Seven Breakthrough Strategies for Weight Loss

Sixty-six percent of Americans are overweight, and 32 percent are obese, so many citizens have now gotten serious about losing weight. But many times a dieter or exerciser can hit a weight-loss plateau that's seemingly impossible to get beyond. Therefore, here follows seven areas to focus on to flank excess weight and, hopefully, lead to big improvements in health.

1) Shun soda, juice cocktails and other sugary drinks. Instead, drink more water. Drinks heavily spiked with sugar or corn sweeteners are responsible for fully 20 percent of Americans' calories. Water, on the other hand, has zero calories and even takes a few to raise it to body temperature. Plus it's important for the body's digestion, excretion and transporting nutrients to the cells.

 2) Sleep more. Studies have shown that sleeping seven or eight hours a night leads to optimal health. Those who sleep less (and more!) are more likely to die earlier than those who don't. Also, getting to bed before midnight is ideal. The body's stress hormones are lowest before that time, so every hour of rest before 12 a.m. gives us the greatest physical recovery, and is twice as valuable as the hours after midnight.

 3) Eat less fast food and takeout. Avoid refined, processed and fried food. Reach for more fruits and vegetables as ways to fill up. And try to get more fiber by eating more whole-grain cereals for breakfast and whole-grain bread for lunch.

4) Eat slowly and contemplatively. Refuse to be driven, by the popular culture's emphasis on productivity and time consciousness, to wolf your food down. Chewing food deliberately makes it easier for it to be digested.

5) Take a breathing break. This releases stress, which has been shown to lead to weight gain. Morning, afternoon and evening, take 10 deep, conscious breaths. Sit up straight, close your eyes, breathe deeply in through your nose, letting your stomach expand, and then exhale through your mouth.

6) Cook more meals at home. This way, you have more control over what goes into the food you eat.

7) Don't undereat. If you eat too little, the body gets the biochemical signal that it's starving. It responds by storing fat and converting muscle to energy.


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