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The majority of Americans are overweight (Big surprise, huh?) Below are some tips I have given to my patients (and vice versa) in helping to lose weight. Many of them you've probably heard of, and some may be new to you. Some are serious, and some may put a smile to your face. Not all will work for everybody, but try a few and you'll soon be on your way to a slimmer shape! Find the tips that work right for you!

50. Move around. Walk. Jog. Jump rope. If you have little kids, follow what they are doing and play with them.

49. Drink water. Lots of it. At least eight glasses a day. Keep a water bottle wherever you go.

48. Throw away the scale, or don't look at it more than once a week. Weight is usually lost in a stepwise fashion, and periodic gains of a few pounds can be misleading and may get you down.

47. It's OK to cheat. Just don't make it a habit. Once a week should suffice. Just make sure you get that "cheat meal" and move on.

46. Keep a food diary, especially for the first few weeks. I have my patients write everything they eat and then see me back. It is always an eye-opening experience.

45. Don't use the word "diet". I hate it. This is a lifestyle change, not a crash weight loss which is doomed to failure.

44. Find a partner. It is so much easier in losing weight with someone else like a spouse, mother, best friend, etc to help with support.

43. Educate yourself about different diets. There are SO many out there - the Zone, Atkins, low carb, low fat. Find out which one works for you and go with it… but consult your doctor first to make sure it's the right one for you.

42. Incorporate some type of weight training in your regimen. You don't need to go all out and buy all the equipment on those informercials, a set of dumbells and a good weight bench will do. Get a good weight training book to make sure you learn proper technique.

41. Stop eating after 7 pm.

40. Avoid diets that have a fruit or vegetable in the title… cabbage soup, grapefruit. Usually these are very restricting diets that often leads to a predictable binge.

39. Good meats include chicken, turkey breast, roast beef.

38. During those sticky social parties where fattening food is plentiful, avoid standing in front of the food table.

37. If you must go to fast food, don't use the drive thru. Broiled chicken sandwiches are my personal favorite.

36. A popular tip: When grocery shopping, always shop on the perimeter (fruits, vegetables, dairy). Stay away from too many processed and refined foods.

35. Find an exercise you like and stick with it, whether it be tennis, basketball, jogging. Exercise will no longer be something you dread, but something you look forward to.

34. Elevators are off limits. Take the stairs wherever you go.

33. Exercise for a minimum of twenty minutes a day, three times a week. The very minimum. And it doesn't have to be continuous, it can be a daily 10 minute walk in the morning, and 10 minutes on the exercise bike at night.

32. Keep track your goals by marking an "X" on your calendar when you exercised and/or ate well. A good month should have a majority of "X"'s on it!

31. Avoid compromising. Eating the box of fat-free cookies just because it is "fat-free" is almost as bad as eating a box of fat-filled cookies. Moderation is the key.

30. Reward yourself for each good week you've accomplished your goals: A CD, a bubble bath, a paperback novel.

29. Buy groceries on a full stomach. You're more likely to buy the correct foods when not hungry and will stay away from temptation at home.

28. Don't tell your friends and coworkers you are losing weight… This often adds more pressure and they may be more skeptical of your desire if they don't see results right away. They'll figure it out in time.

27. Exercise should be like brushing your teeth. Make it routine and schedule a certain time of the day to do it consistently.

26. Having trouble getting started? If you are obese, see your doctor. If you have high cholesterol or told you have borderline diabetes might give you enough incentive to drop some pounds.

25. Put a picture of yourself in front of the refrigerator, preferably an unflattering one (i.e. in your bathing suit). This will be a strong deterrent in preventing snacking.

24. Chewing gum may help you lose weight, according to a recent study. Working your chewing muscles may cause appetite suppression.

23. Set goals when you walk. If you walked only up to the mailbox last week, make an effort to walk a little farther each week.

22. When eating, use a smaller plate and fight the need to go for seconds.

21. Eat with your opposite hand. Your more likely to slow down your eating habits because it feels awkward and will feel full sooner.

20. How do you know you're getting enough water? Your urine should be pale yellow or clear.

19. Only take a shower after you work out. If you value good hygiene, it'll keep you exercising on a regular basis.

18. Breakfast is the #1 meal of the day. Don't skip it, or you're more likely to binge later in the day.

17. Books on tape are useful to help pass the time on a treadmill or exercise bike, but make sure you keep your intensity up.

16. Want to avoid late night cravings? Brush your teeth and floss. You're less like to go down to the fridge after you're properly fluoridated.

15. It's easier to exercise first thing in the morning. You get it out of the way, and don't have to worry about getting time to get your workout in later in the day.

14. Make a contract or have a bet with your friend or family member about losing the weight. You'll be the one cashing in when you are successful!

13. Owning a dog will push you to exercise daily. Fido needs to walk!

12. Visualization is a powerful tool. Imagine yourself slimmer, and what benefits it will give you when you are (looser fitter clothing, feeling less self-conscious, etc.)

11. Before starting your weight loss regimen, raid your pantry and refrigerator and throwaway your "junk food". Less temptation, the more successful you'll be.

10. Exercise videotapes are an excellent way to lose weight when you are unable to workout outside.

9. Learn to cut large portions in half before eating. Just think, you'll be able to enjoy it later on!

8. 3 to 5pm are the hours we are most likely to binge and snack. Plan for this, and bring along a low fat snack such as fruit to work.

7. To avoid going for seconds, put your plate right away in the sink and wash it instead of heading back for more.

6. Gardening is an excellent way to keep you less sedentary-an added benefit is trying all the great fruits and vegetables you've grown.

5. Bad words: Fried, breaded, dipped. Good words: broiled, baked, skinless.

4. Having trouble finding a weight loss buddy? Try online. There are a number of support groups and free e-mail partners to help you attain your goals.

3. Remember to stretch before AND after every workout. Nothing can set you back by getting a preventable injury.

2. Soup is good food. They make you eat slower, and are filling. Try to avoid creamed soups if possible.

1. Avoid discussing dieting, favorite restaurants, and favorite foods with colleagues. That's a definite trigger to start your appetite rolling and begin a food binge. Dr. Mike Woo-Ming is the founder and CEO of MyPhysicians.com, where you get your medical questions answered online 24 hours a day at http://www.myphysicians.com


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