A Sensible Approach to Weight-Loss
Simple Strategies to Help You Lose Weight
NUTRITIONISTS AND HEALTH EXPERTS agree that slow weight loss -- no more than one to two pounds a week -- is the safest, most healthful way to lose weight and keep it off.
If you need to lose weight, you can do so by eating fewer calories and less fat and exercising more.
These tips can help you lose weight safely:
- Cut the fat, not the flavor, from food. Review your favorite recipes. You probably can cut one-third to one-half the oil, butter or margarine called for in most dishes with no appreciable change in texture or flavor. Adding more herbs and spices can compensate for any loss of flavor.
- Eat reasonable portions of healthful foods. A serving of chicken or meat the size of a deck of playing cards is about right for lunch and dinner. Restaurant portions are usually two to three times larger than this.
- Count beverage calories, too. Most alcoholic drinks are fat-free, but their calories can add up. A 12-oz. light beer has about 90 calories; a 12-oz. regular beer, 146 calories; a gin and tonic, 171 calories; a screwdriver, 174 calories; and a wine cooler, 192 calories.
- Don't assume low-fat foods are low in calories. Different brands of similar products can have surprisingly different amounts of calories and fat. Read and compare labels on food products before you buy.
- Cook with nonstick cookware and use vegetable-oil spray. Using a thin layer of spray instead of 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil when sautéing saves you 230 calories and 27 gm. Of fat.
- Eat regular meals and light healthful snacks. You're more likely to overeat at mealtime if you don't snack between meals.
- Eat breakfast. Research shows your metabolism -- your body's fat-burning potential -- drops when you skip the morning meal.
- Control after-dinner snacking by setting a specific time for a light snack.
- Make a list of satisfying substitutions for your favorite high-fat foods. For example: A fat-free chocolate-pudding cup instead of a candy bar; a baked apple instead of apple pie; nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream; and a whole-grain bagel instead of a croissant.
- Devise 5 to 10 fat- and calorie-cutting strategies that will work for you. Post them on your refrigerator and refer to them often. Some strategies to try: stocking your pantry with low-fat snacks; bringing a low-fat lunch to work instead of dining out; eating fruit for dessert; and drinking water with meals.
- Start and stick with a regular fitness routine. Eating light and exercising regularly are equally important to weight loss. Find an exercise routine or sport you enjoy and schedule workouts on your weekly calendar. You'll be more likely to continue exercising if you vary your workouts and keep them fun.
The Right Way to Dine Out
CHOOSING low-fat, healthful foods when eating in a restaurant can be a challenge.
The following tips can help you maintain healthful eating habits when you're on the go:
- Make wise menu selections. Most restaurant menus contain high- and low-fat choices. Be selective when choosing your entrée and side dishes.
- Pay attention to how foods are prepared. Chicken and fish are healthful main-course options if they're broiled, grilled or baked, not if they're fried or battered and fried. For example: A 3-ounce serving of baked flounder has 1 gm. Of fat; a 3-ounce serving of battered-and-fried flounder has up to 9 gm. Of fat.
- These words and phrases usually signal the least-healthful foods: breaded, pan-fried, deep-fried, buttered, crispy, creamy, au gratin, in cheese sauce or escalloped.
- Ask how dishes are served. Request that sauces and dressings be omitted or served on the side. Many cream-based sauces contain 9 to 13 gm. Of fat per serving. Ask for a baked potato instead of French fries, and you'll avoid 12 gm. Of fat.
- Practice portion control. Most restaurant servings are two to three times too large. Keep calorie and fat totals reasonable by requesting a doggie bag for half your meal.
- Use discretion at salad bars. A simple green salad topped with fresh vegetables and low-calorie dressing averages about 100 calories and 2 gm. Of fat. Pile on high-fat extras such as bacon bits, chopped eggs, mayonnaise-based pasta salads and regular dressing, and you'll consume as much as 700 calories and 30 gm. Of fat.
Healthful Food Swaps Cut Calories and Fat
Substituting low-fat foods for high-fat ones is the easiest way to cut calories and fat from your diet. The following table offers specific suggestions.
|Instead of…||Choose…||To save…|
|1 cup peanuts||1 cup popcorn||810||72|
|1 piece cake with icing||1 piece angel food cake||330||18|
|1 croissant||1 English muffin||160||14|
|3 oz. barbecued ribs with barbecue sauce||3 oz. grilled flank steak||158||17|
|3 oz. prime rib||3 oz. grilled flank steak||135||21|
|3 oz. fried chicken breast||3 oz. grilled skinless chicken breast||120||5|
|1 cup premium ice cream||1 cup fat-free frozen yogurt||100||20|
|2 oz. bologna||2 oz. chicken breast||100||11|
|2 oz. sour cream||2 oz. nonfat yogurt||90||12|
|3 oz. hamburger meat ||3 oz. extra-lean ground breast mixture beef and ground turkey||90||7|
|1/2 cup potato salad with mayonnaise||1/2 cup roasted potatoes||69||10|
|2 t. mayonnaise||2 t. mustard||65||8|
|8 oz. whole milk||8 oz. skim milk||60||8|
|1 oz. potato chips||1 oz. pretzels||50||9|
|1 oz. corn chips||1 oz. pretzels||43||8|
|8 oz. plain yogurt||8 oz. nonfat yogurt||40||7|
Understanding the Lingo of Food Labels
IF YOU HAVEN'T been reading food labels, now is a good time to start. Label information can help you compare similar brands and choose those with fewer calories and less fat.
The following definitions will help you analyze nutritional information as it appears on food labels:
- Daily value. The percentages on the new labels are based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet. The figures won't be accurate if you eat more or fewer calories.
- Serving size. Compare the amount you usually eat with the serving size listed on the label. You'll get twice the calories and fat if you eat twice as much.
- Amount per serving: Calories from fat. The American Heart Association recommends that total fat intake be less than 30% of daily calories.
- Total fat and saturated fat. When comparing similar food products, choose the one with less fat and saturated fat.
- Cholesterol. Foods high in cholesterol can lead to heart disease. Choose foods with a low percentage of cholesterol.
- Total carbohydrate. A healthful diet should be 55% to 70% carbohydrates such as breads, grains, pastas, fruits and vegetables. Foods with a high percentage of complex carbohydrates are good choices.
- Sugar. Regular sodas, candy and some breakfast cereals can be very high in sugar. To calculate the teaspoons of sugar in a food product, divide the total number of grams of sugar by 4.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The American Dietetic Association, call 800-366-1655 or visit www.eatright.org.
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