Review: Simple Steps

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Exercise two womenSometimes making a diet change can seem overwhelming. Here is a list of simple steps to gently nudge your diet and exercise into submission. Add one a week to your normal routine.

 1. Make exercise fun. Listen to books on tape, walk the dog, read a book on the exercycle.

 2. Eat two fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and one at every snack. You’ll meet your daily quota of 8 to 9 servings, feel full, and automatically cut back on fat and calories.

 3. Take a 5-minute hike, every hour. Over the course of an 8-hour shift, you’ll accrue 40 minutes of exercise.

 4. Eat regularly. Skip a meal to save calories and you’ll overeat later in the day.

 5. Brush your teeth after a meal. This helps signal the body that you’re done eating.

 6. Turn off the tube. Hours of TV watching are directly proportional to weight gain. 

 7. Just say ‘No.” Listen to your body and eat only when you’re hungry.

 8. Eat slowly to allow the stomach time to tell the brain it’s full.

 9. Drink first. We often confuse thirst with hunger. Drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes before giving into a craving. You may find that the hunger subsides.

10. Challenge yourself. Go up a short hill during your next walk or pick up the pace.

11. Exercise in the morning so you don’t make excuses why you can’t exercise later.

12.  Put half the restaurant serving in a doggie bag for tomorrow’s lunch.

13. Cut your typical portions of everything except vegetables and fruit by one-quarter.

14. Hang out with exercisers.

15. Calories count. A tablespoon of mayo on a turkey sandwich doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of one year that daily mayo equals 10-1/2 pounds of excess body fat.

16. Don’t assume you can exercise away anything you eat. 

17. Get enough sleep. You’re more likely to overeat when you’re tired.

18. Purchase a step counter – a great incentive to boost the steps you take every day.

19. Eat breakfast, and you’ll be less likely to overeat later in the day. 

20. Bring healthy foods with you, so you’re not tempted by the drive thru.

21. Divide your plate. Fill 3/4 of your plate with vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fruit; the other 1/4 can be extra-lean meat or nonfat milk or milk products.

22. Take a supplement.  A multi will fill in nutritional gaps.

23.  Use time savers: Buy pre-cut and bagged lettuce for a salad, baby carrots for a stew, pre-cut fruit for a snack, the pre-made hummus as a dip or sandwich spread, or steam frozen plain vegetables for dinner. 

24. Throw it out. If those brownies or homemade cookies beckon to you, get rid of them…now!   

25. Sweeten with spice. Use sweet-tasting spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, rather than sugar to desserts and snacks to add flavor, but no calories.

26. If you can’t live with it, don’t buy it. Just say ‘no’ to tempting foods at the grocery store if they are likely to beckon you to indulge at home.

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