Trying to reverse the 1-to-2-pounds-a-year weight gain that is the fate of the average middle-aged American? Overwhelmed at the thought of changing your lifestyle enough to reach a healthful weight?
Fortunately, there is an alternative approach to the drastic diet and exercise revisions that Americans find so difficult to embark on and sustain. The idea is to start with smaller, easier changes that will, at the very least, halt the weight-creep and give encouraging results.
“We find that people who make small changes will often lose a few pounds,” said James O. Hill, Ph.D., director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado at Denver. “Those who start with small changes often end up able to make more and bigger changes and lose more weight.”
Here are a half-dozen small changes you can make right now:
1. Stop drinking calories
In the late 1970s the average American consumed about 70 calories a day in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages. By 2000 we were guzzling an average of 190 calories. Numerous studies have left little doubt about the connection between increased consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and the soaring rates of weight gain and obesity that occurred during that same time period……
2. Eat more protein
Remember when experts thought the high-protein, low-carb Atkins diet didn’t work and was dangerous? It’s been more than seven years since the first studies started overturning that idea. Low-carb, high-protein diets have proved surprisingly effective, especially in the short term. And it turns out that people who eat a higher proportion of their calories from protein end up consuming fewer calories overall…..
3. Eat more fiber
Fiber is the good guy of food. It may help protect against colon cancer and heart disease, and it is your weight-control friend. It slows digestion, helping you to feel fuller longer, and displaces other caloric foods. Best of all, it comes in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals…..
4. Lead yourself not into temptation
Can’t eat just one Dorito or chocolate kiss? That is no accident, as former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, M.D., documented in his book, “The End of Overeating” (Rodale, 2009). The food industry works hard to create high-calorie foods with the most addictive possible combination of intense flavor and “mouthfeel.”….
5. Add 2,000 steps a day
That’s 20 to 25 minutes of walking, covers about a mile, and will burn about 100 calories a day—enough, Hill said, to prevent gradual weight gain in most people.
“It doesn’t matter how you get there,” Hill said. “It can be all at once or spread out. Once you do get there, do more.”
6. Cut your screen time
“When we’re sitting, we are burning almost as few calories as we do when we’re sleeping,” said Marc T. Hamilton, Ph.D., a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. “Sitting too much is hazardous to your health in a different way than exercising too little.”…