Health Curiosities

Seven Secrets For Success!

Tips to Extend Your Life and Energize Your Health

Secret #1 - It All Adds Up

Your body looks, works and feels better when your body is at a healthy weight. If you are overweight, you are at a greater risk for serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Even losing a few pounds can make a big improvement in your health.

If you eat more than you need for daily activities and exercise, you will gain weight. If you eat less than you need, you'll lose weight. If you balance eating with being active, your weight will stay the same!

Safe, long-term weight loss does not happen overnight. Studies show that an average weight loss of one to two pounds per week is most likely to last. Diets that promise large amounts of weight loss in short periods of time are often unsafe and may even cause you to gain the weight back.

The secret to success is to make small, healthy changes in your eating and activity that you can stick with for life!

Secret #2 - Move It and Lose It

Physical activity is just as important as is healthy eating for weight control. When you move, you burn calories and build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you can burn all day long!

Even small amounts of physical activity can help you reach a healthy weight. Experts recommend 30 minutes or more of physical activity at least 5 days a week. If you are not active right now, set aside 10 to 20 minutes each day for exercise. You can also build more activity into your day by walking more or climbing the stairs. Remember, 10 minutes of activity 3 times a day is just as good as one 30 minute session!

Secret #3 - A Little Planning Helps A Lot

Eat on a Regular Basis

  • Try to eat 3 small meals and 1 or 2 healthy snacks each day.
  • Going without eating for long periods of time can slow your metabolism and make it more difficult to lose weight.
  • You are more likely to over eat if you skip meals.

Watch What You Drink

  • Reach for water when you are thirsty.
  • Try 1% or skim milk instead of whole milk.
  • Limit 100% fruit juice to 8-ounces a day.
  • Beware of high calorie sodas, fruit punch, coffee drinks and alcohol - those calories can add up quickly!

Fill Up on Fiber

  • Foods high in fiber keep you feeling full.
  • Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grain breads and cereals to add more fiber to your diet.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water when you eat a high fiber diet.

Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand!

  • Yogurt with fruit or granola
  • Vegetables with lowfat dip
  • Air-popped popcorn or pretzels
  • Handful of nuts
  • Fresh fruit and cottage cheese
  • Whole wheat crackers & cheese
  • WIC cereal & lowfat milk
  • Hummus & pita bread

Secret #4 - Size Does Matter

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Use the plate model below to help you think about controlling portion size. How does your typical plate compare?

  • Fill 1/2 your plate with non-starchy vegetables or fruit:
    salad, cucumbers, fruit salad, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, carrots
  • Fill 1/4 of your plate with starchy vegetables or grains:
    rice, stuffing, potatoes, breakfast cereal, pasta, squash, yams, bread or rolls
  • Fill the last 1/4 of your plate with foods high in protein:
    (Remember to remove poultry skin and trim visible fat off of meat.) fish, poultry, meat, beans, eggs
  • Don't forget calcium rich foods 2-3 times a day!:
    1% or skim milk, lowfat yogurt, reduced-fat cheese

Secret # 5 - Fast Food Can Fool You

If you are trying to lose weight, you need to be aware of what you eat at home and on the run. You may not realize how many calories are in your favorite fast food meal. Here are some ways to make better food choices when eating out.

Go for health, not for 'value'
The larger size package meals give you more food for your money, but they are no bargain for your weight. You can gain as much as a pound a week simply by choosing super-sized meals over the regular versions. Choose smaller portions, or if you order a value meal, split it with someone else. Remember, drinks have calories too! Order a small size, choose diet soda, or drink water instead.

Choose your fish and chicken wisely
Breading, skin and mayonnaise add a lot of extra calories to your meal. Order grilled chicken, or remove the skin and breading before you dig in ... and skip the sauce!

Order smart salads
If your salad is swimming in dressing, it can have more calories than a cheeseburger. Try ordering the dressing on the side or try reduced-fat or fat-free dressing, and use less. Stay away from taco salads and limit high fat salad toppings like cheese and bacon bits.

Pick the better pizza
Order your pizza with lots of vegetables instead of pepperoni or sausage. Choose thin crust rather than crusts that are stuffed with cheese. Watch your portion sizes! Have a slice of pizza and add a side salad for a healthier meal.

Secret #6 - You're In Charge

Food shopping is your chance to control the foods you have in your home. These tips will help you make good choices for a healthy weight:

  • Plan meals for the entire week, and buy what you need to prepare them.
  • Always bring a shopping list.
  • Look for lean cuts of meat and lowfat dairy products.
  • Pick breakfast cereals that are low in sugar and high in fiber.
  • Check out the sale flyer for fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Stock up on canned and frozen fruits and vegetables.
  • And try not going food shopping may buy more than you need.

Secret #7 - You CAN Do It!

Be Realistic
Remember that slow and steady weight loss is the best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Don't expect your body to change overnight. Make small changes in your eating and activity that you can stick with. Set reasonable goals and think about long-term success.

Keep a Journal
Keeping track of what you eat is a great weight loss tool. You will see patterns in your eating and find things you need to change for a healthier diet. Keeping a journal might also help you gain control over your eating. If you write everything down, you might make better food choices. Physical activity journals are also an excellent way to keep you motivated to move.

Find a Buddy
Set fitness and eating goals with a friend or family member. It is a lot easier to follow through on good intentions when someone else is depending on you to succeed.

Reward Yourself ... But Not with Food
When you reach a goal, treat yourself! Spend some alone time with your favorite book, go to a movie, do your nails, buy a CD or better yet, try on those jeans you've put away in your closet and NOW see how they fit! Reward yourself for a job well done!

Don't Give Up
If you miss an exercise session or eat more than you planned at a party—don't give up! Everyone slips up now and then. It's what you do long term that matters. Have confidence in yourself and remember how great you will feel when you reach a healthy weight!

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