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What are the best tricks for losing weight?

Dr. Kevin J. Soden, MD
Family Medicine
Losing unwanted pounds isn’t easy at any age and it becomes harder as we age. Losing weight requires a change in habits and takes some discipline. I tell patients that it can take a month to break an old habit and replace it with a new one so be patient. Just as it takes repetition and practice to learn a new skill in sports, the same is true when changing food habits.
It takes about 3500 excess calories to gain a pound of weight and many people overeat by 500 to 1500 calories a day. At that rate, it doesn’t take long to gain a few pounds especially during the holidays or while on vacation.
Here are 10 of the dietary tricks that my patients have used to help them lose weight and keep it off:
• Drink a big glass of water before each meal as it helps to fill your stomach.
• Chew food slowly as it takes 20-30 minutes for your stomach to signal
  your brain that it’s full. Be the last to start eating and the last to
  finish.
• Never eat in front of the TV as you get distracted and eat too much.
• Avoid processed foods especially white foods at dinner.
• Fill up half your plate with veggies and/or salad.
• Limit your meat portion to the size of your palm.
• Save desserts for the weekend.
• If you drink alcohol with a meal, limit yourself to one glass.
• If snacking between meals, use fruits or veggies and avoid junk food.
• Never “super-size” your meal orders
Remember that increasing your exercise will help to burn calories and help you to lose weight. By getting more exercise you will lose weight even if you don’t change your eating habits.
Finally, I always advise people to write down your goals and track your progress. At home, my family uses our Wii machine to track our weight as well as a fun way to burn some calories. Each one of us is different so what works for you or me may vary. Just keep at it with small changes and you will be successful.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.