Personal lessons learned over a lifetime. You can share your tips by posting an online comment for this article. Be sure to consult with your doctor.
• Eat standing up (and slowly). We burn off more calories standing compared to sitting. Other things you can do standing up: reading emails on a portable device, watching TV, talking on the phone, reading a newspaper or magazine.
• Never eat out of a bag, carton, or other container. Always eat from a bowl, plate or cup -- and always eat only one serving at a time. A serving of meat in general is about the size of a deck of cards (for those who don’t play cards, the size of your iPhone).
• Count, measure and weigh everything you eat. Look at food labels to know the amount of one serving. Then put only one serving in a bowl or on a plate, put the container away before eating your serving.
• Permanently ban from your diet one high calorie food that you like -- to compensate for the slowdowns of your metabolism as you age. Then banish another one every 5 years. It only takes a few weeks to adjust to each change. When tempted, remind yourself: “I don’t eat donuts,” or “I’m not a donut eater.”
Examples 1. Sugar in your coffee and on cereal 2. Donuts (after a while, you don’t miss them) 3. Salad dressing (or always order it on the side and use sparingly) 4. Butter other than part of a recipe (no butter on breads, cooked vegetables , pancakes, etc.) 5. Salt other than part of a recipe (and cut in half the salt recommended for a recipe)
• Eat raw veggies and fruits. Raw food offers more health benefits, and you might burn off calories while chewing them. To eat at least 5 servings a day of fruit and vegetables: (a) keep in easy reach a bowl of fruit as well as containers of raisins and dried fruit; (b) keep a plastic bag of veggie snacks in the refrigerator so you can grab them to replace a yen for less healthy foods.
• Avoid fast food restaurants. Research in advance what is the healthiest item to eat at your favorite fast food stores for the times when you can’t avoid eating out.
• Eat home cooked meals and avoid processed foods (foods sold in packages that need to be reheated). Make a list of your favorite healthy dishes to prepare at home for easy reference when menu planning, grocery shopping, and cooking at home.
• Switch to healthy alternatives of foods you don’t want to give up eating. Read the nutrition labels on packaged foods. Identify those that are high in calories, salt, and sugar (and don’t buy them) versus those that are high in protein and fiber. Examples 1. Low fat, low calories, and low salt versions of sodas, milk, butter, cheese, soups, popcorn, etc. 2. High fiber versions of breads, crackers, tortillas, cookies, etc.
• Out of sight, out of mind. Keep sweets and junk food out of your house or hide them in places that require effort to get to them.
• Keep a food journal. Most of us eat a lot more each day than we think we do. To lose weight carefully (about a pound a week), eat no more than 1500 calories a day.
• Adopt an inspirational mantra to keep you motivated - and post it on your refrigerator. One of my favorites has been around for a long time: “Nothing tastes as good as it feels to be slim.”
• Chew healthy gum to meet your chewing needs. For example, Stride gum uses the sweetener substitute xylitol which has been shown to reduce dental cavities and reduce ear infections.
Coming soon: top exercise tips.