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En español | Sleep gives you energy to burn more calories during the day. People who sleep fewer than six hours a night are 27 percent more likely to become obese. Drop that number down to four hours a night, and you're 67 percent more likely to put on pounds at an unhealthy rate.
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Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast — one that includes protein, whole grains and fruit — will help keep your insulin level steady all morning and prevent you from overeating later on.
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You've grown up on three squares a day but it's time to forget about that. Eating smaller amounts, more frequently helps you lose. You'll feel fuller throughout the day, and are less likely to overeat out of hunger.
Spend at least 30 minutes eating each meal. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize you're full. Drinking water before and during a meal is a good way to slow yourself down — people who drink two glasses of water before each meal consume 40 fewer calories through the day, some studies show.
Yes, coffee is good for you, but there are caveats. No cream, sugar or artificial sweeteners. And that mocha java chocolate chip latte? Yeah, that doesn't count. We're talking straight, black coffee here. Twice a day. Caffeinated is better for losing weight, but decaf will do, too.
Yes, chewing sugar free gum can help keep the weight off. It releases hormones that signal your brain that you're full.
Bring two small snacks to work every day — a piece of fruit and a cup of low-fat dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.) are good choices.
Now we're getting to the good stuff, right? Don't go grabbing a candy bar just yet. The healthy choice is dark chocolate (70 percent cacao) and your daily quota is a small piece — about a quarter ounce.
Walking won't just get you in better shape — it could cut down your chances of developing dementia as well. Plus, some studies show that people who cannot walk a quarter-mile in five minutes have a higher mortality rate. Buy a pedometer; try to average 10,000 steps a day, seven days a week (but be sure to consult your physician before beginning a new exercise regimen).
We get more calories than we recognize from beverages. Diet sodas may increase the body's cravings for sugar-sweetened, high-calorie foods; diet drinks disrupt our ability to properly estimate the number of calories we're consuming, so we end up eating more than we ordinarily would. Finally, drinking more than two diet sodas a day is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, as well as stroke and heart disease, according to University of Miami researchers.
Studies show that eating at a table makes you eat more slowly, giving your brain a chance to signal to your body that you are full, and causing you to eat less. When you sit down, do it in front of a small plate — it's an easy way to control your portion size.
As you lose weight, don't be afraid to step up on the scale once a week — it's the best way to track your progress. Remember to weigh yourself at the same time each day, either first thing in the morning after you empty your bladder or at night just before you go to bed.
Pam Anderson | Food Expert
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