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Lose weight naturally

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Perhaps you are keen to lose weight because summer is on its way, or maybe you are getting married.

You are advised to avoid crash diets as you may lose some weight but you will soon put it back on unless you learn how to eat more healthily. The good news is that healthy food does not need to be boring and tasteless.

Here are a whole range of practical tips and advice to help you lose weight healthily and naturally:

• Write out a list of reasons why you want to lose weight and tape up this list in an easily visible place in the kitchen (preferably close to or on the refrigerator). Some people also tape up a picture of themselves that they hate to inspire them to lose weight or change their habits.

• Chew your food well and take time to enjoy each mouthful.

• Find out more about the qualities of different nutrients and the body’s needs. This will help you make more informed choices about the foods you choose and make changes if necessary.

• Learn how to read and understand food labels to help find the hidden “bad guys”. Food manufacturers often say their foods are “low-fat” but they might be full of sugar or salt!

• Ban the word “diet” from your vocabulary, as this word has a psychological connotation that represents privation and sadness. It is better to think of “healthy eating”.

• Don’t weigh yourself every day to see how much weight you have lost. It is better to weigh yourself once a week and always in the morning.

• Don’t skip any meals (especially breakfast), as the body takes note and stores calories in reserve just in case it does not receive food later. In addition, if you miss a meal you will be more hungry later and will end up eating too much.

• Each meal (at least three meals a day) should have foods from all food groups so that your body gets the necessary amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats.

• Choose healthier, low-fat cooking techniques such as steaming, broiling and baking. Avoid fried food.

• When eating in restaurants, avoid foods that contain creamy, buttery or oily sauces.

• If you like cooking, buy or borrow a healthy eating recipe book and develop your own repertoire of healthy dishes that all the family will enjoy.

• Choose a selection of fresh fruit for dessert instead of cakes, pies and ice cream.

• Accompany your main meal with vegetables (with no butter or oil) and fresh salads.

• Follow a balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and trans-saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt and alcohol.

• Balance the number of calories consumed with exercise, so that your body does not store the excess calories as fat.

• Choose whole foods instead of refined, white products. For example, whole wheat pasta, bread, flour and rice.

• Include dairy products that are low in fat or fat-free.

• Avoid foods with added sugar.

• Do not add salt to your food or when cooking.

• Avoid soda and carbonated soft drinks. The diet versions are acceptable, but it is a good idea to re-educate your palate to drink water, skim milk, and natural juices.

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