Annette Nay, PhD

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How to Achieve Weight Loss
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2004

I want to learn more about weight loss. I have been over weight my entire life and I'm so sick of it. Yet I'm just under a BMI of 40 therefore I don't qualify for the gastric bypass surgery. It's so depressing. For the past year, I have been trying to gain a few more pounds in order to qualify for the surgery, but for some reason I'm unsuccessful. I either want to loose about 85 lbs, or gain 15 more. What do I do? I'm at a BMI of 39 and stuck. Please help.

Sincerely,
Stuck

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Dear Stuck,

If you haven’t read the articles on weight-loss below, I highly suggest you do as they all play an important part in weight-loss. Just click on the title below, to see the article.

Many people who cannot lose weight have found the basis of the problem was a food allergy left untreated most of their life.

Also, see my article, Untreated Allergies causes Many Illness, Autoimmune Diseases, Hypothyroidism, Cancer and Ultimately, Death

Thyroid Malfunction - A Reasons for Weight-Gain

Medical Treatments for Thyroid Malfunction

Balancing Your Blood Sugar and Loosing Weight

How Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, & Hormones Work to Cause Weight-Loss or Weight-Gain

My Low-Fat - No Processed Sugar Recipes

Converting Recipes for Weight-Loss

Are You Addicted to Food?

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know, But Need to Know about Food Addiction

Recovering From Food Addiction

Processed Sugar Can Cause Depression & Addiction

Why Can Two People Eat the Same Food Yet One Gets Fat and the Other stays Thin?

Processed Sugar Can Cause Depression

Understanding the Psychological Aspects of Weight-Loss

Understanding the Emotional & Social Aspects of Weight-Loss

Understanding the Physiological Aspects of Weight-Loss

A Weighty Problem - Helping a Spouse Loose Weight

Other Reasons for Weight-Gain

Get Enough Calcium and Protein in Your Diet or Else...

Food Secrets

Weight-Loss Tips

Please try to loose the weight instead of going into surgery. I lost a dear friend to this type of surgery, as well have many others. It is dangerous and does not eliminate the problem. I know personally of the struggles you have had. I have lost 140 pounds; the equivalent of two of me. It took about a year and a lot of determination.

  • I had open-faced sandwiches instead of having 2 slices of bread.
  • I had small portions – as you stomach is supposed to be the size of your fist balled up. Don’t put any more food in your stomach at a time then that.
  • When I felt hungry or had an over active appetite I told myself I was thirsty and had a drink. If after five minutes I still felt hungry I either had a good meal or a snack of fruit or veggies.
  • I ate dinner around 6 PM so you do not go to bed on a full stomach. The activity level needed to use up the food is at an ebb during sleep, so the unused food goes into fat storage. You only need enough food to support bodily functions through the night.
  • I limited fat intake close to 2 T., which is what your body needs to do its daily work. Never go less than 2 T. or your body will not work properly.
  • I never ate fruit packed in sugar. Raw fruit and vegetables are always better for you.
  • I cut out all processed sugar & sweets. I didn’t allow myself to feel deprived about this. I told myself that this was what I really wanted. Processed sugar and processed flour is your enemy. Both cause the body's blood sugar to soar and cause depression as the glut of sugar leaves the body leaving a glut of insulin to off set the sugar. All excess sugar eaten no matter what kind of sugar it is will be stored as fatty deposits at the end of the day. There is a greater chance to overeat when eating processed flour and sugar than with foods containing natural unprocessed sugar such as fruit, vegetable, and natural unprocessed grains. Stopping processed sugar usage will leave your body screaming for a sugar fix! Have a fruit! This will stop the cravings. The first three days will be the worst. After a week the sugar withdrawal should be completely gone and all foods will taste sweeter.
  • I did not use chemical sugar substitutes. These chemicals are not good for your body and can cause cancer.
  • Instead of using processed flour or rice, I started using brown rice and whole wheat bread and flour. To get used to whole wheat, substitute half of your white flour with ground whole wheat. After a week or two, when your system tolerates the substitution, substitute 1/3 white to 2/3 wheat. If your system tolerates that then in a week or two go to straight wheat. The brown rice and whole wheat gives you more vitamins and minerals and has the least amount of waste and calories, so you get more bang to your caloric intake.
  • If the body does not get the protein it needs from the foods you eat, then it begins to tear apart the body's muscle tissue. One of these muscles is the heart. It is a must to eat meals with good protein such as unprocessed grains combined with legumes for lunch and dinner.
  • Although unprocessed grains combined with legumes have many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, a daily vitamin and mineral supplement is still needed. It is also important that if you use a vitamin substitute that is the type that will disintegrate before it passes through the body. Some people who rent port-potties have reported finding vitamins with the name intact on the pills after spraying away the human waste into the sewer system. Put your vitamin in a cup of water overnight and see if it dissolves. If it does not, get another brand that will. I have been where you are.

I learned the following important points:

  1. I thought food was my friend. It is not! I used food to cover up all these problems, but food can only cover up the problems momentarily. It does not solve these problems. Meanwhile, it is creating worse problems. When you eat starches they turn to sugar. Sugar goes straight into the blood and causes euphoria or a up in mood. This is only temporary, as it passes away quickly. Meanwhile the body sends a massive doses of insulin into the bloodstream to bring the body back to its normal state. Insulin lasts 2 to 3 times longer than the sugar does, in the blood. It is a depressant, which alone, will cause you to feel sad and lethargic (tired). When most people feel this way they eat foods with starch or sugar, which gives them another upswing in mood and energy.
  2. Never overeat! If you are not sure if you are still hungry, then take two more bites and quit. Give yourself permission to throw out the leftovers or put them away for later.
    • Never eat the children's leftovers.
    • Never eat the last of the bowl stuff because it is there.
    • Never piece on the food your fixing before the meal. If you are hungry before you get the meal fixed, have a fruit or vegetables.
  3. If you still feel hungry even though you just ate or the average 4 hours it takes for digestion to occur, hasn't transpired, then:
    • You probably ate junk food with no nutritive value.
    • The body has 2 ways of testing whether or not you are hungry.
      1. First, the stomach measures its emptiness.
      2. Second, the brain samples the blood to see if the nutritive value is correct for the bodies needs.
    • If you have just eaten yet you feel hungry then one of these could be the problem:
      1. You gorged on junk food, yet the brain says you're hungry.
      2. You are lacking a vitamin or mineral and your body is craving it.
      3. Your body may be sending signals that it wants a drink of water, only you have mistaken it for the hungry signal.
    • If you cannot tell if you are hungry or not, get a drink of water.
    • 8 to 12 cups of water daily aids in weight-reduction. It flushes out fats.
  4. Exercise is not needed for weight-loss, although it accomplishes additional weight-loss by causing the body to burn fats faster, which gives you more energy. It also gives you a healthier, long-lasting body by exercising muscles, especially that of the heart. Exercise is suggested. To determine the best exercise for you, see your doctor.
    • Never exercise so hard that you cannot catch your breath enough to carry on a conversation easily with out gasping for air.
      • Fat needs air to burn. The body takes what it needs to run the brain and other parts of the body. Left over oxygen goes to fat burning.
      • The adage, "no pain, no gain" does not apply here!
      • In this way a brisk walk could be much better for fat burning that jogging, if one is overdoing and using up all the oxygen to just keep the body going.
      • Exercise needs to continue for a long enough duration to cause the body to burn fat.
      • The body has a starch called glycogen which it has ready to help give you when you need quick energy. Glycogen continues to be injected into the blood steam for 30 minutes. At fifteen minutes the body is burning half glycogen, half fat. It is after 30 minutes that total fat burning occurs.
      • Many exercise programs stop at the 30 minute mark. It is suggested that you continue aerobic exercise (exercise that causes you to continuously breathe deeply) for 45 minutes.
    • Those who are not in an exercise program or who's body is not trained to be able to continue for 45 minutes of exercise, need to work up to that point, if approved by your doctor.
      • Do not overdo! Check your exertion rate. You know when your body is screaming, "Stop!" and you know when it is saying, "Okay, this is work, but I think I can do it."
    • Remember to check if you can talk without gasping for air.
    • Use swimming if you are unable to walk. Just don’t eat a lot of food when you finish, because swimming makes you feel like you are famished. Have a banana, apple or other fruit to gets you blood sugar up.
  5. Also use resistive exercises, such as weight training or isometrics. These build muscle and bone mass to support the muscle. Muscle is needed to lose weight because it is in the muscle that fat is burned. The more muscle you have the more fat you can burn.
  6. The brain is an energy hog and will help use up the sugar you just ate from fruit or vegetables, even if it is just before you go to bed. This because the brain is still working for about an hour after you sleep replaying over and over again in your subconscious mind the last thoughts you had before going to sleep. The subconscious mind is the repository of the essence of who you think you are. This is also where bad thoughts or self-doubts sit in wait to trip you up. If you want the energy to be spent productively, you could tell yourself: you like you, or that you can do make this program work by_____ , or anything you would like to change in your subconscious. See: Reprogramming Subconscious Negative Thoughts
  7. Saturated fats such as butter and meat may be used sparingly, as a condiment to add taste.
  8. Do not eat foods with empty calories or no nutritive value.
  9. Do not eat high fat foods. When fat is taken out of a recipe it removes taste. To add taste more sugar is added. Unused sugar is turned into fat. Processed sugar signals the body to make fat.
  10. Continuous, large quantities of processed sugar and saturated fats are harmful to the body and change the chemical balance of the thyroid and minimizes or stops the body from making serotonin which results in depression. If these imbalances continue for long periods of time the body may never recover its natural chemical balance.
  11. Eating healthful food, promotes a natural chemical balance. Excessive processed sugar contain chemicals that produce a rise in mood. This was the job of the endorphins. Over time, when the body sees that there is excessive sugar continually, it tapers off or even stops the production of endorphins so that mood is stabilized somewhere near normal. The heavy consumption of process sugar needs to stop. Given time, and good nutrition the body may be able to jump-start the sites where theses natural chemicals are made.
  12. Even if the body cannot get these chemical sites into restart, there is still medical hope and hope through prayer. With the use of medicines or even if the body manufactures its own chemicals, it takes one to two months to see a change. From the time that the intake of sugar is halted until the time that the chemical site are up to full capacity, the individual will experience depression. If the natural sites have restarted making natural chemicals, taking an antidepressant will shut down the natural sites again. Consult the Lord as to what you should do!  See: How to Make Good Decisions. (It could also be entitled: How to Get Answers from God.)
  13. Antidepressants take three to four weeks before their effects are felt, so it is a good idea to allow the body to try to do it naturally. Things that stimulate the sites naturally into make endorphins is exercise, singing, and laughter. Fresh fruit can also give the body natural sugar to lift mood slightly.
  14. Since the body is content in eating healthy, continuous weight-loss hinges on how an individual perceives the change in eating habits. Yearning for bad, old eating habits is what causes individuals to fail. Individuals should focus on what they can have and how to spice it up or vary it, instead of dwelling on what they cannot have.
  15. Dealing with social events can be a problem. Social eating is a major part of many cultures. Healthful foods are seldom included as part of social gatherings, although change is slowly occurring as people become more health conscious. If your circles of friends are not into vegetable trays, salads, or fresh fruit then suggest it for the next social gathering. You will not only be helping yourself, but them. When I know that social eating will be occurring at an event, I bring my own food or a tray of my favorites. That way I will not be deprived from eating or being social.
  16. The thyroid controls the feelings of hunger and satiation. One of the problems of weight-gain is not knowing if your are hungry or not. If you have eaten healthfully the thyroid should signal that you are full or satiated. A normal meal containing sufficient protein will usually take four hours to be digested before hunger occurs. If the body signals that you are hungry within the four hours, drink of water and pray for help. Eating lunch at noon and dinner at 4 PM will work out just right. Hunger should occur about 8 P.M. At this time fruit or vegetables can be eaten about every hour as needed.
  17. When sugar is needed for recipes such as bread making use sprouted wheat, honey, fructose, or a combination of them. Fructose can be purchased in health food stores or in stores with health food sections. Note that the heavy insinuating taste of honey is not always wanted in a recipe.
  18. When substituting sprouted wheat for sugar use a 2 to 1 ratio. For honey use a 1 to 1 ratio.
  19. Use salt or salt substitutes to bring out the sweetness in a food. Then add sweetener.
  20. Use seasonings, without sugar, to spice up wheat, brown rice, and salads. Excellent taste bud tantalizers are: lemon pepper, chili powder, basil, oregano, onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, liquid smoke, thyme, and curry. * Check the spaghetti sauce for processed sugar.
  21. Cook up large batches of wheat and brown rice in advance, zip-lock in freezer bags, and freeze so you have them readily available.
  22. Use frozen or canned vegetables when fresh ones are not available.
  23. A half cup of raw, uncooked nuts per day gives the body the calcium it needs. Watch the amount of fat in the kind of nut you are eating. Almonds have less fat than most nuts.
  24. Avocados and olives contain high levels of fat. Do not include these in your diet unless it is being counted as the 2 tablespoons of fat during your lunch or dinner.
  25. Many peanut butter has a lot of sugar added. Look for all natural peanut butter. Many of the Costco's or Sam's carry Adam's Peanut Butter. If not ask them to do so.
  26. Use romaine lettuce, spinach, or other leaf lettuce instead of Iceberg head lettuce. Head lettuce has no vitamins; therefore it is good for nothing but bulk and has to be delivered to the back door. You want the elimination time spent on fat removal not waste lettuce.
  27. Read labels. Check the ingredients to see if processed sugar has been added in everything you eat. Check different brands. There was a great difference in calories, fat- both saturated and unsaturated, and process sugar in products, especially milk products. Reread labels periodically to check the ingredients, sometimes they change.
  28. There are many reasons why a person retains weight. Some of these are:
    • Age and eating the wrong kinds of food is gummed up the thyroid
    • Hyperthyroidism brought on by illness
    • Being menopausal or perimenopausal
    • Slow metabolism do to age, lack of exercise, types of oil used in cooking
    • Eating high fatty foods, a lot of empty calories usually those foods high in sugar or starch, or cooked in grease/oil.
    • Many drugs cause fat and/or water retention

More Suggestions

  • Ask your doctor if the drugs you are on cause weight retention.
  • Ask your doctor what he suggests you should do to control your weight!
  • Have regular routine of aerobic exercise if possible.
  • Follow my weight-loss diet (included below)
  • Cut out processed white flour products and substitute wheat
  • Use soybean, coconut, and olive oil to cook with instead of vegetable oil.
  • Protein = 30% of each meal from either poultry, soy products, eggs, & fish
  • Instead of eating to feel better, because of loss, boredom, worry, procrastination, or sadness, use good coping skills
  • Get the support and knowledge you need. Join Overeaters Anonymous (OA). It is free. Look in your phone book for the meeting nearest you.
  • Last, but most importantly, use God as your weight-loss trainer. Don't do this program without Him! Set goals with Him in the morning, Talk to Him about good food ideas for lunch and dinner during the day. At night evaluate how the day went and what can be done to make things better for the next day as needed.

Here are other articles that may also be of benefit!

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28 Small Changes That Will Make a Big Difference
By Melissa Sperl for WeightWatchers.com

When you were little and first learned to tie your shoes, someone taught you how to do it by breaking it down into smaller steps. First tie a knot. Then make the loops. Now tie the bow.

Splitting any task up into stages helps it seem more manageable, and gets you to goal quicker. The same goes for weight loss.

As you accomplish each "mini-goal," you'll feel like a winner. That sense of accomplishment is great motivation for meeting more mini-goals, and more, until suddenly you're at the weight you've always wanted.

"Making small changes one at a time is a great strategy," agrees Howard Rankin, Ph. D., a South Carolina psychologist. "It's not overwhelming, and it results in a slower, more steady weight loss."
Remember: When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race. It's the pace that will help you get to your goal, then stay there.

Do Sweat the Small Stuff

A bunch of small changes add up to big results. Maybe cutting the cream out of your coffee seems like a small feat to you. But once you've got that down you can add another small feat, then another.

"Baby steps are the way to go," said one WeightWatchers.com user. "Especially when you're just starting the plan. There seem to be so many things to do, it's overwhelming. Little things become habits, and eventually the whole process doesn't seem so overwhelming."

We asked people like you — on the WeightWatchers.com Message Boards and in Meetings rooms — what small steps they've taken in order to see their way toward their weight goals. This is what they said ...

... About Small Eating Changes

  • Water, water, water, water. (Your skin will look great, too!)
  • Order half portions at restaurants, or share a full portion with somebody. Or ask for a "to-go" container when you order your food, and pack up half the portion before you even start eating.
  • Cut back on butter and mayo.
  • Limit fried foods to once or twice per week.
  • Use less or no sugar in your coffee or tea.
  • Replace ground beef with "Boca" products or ground turkey.
    Try at least one new food every week. If you're bored with what you're eating, you're more likely to give up.
  • Eat fresh, raw veggies with sandwiches instead of chips.
  • Measure your portions until you're sure you know what a cup, a half-cup, and a tablespoon look like. This will help you practice portion control, an essential key to weight-loss success.
  • Try not to drink high-calorie beverages.
  • Dip your fork in a side of salad dressing before each bite, instead of pouring it directly on your salad. You'll find that you are satisfied with much less than you usually put on.
  • Find healthy alternatives to all your favorite foods.
  • If you don't really love it, don't eat it.
  • Never eat out of a bag or box. Take out a measured/counted quantity of food and put it in a bowl. This way, you know exactly how much you're having.
  • Always eat something for breakfast.
  • Read food labels. Check serving sizes.
  • Add vegetables to everything.
  • Plan meals in advance; use that information to make out a complete shopping list.
  • Give food to guests to take home.
  • Write down everything you eat and drink, without fail.
  • Plan ahead for special occasions by accounting for higher-calorie foods before you eat them.

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10 Ways to Change Your Body Without Surgery
By Mike Bruno for WeightWatchers.com

It's no secret that people are willing to go to amazing lengths all in the name of "looking good." Some folks spend thousands and willingly expose themselves to invasive surgery (liposuction) and botulism (Botox) just so they can be happier with the person they see in the mirror every morning.

Fortunately, you don't have to run to a plastic surgeon wielding your credit card just to obtain a flatter tummy, a tighter butt or a brighter smile. Here are 10 simple, inexpensive and relatively painless ways you can improve your body without going under a knife.

  • Start an abdominal routine. Take five minutes before your morning shower to crank out two or three sets of 15 abdominal crunches (knees bent). If you do them faithfully every other day, you'll noticeably tighten up your midsection and improve your overall mobility.
  • Use the stairs at your home or job (instead of taking the elevator). "Taking the stairs strengthens all the major muscle groups in your lower extremity. Hamstrings, gluts, quads and calves are all going to reap that benefit," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. As a side bonus, you'll also burn a calorie for every 15 steps.
  • Do lunges and wall slides before bed. Both exercises will help firm your major lower-body muscle groups, such as gluts, quads and hamstrings. Start with wall slides - stand with your back against the wall and your feet 12 to 18 inches in front of you, then slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and come back up. Do two sets of 15. Finish with lunges - start by taking a giant step forward with one leg, then lower into lunge position until the knee on your opposite leg almost touches the ground. Make sure the knee of your standing leg does not go out beyond your toe. Push through the front heel to raise back up. Do two sets of 15 with one leg, then two sets with the opposite leg.
  • Use body-shaping undergarments. Only grandma’s wear girdles - modern women wear "control-top" panties, nylons or tights. Of course they serve exactly the same purpose, and are a great, inexpensive way to instantly flatten your stomach and to smooth and shape your butt.
  • Try yoga. The ancient art of yoga burns calories (the Vinyasa styles burn between 300 and 500 in a one-hour session) while improving your overall flexibility and posture. "The benefits of yoga are cumulative," said Tony Sanchez, director of the US Yoga Association. "It's just a matter of time before the participant will improve flexibility, strength, concentration, will power and determination." Visit www.yogajournal.com for general info and classes near you.
  • Take a walking tour. Most cities conduct interesting weekend walking tours focused on subjects like architecture, urban planning and history. It's a great way to get some exercise, not to mention learn a thing or two about the place you live. Call your local parks department to learn about tours in your area.
  • Drink plenty of water. At minimum, you should consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water or water-based beverages every day. If you eat watery foods, you can get away with less. All fluids that are non-alcoholic and caffeine-free count toward water intake, as do foods such as fresh produce, yogurt and soup. "Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, constipation and tooth decay, and it can prevent us from burning as many calories per day as we would with adequate fluids," said Cynthia Sass, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "Being well hydrated helps our bodies function optimally and improves our looks, including our skin."
  • Only wear flat-front pants. Pleats are a no-no for so many reasons, so put them in a box for your next Salvation Army drop-off. Besides being a hopelessly unstylish relic of the 1980's, pleats create unnecessary puffiness around your mid-section - not the best area to draw attention to if you have something to hide.
  • Splurge on a new haircut. What better way to focus attention away from your figure and toward your bright smile than with a hip new hairstyle? Talk to a stylist about cuts that complement your face. There are also online makeover sites that will let you upload your photo and try on new 'dos.
  • Get a spray-on tan. The days of lying in a box soaking in harmful ultra-violet rays are over. In addition to the 60-second spray tan booths that had everyone in a tizzy last summer, you can also go to a salon that offers aerosol spray tanning and let a technician airbrush on a harmless tan solution complete with shaded muscle contours. The process takes about a half hour (including drying) and it's costlier than the spray booths, but you'll leave looking bronzed, beautiful and buff.

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25 Little Tips for Big Weight Loss
By Karen Hammonds for WeightWatchers.com

Eating Tips

  • Good things come in small packages. Here's a trick for staying satisfied without consuming large portions: Chop high-calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like you're getting more than you actually are.
  • Don't give up dips. If you love creamy dips and sauces, don't cut them out of your diet completely. Just use low-fat sour cream and mayo instead of the full-fat stuff.
  • Get water-wise. Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water instead of a high-calorie snack. It will help your overall health as well as your waistline. Add some zest with a twist of lemon or lime.
  • Herb it up. Stock up your spice rack, and start growing a small herb garden in your kitchen window. Spices and herbs add fantastic flavor to foods without adding fat or calories.
  • Slim down your soup. Make a big batch of soup and refrigerate it before you eat it. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top. Skim it off the surface for reduced fat content.
  • Doggie-bag that dinner. At restaurants, ask the server to put half your entrée in a doggie bag before bringing it to your table. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you practice portion control.
  • Listen to your cravings. If you're craving something sweet, eat something sweet - just opt for a healthier nosh, like fruit, instead of a high-calorie one. The same goes for crunchy cravings - for example, try air-popped popcorn with soy sauce instead of high-fat tortilla chips. It's just smart substitution!
  • Ease your way into produce. If you're new to eating lots of fruits and veggies, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you already enjoy. Pile veggies on top of your sandwiches, or add fruit to your cereal.
  • Look for high-fat hints. Want an easy way to identify high-calorie entrees? Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin, parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them in moderation.
  • Don't multitask while you eat. If you're working, reading or watching TV while you eat, you won't be paying attention to what's going into your mouth - and you won't be enjoying every bite. Every time you sit down for a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay attention to flavors and textures. You'll enjoy your food more and eat less.
  • Taste something new. Broaden your food repertoire - you may find you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or vegetable (ever had jicama, plantain, bok choy, starfruit or papaya?).
  • Leave something on your plate at every meal. One bite of bagel, half your sandwich, the bun from your burger. See if you feel satisfied eating just a bit less.
  • Get to know your portion sizes. It's easy to underestimate how much you're eating. Don't just estimate things - make sure. Ask how much is in a serving, read the fine print on labels, measure your food. And learn portion equivalents: One serving of pasta, for instance, should be around the size of a tennis ball.
  • Make a healthy substitution. Learn to swap healthier foods for their less-healthful counterparts. Find a substitution that works for you: Use skim milk instead of whole milk; make up a batch of brownie mix with applesauce instead of oil; try a whole-grain bread instead of white.
  • Bring lunch to work. Packing lunch will help you control your portion sizes. It also provides a good alternative to restaurants and fast-food joints, where making healthy choices every day can be challenging (not to mention expensive).
  • Have some dessert. You don't have to deny yourself all the time. Have a treat that brings you pleasure, but this time enjoy it guilt-free - be sure you're practicing portion control, and compensate for your indulgence by exercising a little more or by skipping your afternoon snack.
  • Ask for what you need. Tell your mother-in-law you don't want seconds. Ask your sweetie to stop bringing you chocolates.
  • Speak up for the salad bar when your coworkers are picking a restaurant for lunch. Whatever you need to do to succeed at weight loss, ask for it. Make yourself a priority and assert yourself.

Fitness Tips

  • Improve your treadmill technique. When walking on a treadmill, don't grip the rails. It's fine to touch them for balance, but you shouldn't have to hold on. If you do, that might be a signal you should lower the intensity level.
  • Simon says ... get fit. Here's an easy way to fit in exercise with your kids: Buy a set of one-pound weights and play a round of Simon Says — you do it with the weights, they do it without. They'll love it!
  • Make the most of your walks. If your walking routine has become too easy, increase your effort by finding hills. Just be sure to tackle them at the beginning of your walk, when you have energy to spare.
  • Shop 'til you drop ... pounds. Add a workout to your shopping sessions by parking your car as far from the store as possible, to get more walking in. And try walking up the escalator - getting to your destination faster will be an added bonus.
  • Walk an extra 100 steps at work. Adding even a little extra exercise to your daily routine can boost your weight loss. Today, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stroll down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail or calling.

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Destined to be fat?
Nine tips for handling midlife weight woes.
By Evelyn Tribole, R.D., from LifeTimeTV.com

We women are like fine wines: We just get better with age. Save for one little detail: our weight -- which seems fated to skyrocket once we hit that developmental milestone, menopause. According to the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, obesity in women has nearly doubled in the past two decades; it is a problem that researchers say is particularly acute during perimenopause, the three- to 10-year period preceding menopause. The Women's Healthy Lifestyle Project, a five-year study of 585 perimenopausal women funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that women who don't change their lifestyles gain an average of 5.2 pounds during that period.

But before you throw in the towel and submit to age-related weight gain, consider this: Understanding the new set of rules governing your body's changes can provide you with concrete ways to manage your weight. Here's what is happening: As you age, your body stops ovulating and produces less and less estrogen. Meanwhile, the hormone testosterone (no, it's not just in men) remains at the same level. This increased testosterone-to-estrogen ratio triggers the expansion of our waistlines, since our fat distribution changes to be more like a man's, shifting from our hips and buttocks to our waists. (One bright note: Once this transition is completed, half of all women find that their thighs have actually decreased in size!)

As your waistline fills out, some weight gain is inevitable, although the amount can range from two to 20 pounds. However, another key finding of the Women's Healthy Lifestyle Project was that women who engage in physical activity and adhere to a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet  are very likely to either maintain their weight or lose weight. The bottom line: Your hormones don't have to have the last word -- you can keep off the weight. Here are nine tactics for staying fit during perimenopause:

  1. Pump some iron. Lean body mass, which acts as a calorie-burning machine, naturally decreases as you age. Lifting weights two to three times a week can help you maintain your muscle mass and keep your metabolism revved.
  2. Exercise your options. Your metabolism slows down 10% to 15% during midlife, mainly due to decreased muscle mass. Aerobic, cardiovascular exercise is crucial to minimizing the weight gain and fat storage that would naturally result from this downshift. Walk, jog, bike, swim or do an aerobics tape for at least one hour a day most days of the week.
  3. Eat right. Dieting -- defined as traditional low-calorie plans, so-called fat-burning pills and fad diets, including Atkins -- can actually worsen midlife weight gain. That's because dieting increases the level of enzymes that tell your body to store fat. To effectively manage your weight through food, craft a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods and eat only when you are hungry.
  4. Cut quantities. As we age, our bodies need fewer calories. If you downsize the amount you eat at each meal, but increase the number of meals you have each day, you'll find that you have more energy and a more balanced mood. Aim to consume five or six small meals each day, eating no more than three fistfuls of food each time.
  5. Seek satisfaction. With less estrogen in your body, it's easier to overeat, since estrogen helps trigger the feeling of being full. However, eating high-satiety (aka filling) foods, including those high in protein (such as chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, beans, tofu, nuts) and those high in fiber (such as whole-grain cereals, dried beans, whole-grain crackers, fruits, vegetables), help you feel satisfied and stop you from overeating.
  6. Love lunch. It's a somewhat controversial concept, but some experts recommend eating your biggest meal at lunch rather than dinner to control weight gain.
  7. Limit alcohol. Since alcohol has been shown to increase abdominal weight gain, do not have more than one drink per day.
  8. Relax! Periods of stress cause increased storage of fat around the abdomen -- and years of stress can actually disrupt your fat cells' ability to make estrogen, causing them to expand in an effort to compensate. The best thing you can do is not get too worked up about impending weight gain (or anything else!) and find ways to release stress -- through exercise, meditation, journal-writing, therapy or conversations with friends.
  9. Look on the bright side! There is some good news: Once you've completed the "change of life," your fat cells start to shrink and produce less fat. While you will never have the metabolism you had when you were 20, your weight will get somewhat easier to manage after perimenopause.

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