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Downsizing Your Waistline

One thing that is nice about being human is that when we identify problems, then we make resolutions to solve problems. We write them down, talk about them and convince ourselves that at the turn of a new year, we’re going to solve problems. The downside of being human is that we sometimes teeter out by the second or third month. And when the year is half over, we forget that we resolved to do better. One reason for this is we set impossible goals.

Make this year different. Instead of resolving to follow an impossible diet, why not resolve to make small changes in your lifestyle? Here are a few ideas of small changes that can make a big difference in downsizing your waistline.

1. Replace full fat foods with low fat foods or even fat free foods. Use one percent milk rather than whole milk. Choose low fat cheese rather than whole milk cheeses. Remove the cheese or mayonnaise from your favorite sandwich or use low fat or fat free versions of mayonnaise. Use low fat or non fat salad dressings or use only half of your regular dressing on salads. If you use soups and sauces, use the low-calorie version. Reduce the amount of oil you use to fry or cook foods. Whenever possible, substitute oil with oil sprays. This helps keep fat calories to a minimum. By establishing low fat habits, you can gradually reduce the body’s stored fat.

2. Study serving sizes and train your eye how to measure the amount you are about to eat. For example, two digits of your thumb are equal to about one tablespoon. The palm of your hand is equal to about three ounces of protein. A medium-sized fist is equal to about one cup. Having visuals like these can help determine if you are about to eat one, two or three servings of your favorite food. And don’t forget to read labels to determine what is equal to one serving. The serving sizes may surprise you.

3. Respond slowly to cravings or deter them to another place and/or time. For some, chewing gum can help to cope with cravings. For some others, drinking water 30 minutes or less before a meal helps to cut food intake. Brush your teeth immediately after eating to cut the desire to get another slice of apple pie. Desserts are not too tasty after having toothpaste or even mouth rinse in your mouth.

Be creative and come up with ideas of your own but remember to choose realistic changes that can eventually become a part of your lifestyle. Your waistline is depending on you.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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