the night before, or bite the bullet and get up a few minutes earlier.  Breakfast can be quick – it doesn’t have to be bacon and eggs.

Some options:

  • Whole grain cereal with skim milk
  • Instant oatmeal with some berries (my favorite)
  • Peanut butter on whole wheat toast or bagel
  • Smoothie made with fruit and yogurt
  • Even some leftovers from the night before

NOT cereal bars though – they’re loaded with sugar.  It’s like eating a candy bar!

4. Cut Out Soda.  Period.

If you’re tracking your calories like I’ve suggested, you’ll find out quickly that sodas are simply no good for you.  They’re “empty” calories.  Switch to sugar free drinks, or even better, tea… especially green tea, a natural fat fighter.

Watch out for diet sodas, they’re usually high in sodium.

5. Do Simple Things to Increase Your Steps Per Day

The new rule of thumb for exercise without actually exercising is taking 10,000 steps a day (that’s around 5 miles).

Why 10000 Steps?

The Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research has conducted research on how much exercise we need for optimum health and fitness for over four decades. They find that 10000 steps a day is enough beyond what the average sedentary person takes to meet the surgeon general’s recommendation of 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity.  via here

You can get a pedometer to track, but make some daily adjustments too.  Walk during your breaks, take the stairs instead of an elevator, or park your car further away from the building.  Force yourself into situations where you need to walk more.

Posted via email from Vince.DeGeorge

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