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Fitness & Exercise

The ABCs of Weight Loss

We've got 26 tips to help you succeed.
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Fiber is nature's weight loss aid. It comes in two forms, soluble (the gummy type found in oatmeal and beans) and insoluble (the type found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Both are important to good health. Soluble fiber can help to lower cholesterol; insoluble contains indigestible fibers that add bulk to our diets. Both forms of fiber swell in the stomach and help to create a feeling of fullness. Most high-fiber foods are also high in water and low in calories, making them must-have diet foods.

Gum chewing may be just what the dentist ordered. Chewing on a piece of sugarless gum can help cleanse the mouth of bacteria, satisfy a sweet tooth, and reduce the urge to eat. Keep a pack of sugarless gum handy. The next time you have the urge to reach into the cookie jar, try a piece of gum instead for a zero-calorie treat.

Heart-healthy foods should fill your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Choose foods that are low in saturated and trans fats. Enjoy plenty of naturally fat-free, low-sodium fruits and vegetables. Choose healthy fats such as canola, olive, and vegetable oils. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts, flaxseed, and salmon and other fatty fish. Choose low- and non-fat dairy products, as well as the leanest cuts of meat (round and loin) and skinless poultry. Beans, nuts, and whole grains round out the list of heart-healthy foods.

Invest in a pedometer and track your steps each day. The goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps -- the equivalent of 5 miles -- daily to thwart weight gain (and promote weight loss). Challenge yourself to increase your steps each day, even if you can't get up to 10,000. Every step counts; remember that your goal is simply to improve your fitness level.

Just do it! Get into a routine that includes regular physical activity. Not only does exercise energize you, it burns calories, improves balance and coordination, and relieves stress. When you don't have time for a formal workout, try to squeeze in at least three 10-minute chunks of physical activity. (Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.)

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