— By KATHY SMITH
There are many fad diets that you can follow to lose weight quickly. Unfortunately most of them will leave you feeling hungry and deprived. Instead, take small steps to change your food an activity habits by tweaking your food choices and lifestyle habits.
Remember that 1 pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. By eliminating 500 calories a day through reducing food calories and increasing activity, you can lose about a pound a week. If you need to maintain your current weight, shaving 100 calories a day is enough to avoid the extra 1-2 pounds most adults gain each year. By keeping the weight off permanently you will achieve improved health and look great.
Try these simple strategies to lose weight without dieting:
• Eat breakfast. Breakfast is a must for those losing weight and keeping it off. Skipping breakfast is often thought to be a good way to cut calories, but by the end of the day you end up consuming more calories. Those who eat breakfast have a lower body mass index and they perform better at work and in school. Enjoy a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat milk for a nutritious quick start to your day.
• Eliminate night eating. Establish a time when you will stop eating. Don’t give in to mindless snacking while watching television. Have some fruit, frozen yogurt or something sweet after dinner, then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else.
• Choose healthy beverages. Make water your beverage of choice. Sweetened drinks can add calories quickly and often don’t reduce the feelings of hunger. You can enjoy water, sparkling water with citrus, low-fat milk or 100 percent fruit juice in small portions. Limit alcohol on the weekends to save a lot of calories.
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables that are packed with nutrition and fiber and are low in calories. Use the MyPlate to help you make a healthy plate. Begin each meal with a salad or a broth-based soup. Keep the volume up and the calories down.
• Eat whole grains. Substitute whole grains for white bread, cakes, cookies and pretzels to add fiber and bulk. Choose whole-wheat bread, pasta, rice, and whole-rye crackers.
• Enjoy healthy meals at home and away. Make sure you control your environment by keeping healthy foods and when in restaurants make healthy choices. Avoid all-you-can-eat meals and make sure you eat your meals and add healthy snacks to avoid the starving feeling.
• Use smaller plates, glasses, cups and bowls. Keep portion sizes small and eat a variety of healthy foods each day.
Small steps can make a big difference in your health and weight.
Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Parker County. Contact her at (817) 598-6168 or firstname.lastname@example.org.