Ok, if you’ve been on the see-saw board with losing and gaining weight, it’s about time you realized just what you should be doing to help yourself get down to your target weight!

We have all heard that in order to lose weight, all you need to do is eat less calories than you burn each day between work and leisure activities. Sounds real simple right. Well then how come so many Americans are overweight and obese?? Let’s face it, if it was easy to shed our weight at will, then no one would be shopping for stretchy pants, or shorts!

Remember, burning calories is just not as simple as burning a stick of wood. They are just NOT the same thing, but we are constantly told in fitness commercials that this watch or this monitor will keep track of the amount of calories you’ve burned. Well, lucky for us that these devices do take into account the right calculations for interpreting your activities into an accurate reading of actual calories that you’ve burned throughout the day with your activities and workouts!

I can recommend a few of these later on that can help you keep track of just what your total calories consumption is for the day, week or month but for now, let’s get some facts on just what foods or snacks are good for you.

It turns out, some calories count more than others. Sure, there are 100 calories in two tablespoons of chocolate chips, and the very same 100 calories in broccoli. But there’s a huge difference in the way that they affect your appetite, your energy level, and your long-term health.
You already know that the closer food is to its natural form, the better it is for your health. Well, whole foods are also better for your waistline. In a study of 450 students published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Japanese researchers found that those who regularly ate foods that required work to chew and eat had significantly leaner waistlines than those who generally consumed processed, easy to chew foods. Simple swaps like a steak over a burger, whole fruits and veggies rather than smoothies and trail mix over chips can add up to hundreds of calories burned and saved over time.

Skip the Soda!!
Half the people in the US get at least 200 calories a day from sugary soft drinks. Not surprising when you consider that a 20-ounce soda contains 240 calories in the form of 15 teaspoons of sugar. It’s flat-out awful for you and packs on pounds and raises your risk for diabetes the more you drink. In a review of 30 studies, researchers found a link between soda consumption and weight gain and obesity in both children and adults

Reduce Your Waistline while Saving Money!
Eat In: Cooking your own meals can easily save you several-hundred calories per meal and increase the nutritional quality of your diet exponentially. Restaurants not only serve larger portions than what you’d typically eat at home, but also fill their meals with hidden fats and sugars that ramp up the calorie content. A study conducted also found that the average chain restaurant meal delivered a whopping 1,128 calories—nearly half a day’s worth. Even lunches tipped the caloric scales at over 1,000. You can make an abundance of healthy, delicious lunches for 600 calories or less at home. And we are not even speaking to the tremendous amount of “Salt” that is included with these calories that you are consuming while dining out. When you weigh all the facts, it just makes more sense to prepare your own meals, so that you know just what is going into your food prep so you can manage your total calorie intake each day!

Colors can provide the mix of nutrients and minerals your body needs, while making you feel full and satisfied all day long. About half of each meal should be fruits and vegetables.

Not only are they low in calories, high in fiber, and filling, but a wide variety of produce will provide nutrients and minerals that help stave off diseases like cancer, and keep your bones, muscles, metabolism, heart, and lungs in top form.

Dark green veggies like kale and spinach will give you iron—to maintain health of red blood cells, which deliver oxygen-rich blood to the body; oranges and strawberries provide vitamin C to help the body absorb the iron.

Red tomatoes and peppers have vitamin C, lycopene, lutein, potassium, beta-carotene, and vitamin B6.

Blueberries, blackberries, beets, and eggplants are sources of potassium—which helps the muscles contract properly—and anthocyanins, which help prevent cancer.

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables like corn, butternut squash, pineapple, yellow peppers, mangos, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and apricots are rich in beta-carotene, lutein, potassium, manganese, copper, folate, and vitamins C, A, and B6.

So Why are you filling your plate with processed foods instead of the ones above??

Be aware of the hidden sugar effect! Often products that sound healthy are junk foods in disguise.

For instance, a Banana Berry smoothie from Jamba Juice has 400 calories and 82 grams of sugar—as much as four Mounds bars.

Even Yoplait original 99 percent fat-free lemon burst yogurt has 180 calories and 30 grams of sugar.

Not even all chocolate is created equal. A Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, for instance, has 210 calories, 24 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of fat, compared with Chocolove’s Extra Strong Dark Chocolate—with 77 percent cocoa—which has 170 calories, 11 grams of carbs, and six grams of sugar in a 30-gram serving.

Look for varieties that are 70 percent cocoa or higher for the least amount of sugar and the most antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce high blood pressure and inflammation.

Fiber is Good For YOU! Found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, fiber fills you up fast with fewer calories, and because it takes longer to eat and digest, it keeps you feeling satisfied longer.

Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day.
Spread your fiber intake throughout the day, and try to consume at least five grams of fiber per meal.
Water-soluble fiber, found mostly in fruits, vegetables, and beans, helps lower cholesterol and blood-sugar levels. Insoluble fiber, found mostly in whole grains, keeps the colon clean, which may help prevent cancer and digestive disorders.

Don’t Be Afraid of FAT! There has been a flood of low-fat and fat-free products into the market in recent years, but we now know that unsaturated fats—like the ones you can get from olive oil, avocados, canola oil, nuts, seeds, and almonds—actually help boost your heart health.
They also leave you feeling fuller longer and even lower your risk of injuries like stress fractures. Stay away from saturated and Trans fats; they raise your "bad cholesterol" levels and decrease your "good cholesterol" levels, which can raise your risk for heart disease.

One of the “Key” things to always keep in mind is the old adage, “Too much of anything, even a Good Thing, can be bad for you”. Everything in moderation is usually fine for you and your health. But moderation is the defining word here and if you keep this in mind, chance are your going to have a good balance of what you’re putting into your body.

So keep the above in mind and as I mentioned above, eating right is only part of being healthy. Regular exercise is also mandatory for a healthy life. I said I would recommend a good fitness tracker for you and the one that I have in mind is the Fitbit Charge 2 Activity Tracker HR  The all-day activity tracking and auto sleep tracking allows you to observe how your daily routine adds up, and how many calories you’re stocking your furnace with. So it’s a perfect device to keep you on track and to make sure what your eating is also fueling your body’s furnace to burn up the RIGHT calories for you, today, and every day!
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