5 habits that foster weight loss

Posted by on Mar 11, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Source:  Harvard Heart Letter   / Published: March 1, 2017

If you’re like many Americans, you’re still carrying an extra pound or two that you gained over the holidays. Over the years, that extra weight can really add up—and that added girth is hard on your heart.

Often, the hardest part about losing weight isn’t about knowing what to eat. You’ve heard it a thousand times: eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. The real challenge is changing your habits to make those healthy choices part of your everyday routine without feeling too deprived.

When you come home

Where to start? Try a little respect, says Dr. George L. Blackburn, professor of nutrition at Harvard Medical School. “Show respect for the food you’re eating. Before you sit down to dinner, lay out your meal on a white tablecloth, which will make you more likely to eat mindfully,” he says. Mindfulness—the practice of being fully aware of what’s happening within and around you at the moment—seems to help people make better food choices, in terms of both what and how they eat.

It’s also important to respect your hunger, which means you should eat as closely as possible to the time you feel hungry (but not starving). Finally, respect your cravings. “Select foods that taste good to you, because taste is king,” says Dr. Blackburn. You need to stick within healthy parameters, of course, and choose foods that follow the recommendations laid out by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (see www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015). But if you’ve got a hankering for a few French fries or a small brownie once in a while, go ahead. A complete ban of your favorite treats may leave you more likely to abandon your diet altogether and overindulge.

Dr. Blackburn has directed the Center for Nutrition Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and advised overweight and obese people for more than four decades. The following are five proven strategies that many of his patients have found helpful toward their goal of lasting weight loss.

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