Friday, January 13, 2012

Natural Ways to Lose Your Extra Pounds

Losing excess weight can help reduce your risk of a number of obesity-related health problems, and can simply make you feel and look better. Losing that weight can be difficult when busy daily schedules don't allow time for proper meal planning. Substituting fresh, low-calorie, healthful foods for processed and fast foods is an easy, tasty way to shed those last 10 or 15 pounds.
Drink Water
Drinking water is an easy way to bolster your weight loss program, according to Ohio Health and Science University. In a field study by Virginia Polytech Institute, adults who drank 2 cups of water before each meal ate fewer calories and lost 16 lbs. in 12 weeks on a low-fat diet, compared to 11 lbs. for those who were on the same diet but did not drink water. Replacing sugary beverages such as soda with diet sodas does not have the same effect, researchers reported in the December 2007 edition of the journal "Obesity." When subjects of a field study swapped soda for diet soda, they made up the calories elsewhere in their diets. Those who drank water consumed fewer overall calories, and lost weight. Slices of lemon, lime or orange, a splash of 100 percent unsweetened fruit juice, or unsweetened herbal tea can liven up plain tap water. Keep a water bottle close at hand and fill it at every opportunity so drinking water remains your easiest diet trick.
Eat Fruit
Eating water as well as drinking it helps you lose those extra pounds, nutrition professor Barbara Rolls told the Penn State Online Research Encyclopedia. High-water-content foods such as strawberries and watermelons have low calorie densities for their weight. It looks, feels and tastes like you are eating a lot of food when you consume a large bowl of fruit -- or other water-dense foods such as broth-based soups -- but your calorie intake is quite low. Many types of fruits such as apples and bananas are made for on-the-go eating, and you can make other fruits more convenient by cutting them up and stashing them in snack-size bags in the refrigerator. Be sure to eat fresh fruit rather than fruit juice, as it is higher in fiber that makes you feel full faster.
Fresh Vegetables
Like fruit, fresh vegetables are high in water and fiber content, and low in calories, so you can eat a large quantity of them and still lose weight fast. Substitute vegetables for calorie- and fat-dense foods lsuch as cheese in your sandwiches, suggests the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber and sprouts will bulk up your sandwich while actually reducing the calories. Add chopped vegetables to pasta dishes for dinner, and make sure your dinner plate is mostly covered with vegetables rather than meat, rice or starches, the CDC recommends. Try baby carrots, celery sticks or red and yellow pepper slices as satisfying, tasty snacks. Use crisp cucumber slices instead of high-calorie crackers and chips. Cook vegetables by steaming or baking with little or no added fat, and don't add butter or high-calorie cheese sauces, or these can nullify the weight-loss benefits of vegetables.
Dips and Spreads
Low fat, low calorie dips and spreads are a flavorful and satisfying way to munch your way to weight loss, and are healthful snacks for kids and adults alike. Skip greasy potato chips and calorie-dense crackers and try baked pretzels with bean dip, pita bread with hummus, or baked tortilla chips with vegetable salsa, suggests the Penn State University Extension. Substitute plain yogurt for mayonnaise in dip recipes. Experiment with blending cooked carrots or cooked soybeans with onions, celery and spices to create your own low-fat, low-calorie dips and sandwich spreads. Try sliced fresh avocados instead of mayonnaise on burgers and sandwiches.

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