Monday, January 22, 2018

Habits for Weight Loss

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Add these weight-loss strategies throughout your day. You’ll be motivated to make them a habit …

salad w pomegranates, pic
Mix it up with new flavors, like pomegranates on salad.

Make healthful foods satisfying. Dieters know the benefits of salads, soups, and grains. Keep from feeling deprived when crunching away and sipping on veggie-filled broth. Toss salad with dried fruit like craisins or mandarin oranges. Sprinkle shredded cheese on protein servings like chicken. Add a small amount of chocolate chips to trail mix. Mix in yogurt-covered raisins with your nuts. Use spices or a dash of sweetness to manipulate diet fare into a real treat.

Go to restaurants. Studies of the nation’s obesity troubles have had a positive impact on restaurant menus. It is easier than ever to dine out without sacrificing healthful eating. Most menus now offer specific dishes that are low fat, heart healthy, and gluten free. Look for a menu key and its corresponding symbols indicating applicable entrees.

restaurant cutlery, pic
Don’t deprive yourself of dining out.

Can’t resist indulging? Order something from the appetizer section. It’s often just a mini version of the meal without the sides. (In other words, go for the mini burger sliders. Skip the colossal bacon burger with fries.)

On special occasions, have dessert waiting at home. You can choose your favorite indulgence (maybe even something healthful), control the portions, and save some money.

Weight class, pic
Whet your appetite for health with a pre-meal workout.

Try to work out prior to a meal. This acts as a reminder of your commitment to fitness. The pre-meal investment of a good sweat session helps continue healthy habits when you sit down to eat. With your toils still fresh in mind, it may be easier to resist a high-cal dinner. You also will avoid getting stomach cramps from exercising while trying to digest. Be sure to have a light snack and plenty of water to fuel your workout though.

Enjoy a pre-meal drink-- of water!
Enjoy a pre-meal drink– of water!

Drink water before every meal. According to research published in the August 2015 issue of the journal Obesity, preloading with water prior to main meals leads to moderate weight loss. When it comes to weight loss, every rep—and every sip—counts.

Keep a food journal but don’t only focus on the food. Food journals, whether digital aps or old-fashioned paper and pen, bring awareness to how much we actually consume. Our mind’s handful of nuts may really be a partial bag. We may think we avoid sweets, but what about that afternoon soda?

A successful food journal should transcend what is eaten and its nutrition benefits (or lack thereof) to offer even more helpful insight. List factors like reasons for eating (hunger versus boredom), emotional state (stressed, lonely, celebratory), and eating environment (friends, family, party, happy hour).

Take time to think about your eating habits.
Take time to think about your eating habits.

This will present a pattern of eating habits. You’ll learn around whom you often fail your diet, from kids and their fun foods to a colleague during after-work drinks. You can discover if you are an emotional eater, and if food is a filler for overall boredom.

Give yourself a full week before you start to make assessments. As you become more familiar with why, where, and with whom you eat, you’ll be able to create a more successful healthful eating plan.

Strengthen your resolve.

Sculpt some muscle. Within a few weeks, strength training often rewards us by firming what was once, well, not so firm. Clothes fit better and we gain confidence—in our efforts and our appearance. Using dumbbells, a kettlebell, or simple body resistance, squeeze in additional reps throughout the day. Ask a personal trainer for easy but effective exercises. Before long, your loose jeans will make every dining experience more enjoyable for you—even the kale salads.


“Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT” by Helen M. Parretti, Paul Aveyard, Andrew Blannin, et al. at

Image Credits

Weight loss tools (introductory photo):


Dining out:

Raspberry water:



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