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Healthy Weight Loss


Healthy Weight Loss

Lose four to six pounds a month-painlessly. Many studies show that the key to true long-term weight control is a diet based on a high intake of colourful fruits and vegetables, reasonable portion sizes, and healthy fats, along with a moderate exercise program and modest expectations. Here are four tips for lifetime weight maintenance.

If your healthy eating program slipped a bit during the holidays, it’s not a reason to beat yourself up. Instead, think about simple ways to get your weight under control and manage it for a lifetime.

Weight management does not necessarily include a radical change in diet. All you need to do is decide to change your lifestyle. That, coupled with a little patience and good sense, will get you to your goal.

You have probably tried the latest fad diet and maybe you had some short-term success. You cut your calorie and fat intake and you lost weight, but chances are good that it did not stay off. Gradually, the weight crept back on, and before you knew it, you were back where you started from–or perhaps even heavier.

So say no to dieting and resolve to eat for health. Many studies show that the key to true long-term weight control is a diet based on a high intake of colourful fruits and vegetables, reasonable portion sizes, and healthy fats, along with a moderate exercise program and modest expectations.

I call it the Real Life Diet.

It may sound boring. You won’t lose 15 pounds in two days or drop a dress size in your sleep, but you can lose four to six pounds a month–painlessly. That’s the miracle part of the Real Life Diet: You begin to take more care with what you eat, occasionally you indulge, and then you get back on track, taking care to eat well. The point is to create a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

Here are four tips for lifetime weight maintenance.

Tip 1: High five

Nutritionists once told us that we need to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Now they say five should be the minimum and they’ve upped the ante to nine servings a day. Yet a 2005 A.C. Neilson survey showed that only 18 percent of us get the minimal five a day. The truth is that lots and lots of fruits and vegetables will make you feel full and help you lose weight by replacing high-calorie foods.

Easy Ways to Get Your Five a Day

  • Slice a banana or an apple onto your peanut butter toast or into your breakfast cereal. A large piece of fruit usually counts as two servings.
  • Carry peeled baby carrots for a sweet healthy snack for another easy serving.
  • Chop as many veggies as you can find into your dinner salad and give yourself a large helping (1 1/2 cups or 375 mL) that’ll count as three servings.

Tip 2: Eat the Rainbow

While you’re savouring those fruits and vegetables, pay attention to their colour. The ripest, most vitamin- and antioxidant-rich foods are also the most colourful, explains David Heber, MD, in his book What Color Is Your Diet? (Regan Books, 2001). Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white: Think about eating at least one serving from each colour group every day for optimum health and weight stabilization.

Easy Ways to Eat the Rainbow

  • Opt for dark green leafy lettuces and spinach and skip the less nutritious iceberg lettuce.
  • Look for lycopene-rich, juicy red tomatoes. This is one case where the experts recommend cooked over raw, since the heating process breaks down the tomato cell walls and makes the healthy lycopene more available to your body. So enjoy your salsa and spaghetti sauce!
  • Choose the ripest peaches, nectarines, oranges, and lemons in the yellow-orange group for carotenoids, vitamin C, and fibre. They’ll help you feel full and curb the craving for sweets, says recent Cornell research.
  • Look for onions and garlic from the white-green group to season your foods and add excitement to the taste and the powerful antioxidant quercetin to your diet.

Tip 3: Look at Your Plate

Someone once told me that you should divide your plate into quadrants. Your protein should take up one quadrant, your starch, another quadrant, and your vegetables, the other two quadrants. I can’t remember where that came from, but it’s great advice: half of the volume of food you eat should be vegetables.

Easy Ways to Determine Portion Sizes

  • 3 oz (90 g) meat is the size of a deck of cards.
  • 3 oz (90 g) grilled fish is the size of your chequebook.
  • 1 oz (30 g) cheese is the size of four dice.
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) peanut butter is the size of the tip of your thumb.
  • 1 medium apple or orange is the size of a tennis ball.
  • 1 medium potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • 1 average bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fruit is the size of a baseball.

Source: The Mayo Clinic (

Tip 4: Eat Healthy Fats

The low-fat diet craze of the early 1980s interestingly parallels the beginning of the obesity epidemic in the Western world. The fact is that fat is necessary for human health and it contributes greatly to a sense of fullness. Harvard researchers actually found that those who ate moderate fat diets were able to lose at least as much weight and keep it off longer than those who gritted their teeth and stuck to a low-fat diet.

Easy Ways to Find Healthy

  • Look for cold-pressed oils made from vegetables and nuts such as olive oil, walnut oil, safflower oil, and yes, coconut oil.
  • Eat omega-3 rich fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.
  • Sprinkle ground flaxseed on your salads.
  • Keep your fat intake to about 25 percent of your total calories.

I can tell you’re getting it now. It’s not so much how much you eat but the quality of the food you eat. Frozen fruit and veggies are fine, especially in winter, but nix on canned almost anything except tomatoes and beans.

The more attention you pay to eating the highest quality foods available, the freshest fruits and vegetables, the more you’ll be in control of your weight, your health, and your life.

100-Calorie Snacks

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) each sliced mango and blueberries
  • 1/2 medium apple and 2 tsp (10 mL) peanut butter
  • 2 oz (60 g) lean roast beef
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 10 cashews
  • 12 almonds
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) low-fat ranch dressing and 1 cup (250 mL) crunchy veggies


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