I recently read an article entitled “10 Weight Loss Tips from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center.” It was informative and since Duke University is right in my own back yard (give or take 70 miles), I decided to share this information with you. You can visit the Duke Diet and Fitness Center (DDFC) website here to see what it offers.
1. Eat more!
Choose a full plate of healthy foods. Often, DDFC clients will say that they are scared they’ll be hungry when they first start the program. But they change their minds when they see the meals they’re served. Most clients say it’s more food than they normally eat at a meal. Your body has to have fuel. The DDFC uses the USDA‘s MyPlate instead the food pyramid. If you look at a round plate, half that plate should be filled with healthy fruits and vegetables. One-quarter of the plate should be filled with healthy proteins, to include fish once or twice a week. The last quarter of the plate should be filled with carefully chosen, fiber-rich starches like beans, legumes, brown rice, or quinoa.
Image Source: www.choosemyplate.gov
2. Plan your meals.
Not only should you plan WHAT you’re going to eat, but WHEN you’re going to eat. Eating small meals every three to four hours will keep you from becoming ravenous. Being ravenous leads you to eat any-and-everything you can get your hands on. Starting with breakfast within an hour of rising, don’t skip meals. Don’t let your hunger reach the point of no return.
3. Keep a food journal.
Write down what you eat on paper or use an internet helper such as MyFitnessPal.com or CalorieCounter.com. The dieticians at Duke have found that you get off your eating plan if you don’t keep track of what you eat.
4. Curb the emotional eating.
Before devouring a dozen chocolate chip cookies or half a box of Krispy Creme doughnuts, you should stop and ask yourself some questions:
- Am I really hungry?
- What am I feeling right now?
- What do I really need?
- What can I do instead?
- If I eat this, how many calories am I going to have to burn?
- How long with I have to exercise to burn these calories?
One DDFC client has put a note on her refrigerator that reads: WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS NOT IN HERE!
5. Have a daily indulgence.
Allow yourself one treat that is no more than 10% of your daily calorie count. (For example, most days I eat 1200 calories. My indulgence would be something with 120 calories or less.) In doing this, don’t choose your trigger food. Choose something that tastes good but will not cause you to lose control.
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6. Don’t beat yourself up.
Okay, so you ate the dozen chocolate cookies or the entire box of doughnuts — you can’t ruin your diet in one day, says Christine B. Tenekjian, a dietician at DDFC. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you need to rid yourself of the guilt, journal about what you were feeling before you over-indulged and try to figure out why you did it.
7. Walk it off!
People that come to the DDFC often have not been active in quite a while. Fitness experts there start their clients on a walking regimen — short distances at first, then working up to 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. A pedometer is an inexpensive investment that will give you great feedback. (Personally, I use the free Runtastic app on my iPhone. It has a pedometer, a distance monitor, and a timer. There are also other apps that do the very same thing. Just do an app search for “pedometers.”)
8. Make your work out simple.
Working out in a gym is nice but not always affordable or feasible. It’s just as easy to set up a workout routine in your own home: doing squats, wall push ups, tricep dips from a chair, ab crunches, leg lifts, and using resistance bands are all effective exercises as long as you do them two or three times a week, one or two sets of 8-12 repetions each.
9. Rise and shine!
DDFC has found that people who do their daily workouts first thing in the morning have a better chance of sticking with it. With the busy lives we lead, there’s just too much of a chance that something will come up and take priority over our workout time if it’s later in the day. Decide to become a morning person (it’s hard — but I personally learned to do it after more than half my life of being a “night person”) and set a routine that’s hard to get interrupted.
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10. Be creative in your motivation.
There’s more to motivation than just setting a weight loss goal. What happens when you run into a plateau and become discouraged? DDFC advocates finding a partner for accountability and motivation or changing up your routine to get out of a rut. Any routine that become “routine” is boring. When you get bored, you run the chance of abandoning your goals. I found a great article on one of my favorite websites, Everyday Health, that offers some great tips. You can read the article here.
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I am praying for you all. Whatever challenge you’re facing, God is listening. It’s one of the ways I curb the emotional eating — I pray. If I get caught up in talking to my Heavenly Father, I find that my emotional needs are met in a much bigger way than any half-gallon of ice cream ever could.
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