Ten ideas for weight loss success

Becky B. Gautreaux, RD, LDN

By BECKY B. GAUTREAUX, RD, LDN St. Mary Parish LSU AgCenter Area Nutrition Agent

Are you finding yourself wanting to lose weight? Make small, gradual, realistic changes that will build upon one another, creating a healthier future. Start today by reviewing these strategies to help you control your weight:
1. You should think “choose well” not “diet.”
Instead of trying to starve yourself, choose foods that allow you to fill up on fewer calories. These are foods that are:
—Minimally processed.
—High in fiber.
—Low in fat and sugar.
Examples include fruits and vegetables. Choose whole grains such as barley, oatmeal, whole-wheat products and brown rice. For protein, always pick leaner choices such as white breast meat of poultry (without skin), pork loin, lean beef, legumes and seafood. Prepare these items with little added fat.
2. Try to make exercise fun.
—Take up several aerobic activities that are enjoyable, such as an aerobics class, dancing, walking, bike riding, swimming, running, hiking, softball, etc.
—Work out aerobically at least an hour a day, five or six days a week.
3. Only eat when you are hungry.
Avoid eating to relax, cure boredom or overcome depression. Instead, take a walk or call a friend.
4. Take care when eating out.
When you eat out, choose soup and salad or smaller dishes that are low in fat. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. If portions are large, take half home!
5. Be a smart shopper.
—Fill grocery carts full of whole foods instead of processed convenience foods. These include fat-free dairy, fruits, whole grains, vegetables, seafood, chicken and lean cuts of meat.
—Buy plenty of fruits and vegetables. Aim for 5-plus servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
6. Snack for better health.
—Snack only when hungry.
—Instead of packaged snacks, think “out with the bag” and enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables with low-fat dips or fat-free and light yogurt. Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes and oatmeal also make great snacks.
7. Be a little adventurous.
—Be adventurous and expand your range of healthful food choices.
—Buy a low-fat cookbook to help you modify traditional high-fat favorites, and to introduce quick healthful dishes.
8. Use less fat when cooking.
—Prepare foods using lower-fat cooking methods such as baking meats on a rack, broiling, grilling, roasting or steaming instead of frying.
—Eliminate “extra” fats. Trim visible fats from meats. Drain cooked ground meat.
Remove skin from poultry.
9. Limit sugar and refined starch.
—Limit the amount of foods that contain added sugars.
—Limit refined starch foods that are made with white flour and are low in fiber. Fill up instead with high-fiber choices such as corn, potatoes, yams, limas, peas, dried beans and whole grains.
10. Don’t skip breakfast.
Starting the day with a high-fiber, low-fat breakfast will help you consume fewer calories the rest of the day. Never skip breakfast!
For more information, contact Gautreaux at the St. Mary Parish LSU AgCenter office, 500 Main St., room 314, Franklin. She can be reached at 337-828-4100, ext. 300, or email her at bgautreaux@agcenter.lsu.edu.
Source: Dietary Guidelines, 2010

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