You’d Rather Be Healthy Than Thin

You’d Rather Be Healthy Than Thin

Let’s face it,” Maria Menounos, TV personality who lost 40 pounds and kept it off and author of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness says, “the entire diet industry as well as the messages we get from Hollywood, the media, and pretty much our entire country revolve around weight and size. Lose more pounds. Fit into smaller clothes. Get thin! The main thing I want to convey, though, is that thin cannot compete with healthy. Health is the most important thing in your life.”

 

Eat This, Not That! Fix: “Hey, if you can be healthy and thin, then more power to you,” she continues. “But risking everything to be thin is not worth it and makes no sense in the big picture. I know more than a few thin people who are unhealthy. They smoke cigarettes, starve themselves, live on gallons of diet soda and energy drinks, or use drugs or other such unhealthy means to stay thin. As a result, some of them will not live long lives, and those who do may not live quality lives. Many, if not most, are also unhappy. Keep health your goal, and it will naturally result in being trim.”

2 You Eat Three Meals a Day
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Despite diet experts and new research constantly telling you otherwise, many people still consume the bulk of their calories in two or three large meals each day, often — in an attempt to slim down — going for hours at a time eating nothing in between. Sure, you can lose weight on a reduced-calorie three-meal plan, but you can’t make your body burn fat more efficiently, which is key to long-term weight loss.

Eat This, Not That! Fix: A nutritious meal or snack about every three hours keeps blood-sugar levels stable, feeds your body a steady stream of necessary nutrients, and helps control hunger-induced cravings for less-than-slimming snacks like sweets and fats. It also leads to more effective glycogen storage in the liver and muscle tissues, ensuring that your body won’t cannibalize muscle as an energy source during your workouts. So make your meals mini, and spread them out. If you have trouble fitting in extra eating times at work, prepare food ahead of time that you can zap in the microwave or eat cold. And stock your kitchen right: Shed fat in just days with “The 9 Best Flat-Belly Superfoods.”

3 You Keep Pop a Secret
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Don’t be ashamed of your popcorn habit, as long as you don’t use too much butter or oil. “Popcorn is one of my favorite whole grains. Whole-grain crackers, oatmeal, and whole-grain cereal also top my daily diet list,” says Elisa Zied, registered dietitian and nutritionist and author of Younger Next Week. “Even though whole grains get a bad rap, I don’t think it’s deserved. Studies suggest that whole-grain intake is linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.”

Eat This, Not That! Fix: “Consuming whole grains has also been linked with lower body weight and decreased body fat. Some findings also show that eating high fiber foods — like whole grains — can help dieters keep off the weight they’ve lost,” says Zied.

4 You Don’t Eat Full-fat
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It’s time to get fat — not around your waist, but on your plate. A new report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute found that more and more of us are choosing whole-fat foods over skim, light, fat-free, or other modern monikers of leanness. And while many health organizations like the American Heart Association still want us to cut down on fat — particularly saturated fat — this full-fat trend may be a healthy rebellion against that decades-old credo, according to recent studies.

Eat This, Not That! Fix: Click here for The 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss.

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6 You’re Not Nuts
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Stephen Colbert may be onto something. The UCLA Center for Human Nutrition researchers divided study participants into two groups, each of which was fed a nearly identical low-cal diet for 12 weeks. The only difference between the groups was what they were given to eat as an afternoon snack. One group ate 220 calories of pretzels while the other group munched on 240 calories’ worth of pistachios. Just four weeks into the study, the pistachio group had reduced their BMI by a point, while the pretzel-eating group stayed the same, and their cholesterol and triglyceride levels showed improvements as well.

Eat This, Not That! Fix: Enjoy pistachios — and almonds — but click here for the “20 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.”

7 You Sit Too Much
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Ideally we sleep about eight hours for every 24. Most people spend an extra seven to 10 hours sitting at their desk. That means most of us spend the overwhelming majority of our time sedentary. Our bodies weren’t designed for this level of inactivity. Most of human evolutionary history has involved being active, searching for food and fuel. Nutritionist Lisa Jubilee says that one way to burn more calories daily is to stand more and sit less. She cites a British study that found that standing at work burned 50 more calories an hour than sitting. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider this: If you stand for just three hours every day, in one year you’ll expend more than 30,000 extra calories — which amounts to about 8 pounds of fat.

Eat This, Not That! Fix: Set a phone timer to remind you to get up every hour and walk around, even for a few minutes.

8 You Don’t Pregame
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Your dinner, that is. While it may sound counterintuitive, eating before going to a work dinner or happy hour can actually take off pounds. A series of studies out of Penn State found that noshing on an apple or a broth-based soup prior to sitting down to a restaurant meal can reduce total calorie intake by 20 percent. With the average restaurant meal weighing in at 1,128 calories, saving 20 percent once a day could help you lose up to 23 pounds this year.

Eat This, Not That! Fix: You don’t have to reach for an apple or soup to keep your appetite in check. Any of these “50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss” should do the trick.

9 You’re Using the Scale Too Often
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Stepping on the scale every day can be a one-way ticket to Crazytown, but abandon it completely and research has shown your weight is likely to creep up. Fortunately, a recent study from Cornell found there is a happy medium. People who weighed themselves at a set time once a week not only didn’t gain weight but also lost a few pounds without making any other changes to their diets.

Eat This, Not That! Fix: To get the most accurate measurement, weigh yourself once a week in the morning before breakfast.

10 You’re Not Sleeping Enough
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“The average American doesn’t get enough sleep, and while we’re sleeping, our body releases powerful fat-burning hormones that speed weight loss,” explains Chris Powell, trainer and transformation specialist on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss. “I don’t care if it’s 15 more minutes or two hours: Every extra minute of shuteye will help you reach your goal that much faster. Plus, if you’re already in bed, the less likely you are to succumb to those late-night food temptations.”

Eat This, Not That! Fix: The National Sleep Foundation suggests seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults. And for the most productive night’s sleep possible, check out these “8 Ways to Lose Weight While You Sleep.”

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