Summer is the easiest season to lose weight. More sunshine and fresh vegetables can make a difference if you try. You should be able to eat smaller portions and lose up to a pound a week. These dietary changes will reduce your risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancers, and also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 80%. Review the following seven “guidelines” and give your body a summertime “tune up.”
1) Avoid solid margarines, shortenings, and cooking fats.
These account for 95% of the trans fatty acids in the American diet that greatly increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Olive and canola oil, and the fats found in most nuts and seeds, are the healthiest.
2) Do not miss a meal.
People that miss a meal compensate by eating unhealthy snacks or overeating at the next meal. Of those successful in losing a significant amount of weight, 80% ate three meals a day. Breakfast should always be a major meal. Anticipate what you will be eating for the entire day and plan your meals in advance. Take your lunch to work. Never eat at buffets.
3) Do not eat high-glycemic carbohydrates.
Sugar, honey, and high-fructose corn sweeteners found in soft drinks, candy, cookies, and cake stimulate a rapid surge of insulin and cause fat cells to accumulate more fat. “White” foods such as bread, potatoes, and white rice also rapidly turn into sugar and promote fat production. It has been stated that daily soft drink consumption can be a worse health habit than smoking because of associated heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Diet soft drinks have also been associated with obesity.
4) Eat lightly at night.
Slower evening and nighttime metabolism means that calories are more likely to be stored as fat rather than burned for energy. Munching on food while sitting in front of the TV or computer is the worst habit. Eat an apple or a piece of fruit if you are really hungry.
5) Eat fish three to four times a week.
Ounce for ounce, fish has about half the calories of choice-grade red meat, chicken, or turkey. Fish does provide protein, which helps you to feel full, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Grilled salmon and orange roughy, canned sardines and tuna, or other fish fried lightly in canola or olive oil are the best choices.
6) Eat dark-colored fruits and vegetables.
These have the highest concentration of nutrients and antioxidants (plant chemicals that reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.) Broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes are good examples. All berries, plums, peaches, and dark grapes are the best fruits.
7) Exercise daily to increase your basic metabolism rate (BMR).
About 70% of your daily calories are burned by the natural functions of muscles, cells, and organs. By increasing your exercise, you will not only “tone up” your muscles and reduce your waistline, but you will increase the calories burned for several hours after exercising. Try using a pedometer to determine how many steps you take daily. Challenge yourself to walk for 10-15 minutes a day. Later you might choose to play tennis, hike, golf, canoe, bicycle, or even soccer. Just do it!
Obesity is defined by your Body Mass Index (BMI). It is essentially your weight divided by your height. A BMI of 25-30 is overweight, and greater than 30 is obese.
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