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5 strategies to lose 48 pounds

(BPT) – You’ve probably seen all the articles about weight loss, including those that explain how to count calories or what foods you should and shouldn’t eat. But if you’re still having trouble losing weight, then maybe you just need a better “strategic plan,” one you can put into action before you get that unwanted “wake-up call” from your doctor that your weight is affecting your health.

Monte Morris received that wake-up call from his doctor, who diagnosed him as obese, along with stage 2 hypertension. At just 38-years-old with a 2-year-old daughter, Morris was a candidate for a heart attack.

According to Dr. Mike Roussell, nutrition advisor to Men’s Health Magazine, Morris put such a strategic plan into place, using five key strategies to achieve lasting success and they can be effectively implemented by anyone.

Make a decision to change

“I have never seen someone lose weight and keep it off unless they had an emotionally driven reason to change their life,” says Dr. Roussell. “Monte was no different. He had a little girl and a trip to the doctor delivered him the news that he had stage 2 hypertension (an advanced form of high blood pressure). On top of that, he just felt lousy. Monte knew he couldn’t go on living like this and he made the decision to change his lifestyle for good, not just for him but for his daughter, too.”

Attack weight loss on multiple fronts

Small steps and changes to what you are eating are important, but you need to rethink your whole lifestyle, envisioning who you want to be, according to Roussell. “Monte started to change his eating habits and started exercising. Embracing multiple healthy habits like diet and exercise is a great way to get momentum with your weight loss, ensuring that you get better results, which will keep you motivated and doing more. Focus on one to two diet changes and be deliberately active with your life. Monte didn’t even own a pair of running shoes when he started running and now he runs several miles a week. What kind of activity do you like to do? What the activity is at first doesn’t matter, just get moving,” Dr. Roussell says.

Stop drinking your calories

After Monte made his decision to change his life and put his health first, he did a quick audit of his diet and realized that a simple place for him to cut calories was beer. “Calories you consume in beer, wine or sugar sweetened drinks (energy drinks, soda, even sports drinks) are easy calories to cut out. Make sure nothing enters your mouth that doesn’t support your goal of weight loss while adding beneficial nutrients to your diet,” Dr. Roussell says.

Be a mindful eater and strategic snacker

Monte steered away from fad diets that demonized certain food groups while exalting others. Instead he focused on eating unprocessed foods and veered away from fast food joints. “Monte says he couldn’t say no to his mid-meal hunger pangs and would grab a fast food meal, which is all too often the fast track to weight gain. His strategy to correct that behavior was to keep a snack of pistachios in his truck and at his desk. Their flavorful crunch satisfied him while the protein, fiber and healthy fats in them kept him full — and out of the fast food drive-thru,” Dr. Roussell explained.

Embrace what you love

“Monte enjoys chocolate, but he recognized candy bars weren’t going to help him lose the weight. His solution was to make his own trail mix that contained pieces of dark chocolate along with pistachios and natural dried fruits, like raisins. This strategy satisfied his cravings so he wasn’t feeling deprived, but he also wasn’t consuming too much sugar,” Dr. Roussell says.

Successful long-term weight loss takes time. It took Monte almost a year to lose 48 pounds, but once he decided to make the change, he worked at it every one of those 365 days. Taking charge of his health has left him 10 pounds lighter than when he was in high school and with more energy and vibrancy for life than ever before.

Dr. Roussell transforms complex nutritional concepts into practical nutritional habits that his clients use to ensure permanent weight loss and long lasting health. He holds a doctorate in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University. In addition to being an adjunct assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Roussell serves on the Advisory Board for Men’s Health and SHAPE magazines as well as LIVESTRONG.com. He’s an author and has been named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness.

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10-minute healthy habits for 2017

(BPT) – Healthy living is an admirable goal no matter what time of year. The problem is that many people shoot for the stars, resolving to lose a big amount of weight or completely give up foods they adore. A better approach is to make small changes that together can make a big impact.

“People who make smart yet simple lifestyle changes will find it’s easier to succeed,” says Dr. Margot Savoy, a practicing family physician in Wilmington, Delaware. “It’s about all the small victories that add up to winning the war. If you want to feel your best and make changes that will last, think small for big results.”

Healthy habits take mere minutes a day to complete, but over time can overhaul your health and wellness. What’s more, she notes that when you do these easy activities for two or three months, they become automatic.

Dr. Savoy suggests five simple steps for healthier living in 2017 that take 10 minutes or less to complete.

Be informed

Stomach pains? Sore knees? Not sure if it’s the cold or the flu? Being healthy means staying informed. When you need more information about your health, visit a reputable website such as familydoctor.org to learn more with a few clicks of the mouse.

Developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the website features easy-to-understand information geared toward the patient. Plus, all information is reviewed by a panel of board certified family physicians, so you can trust the content is updated and accurate.

Snack well

Eating well is all about balance, and while many Americans are striving to eat healthier at mealtime, it’s snacks that are sabotaging their diets. When hunger pangs strike, instead of junk, reach for nutrient-rich foods instead.

One of the best ways to do this is to select one drawer in the refrigerator and dedicate it to foods for healthy snacking. Stock it with fruit, veggies, whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese and nuts. Spend 10 minutes each Sunday cutting vegetables and portioning out nuts and other snacks, and all week long you and your family can easily reach for healthier munchies.

Move and groove

You don’t need a fancy gym membership to get fit. Just block off 10-minute increments each day to work out and you’ll start to feel the difference. Try walking, biking or doing sets of squats, crunches and jumping jacks. Within minutes you’ll raise your heart rate and work those muscles.

If you have kids, join in the fun with them and you’ll be surprised just how quickly you get in a quick workout. A game of tag, for example, is a great running exercise. Plus it’s a wonderful way to bond with your family. Bonus: Your kids are learning to exercise through play. Not sure how to get started? Familydoctor.org has you covered.

Hydration

Everyone knows soda is unhealthy, but for other drinks it’s not so obvious. Many fruit juices and sports drinks are packed with sugar and calories. Hydration is important, so drink as much water as possible to boost your health.

Staying properly hydrated is essential to healthy living, and because the body is approximately half made of water, there’s no better drink than good old H2O. If that is too bland, add some healthy flavor with cut fruit, such as oranges, apples, kiwi or strawberries.

Sun protection

The sun gives off rays of light that are helpful and harmful. Some sun exposure is good because it helps the body create vitamin D, which absorbs calcium. Too much sun exposure, though, can lead to skin changes, a lowered immune system and cancer.

It takes just a minute to slather on sunscreen to block harmful rays even in the winter months. Focus on the face which is exposed all year long, and during warm months or while vacationing, make sure to use sunscreen on the entire body, reapplying regularly. What’s more, teach children to do the same to create healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

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