Losing weight is a national preoccupation. I challenge anyone to turn on the television or radio, surf online or open a magazine without finding an advertisement for a weight loss product or an endorsement for a new diet or eating plan. Everyone wants to be healthy and look their best, and for possibly the first time in the last half century, those two things happen to coincide. The current ideal of beauty is far closer to what's attainable by a 'real' person than it has been in decades. Thanks to the recent popularity of actresses and singers who aren't rail thin, coat hangers are out and healthy muscles and curves are in.
If you've been working toward that comfortable ideal body weight, chances are that you've read the same diet and weight loss tips time and time again. In some cases, it's because someone said it and it got repeated endlessly. In others, though, it's because the tip really works. Here are five of the most common diet tips that really work - and why.
Tip #1: Drink a full eight ounce glass of water 20 minutes before each
meal. It's only partly because you trick your body into thinking that it's full. The real trick is in giving your body all the water that it needs. The usual recommendation is at least an 8 oz glasses of water a day. That's WATER - not soft drinks, not coffee. Just pure water. Your body needs water to maintain all its systems and to flush wastes away. When you don't take in enough water, it starts trying to conserve it by retaining water in muscle and fat tissues. Water your body as faithfully as you would a plant, and you'll find that it starts ridding itself of excess water regularly as well. Is it just water weight? Well, yes. But that water weight is weight you don't have to carry around with you as long as you're taking in enough water for your body's needs.
Tip #2: Eat your fruits and veggies raw. Aside from the fact that raw fruits and vegetables pack more nutrition per calorie, in many cases you're actually getting LESS calories when you eat your produce raw. Especially if you generally opt for canned fruits or vegetables, there are added preservatives and flavorings that can increase calories substantially. But there's another reason as well: your body works harder to digest raw fruits and vegetables, and that means that it uses more calories in getting all the nutrients out of it. Your body NEEDS the extra roughage present in fruit and vegetables that haven't been cooked and processed to keep it working right.
Tip #3: Eat a balanced diet. It's obviously more healthy, but will it help you lose weight? The answer is yes, and here's why. When your body lacks ANY nutrient in its daily intake, it tries to make up the difference by substituting other nutrients. The result can be false messages that you're hungry, when what your body really craves is enough of ONE particular nutrient. Eating a balanced diet provides all the nutrients your body needs in the proper proportions so that it isn't telling you it's starving.
Tip #4: Half an hour of moderate exercise five times a week. Your body uses the food it eats to produce energy for your daily activities. The more energy you use, the more of your food your body will use to fuel it. When you eat fewer calories than your body needs, it will turn to stored reserves to keep it going. Adding one half hour of moderate exercise to your daily routine five times a week increases your body's consumption of energy. But there's more. Your body is using up calories even when you're not exercising just to maintain circulation and health in its tissues. It uses up more calories maintaining muscles than fat. As you exercise, your body is converting fat to muscle -- resulting in a higher metabolic rate as it increases its activity to keep your muscles in tone.
Tip #5: Snack between meals. Our bodies were never designed for the 3-times-a-day eating schedule we've adopted. They work round the clock, and need energy all the time. Rather than eating all your calories in three sittings, spread them out over 5 or 6. The trick is to eat smaller meals - not add more food. You'll keep your digestive system busy, and your body at full energy all day long.
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