Healthy Byte: Simple Ways to Keep the Weight Off

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So you want to drop a couple sizes. You know the drill: Eat more veggies; fewer cookies. Drink more water; less soda. Work out a few times a week.

Still, while most of us know the basics of healthy living, getting trim is hard work.

That’s why we recently talked to exercise scientist Philip Stanforth, executive director of the Fitness Institute of Texas and a professor of exercise science at the University of Texas, to find out more about what to look out for when losing weight.

He told us there are three main obstacles that face most people who are trying to lose weight, and overcoming them can make a huge difference.

1. We spend way too much time sitting

“In the world we live today to think people could not be overweight is ridiculous, because in the normal course of the day we expend so few calories,” said Stanforth. “The chances are much higher that we’re going to eat more than that.” In other words, a daily regimen of sitting at our desks, driving to and from work, and ordering takeout probably means we’re going to end up eating more than we burn off.

(Nathan O’Nions/flickr)
This, plus the fact that much of the food we eat comes stuffed with calorie-rich sugar and fat, makes evening out this ratio of burning to eating even harder.

There are some simple solutions to a sedentary lifestyle, though. While research has shown that simply working outwon’t cut it, getting up for a few minutes every hour might just do the trick.

2. We’re really, really bad at remembering what we’ve eaten and how much exercise we’ve done

Even when we’re making an effort to be more conscious of what we’re putting into our bodies and how active we are, we tend to give ourselves more credit than we deserve.

“People tend to overestimate their physical activity and underestimate how much food they eat,” Stanforth said. “They consistently think they’ve worked out more and consistently think they’ve eaten less.”

(Flickr/IRRI Photos)
Several recent studies back up Stanforth’s observations. In a recent editorial published in the Mayo Clinic’s peer-reviewed journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the researchers wrote: “The assumption that human memory can provide accurate or precise reproductions of past ingestive behavior is indisputably false.”

The problem here isn’t just that memories aren’t reliable historical records — it’s also that we often overlook the calories in many of the foods we eat habitually.

Take coffee, for instance. Black coffee has just about 2 calories — less than a stick of sugar-free gum. But cream and sugar can add anywhere from 25-150 calories per serving.

“Most people will think, ‘Oh I had a coffee this morning and coffee has few-to-no calories,’ so it’s not significant,” says Stanforth.“ But when you add cream and sugar, that can end up being far more significant.”

3. Our portion sizes are way, way out of proportion

In recent years, the amount of food we consider to be a single serving has ballooned. In some foods, it’s increased as much as a whopping 138%. What most people would think of as a serving of ice cream, for example, is probably about a cup. In reality, though, a 230-calorie “serving” of Ben and Jerry’s is half a cup, or just about 8 large spoonfuls!

“Portion size is a big problem,” says Stanforth. “Most people would say, ‘Well that looks like a serving,’ but in reality it’s two or three servings.”

Think of this the time you’re out to eat. If you get a bowl of pasta, consider taking half to-go. If you’re eating family-style, start by covering half your plate in salad greens.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Eating Healthy One Dupe at a Time

2015 10-23

Ban gluten. Say good-bye to sugar. Give up carbs. No matter what diet you pick, the problem remains the same: Eventually, it ends.

Research shows that the vast majority of people who diet to lose weight end up gaining back some or all of the weight they lost, typically within a few years. And most of us who try lifestyle changes like cutting carbs or sugar only do so for a set period of time.

We recently asked exercise scientist Philip Stanforth, executive director of the Fitness Institute of Texas and a professor of exercise science at the University of Texas, why that happens, and what people who want to lose weight and keep it off can do.

He says there is one key principle that should guide any decision to make a change about what you eat. And that’s “doing something you can maintain for the rest of your life.”

After the initial “dieting phase” of cutting calories, eating healthier food, and upping your workout regimen — experts recommend aiming to lose only a couple pounds a week by burning a few hundred more calories than you’re eating each day — you can start to make some small shifts back towards how you’d normally eat and workout, says Stanforth.

But overall, Stanforth says, “you still eat the same way [as you did when you started to eat healthier].”

Meaning that after you’ve lost a bit of weight, it’s normal to scale back a bit on your workouts and start to eat more calories each day. “But you still eat the same kinds of foods,” says Stanforth, because you’re in the mindset that, “this is how I’m going to eat for the rest of my life.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of dieting information doesn’t reflect this view. And that’s a mistake, Stanforth says.

“You know we tend to say you go on a diet, but that also implies you’re going to go off of it. And that’s not how we should be looking at this. Sometimes people are looking for the latest fad, but oftentimes it’s the fundamentals that are the most important and that make the biggest difference.”

Originally Posted HERE

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