5 Sneaky Eating Tips to Help You Lose Weight

03/20/2010

from HealthyWomen’s e-newsletter, HealthyWomen Take 10

Dieting is out; smart eating for weight loss is in. That doesn’t mean deprivation. The best ways to cut excess weight include making changes you can live with forever.

Some of those changes are downright sneaky—you can slip them into your daily eating plan without any stress and they’ll help you lose pounds as well as keep the weight off.

1. Take out a ruler and measure your plate. The size of American dinner plates has grown in recent years. Many are now 12 or even 14 inches wide, great for loading up but not so good for encouraging healthy eating. Big plates result in big portions and weight gain, since most of us are conditioned to eat what’s on our plates. Instead, get out those old 9- or 10-inch “luncheon” plates you may have received as hand-me-downs or buy some inexpensive new ones. You’ll serve yourself less food with smaller plates, but still feel satisfied.

2. Make your second helping all veggies. You may have heard the advice to mentally divide your dinner plate in fourths and fill two of those sections with vegetables and/or salad, one with a starch and one with a meat or other protein. That works well as a guideline for smart eating, but if you’re still hungry and want more, commit to making your second helping all veggies. For seconds, start with one-fourth of the plate or less. Eating more cooked or salad vegetables increases your feeling of fullness without adding a lot of calories—so long as you don’t butter the vegetables and use only nonfat or low-fat salad dressings.

3. Serve from the stove, not at the table. Although the image of filled serving bowls on the family dinner table is associated with well-being, serving food directly from pots on a stove or counter is better for healthy weight, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. The reason this sneaky tip works for weight control is simple: When you sit and look at food, you take more and eat more. For a modified approach, reduce traffic jams at the stove and promote better food choices by keeping only the cooked vegetables and salad on the dining table.

4. Eat breakfast every day. More reason to wake up and smell the coffee: Eating breakfast improves weight loss efforts and helps keep weight off long-term. When you skip that starter meal of the day, hunger hits stronger, often well before lunchtime. To quiet hunger pangs quickly, you might reach for something calorie-loaded without much nutritional benefit, such as a doughnut (or two!), muffin or bagel. Whole-grain cereals, like oatmeal, will carry you through the morning. Other options: have nonfat yogurt, eggs or peanut butter for protein, with whole-grain toast.

5. Have a tall, thin one. Time to hide the wide glasses! Dr. Wansink and his research colleagues have shown that you’ll pour less and drink less (thus cutting calories)–yet still be satisfied—when you use tall, skinny glasses for serving beverages. You can still use your wide glasses for water and other calorie-free drinks.

For more on diet and nutrition, visit: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition

References

Wansink B, van Ittersum K. “Portion Size Me: Downsizing Our Consumption Norms.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2007;107(7):1103-1106.

Ello-Martin, JA, Roe LS, Ledikwe JH, et al. “Dietary Energy Density in the Treatment of Obesity: A Year-Long Trial Comparing Two Weight-Loss Diets.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85(6):1465-1477.

Raynor, HA, Jeffery RW, Ruggiero AM, et al. “Weight Loss Strategies Associated with BMI in Overweight Adults with Type 2 Diabetes at Entry Into the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) Trial.” Diabetes Care. 2008;31(7):1299-1304.

Wansink B, van Ittersum K. “Shape of Glass and Amount of Alcohol Poured: Comparative Study of Effect of Practice and Concentration.” British Medical Journal. 2005;331(7531):1512-1514.

© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.

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Sweetened drinks increase a woman’s risk for heart disease

07/31/2009

 The Nurses Health Study evaluated over 88,000 women aged 34 to 59 over 24 years.  They recently reported that women who drank 2 or more sweetened beverages a day had a 35% increase in their risk for heart disease (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2009).  Sweetened beverages in this study included: Caffeinated and non-caffeinated colas and carbonated beverages with sugar.  The increased risk was not observed with artificially sweetened drinks.  The researchers believe that the sweetened beverages can increase triglycerol levels and this might be the cause of the heart problems.

 Enjoying an occasional sweetened beverage may be okay but – Moderation is Key!

 For more heart healthy info and New Women’s Heart Health book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” visit www.heart-strong.com


Alcohol and Liquid Calories

07/21/2009

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Remember all calories count! Since there is no nutritional label on your alcoholic beverage you might not think about the calories you are ingesting. These calories can add up over time even if you are only having a couple of beers or glasses of wine each week.

Wine (6oz glass) = 120 calories

Light beer (12 oz) = 100 calories

Regular beer (12 oz) = 150 calories

Wine cooler (12 oz) = 225 calories

Liquor, 80 proof (1.5 oz) = 100 calories

If you are having a mixed drink you also need to calculate what you’re combining your alcohol with.

Small pina colada (5 oz) = 245 calories

Margarita = 157 calories

Long island iced tea = 230 calories

These are estimates since every bartender mixes drinks a little different and portion sizes may vary. Remember alcohol does have some heart healthy benefits but in moderation: women one glass per day, men no more than two glasses per day. Cheers!!


Do I Have to Stop Snacking to Lose Weight?

06/15/2009

There is a general perception that snacking is bad and you need to cut out snacking if you want to lose weight. Well, the opposite is actually true.

It is important to eat regularly, every 3-4 hours to maintain your metabolic rate, promote stable blood sugar levels, and prevent insulin spikes. By maintaining a high metabolism you boost the calories you burn throughout the day, which helps you lose weight. By maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing insulin spikes you will prevent drops in energy.

Now, this doesn’t mean just any food will work. You need to select heart healthy snacks. This means eating snacks that balance carbohydrates with protein and/or heart healthy fats. Fat and protein slow the breakdown of carbohydrates, preventing the rapid rise in blood sugar and the corresponding increased insulin release.

Here are healthy snacks that are high in carbohydrates:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Dried Fruit
  • Pretzels
  • Fig bars
  • Fresh fruit

You can make these snacks heart healthy by combining with a protein. These protein sources that are easy to include with snacks:

  • Glass of skim milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter

Here’s an example of how you can apply this to your daily snacks.

Mid-morning snack: Yogurt with granola
Mid-afternoon snack: Nuts mixed with dried fruit
Evening snack: Light frozen yogurt topped with strawberries

Balancing the carbohydrates and protein in your snacks is just one of many factors that affect weight loss. To drastically increase your success with losing weight and keeping it off you must wade through all the weight loss information available and sort out what works from what doesn’t. Many methods used to lose weight are ineffective and some may even sabotage your weight loss efforts. Sign up for the FREE teleclass to learn which weight loss strategies really work. Visit http://www.goldbar.net/ua/link.php?affID=Heartstrong_ad to learn more today.


Do Kids Need to Worry About Cholesterol?

04/02/2009

Usually high cholesterol is considered an adult problem, most kids may not even know what cholesterol is…

With the increase in childhood obesity and diabetes, cholesterol screening is now being recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in children between the ages of 2 and 10.  Children at higher risk for cholesterol problems include: kids who are overweight/obese, have diabetes, have high blood pressure and/or have a family history of early heart disease.  LDL (which is the “lousy” or bad) cholesterol levels for children should be 130 mg/dl or lower.

If your childs cholesterol level is elevated healthy lifestyle changes should be implemented.  Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, limit portion sizes, weight loss strategies (if overweight) and follow a low fat/low sodium diet.  Cholesterol medications should be considered if a child has a LDL cholesterol level above 160 mg/dl plus 2 risk factors for heart disease, or if your child’s LDL cholesterol is above 190 mg/dl even if no other risk factors are present.

Elevated cholesterol levels in children are predictive of future heart problems – so it’s important to start early and encourage your children to develop heart healthy habits!

Visit www.heart-strong.com for more heart healthy tips (Kids section called “Little Hearts”)

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Weight Loss Pills Harmful to Your Heart

03/22/2009

Trying to lose weight? Stay away from those quick fix infomercials promising to burn your fat away “naturally”.  If they sound too goo to be true – they are!

The Food and Drug Administration recently found that 28 dietary supplements (many from China being sold on the internet) may actually lead to serious health problems.

Many of the pills contained sibutramine which is a powerful appetite suppressant but has similar effects to amphetamines.  These supplements can actually lead to heart attacks, palpitations and strokes.  Sibutramine is found in the presecription drug Meridia, which is used to treat obesity, but over-the-counter weight loss supplements often contain dangerous levels (two to three times the recommended daily dosage).  Another common ingredient in these weight loss supplements is phenolphthalein (frequently used as a laxative) which is being withdrawn from the market due to an increased risk of cancer.

Before considering any weight loss supplements you should consult your health care provider or pharmacist, better yet avoid them altogether. Remember the best way to lose weight is to decrease portion sizes and exercise! To lose one pound a week you need to either consume 500 less calories per day or burn off (exercise) 500 calories per day.

 

For more heart healthy nutritional advice visit www.heart-strong.com

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Heart Healthy Fast Food Choices?

03/07/2009

Fast food is convenient and inexpensive.  But can you eat healthy meals at the fast food chains? What if you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight?

McDonald’s Big Mac Value Meal can be very tempting – you get lots of food and it doesn’t cost a lot. But let’s consider the cost to your health 1,220 calories 58 grams of total fat and 1,310 mg of sodium. Can your body afford that??

We all like our occasional burger (remember moderation is key). So what are the healthier alternatives when eating fast food…

Let’s start with Hamburgers:

-select a single patty or junior size (even kid’s portion)

-skip the cheese, mayo and special sauces

-add as much lettuce, tomato and onions as you like

 

What about those Chicken Sandwiches or Nuggets:

-select baked, broiled or grilled chicken

-again skip the cheese, mayo or special sauces

-pile on the lettuce, tomato and onions

-skip those chicken nuggets (contain lots of trans fat – you can almost hear your arteries clogging while you eat them)

 

How about Fish Selections:

-fish is definitely heart healthy but NOT when it’s fried (I know it tastes good but you lose all the heart healthy benefits when you fry fish)

-avoid tartar sauce and cheese

 

Now let’s look at Subs and Deli Sandwiches:

Subway has commercials talking about how healthy their subs are and how people have lost weight eating there. Well if you make the appropriate choices that may be true but they also have some sandwiches you need to avoid. The Subway 6 inch meatball sub has 530 calories and 26 grams of fat.

-ask for lower fat and/or lower sodium meats

-skip the cheese and mayo

-use vinegar and salt free seasonings

-load your sandwich up with the veggies

 

Last but not least are the Salads:

Not all salads are heart healthy –if you eat vegetables but then smother them with high fat toppings you lose the nutritional benefits.

-select lots of different vegetables to put on top of your lettuce (remember veggies come in all different colors, your salad should not be just green)

-avoid the bacon bits, cheese and creamy toppings

-use light or low fat, low sodium salad dressings

 

Avoid the empty calories and liquid sugar sodas – or if you are going to get a soda order the small size.

And last but not least always remember your portion sizes – avoid those super sized meals.

 

With this economic crisis it can be expensive to take your family out for dinner so if you go to the fast food chains remember you can make some heart healthy selections.

For more heart healthy nutritional info visit www.heart-strong.com also our new book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” lists lots of other heart healthy nutritional advice.