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Being a Personal Trainer, most clients approach me with the goal of losing weight.  This isn’t surprising given the rise in today’s obesity and related diseases.  There are plenty of mixed messages which confused consumers about what to eat, what to avoid and how to stay healthy.

One of the biggest culprits in that “battle of the bulge” is of course the fast food industry.  Aside from providing today’s families with quick, palatable and cost-effective meal options, fast food is of poor quality and is extremely high in sodium and sugar: two major contributing factors to many of the health related diseases we’re seeing today.  For those of you who have not seen the documentary “FOOD INC” (youtube trailer below), I highly recommend watching it.  It gives a very detailed look at the fast food and agricultural industries and may have you thinking twice about the choices you make- it did for me!

One of the easiest and basic ways to take control of your weight, besides regular exercise, is to make a weekly meal plan and cook as much as you can at home. Limit eating out to once or twice a month.  People who have a plan are less likely to grab and go and more likely to be healthier overall.  Make dinner a time of connecting with loved ones and decompressing from the events of the day.  As a kid, it was always nice to know that regardless of how busy our schedules were we always made an effort to enjoy a meal together.  I’ve carried that tradition on into my adult life and still value it to this day.

Another thing to keep in mind is when shopping at the grocery store: shop the perimeter.  This basically means that most of the foods we need and should be eating are on the outside perimeter of the store.  This includes things like fresh produce, meats, eggs, bread and dairy.  The middle of store is generally filled with processed, packaged and less healthy alternatives.  I know, I know, we still need the condiments, spices and bulk rice and pasta section but it’s those pre-packaged cereals, chips, pop and canned soups and veggies we can ultimately do without.  By providing healthy foods to your family, cooking at home and getting adequate exercise the struggle to lose that unwanted weight should begin to happen naturally.

The bottom line is there’s no magic pill or one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to losing weight.  Changing your eating habits and striving to make better choices overall is key.  By avoiding unhealthy additives such as aspartame, MSG, synthetic dies and large amounts of sodium and sugar, and eating more whole foods, our health will improve- as will our quality of life.

This is the first of a three-part series on weight loss.  Next week I will discuss the Body Mass Index scale as well as the  hip-to-waist ratio formula and it’s implications to health and disease.  The final blog will focus on the healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off.

If you have a moment, watch the trailer for “FOOD INC” right now:

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