10 Tips to Drop Pounds

Don't get discouraged about weight loss. Feel motivated with these quick and practical weight loss tips that can get the needle moving on the scale.

1. Eat fruits and vegetables you've never tried before. Find a variety of low-carb (and low-calorie) nonstarchy vegetables at your local supermarket or farmer's market, says Barbara Smith, RD, CDE, of the Diabetes Center at Memorial Hospital in North Conway, New Hampshire.

2. Walk it off. Thirty minutes of walking burns about 150 calories -- and you don't have to do it all at once, says Andrea Allouche, RD, CDE, a personal trainer at the University of Miami's Diabetes Research Institute in Hollywood, Florida. Briskly stroll to a nearby park to eat your lunch and park your car far from the mall entrance, she says. Instead of watching your grandchildren's sporting events on the bleachers, watch while walking around the ball diamond or soccer field. Be sure to check your feet before and after walking and to always wear sneakers to protect from injury.

3. Sleep longer. It's tempting to stay up late when it's light out longer. But when University of Chicago researchers restricted 10 dieters' sleep to less than six hours a night, they lost only half the amount of fat (and more muscle) than when they got more than eight hours. Sufficient shut-eye also is key for blood glucose control.

4. Enlist the pros. Make an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist to work up a meal plan that can help you lose weight. And if you haven't exercised before, have your health care provider time your meal and medication schedules to your workouts.

5. Encourage your spouse or best friend to move with you. Long ago, a study from Indiana University found that married couples who exercise together are much less likely to quit than those who work out solo. Consider nightly after-dinner walks for two, or take up a two-person sport such as tennis.

6. Fill up on fruits and veggies. Smith suggests reducing calories (and carbs) by sprinkling strawberries or blueberries instead of croutons onto green salads and mixing lots of chopped colorful sweet peppers, celery, and cucumbers into comfort foods such as potato salad. Try this New Potato Salad recipe that has only 3 grams of fat and 14 grams of carbohydrate per 1/2 cup.

7. Make beans the star of your meals. Loaded with fiber and protein, beans are such a low-calorie, healthful carb choice (a 1/2-cup serving has 15 grams carb) that the American Diabetes Association recommends several bean-based meals each week. "Use them in wraps, tacos, salads, or stir-fries," Smith says.

8. Lift light weights. Strength training several days each week tones muscles (which use lots of glucose) and can help control your diabetes. Start with light weights -- 5 pounds or less -- and get instruction from exercise videos, a smartphone app, or a gentle class or program, Allouche says. Remember to test your blood glucose before you start and after you are done. Also, drink water during the workout to avoid dehydration.

9. Trick your taste buds. If you usually have a bowl of ice cream, swap it for a sweet fruit (or at least eat half as much ice cream and top it with banana slices). Or have light microwave popcorn instead of chips. Exchange high-calorie trail mix for a homemade version: Toss baked wheat or oat cereal with a handful of nuts and raisins, Smith suggests.

10. Turn off the TV. A recent review of more than 50 studies confirms that too much screen time is linked to consuming fattening fast foods, energy-dense snacks, and high-calorie drinks. Plus, you don't burn many calories sitting on the couch.

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