"Fall" Into Weight Loss

With children back in school and the weather cooling off, it's almost time to unpack the fall-appropriate clothing. However, the end of beach weather should not mean an end to any weight loss and physical fitness efforts. Fall is actually the perfect time to re-evaluate annual weight loss goals before the hectic winter holidays. By combining portion control, calorie reduction, sugar-free foods and beverages with regular exercise, you can lose weight without eliminating certain foods and beverages or embracing a fad diet.

According to a recent national survey conducted by the Calorie Control Council, 82 percent of U.S. adults consume low-calorie, reduced-sugar or sugar-free foods and beverages on a regular basis. The top reasons cited for "light" product use include maintaining better overall health, calorie reduction and eating or drinking healthier foods and beverages. Products sweetened with sugar substitutes allow consumers to enjoy their favorite meals without the extra calories. For example, reduced-calorie yogurt eliminates about 110 calories per serving. And by switching from regular to diet soda, you save 150 calories. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss.
Here are more tips to "fall" into weight loss:
  • Eat less, more often. Many experts say eating small snacks throughout the day will lead to healthier choices when it comes to the three main meals. Bring healthy snacks to work to curb your appetite, such as carrot sticks, pretzels, string cheese, single-serving yogurts, low-fat energy bars or fruit. Frequently consuming snacks can help keep your blood sugar level steady and your energy up. Snacks high in fiber and lean protein will keep you feeling full between meals.
  • Make simple substitutions. Try preparing foods that are nutritious and satisfying yet low in calories. Reducing the amount of fat and calories in meals can help prevent weight gain. Create healthier versions of favorites by using skim milk instead of whole milk, applesauce in place of oil, or a sugar substitute in place of the sugar in a recipe. To thicken a liquid without adding fat, use one of the following: flour, cornstarch, potato flakes, yogurt, non-fat evaporated milk.
  • Enjoy the Great Outdoors. In many parts of the United States, autumn provides the perfect season for outdoor activity - cool mornings and evenings and warm afternoons. Get outside and take advantage of the brisker temperatures by bicycling, hiking, jogging and playing golf or tennis. Discover park trails or take a walk by the lake. In places where snow falls early, try cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Or, if you live near the water, try kayaking or get out and play a vigorous game of fetch with your dog. Remember, exercise comes in different forms. Raking leaves, carving pumpkins and doing other yard work can also help get the heart pumping.
  • Keep a food journal. It helps to write down all food and beverages consumed throughout the day to get an accurate picture of the number of calories you are consuming. From the bagel and banana at breakfast, to the salad dressing and roll with lunch and handful of mixed nuts before dinner, write down everything you consume. You may find that the calories really add up! These types of journals can help uncover hidden calories, specify eating patterns, highlight problem areas and, essentially, increase the chances of weight loss success down the road. Visit www.caloriescount.com for a printable food journal and online calorie calculator.
  • Stock your kitchen with healthy choices. Empty those cupboards of high-fat snacks or meals and replace them with nutritious items. Always have cut-up fruits and vegetables on hand and pair them with low-fat yogurt dip for an instant snack or side dish. Having healthy foods readily available makes it easier to work them into your diet.
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