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If, like most people, you have a little extra weight to lose – today could be the day you start making that happen. If you really commit yourself to the task at hand, you could begin to see a noticeable difference in the way you look and (most importantly) feel. When it comes to losing weight, the average person fails, usually because of one of the following reasons:
- They give up too soon.
- They get discouraged because they can’t exercise.
- They think eating healthy is expensive.
- They don’t realize how dangerous being overweight is or remember how wonderful being lighter feels.
THE DANGERS OF BEING OVERWEIGHT
- Diabetes: Obesity is the leading cause of diabetes. I’ve seen this disease, firsthand, with my mother and sister-in-law. While diabetes can be lived with and managed, if any of us can do anything to avoid becoming diabetic, we’d be idiots not to. This is one terribly unforgiving and difficult disease. It has the power to turn your world upside down and inside out. Avoid it at all costs – and the experts tell us that the number one way to avoid it is to be a healthy weight.
- Cancer: Men and women who are overweight have a higher risk of developing many different kinds of cancer. Yikes. As if diabetes weren’t enough, right?
- Stroke: Extra weight increases your chances of having a stroke.
- High Blood Pressure: When you have excess body fat, your body retains sodium. When your body retains sodium, blood volume increases and blood pressure rises. High blood pressure causes your heart to work harder, which is dangerous for the heart.
The conditions and diseases listed above (a nasty group if I ever saw one) are just the main ones. You can certainly add gallstones, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, knee problems, back problems, physical discomfort, weak muscles, and depression to the list.
HOW TO LOSE ONE OR TWO POUNDS A WEEK
To lose one pound a week, each day you have to dispose of 500 unnecessary calories. To lose two pounds a week, each day you have to dispose of 1,000 extra calories. You can either cut them out of your daily diet or you can burn them off through activity. Personally, I like to attack them from both sides. Granted, when the weather turns cool and you don’t have the luxury of exercise equipment, it can get a little tricky – but not totally impossible.
Tips for Cutting Calories from your daily diet:
- use nonfat or 1 percent milk instead of whole
- use light bread for sandwiches (you’ll never taste the difference)
- when making spaghetti sauce, use mushrooms, onions, garlic, and peppers in place of meat
- replace your hamburgers with Boca Burgers
- use mustard and/or ketchup in place of mayonnaise
- when making eggs, use a nonstick pan with cooking spray instead of butter or margarine
- when eating out, your first option should always be either vegetarian (but without lots of cheese), grilled fish, shrimp, or grilled chicken (Cracker Barrel has an amazing grilled catfish that’ll rock your world)
- grill your sandwich with non-stick cooking spray instead of butter
- no more soft drinks – Read the labels!
- make tuna salad and chicken salad with fat-free mayonnaise
- use water-packed tuna instead of tuna in oil
- fall in love with those wonderful frozen meals with the calorie count right on the box
- leave croutons and bacon bits off of your salad – add edamame and sunflower seeds instead
- sweeten your coffee and tea with Stevia in place of sugar – it’s a natural, calorie-free sweetener and I’m hooked – I use Truvia and swear by it
- remove skin from chicken
- get baked chips instead of the regular
- use less cheese in recipes, on sandwiches, and on pizza
- eat slowly, you’ll eat less
- always opt for broth-based soups rather than cream-based soups
- use vinaigrette dressings rather than mayonnaise-based dressings – experiment with the many delicious vinaigrettes
- use lemon, lime, and/or dill to season your fish instead of tarter sauce – My philosophy has always been that if fish is cooked right (and seasoned right), you’ll never even think about tarter sauce!
- eat ice cream in a cup rather than a cone
- when you have a batch of cookies – keep a few broken up into pieces – sometimes all you want is a taste.. the rest is a waste after that initial flavor, right?
- share desserts
- drink your coffee black – or sweeten with Stevia
- at Starbucks, experiment with the different teas or order black coffee – Their Apple Cider is also a great drink… Just avoid the lattes and fraps as often as possible. When you’re weak (boy do I know the feeling), at least tell your barista to make the drink “skinny,” which will erase quite a few calories. A personal recommendations – hot Passion tea, unsweetened. It’s fantastic and calorie free. In summer, have them fix it on ice.
- eat at Subway when possible
- no fries!
- read labels, read labels, read labels
If you have a weight problem (even a small one) – you have to treat it as a health problem, because it is! You may think it’s a headache, but you honestly have to start counting calories – in and out. Once you do the research and see how many calories are in typical foods – you’ll know, automatically, what choices to make. Remember, if you cut back on just 500 calories each day, you’ll lose 1 pound a week. In one month, you could have lost anywhere between 4 and 5 pounds. In a year? Do the math! This is even if you don’t exercise. If you try to get more activity along with cutting back on calories – you could conceivably lose 2 pounds a week. Just look at the Calorie Burning Chart below – you don’t have to have a gym or a walking trail.
These activities show you how the average person can burn 150 calories. If you are heavier than the average person, you’ll burn even more (until that is, you lose the extra weight).
How to Burn an Extra 150 Calories
- cook for 48 minutes
- scrub floors for 20 minutes
- grocery shop for 36 minutes
- walk moderately for 35 minutes
- dust for 34 minutes
- vacuum for 34 minutes
- wash and wax a car for 45 minutes
- paper a wall for 45 minutes
- golf without a cart for 26 minutes
- skip rope for 18 minutes
- play badminton for 22 minutes
- rake leaves for 30 minutes
- play horseshoes for 33 minutes
- play ping pong for 33 minutes
- garden for 30 minutes
- play frisbee for 22 minutes
- climb stairs for 15 minutes
- mop floors for 36 minutes
- wash windows for 45 minutes
- bicycle leisurely for 30 minutes
- stack firewood for 25 minutes
- bowl for 23 minutes
- do the twist for 13 minutes (try it – it’s a heckuva lot harder than you’d think!)
- dance fast for 30 minutes
- mow the lawn with a power push mower for 29 minutes
- stock shelves for 40 minutes
- play croquet for 38 minutes
- play volleyball for 45 minutes
- canoe leisurely for 50 minutes
- 45-60 minutes hatha yoga
A great resource to have is a Calorie Burn Calculator -Discovery Health has a fantastic online Activity Calorie Burn Rate tool that’ll let you know exactly how many calories you’re burning. Also, anyone who is serious about fitness should have a resource such as The Biggest Loser Complete Calorie Counter book. Or, you could research calories online and write them in a specific notebook. I’ve listed a couple of sources at the end of the article.
EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET
Okay, I’ll be honest with you – sometimes it does seem expensive to eat healthy. Fish, fruit, turkey breast, certain vegetables – they can add up and when eating out, a burger seems so much cheaper than Subway. However, a $5 footlong at Subway is still cheaper than most fast food sandwiches and fries.
The following foods qualify as eating healthy on a budget: Brown rice, frozen vegetables, canned salmon, canned tuna, eggs (just remember: don’t cook them in butter), dry beans, broth-based soups, canned fruit, yogurt, whole wheat pasta, and many Asian-inspired meals in the Asian section of the supermarket (deliciousness!). Always watch for sales on frozen meals, fish, shrimp, turkey breast, and sliced meats. An obvious penny pinching idea for eating healthier on a budget is to start drinking more water instead of sodas. Tea bags are also extremely budget-concious.
For your health, safety, and happiness, begin reshaping yourself and your life TODAY. Keep in mind, along the way you’ll hit a couple of plateaus – weeks when the scale will not budge. You’ll want to throw it out the window and go have a Big Mac – keep in mind: It’s right here, at this specific point that most people trip, fall, and never get back up. Keep on keeping on, the scale will move again as long as you refuse to be a quitter.
Healthy Eating Links: