Friday, February 1, 2008

Weight Loss - You Can Change Your Body

Weight Loss
You Can Change Your Body
Not every diet plan is right for every person.
By Michael O’Shea, PARADE Magazine

OK, let’s get real. You’ve been on diets before, and you probably even lost a few pounds. But chances are you couldn’t stick with it. Well, this can be the year you finally reach your goal of a better, healthier body. To start, here’s a little secret: One key to diet success is preparation. Get your mind in the right place, and your body will follow. Here’s how to begin:

Choose the right diet.

Not every plan is right for every person—though some are wrong for everyone. Steer clear of fad diets that are too low in calories (below 1200 calories a day), that eliminate whole food groups or are too expensive or too strict to maintain. (And, of course, check with your doctor first.)

Aim for balance.

Your diet should be composed of 40% healthy carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits and vegetables), 30% lean protein (chicken, fish) and 30% healthy fat (olive oil, nuts).

Don’t skip breakfast.

Studies show that people who miss breakfast often consume more calories later in the day. Try having unsweetened cereal with skim milk or an egg-white omelet with a slice of whole-wheat toast.

Fill up on fiber.

Eating fiber-rich foods such as apples, almonds and spinach helps you feel full. It also may prevent certain cancers, lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Don’t be afraid of fat.

A little fat provides satiety. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids—found in walnuts, salmon and soybeans, among others—are healthy sources of unsaturated fat.

Cut down on processed foods.

Sugar contains empty calories and can cause spikes in blood sugar that leave you feeling hungrier. Most processed foods also contain excessive amounts of sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure.

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