2012 is here. Many people will resolve to lose weight and become healthier. Here are 5 easy strategies to help your diet and weight loss goals:
1. Drink More Water
A 2010 study found that obese dieters who drank two cups of water before each meal lost 5 pounds more than a group of dieters who did not. A year later, the water drinkers were able to keep more of the weight off. Water is also the healthiest beverage we consume. It has zero calories while a can of soda can contain upwards of 140 and your favorite large latte can be 400 or more! Americans drink a disproportionate amount of their calories, the less you get from your liquids, the thinner and healthier you will be. Promise.
You don’t have to join an expensive gym or become a triathlete, simple power walking is as healthy as any exercise. A 30-minute brisk-walk can burn anywhere from 200-400 calories. Try to walk daily if you are able to, or at least 4-5 per week. You will not only feel better, you will give your diet and mood a boost.
3. Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are amongst the most nutritionally dense foods and are low in calories. Just watch the dipping sauces, cheeses, etc. If you want to do your diet a favor and your health too, stack up on the vegetables. The more you do the less of other, less healthy, fatty foods, you will be eating. Vegetables are not only fabulously nutritious, they are delicious. Some of my favorites include: avocados, bell peppers, broccoli, rapini, tomatoes, sea vegetables, spinach, squash, and sweet potatoes.
4. More Fiber, too
Fiber has been shown to help us absorb less fat. Fiber alone contains no calories, plus it gives you the feeling of satiation (full stomach). There are 2 types of fiber: water-insoluble and water-soluble. Vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals contain water-insoluble fiber which adds bulk to the diet. Water-soluble fiber is found in seeds, legumes, oat products and fruit. It helps your stomach feel fuller longer. Foods high in fiber also take longer to eat, which results in the stomach feeling fuller longer and makes you feel satisfied longer, reducing the needs for snacking between meals.
5. Consider Calcium and Magnesium Supplements
If your diet lacks calcium, there is an increase in fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. It has been shown that diets that are calcium-deficient an increase in fatty acid synthase occurs that is as much as five times as much as in diets that are calcium-rich. The mineral Magnesium plays an important role in your body including influencing fat-regulating stress hormones which can deposit abdominal fat, and adiponectin, a hormone that controls fat cell activity. A daily recommendation of 1200 mg of calcium a day and 600-800 mg of magnesium.
Please remember that weight management really is about calories. Regardless of what the latest ‘fad’ diet of the month is advocating. It is calories in and calories out. Watch your calorie consumption and portion sizes and incorporate the above strategies and you should be well on your way. I have battled weight a few times in my life losing 70 and 60 lbs on two separate occasions – I really do feel your pain. You not only feel better and are healthier (decreasing your risk of many chronic conditions) afterwards you also achieve a wonderful sense of accomplishment because you are doing it for YOU!
I wish you much success. Let’s make 2012 our healthiest and best year yet! I welcome any questions you may have and it would be a sincere pleasure to be of assistance. Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Evan Apostolakis