Karen PearsonHealth magazine
Shedding pounds doesnt always require a radical overhaul. Adding one little something to your everyday routine—or subtracting one small thing—can transform your body and help you lose weight. And this kind of tweak is more likely to lead to lasting results, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating.
“The thing about small changes is that they happen every single day and tend not to fall prey to the tyranny of the moment,” Wansink says. Also, one positive habit often leads to another, so a minor adjustment has a ripple effect. Just ask these women—they lost a total of 207 pounds.
She added a lunchtime walk
Colleen Bohn, 40, administrative assistant
She went from: 222 to 169
What she lost: 53 lbs
Her no-diet solution: “I started walking during my lunch hour. By exercising during my workday, I didnt give myself the chance to go home, get comfortable, and then blow off the gym. All I had to do was change my clothes, grab my iPod and go!
Another bonus: The last thing I wanted after walking was a fatty lunch, so I started grabbing Lean Pockets instead. After 10 months of pounding the pavement, I dropped 53 pounds. I vary my route now to keep things interesting. But I still walk by myself, every day, rain or shine.
Why it adds up: “Its so important to integrate exercise into your day, like Colleen did,” says Beth Lewis, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesotas School of Kinesiology and a specialist in exercise psychology and motivation strategies.
“The walk itself can become very reinforcing because it offers a welcome break from work. And many people find it helpful to exercise at the same time every day, because then it becomes a habit.” Walking is an ideal option for newbie athletes like Colleen, she adds, “because its convenient and doesnt require any special equipment or cost anything.”
Next Page: She cut out cream and sugar [ pagebreak ]
diet-tips in her drinks, Dee Dee removed more than 900 calories from her daily tally. She lost a lot of weight quickly just by forgoing parts of her diet that she could give up without feeling deprived.
“A lot of what we do, its because of a habit,” Wansink says. “What I suspect may have been going on with Dee Dee was what we call a script. ‘Well, Im getting tea because it gives me a break. By cutting back to just a bit of cream and sugar, Dee Dee still satisfies what shes truly craving—a few minutes of calm.”
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diet-tips to my routine. I lift Broderick over my head to work my arms. This guy isnt getting any lighter: He really helps me get strong! Now, I weigh less than I did before I got pregnant.”
Why it adds up: “Taking an activity that you already do, whether
its shushing the baby or cleaning the house, and turning it into a vigorous physical activity is something I always recommend,” Lewis says. “When cleaning, do a few lunges when moving around the kitchen, and finish up by going up and down the stairs a few times.” Playing tag or dancing with your kids gets your heart rate up, too.
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diet-tips , which are really important in maintaining physical activity,” Lewis says. “Whether Danielles biggest goal was to beat her co-worker or to lose weight, she benefited! The only drawback to contests is that once the contest is over and the motivation of the competition is gone, so is the incentive to keep making good choices. After a contest, find other rewards, even if its just downloading new workout music for every run.”
Next Page: She adopted a dog [ pagebreak ]