Living Lean – Weight Loss Efforts and Eating Habits

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Shifting the focus of your weight-loss efforts to dietary fat can take some getting used to. But don’t think for a minute that sacrifice is the price to be paid for becoming slender and shapely. Simply reducing your daily intake of sugar, butter, margarine, or oil by 1 tablespoon will leave you 10 pounds lighter in a year – even if you do nothing else to lose weight.

To further trim the fat from your eating habits, try these tips:

Document the details –
you can’t begin cutting back on fat until you know where it is coming from. That’s why many experts recommend keeping a food diary for at least a few days. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just write down what you have eaten immediately after each meal or snack.

Go slowly –
Once you’ve identified each food that is inflating your fat budget, you have several options: you can look for a non-fat or low-fat version, you can eat less of it, or you can eliminate it from your menu altogether. Whichever option you choose, focus on just one or two foods at a time. If you try to overhaul your eating habits in one fell swoop, you are just setting yourself up for problems.

Remember, too, that it takes at least 13 weeks to acclimate to low-fat eating. Patience is the key to your success with weight loss and lifestyle changes.

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Learn label lingo –
The label on a packaged food can be your greatest ally in the battle of the bulge – if you know how to interpret all those numbers. They don’t necessarily mean what you think.

Take, for example, the percentage of calories from fat. You’d probably assume – quite reasonably – that this figure is based on the number of calories in the food. But it is not. Instead, it is based on 2,000 calories – an entire day’s intake. Depending on your size and activity level, you may need less or more.

For more accurate indicators of a food’s fat content, check out the number of fat grams and the number of calories from fat per serving.

Roll up the welcome mat –
If your goal is to eat less fat, you can do yourself a big favor by banning fat-laden goodies from your kitchen. In fact, now is the ideal time to do some housecleaning – go through your fridge, pantry and cupboards, getting rid of all the bad stuff to make room for healthy foods.