Friday, May 13, 2011

Better Choices Mean Better Results

This article is from my AccuChek newsletter and has really good tips for lowering your calorie intake..
Better choices mean better results
There's no question about it—losing weight is tough. But if you really commit to some changes, you'll start to see results. And that's the best encouragement of all.

You probably already have a good idea which foods and eating habits get you into trouble and what a nutritious meal plan looks like.

So instead of focusing on what to eat, here are 12 strategies that can help you make better choices and beat those ever-present cravings. Some of these ideas are easy to adopt—some are a little tougher.

Pick 3 of these strategies to start using today. Then add more and more to your routine. Remember—don't try to do everything at once. Start slow and give yourself a chance to really win (or lose—pounds, that is).

Weigh your food. Get an inexpensive food scale and measure every serving. This can be a real eye-opener, especially when you start measuring things like pasta and breakfast cereal.
Use the 10-minute rule. If you crave a between-meal snack that's not on your meal plan or an indulgence you know you shouldn't eat, think about it for 10 minutes while you consider the pros and cons of giving in. You may forget all about it.
Write every bite. Start a food journal and keep track of everything that goes into your mouth. It'll help you watch the fat, calories and variety you take in to see if you should seek a better balance.
Arrange your plate. Devote approximately 1/4 of your plate to starches, 1/4 to protein and 1/2 to vegetables. Even better, don't let them touch. That'll keep you from piling on too much.
Eat in one place. Don't eat at your desk, in front of the television or standing up at the counter. Always sit down and eat slowly, savoring every bite.
Stick to your list. If it isn't on your grocery list, it doesn't go in your shopping cart. After all, keeping temptation out of the house is half the battle.
Chew sugarless gum. When you're at the grocery store or cooking at home, chewing gum can keep you from giving into cravings and taking little "tastes" as you go.
Leave some behind. Take less food or try to leave some of your food on your plate. Many of us were brought up to clean our plates, so you have to retrain yourself not to think about waste, but about waist.
Choose high-fiber. Just about anything from the bakery section will have a wheat, bran or high-fiber version. These are often more flavorful and can keep you feeling "full" longer.
Don't lick the spoon. Bites, licks, and tastes are not calorie-free, so try to minimize tasting when you're cooking.
Carry water everywhere. Water can squelch hunger pangs and it's great for your overall health. Plus, dehydration can feel a lot like hunger, making you eat when you're actually thirsty.
Reach for filling foods. Oatmeal, oranges and soup are three foods that can help you feel "full" longer than other choices. In fact, a study at the University of Pennsylvania found that people consumed an average of 20% fewer calories when they started their meals with soup. Just stick with a broth-based (not cream-based) kind.
Whatever you do, don't "diet." Make new changes that you can live with for a lifetime, adding new approaches as others become habit. We promise you'll see the results.

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