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Create environment conducive to weight loss

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

KSB Hospital is sponsoring a corporate weight-loss challenge called, “Operation Move To Win”. The purpose of this friendly competition is to motivate people to improve their diet, become more active, and collect a nice pot of gold at the end of the 3-month challenge.

Thirteen companies and approximately 530 people are involved in the challenge. We have spent much of our time out in the community doing weight checks, passing along educational materials and getting the contest rolling. As I have spoken with most of the participants in the challenge, one common theme arises. Everyone is eager to learn the right way to lose weight and keep it off.

Learning what to eat and how to move more is only a part of the solution. Changing our behavior is critical to achieving weight loss long term. Part of behavior change is looking at our own home and work environments. Weight loss is difficult, but adopting the following strategies can make eating healthy and losing weight more attainable.

Beware of trigger foods

Everyone seems to have at least one trigger food. This is the food that once you start eating it, stopping is difficult. Mine are homemade Rice Krispie treats. I have been known to eat three-quarters of a pan at one time. Limit how often trigger foods are in your house and office.

Strategically place healthy foods at eye level when looking in your refrigerator, pantry and cupboards. Get the vegetables out of the crisper drawer, cut and place them where you see them first.

Clean up countertops, tables

It can be extremely difficult keeping your kitchen free of clutter. Typically, the kitchen becomes the gathering place for book bags, gym shoes, homework papers and miscellaneous items that always find their way to the kitchen counter or table. Keeping your kitchen clean may entice you to cook and prepare healthy foods more often. Also, remove snacks and other foods off the table or countertops where they are too easy to grab. The exception to this would be a nice colorful fruit bowl.

Shrink plate and bowl sizes

Take a look at the size of the dishes you use to eat your daily meals and snacks. If your dinner plate looks more like a serving platter and your cereal bowl holds 5 cups of cereal, it is time to downsize. Using smaller plates and bowls have shown to help tremendously with food portion control. When your plate is salad plate size, smaller portions will appear larger. Smaller portions equate to less calories consumed. Many stores and websites such as www.portionware.net sell marked and portioned bowls and containers that make measuring food easy and can help with weight loss goals.

Give workplace a workover

Make it easier for yourself while at work by avoiding the break room that has a box of doughnuts or pan of leftover brownies from a co-worker’s birthday. Keep candy off your work desk and out of your drawers. Stock your work fridge/desk with healthier snack items such as fruit, string cheese, mixed nuts and whole-grain crackers for when work hunger strikes.

Strategically place workout gear

Exercise often is forgotten during the day, but not when you always have light weights, resistance bands and exercise balls within reach. Keep extra shoes in the car or in the office for a quick 10-minute walk. I have decks of exercise cards you can buy from www.fitdeck.com. These exercise cards can be purchased specifically for toning, cardio, or stretching. There are cards for exercise during pregnancy, teen years and older adults as well. The cards can easily be tucked in a purse, bag, desk drawer or in the car for convenience.

Here are a few of my latest fabulous food finds to add some variety and nutrition to your diet:

n Sea salt almonds

n Everything Bagel Thins – These are great for sandwiches or as a crust for a homemade bagel pizza.

n The Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges – Add this to egg substitute for a tasty cheesy omelet or spread on whole-wheat crackers. 

n StarKist Tuna Creations – Use as a topping on a salad or eat out of the pouch.

n MorningStar Farms breaded-chicken-style soy patties – Use for sandwiches, or cut into strips and put on salads or in wraps.

n Classic coleslaw mix – Add this to lettuce salad for a nice change or add a small amount of low-fat coleslaw salad dressing for a great side dish.

n Make your own healthy veggie dip using light or nonfat sour cream and a packet of Hidden Valley Garden Green Onion-flavored dip mix.

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