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Choose a strategy for weight management

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It’s easy to get fat in America. Every day we are confronted with an abundance of delicious food accessible not only in restaurants and gas stations, but also via drive-throughs and home delivery.

That’s one reason why the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds per year, the equivalent of eating only 100 to 200 extra daily calories, such as a few extra cookies, a second handful of chips or an extra helping at lunch.

Following are three weight management strategies from the American College of Sports Medicine that can help minimize fat gain and optimize desired fat loss without feeling denied or deprived of enjoyable food.

Strategy No. 1 – Boost your calcium intake. Eating three to four servings of calcium-rich, low-fat dairy foods per day contributes to loss of more fat and less muscle compared to dieters who ate less dairy.

Strategy No. 2 – Eat breakfast. Although skipping breakfast may seem a good way to eliminate calories, breakfast skippers tend to be fatter than breakfast eaters. When people eat a larger-than-normal breakfast, they end up eating almost 100 fewer calories by the end of the day, an amount that can curb creeping obesity.

Strategy No. 3 – Eat more fiber and whole-grain foods. Fiber-rich foods are satiating (the point at which you feel full and stop eating). They also tend to be “bulky.” The use of bulky vegetables – mushrooms, celery and peppers – can help you reduce the calorie content of a casserole by 30 percent. People will consume fewer calories without noticing the difference.

Given the abundance of food in our society, we all need skills to manage the food environment. This means eating breakfast and consuming more calcium, fiber and whole grains.

And don’t forget: Another great way to manage weight is with exercise. Walk Across Texas teams are forming right now and will start Monday, March 3. For information about Walk Across Texas or weight loss strategies, call the Extension office at 940-627-3341.

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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