|photo by Helga Weber|
As per usual, I went into a mini hibernation in recent months, felled by the flu, a heavy workload and various other excuses. And now I'm having to squeeze into my cute clothes again. Sigh.
On the plus side, if I start now - and adopt better portion control, calorie reduction, sugar-free foods and beverages and regular exercise - I could lose 10 or so pounds in the next two months. Here are some tips I found via sucralose.org.
- Dear diary… Keep a food journal. Often, we eat more than we realize. And when it comes to weight, every calorie counts. It helps to write down all food and beverages consumed throughout the day to get an accurate picture of the number of calories you are consuming. From the bagel and banana at breakfast, to the salad dressing and roll with lunch and handful of mixed nuts before dinner, write down everything you consume. You may find that the calories really add up! These types of journals can help uncover hidden calories, specify eating patterns, highlight problem areas and, essentially, increase the chances of weight loss success down the road.
- Is it the size of your fist or your face? In today’s era of super-sized meals, many people are completely oblivious to what a normal portion looks like. In fact, research shows many restaurants serve two to five times the typical serving. For a more accurate representation, use your hand to measure food. Three ounces of meat or cheese should fit in the palm, while a cup of vegetables or fruit should be the size of a fist. When eating out, try to take home leftovers or split an entrée with a friend. At home, use a measuring cup, tablespoons and teaspoons to sift out appropriate portion sizes. This helps reduce daily calorie intake.
- Feeling frustrated? Hit the gym. Regular exercise can produce overall health benefits. And it doesn’t have to involve hour-long training sessions at an expensive fitness center. Go for a quick jog in the morning before you get ready for work. Instead of driving to the office, walk or bicycle. Bypass the elevator for the stairs and go for a brisk stroll around your building after lunch. Remember, muscle burns more calories than fat, so a regular mixture of cardio, flexibility and toning exercise is the best way to increase metabolism.
- Watch what you drink. When it comes to diets, many people focus on the food without accounting for beverages. Every fruit juice, soda and sweetened coffee comes bearing calories – with some containing as many as a meal. Take the Peanut Butter Moo’d smoothie at Jamba Juice, for example. A 24-ounce cup has 840 calories and 21 grams of fat, according to the company’s nutritional information. A 16-ounce Starbucks Caramel Macchiato has 270 calories and 10 fat grams. And don’t forget about liquor. Every glass of wine or pint of beer served with dinner will add to the overall calorie count. This is not to say you have to give up all your favorite beverages to lose weight. All foods and beverages can be incorporated into a healthy eating plan. However, you can save calories, for example, by drinking sucralose-sweetened products such as light lemonade and light cranberry juice or diet soda. Drinking a diet soda in place of a full-calorie soda can save 150 calories alone. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water and consider switching from whole to nonfat or low-fat milk.
- Eat less, more often. Many experts say eating small snacks throughout the day will lead to healthier choices when it comes to the three main meals. Bring healthy snacks to work to curb your appetite, such as carrot sticks, pretzels, string cheese, low-fat energy bars or fruit. This way, you’re less likely to go home and eat a box of crackers with cheese before dinner. Also, frequently consuming snacks can help keep your blood sugar level steady and your energy up.
- Sugar-free does a diet good. Sure, too much ice cream is not necessarily a good thing. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to deprive yourself of the frozen treat. Instead, try the low-calorie, sugar-free version. Have five pieces of sucralose-sweetened chocolate instead of regular chocolate and save 50 calories. And sugar-free yogurt eliminates about 110 calories per serving. If you start incorporating sucralose into your favorite recipes now, you could easily be flaunting a healthier weight in a few short months.
- Forgive your food misdeeds. At times, you will slip up. You might go to a party and raid the buffet table. Or after an arduous day at work, you’ll skip the gym and go home and overindulge on cookies or crackers. Do not use this as an excuse to revert to old habits or let it derail your weight loss efforts. Instead, refocus and get back on track. The most successful people learn from their mistakes.