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Keys to losing weight, part one

For many of us, stepping on the scale after the holidays can be a reality check. I know I gained a pound and a half for just four Thanksgiving holidays! Hey, someone had to polish up those yummy leftovers, right? The problem is, Christmas is just around the corner and I’m afraid of getting off the healthy eating train again and gaining even more weight. The key to getting back on track is not as difficult as you think. You can lose up to eight pounds in a month and most importantly feel healthier just by following these simple changes to your diet.

Try to think of your feeding day in three sections: breakfast and a mid-morning snack; lunch and dinner; and after dinner and bedtime. I’ll provide strategies and tips for each of these three sections, starting with breakfast, possibly the most important meal of your day.

A healthy breakfast

Many of us just don’t feel hungry when we wake up in the morning. However, we have all read that a good breakfast is key to losing weight. When we don’t eat a good breakfast, we tend to eat more throughout the day. For working women, with the added temptations of office donuts or vending machines, we are more likely to succumb to a high-calorie, sugary morning snack that can derail our weight loss plans. So, commit to having a good breakfast every day.

Fiber: key to losing weight

When getting off to a good start with breakfast, it’s important to remember that fiber is an important part of weight loss. You need at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and many nutritionists recommend 30 to 35 grams. Breakfast is the perfect time to start because incorporating fiber into your breakfast will keep you full throughout the day and reduce what you eat later in the day.

One of the easiest ways to add fiber is by choosing a high fiber breakfast cereal. Be sure to check the nutrition label to see the amount of dietary fiber in one serving, then consider adding two tablespoons of flaxseed to your cereal for another four grams of fiber. Flaxseed has a slight nutty flavor and not only increases the amount of dietary fiber, but also adds healthy Omega 3 oils. Other good options for a high-fiber breakfast include oatmeal, whole wheat toast with low-fat peanut butter. and whole wheat French toast. The added benefit of a high-fiber breakfast is that it adds bulk and will keep you full. You’ll have the willpower to resist that mid-morning mocha latte and donut!

Sandwiches

A high-fiber breakfast can decrease your need for a mid-morning snack, but many of us still feel the need for a stimulant in the late morning and afternoon. Our energy flags when we go four or five hours without fuel. However, for those of us who work in offices, the vending machine can be their worst enemy. A little foresight and planning will help you find a healthier option.

For a mid-morning snack, be careful not to have an energy bar; Some have more than 300 calories! Be sure to read calorie labels before buying and consuming. A handful of raw almonds, blueberries, or walnuts can satisfy your cravings without sabotaging your diet. For afternoon snacks, think of a piece of fruit and some low-calorie string cheese. The fruit has multiple benefits, including disease-fighting antioxidants. With a little planning, you can cut an apple and take it to work for an afternoon snack. Healthy snacks will give you the strength to go through the vending machine without looking around!

These tips should help you get a healthy start each day and get you on track to achieve your weight loss goals. Stay tuned for more great tips that will get you through to bedtime.

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