Tuesday, January 12, 2010
If you’ve made a vow to lose those extra pounds this year, here are some fresh approaches. A few food swaps, a bit more movement, and some easy behavioral changes can make a big difference.
1. Don’t Sit Still
Make a conscious effort to move more on a daily basis, whether it is cleaning the house or taking the stairs. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic call this type of energy expenditure “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis” or NEAT, and speculate that it’s more important than formal exercise when it comes to losing weight. For instance, the average 140-pound woman expends only 32 calories per half-hour watching TV. Ironing for the same amount of time more than doubles the burn (73 calories), and vacuuming nearly quadruples it (111 calories).
2. Make Easy Food Swaps
Try lower-cal food substitutions that mimic the originals’ taste. At lunch, nix the roll and mayo in favor of sandwiches made with whole-wheat bread and mustard to cut at least 130 calories. Snack on baked potato chips instead of fried and you’ll shave off 45 calories per ounce. Indulge in half a cup of chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla topped with hot fudge for a 140-calorie deficit.
3. Learn the Habits of Successful Losers
The National Weight Control Registry has collected data on people who’ve lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off. Here are some of their secrets:
• 78% eat breakfast every day. This doesn’t mean grabbing a donut on the way to work. The successful dieters ate a healthy meal like an egg-white omelet and whole-wheat toast.
• 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
• 90% exercise about one hour per day.
• 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
If a bad weigh-in sends you to the cookie jar for comfort instead of to the gym for revenge, skip the scale and keep an eye on how your clothes fit.
4. Ban Mindless Nibbling
Calories from those little tastes you take without even thinking about it can add up over the course of a day. Break the habit with this technique: “Plate it, sit with it, own it.” Anything you’re tempted to pop into your mouth – whether it’s the dregs of your 2-year-old’s PBJ sandwich or a single kernel of popcorn – must first be put on a plate and eaten while sitting down. Try this for a day or two, and your nibbling habit will be a thing of the past.