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Fifty Two Ways to Lose Weight

Fitness for mind and body.

1.  Double your vegetables. Make the vegetable portions on your dinner plate twice the size of your meat portion. Mother Nature's gems, vegetables, are chockfull of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and typically, low in fat and heart-unhealthy, saturated fat. More importantly, high bulk, low calorie vegetables fill you up before they fill you out, crowding out the opportunity to overeat the higher fat meats at dinner. Eating three to five servings of vegetables daily can help appease your hunger. Keep your meat to no more than 3-ounces (about the size of a woman's palm) at dinner and double up on the vegetables on your plate.

2.  Go skinless. Don't eat the skin off the chicken at least once this week. Going skinless will cut the fat and saturated fat in your chicken breast by at least half and the calories by almost 15 percent. Whether you pluck the bird's outer coat before or after it's cooked will make no difference in the fat content of the meat. But if you don't have the willpower to toss the crispy skin once it's done, strip it before the bird goes into the oven. Use a juicy marinade, BBQ sauce, or a basting sauce to avoid an overcooked bird.

Apple Juice 3.  Drink less juice, and eat more fruit. While 100 percent fruit juice gets a thumbs-up over soda when it comes to nutrition, the condensed calories and low fiber content in juice get a thumbs down compared to fruit. Get this: orange juice has more calories per ounce then cola, so you can easily guzzle a ton of calories quickly. Stick with high fiber, tummy-filling, whole fruit more often. Firm bananas, apples, oranges, and tangerines travel well for those with an on-the-go lifestyle.

4.  Switch to whole grains. Eat your lunchtime sandwich on whole wheat bread or whole grain bread at least once this week. The term "whole" is a tip-off to getting a whole lot more nutrition. Whole wheat bread slices up at least twice the amount of fiber, zinc, vitamin B6, and magnesium as white bread. Read the label to make sure that the bread is made with only 100 percent whole wheat or whole grains If you want to gradually break into the whole wheat club, use whole wheat bread as the bottom slice of your sandwich and regular bread as the top layer. Eventually, make the whole switch to whole grains.

5.  Include vegetables at lunch. To stave off the mid-afternoon hungry horrors, tack on some vegetables at lunch to create a more satisfying, higher volume mid-day meal. Add a side salad with your sandwich or stuff a salad into a whole wheat pita along with some lean protein. If cold vegetables at lunch make you shiver, brew a pot of vegetable soup and slurp it up along with your lunch sandwich.

6.  Dump the donut. Instead of a donut for breakfast, have an English muffin or half of a jumbo bagel (save the other half for lunch). Believe it or not, a chocolate glazed donut can have the same number of calories as the English muffin and a half bagel combined! Top the English muffin or bagel half with peanut butter or light cream cheese, and either breakfast option still serves up less calories than that donut. Bonus tip: Look for whole wheat or whole grain English muffins or bagels for even more fiber and nutrition at breakfast. Find more good choices to eat at Belly Bytes.

7.  Go easy on the cheese. Use a lower fat instead of regular cheese, or eat less of the real thing. Ounce for ounce, the melted cheddar cheese oozing from the top of your hamburger has more calories, fat, and saturated fat than the burger. Talk about top heavy. Try using a lower fat variety that actually tastes and melts like the real thing.
Or, use less of a strong, regular cheese. A sprinkle of feta, a smattering of grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, or a smear of soft goat cheese can satisfy your yen without damaging your waist. Invest in a good cheese knife that allows you to cut paper-thin slices of your favorite hard cheeses.

Big Veggie Sub 8.  Stack a veggie-heavy sandwich. Build a sandwich that has more lettuce and tomato than meat. Stack the meat filler in the sandwich to no higher than the thickness of a standard slice of bread. Then pile on low calorie slices of lettuce and tomatoes to the combined height of both slices of bread. Presto: your sandwich tower has the height of the Empire State building yet the svelteness of the Eiffel Tower.

9.  Use lean ground turkey. Substitute lean ground turkey for ground beef the next time you make meatballs, meatloaf, or chili. This little substitution can cut over 30 percent of the calories and at least half of the fat and saturated fat in a three-ounce serving. Smothered in a zesty tomato sauce or flavored with seasonings, you'll never be able to tell the difference. If you're feeling a little gun-shy about abandoning the beef, use half turkey and half lean beef.

10.  Skip the soda. Replace a can of soda with water at least once this week. Pop open a 12-ounce can of cola and you'll drink about 150 calories entirely from 9-plus teaspoons of added sugar. Keep guzzling that amount daily, and in three weeks there will be another pound of you in the mirror. For a no-calorie drink with fizzle, try sparkling water flavored with lemon or lime slices. Too blase for your sweet taste buds? Combine one ounce of juice with 11 ounces of carbonated water and ice for a very low-calorie refreshing drink on the rocks.

11.  Match grains with vegetables. Eat equal portions of vegetables and grains at dinner. A cup of cooked rice or pasta has about 200 calories, whereas a cup of cooked vegetables doles out a mere 50 calories, on average. To avoid a grain calorie overload, eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to vegetables. The high fiber vegetables will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains. If you go back for seconds, make sure you eat equal amounts of both.

12.  Switch to lower-fat milk. Switch from regular milk to 2 percent fat. If you already drink 2 percent, go down another notch to 1 percent or skim milk. Starting at 150 calories for a cup of whole milk and working down to 2 , then 1 percent and finally to skim milk, each step downward cuts the calories by about 20 percent. Gradually declining the milk fat content will allow your rich palate to adjust subtly to a less rich milk. Once you train your taste buds to enjoy skim milk, you'll have cut the calories in the whole milk by about half and trimmed the fat by 95 percent.

13.  Munch on pre-dinner vegetables. If you are a pre-dinner muncher, snack on only vegetables. If you don't usually eat anything, try a plate of vegetables before dinner to help curb your appetite. With fewer than half of all Americans eating the minimum number of servings daily, it's time to make vegetables a daily appetizer at dinner. Limiting your pre-dinner chow to low-calorie vegetables will help take the edge off your appetite, but not at the expense of your hips. Dress up baby carrots, pepper sticks, celery, and broccoli florets by dunking them in salsa, low fat salad dressings, flavored mustards, and relishes.

Frozen Yogurt with Berries 14.  Scream for less ice cream. Lighten up on the scoops of ice cream. When it comes to frozen delights, whether it's no-fat or full-fat, controlling the serving size is the only way to control the calories. Designate a custard dish as your permanent ice cream bowl and keep to a small, 1/2 cup mound of frozen yogurt or reduced fat ice cream. Top with berries to give the impression of a larger portion. Or, prop your petite serving atop a 17-calorie, cake-style ice cream cone and lick to your waist's delight. Also visit our Your Health Smart Guide to Frozen Desserts eBook for delicious frozen goodies guilt free!

15.  Make it a vegetable pie. Order your next pizza topped with more vegetables and less meat. Loading the pie with low-calorie, low-fat vegetables will muscle out the more traditional fatty meat toppings. Compared to a meat pie, a vegetable pizza can have 25 percent fewer calories and about 50 percent less fat and saturated fat. If a meat pie is a must, order it with half the usual amount and go heavy on the veggies.

16.  Hanker for a Happy Meal. Think small at the fast food restaurant. Ordering a small burger and a small pouch of fries can end up saving a small fortune in calories and fat. A big deluxe burger and super size fries can shell out close to 1,200 calories and over 60 grams of fat. Compare that to the smaller burger meal that can have you exiting the drive-thru with less than 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. Better yet, make the small burger a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayo (use the BBQ sauce), and order a small salad with low-fat dressing instead of the fries. Now, this is a happy meal.

17.  Dress down your salad. A tablespoon of regular dressing can have as much as seven times the calories of the leafy greens it coats. Use a variety of light dressings or dilute regular oil-based, bottled salad dressings by draining some of the oil that is floating on the top and replacing it with water or a flavored vinegar. For a homemade, light dressing, use the 1:2:3 formula. Use 1 part olive oil, 2 parts water or juice, and three parts of a flavored vinegar plus some seasonings. A favorite: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and chives.

18.  Don't desert dessert. You don't necessarily have to desert dessert. Eat 25 percent less and be proud of yourself. Call a food "forbidden," and you'll start an internal war that is almost guaranteed to have you throwing in the towel (or napkin). Sweets, or any food for that matter, don't have to become an all-or-nothing scenario. Make that slice of Death By Chocolate just a sliver instead of a hunk; the cookies, a couple rather than a entire row; and the candy bar, a mini morsel rather than a one-pound bar. Remember, anything can be low in calories if you don't eat a lot of it. See also: Low Calorie Recipes.

19.  Buy smaller bags of chips. Forget about buying the large, six-ounce bag of chips, buttered popcorn, or cheese curls. Even though baked chips, light popcorn, and pretzels may save you some calories and fat per serving in comparison, the problem is that we end up consuming too many handfuls when you buy the larger bags. Buy these items only in those cute little one-ounce lunch pack sizes to keep your hands from continually reaching in the bag.

20.  Snack smartly. Snack with your health in mind. Smart snacking can help with your weight loss efforts by taking the edge off in-between meal hunger before it develops into ravenous over-eating. Since fewer than 30 percent of Americans are eating the minimum number of servings from the dairy and fruit groups, make snacks work for you by choosing foods that may be missing at mealtimes. Smart snack ideas include a yogurt and a piece of fruit; a baked appleor pear; or a homemade fruit smoothie made with milk and yogurt, fruit, and ice, blended to a frosty swirl.

Walking 21.  Do a lap around the mall. Walk around the mall an extra time before heading home. Depending on how often you shop and how spacious the mall, your shopping outings could develop into an Olympic sport. In Minneapolis, the Mall Of America's 1996 Mall Walker of the Year walked off 140 pounds. And just think -- with all that weight loss, you'll be forced to spend a lot of time shopping (walking) for new clothes. Grab your sneakers and credit card, and head to the mall.

22.  Get off the bus early. Get off the bus or train two stops early and walk the rest of the way. If you can't seem to find the recommended minimum of 30 minutes daily to exercise, then make your workout part of your commute. Forget the door-to-door commuter service and factor in a 15-minute walk both in the morning and at the end of the day. A brisk walk is a great way to energize the start of your day and an absolutely fabulous way to walk off the office stress before you head home. Make sure your footwear is meant for brisk walking.

23.  Rock around the house. Turn on some music and dance around the house. Have you ever seen a chunky Rockette? Use your home as a private stage to audition for a fantasy Broadway musical or the rock concert of your dreams. A 150-pound person dancing up a storm will use up about 5 calories a minute. Consequently, a 20-minute home performance will have you dancing off 100 calories. Turn up the tunes and raise the stage curtain. A trimmer star is about to be born.

24.  Buy new fitness clothing. Let's face it: Good equipment is everything. Proper shoes that make it comfortable to walk, and clothes that make you feel good when you move, can act as an incentive to lace up the sneakers and hit the walking path. The American Council on Exercise warns that athletic shoes will lose their cushioning after three to six months of regular use, increasing the susceptibility to knee and ankle injuries. Replace them periodically. Buy a comfortable sweat suit or shorts and a tee-shirt in bright, fun colors, such as bright red or orange, which are known to have an invigorating effect.

25.  Unload one bag at a time. Unpack the groceries from the car one bag at a time. This little habit will give you two workouts in one. The many trips schlepping back to the car will have you burning calories and lifting, a strength-building activity that can help build and maintain your muscles and bones. Hefty produce weighs more than feathery potato chips, so stock those grocery bags with nutritious apples, oranges, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables to make your unloading more of a workout.

26.  Take a few quick walks. Get up and walk around the office or your home for five minutes at least once a day. A little jolt of exercise can help break the monotony of the workday and help walk off some workplace stress. A brisk five-minute walk daily will parlay into an extra 35-minute walk by the end of the week. Break for two five-minute jaunts daily and you'll have walked over an extra hour weekly. Set an alarm clock on your desk or program your computer or watch to beep to remind you to get up and move.

27.  Get with the season. Move outdoors to burn the calories consumed indoors. A 150-pound person who pulls weeds, plants a garden, mows the lawn, or rakes leaves would expend anywhere from 111 calories (raking) to about 145 calories (weeding or planting seeds) to a whopping 225 calories (mowing) for each half hour spent doing these outside chores. Cancel the lawn service -- it'll do your waist good. See also: Burning Calories While You Sleep

Washing the Car 28.  Wash the car weekly. If you don't own a car, wash anything thoroughly in your home once a week -- a floor, a couple of windows, the shower stall or bathroom tile. Cleanliness is not only next to Godliness, but it can also be a way to balance a sweet tooth. A 150-pound person who sports rubber gloves and exerts some elbow grease will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning. Scrub for 30 minutes and you could work off approximately 120 calories, the same number in a half-cup of vanilla frozen yogurt. If you want to top your yogurt off with a teaspoon of chocolate sprinkles, scrub-a-dub another five minutes.

29.  Crank up a new CD. Buy a new CD for your headset to help you groove when you move. If a brisk walk feels anything but brisk and lively, pick up the pace by obtaining a variety of upbeat music. Reward yourself with a new CD after every 15 or so outings. Stock up on batteries -- or invest in the rechargable kind -- so your CD player won't run out of juice before you do.

30.  Buy a book-on-tape. Forget cozying up to a good book -- instead, plug in a good book-on-tape and move as you read. Get lost (in thought, that is) on the walking path by listening to light-hearted, humorous prose or scare yourself into a faster aerobic pace by listening to the king of horror, Stephen King.

31.  Walk while you talk. When you are talking on the cordless phone, get up and walk around the office or house for at least a minute of each call. Whether you've a job in telephone sales, or you're a chatterbox with a multitude of family and friends, you could be working out while you're working the phone. Consider this: A person burns about three times as many calories walking around as compared to sitting around.

32.  Deliver messages by hand. Send fewer interoffice emails daily. Hand deliver messages instead. While we are all geared into saving time, moving our mouse more often than our feet will, unfortunately, also reduce the amount of calories burned. Make a habit of getting up and delivering a couple of messages every day to fellow employees who sit the farthest away from your cubicle. The more you move, the more you will stand to lose.

33.  Take the long way. Walk around the block to get next door. Use the long way to get to your destination at least once during the day. Incorporate some movement into your day by frequenting the restrooms on another floor of your office building and parking the car at the space farthest from the building. (Note: Do this only if it's in a safe area.) Consider any elevator or escalator that you encounter "out of order" and climb the stairs instead ... for the rest of your life.

34.  Have an active outing. Make one social outing this week an active one. Give the movie date a hike and trek through the park instead. You will not only be sitting less but saving calories by not chowing down on that bucket of popcorn. Other active date ideas: Plan a tennis match; sign up for a guided nature or city walk (check your local newspaper); don the protective helmet and go cycling on a bike path; or join a volleyball, softball, or bowling team.

35.  Turn off the tube. Turn off the television an hour earlier one day this week. You're not going to get a much more sedentary, low-calorie-burning activity than simply sitting in front of the TV. A 150-pound couch potato will use up less than 1.5 calories a minute sitting. (Although if you were sitting watching the NFL playoffs, your TV viewing may become a little more antsy and calorie-burning.) Any other activity that you can substitute for sitting would likely be a better bet. But here's the real bonus: With the TV off an hour sooner, that's one less hour of network noshing that you would be tempted to do. Now, that could save you a bundle of calories.

36.  Exercise with your family. Make exercise a family affair. Family time at a premium? Work out with the kids for quality time that does double duty. While adults should rack up at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activities on most days, the kiddies should be shooting for 60 minutes. Everyone in the household would benefit with a game of backyard soccer, baseball, or tag. Shoot hoops, roller blade (don't forget the protective gear), grab a few softball bats and see who can hit the most balls in a row, bike around the neighborhood, skip rope, dive in a pool, or build a snowperson. Don't have kids? Bring out the kid in you by enjoying some of these fun, childhood memories. Come on -- when was the last time you made a snow angel?

37.  Grab some breakfast. If you normally skip breakfast, eat breakfast once this week. Here's why: Studies have shown that eating breakfast may not only contribute to a lower fat, healthier diet, but can provide as much as 28 percent of Americans' daily intakes of vitamins and minerals. Eating breakfast has also been shown to help minimize impulsive, unplanned snacking during the day. Too rushed to eat breakfast? Rise and shine to a quick bowl of a nutritious whole grain cereal, skim milk, and fruit -- or if you are eating on the run, reach for a container of yogurt, a small whole-grain bagel, and a piece of fruit.

38.  Shop smartly. Food shop with a full stomach and a grocery list. Walking around aimlessly in the grocery store with your tummy growling can make you vulnerable to buying anything that isn't moving. Shop only after you have eaten a meal, when the temptation to eat is deadened, and make sure that you go to the store armed with a list to help keep your purchases on target. Organizing your shopping list by the store aisles will also have you out of the supermarket at the speed of light. If you are female, you may want to enlist a male to do the food shopping for you. The latest survey from the Food Marketing Institute shows that compared to women, men are more likely to buy only what's on the grocery list.

39.  Hide the serving bowls. Dish out dinner directly onto your plate. Covering the dinner table with serving bowls of food can tempt you to dish out unnecessary, additional helpings. Taking seconds of everything will add up to a second round of calories. Try this trick instead: Immediately put any meal fixings or leftovers in the refrigerator or cupboard before you sit down to eat. Out of sight, out of mind -- and more importantly, out of your mouth. This will also help eliminate the nibbling of leftovers that may go on when you are assigned to post-dinner clean-up.

40.  Walk off anxiety. When life is a pressure cooker, release some of that emotional steam on the walking path. A feel-good, mood altering substance in the body, also known as endorphin, has been shown to increase during exercise, potentially playing a soothing role in reducing anxiety, tension, and anger. When you feel wound up, lace up those walking sneakers.

41.  Put your fork down. Slow down your eating by setting your fork down between mouthfuls. Since it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send "I'm full" messages to your brain, speed-eating can lead to overeating. So this week: Try the "fork-lift, fork-rest" exercise at supper. (Lift fork to mouth, set fork down. CHEW WELL. Repeat.)

42.  Measure your portions once a week. Eyeballing your serving sizes without a routine re-check can have you experiencing "portion inflation." Reign in your portions by doing a measuring re-check on Fridays, strategically before the weekend, when serving sizes may lax as you relax. Keep your serving of meat at both lunch and dinner to about three ounces each, the size of a woman's palm. Bagels and muffins should fit into a lady's palm, without eclipsing the entire hand. A cup of cooked rice, pasta, or veggies is about the size of a female's fist.

43.  Declare a Vending-Machine-Free Day. A bag of pretzels here, a pouch of animal crackers there -- it all adds up. Americans' intakes of snacks such as crackers, popcorn, pretzels, and corn chips have increased by 200 percent since the late 1970's. To motivate you to stay clear of the vending machines, place a see-through jar on your desk and deposit those quarters that the vending machine would have typically gobbled up during the day. At the end of the month, gather up your loot and buy a lovely plant for your office or home. The money growing in the jar is a constant reminder of your awesome efforts and a powerful visual motivator to help keep you on track.

44.  Get your ZZZ's. Go to sleep a half-hour earlier one day this week. Adults need somewhere in the neighborhood of seven to eight hours sleep nightly (some may need more, some less). Adequate sleep is important to keep our nervous system in perky condition. Depriving yourself of rejuvenating slumber can feed into impaired memory and physical performance and, if continued, even mood swings. Hit the hay earlier so that you start each day refreshed and better motivated to eat right and exercise.

45.  Stop munching mindlessly. Replace boredom eating with productive movement. Let's face it: If we ate only when we were hungry, we would probably be a heck of a lot leaner. Munching solely for entertainment purposes is going to anchor your weight on the bathroom scale for the rest of your life. A better bet: Make a "To Do" list of activities to fill the void at both work and home. When the workday hits a lull, tackle the office filing, delete your old email, clean out the desk drawers, or re-organize your desk top. At home, clean closets, organize photo albums, rearrange rooms, or plan your next vacation to keep you out of the kitchen.

46.  Eat before you drink alcohol. Talk to the waitstaff before you talk to the wine steward. About 20 percent of the alcohol that you drink is absorbed in the stomach and can reach the brain almost immediately, especially if you're sipping on an empty stomach. If you find that booze causes you to put your willpower on the rocks, don't imbibe until you place your order and begin eating your meal. A full tummy can help slow down the absorption of the firewater and delay your good judgment from becoming narcotized. If you are solo, consider ordering wine by the glass; or if it's dinner for two, uncork a half-bottle to keep to a more reasonable amount. As always, women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage daily, whereas men should keep to no more than two daily.

47.  Stop before you're stuffed. At least once this week, challenge yourself to avoid having to adjust your waistband because you didn't adjust your intake. To make it easier to push away from the table, plan to enjoy this food again as leftovers the next day. This will help eliminate "The Last Supper" mentality, or the propensity to overeat, fearing that it will be the last time you will have an opportunity to enjoy this food anytime soon.

48.  Keep out of the kitchen. Don't eat after dinner at least once this week. Nonstop nighttime nibbling can have you noshing your way into the caloric equivalent of a fourth meal. Once the dinner dishes are done, declare the kitchen "closed for the evening" by shutting off the light and not entering again until dawn. If you are truly hungry, allow yourself only a small snack such as a piece of fruit, tossed salad, or a yogurt.

49.  Chart your success. Focus on changing one behavior at a time, such as drinking more water or exercising daily. Post a chart on the front of the refrigerator that tallies your daily behavioral change efforts. This will be a pleasant reminder of your awesome success each time you trek through the kitchen. At week's end, add up your successes and reward yourself with flowers, bubble bath, scented candles, or a massage for all your hard work. Once a habit has been licked, move on to another one.

50.  Celebrate without food. The next time you get a raise, pass that gosh-awful college or graduate course, or get that long-awaited promotion, celebrate without a plate. Replace the traditional celebratory restaurant dinner or drinks at a bar with no-calorie rewards such as a new outfit, a dazzling piece of jewelry, or the latest best-seller. Non-food gifts will be a better long term reminder of all your hard work.

51.  Find life outside the kitchen. When the good times aren't exactly rolling, many of us unfortunately look to the cupboards for comfort. Eating yourself to emotional oblivion will cause you to end up with two problems: the original one that you started with, and the new one of having to deal with the excess calories from the large bag of chips you just inhaled. Instead, create a list of supportive outlets to use when life gets you down and post it in a visible place. In addition to calling a friend or counselor, consider volunteering at a local shelter, hospital, or school. Oftentimes one of the best ways to lift your spirits is to lift someone else's.

52.  Rein in your snacking. If you tend to eat constantly throughout the day, choose one day when you eat only three meals and two planned snacks. For a real eye-opener, keep a log of foods that you eat for one day and add up the between-meal calories. You'll be shocked at how quickly mindless grazing throughout your day can deceivingly rack up a fair number of empty calories. Plan your meals and snacks the day before and stick with your plan.

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