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Think you know AARP? What you don’t know about us may surprise you. Discover all the ‘Real Possibilities’

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Fat to Fit

Change the Way You Eat

You can make healthier decisions about your diet. Start by learning more about your food

2. Go back to school: The problem with dieting is that you're either "on" or "off." It's like taking a rifle to a tank battle — chances of winning are slim. Weight may come off during dieting. But what happens when your diet is "over"? When you go back to your old eating habits, not only does the original weight come back, but additional pounds frequently do as well.

Instead, feed your body nutritious fuel by learning what is really in the food you eat — ingredients and calories. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Choose foods from the entire rainbow to make sure you get the necessary vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (cancer-preventing substances found in naturally colorful foods) that can help prevent disease. Proper portion size — even with nutritious foods — is also key to weight loss. For optimal health, choose a variety of foods that include complex carbohydrates and lean protein.

3. Stay conscious: Awareness is a key principle in lifestyle change. Keep a food journal to help you remain conscious about your eating and eating patterns.

  • Record everything. No exceptions.
  • Record the food, amount and number of calories. Include any taste testing done while you're making dinner.
  • Record immediately — don't wait. Selective memories will hurt you when it comes to food consumption.
  • Carry your food journal everywhere. Use a small notepad in your pocket. In a crunch, a spare napkin will do.

Next: Can you do better next week? >>

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