10 Tips for Losing Weight from the American Institute of Cancer Research

Ten Trim Tips

from the American Institute for Cancer Research

It's probably easy for you to come up with a list of 10 things you'd like to buy if you won the lottery. Or what about 10 books you'd like to read or 10 cities you'd like to visit if you had the time? Coming up with 10 ideas for successfully taking off extra pounds might not be so easy.

Many of us would like to lose some weight -- one in two Americans is too heavy and almost one in four of us is obese. Extra weight is linked with health problems including some types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Obesity increases the risk of developing cancer of the endometrium and probably increases the risk of breast and kidney cancers. Gallbladder, colon and rectal cancers are possibly influenced by obesity as well.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to go about losing weight in a safe and healthful way. Americans spend billions of dollars each year on bad diet advice and phony, sometimes dangerous, weight-loss products. AICR's new guidelines tell us to maintain a healthy weight to help prevent cancer. Here are 10 tips for trimming down, and they won't cost you a dime.

1. Eat your F's and V's. Moms advice might have included minding your P's and Q's and eating your F's and V's -- your fruits and vegetables that is. She was right. Satisfy your hunger with fewer calories and more nutrition at mealtimes by eating plenty of vegetables and fruits. You won't want larger portions of higher-calorie foods like meats, cheeses and desserts.

2. Move every day. Think of physical activity as a part of your daily health routine, like brushing your teeth. Physical activity can increase the amount of calories you burn today, and will speed metabolic rate for good by building muscle. Being more active may also help you control food cravings, have a more positive outlook and feel better about yourself -- no kidding!

3. Debunk the "fat-free" myth. Cookies, candies, chips and frozen treats may be labeled fat-free, but portions count and calories can mount. A "fat-free" label is not a license to reach the bottom of the bag. Eat these savory and sweet treats in moderation.

4. Give your food the attention it deserves. Don't munch while watching TV, driving or doing chores. Slowly savor your food and you will feel satisfied with less.

5. Snack from a plate, not a package. Absent-mindedly snacking from the pack can lead you to eat more than you realize.

6. Lend your stomach an ear. This simply means asking yourself if you're hungry before you eat, and asking yourself if you're satisfied so you can stop eating. Boredom, loneliness, anxiety and habit do not equal hunger and eating until you are stuffed is overeating. If you haven't listened to your body for a long time, keep practicing -- the signals will become more clear.

7. Address emotions. Eating to deal with stress, emotions or boredom won't solve your problems, it will only add calories to your diet and pounds to your frame, usually without the satisfaction of even tasting the food. Find other ways to relax, cope or entertain yourself. Call, write to or e-mail a friend, go for a walk, soak in the tub, read, do crossword puzzles try to meet your needs and address your emotions without food.

8. Resign from the "clean plate club." Refrigerate leftovers for tomorrow's lunch, take half of large restaurant portions home or try planning something enjoyable to do after meals so you don't keep eating just to procrastinate. If you enjoy lingering at the table, remove your plate so you won't be tempted to nibble.

9. Avoid the "Now I've blown it!" syndrome. A large meal, an indulgent treat or a day without exercise doesn't mean a thing. There are no bonus points for perfection -- just try to make choices over the weeks and months that add up to a healthy diet. You don't have to feel guilty after enjoying a brownie, just make more nutritious snack choices for the rest of the week.

10. Take things one step at a time. Research suggests that even modest weight loss can benefit your health, so focus on slow weight loss, instead of trying to lose too much too fast. Better yet, try making your lifestyle healthful -- the weight loss will eventually follow.

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