Quality Living Styles

USDA Weight-Loss Tips

September 2014

Here is a selection of tips from the USDA-United States Department of Agriculture, that will help us to become more aware of consuming food when we don't really need to eat. This will reduce the extra calories that we consume when we celebrate an event or relax. The USDA says: Make sure you have rewards for yourself that have nothing to do with eating. Whether you're rewarding yourself for a job well done at work or for pounds lost, do it without involving food.

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Consider some of these Non-Food Fun

  • Attend a movie, sporting event, play, or concert
  • Spend time with friends or family or alone, whichever feels special
  • Take a nap
  • Listen to music
  • Read a good book
  • Learn hobbies or crafts
  • Take a relaxing bath with candles and soft music
  • Make a chart of your goals and put stars or stickers on it when you achieve them
  • Call a friend
  • Get a massage
  • Take a vacation

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Calorie Cutting Strategies

The USDA suggest that with some easy calorie-reducing tricks and strategies, you can tip your energy-balance scale toward weight loss. As restaurants and food manufacturers increase the size of their portions and single-serving foods, calorie consumption has climbed and so have the rates of overweight and obesity. Once you realize that you're accustomed to eating much larger amounts than you should, you can retrain yourself by shrinking your portions. Smaller portions automatically mean fewer calories.

Strategies for eating smaller portions

  • Serve smaller portions than normal. Cut them down by one-third at first. If you ate very large portions before starting your weight-loss journey, eventually cut your portion size in half
  • Avoid food portions larger than your fist, except for veggies
  • Use a smaller plate, such as a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, so that small portions look generous
  • Spread out your portions, rather than piling them up, so they take up more room on your plate and look bigger
  • Avoid putting serving bowls on the table. That makes it harder to have seconds
  • If you do have seconds, choose the lowest-calorie foods. Fill up on the vegetables and salad with low-fat dressing, or no dressing at all
  • Don't finish all the food on your plate. Either save it for another time or throw it away. Next time, take a smaller portion
  • Eat half a sweet treat, pastry, or dessert. Share your piece with someone else or save it for another time. You still get to enjoy the flavors you like, with only half the calories
  • Keep your portion size from growing unintentionally. While cooking, take only the minimum number of small bites you need to taste and adjust flavorings. And put leftovers into small containers so you won't be tempted to nibble on them while you're cleaning up the kitchen
  • Create obstacles for eating large amounts of high-calorie foods. Divide up a large bag of chips or box of cookies into individual servings and store them in reclosable plastic bags. Not only will you limit the amount you eat, you'll readjust your eyes to the proper serving size
  • Cut high-calorie foods such as cheese and chocolate into small pieces. Eat only a few small pieces, and put the rest away
  • Freeze foods such as muffins and cakes. If they're frozen, you can't grab and eat

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We will talk about the benefits of fiber in the next set of tips. I do hope that you find these tips useful. If you have any interesting tips to share please email them to

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