Monday, August 12, 2002

Eliminate 3,500 calories a week to lose weight

By Hollie W. Best
Gannett News Service

        The goal of weight loss can be a challenge. A healthy lifestyle involves learning to eat the foods you enjoy in moderation. Losing 10 pounds quickly sounds tempting, but fast weight loss never lasts long. Remember for healthy weight loss, there is no such thing as a quick fix.

        Losing weight and maintaining that weight loss starts with a focus on health, particularly making healthful food choices and including regular physical activity in your daily routine. The answer to long-term weight control is learning to consume the same number of calories as you burn.

        The rule in weight loss is that in order to lose a pound of fat per week, you must eliminate 3,500 calories from your weekly intake-output. The best strategy to do this is to reduce your caloric intake by 250 calories a day, and exercise off 250 calories a day (500 multiplied by seven days in a week results in 3,500 burned off per week).

        The decisions you make each day affect your life. No one forces you to eat certain foods or to neglect exercise. Begin today by making the right choices, and these helpful weight loss tips will get you started.

        • Drink eight glasses of water a day.

        • Keep a pack of sugarless gum close by.

        • Brush your teeth after dinner to prevent you from evening snacking.

        • Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are full.

        • Read the nutrition labels on foods that you eat.

        • Exercise for a minimum of five 30-minute sessions per week. A brisk walk can burn eight calories a minute; 40 calories in five minutes; 320 calories in an average workday; and 83,000 calories a year.

        • Keep a food diary. A food diary can provide a large amount of self-awareness.

        • Watch your portions. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume at a sitting.

        • Reduce your intake of caffeine. Caffeine leads to an increase of insulin in your body that retards the burning of stored fat.

        • Be flexible. Remember that most people have lapses and need to allow themselves some room. Forgive and forget and try again.

        • Plan a snack for mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

        • Strive for eight hours of sleep at night. The more alert you are, the less likely you are to turn to artificial energy such as candy bars.

        • Know your weaknesses. Everyone has triggers that can push him or her off course. It is important to know your own.

        • Use smaller dinner plates.

        • Reach for veggies, salads and fruits when you need a second helping.


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