18 Tips to Stay Lean

Eighteen in the Jewish tradition represents the numerical value of the word chai.  It simply reflects Judaism's focus on the importance of life. The typical Jewish toast is l'chayim (to life).  Following these 18 tips will help you lead a long healthy life!    

Focus on making healthy changes that will last a lifetime. Don’t change more than what you can live with or you won’t stick with it. According to research, it takes about 21 days to make something a habit. Make small achievable goals and move on as each one becomes a habit in your new healthy lifestyle.

  1. Get physical everyday. Participate in physical activities you ENJOY. This will help keep you motivated. Change activities when you are bored with your current routine. Join a friend. Increasing muscle mass will help your body burn fat more easily.
  2. 2. Cut out empty calories. Limit excessive intake of “junk” foods. Even fat free cookies and crackers can contribute to weight gain.
  3. 3. Curb liquid calories. Avoid regular sodas, fruity drinks, & cappuccinos. Cutting out one 200 calorie drink/day will lead to a 20 lb weight loss in one year!
  4. 4. Eat at least 1200 calories a day. Cutting back on calories too much can make your body hold on to and slow your metabolism.
  5. 5. Think HEALTHY, not just SKINNY! Only weigh yourself weekly. Let your clothes be the judge-remember 1 pound of muscle takes up less space than 1 pound of fat. Your weight may not change much, but you may see big changes in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, and pant size.
  6. 6. Set Realistic Goals. Focus on the 1st 10 pounds…not 50. Being unrealistic can lead to disappointment and discouragement. Set small achievable goals to build on.
  7. 7. Don’t lose more than 2 pounds/week. Losing more weight than that will likely include muscle and water. We want to lose FAT, not muscle. Keeping muscle will help you stay lean for life.
  8. 8. Keep healthy foods stocked in your kitchen. Fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, lean protein-chicken, fish, soy, & turkey. Healthy fats: olive oil, walnuts, almond butter.
  9. 9. Eat 5 or more fruits and veggies everyday. Sneak veggies into soups, casseroles, and pasta sauce. Eat a salad or snack on veggies before the main part of your meal to prevent overeating higher calorie foods.
  10. 10. Fill up on Fiber. Beans, fruits, veggies, and whole grains can help fill you up & control blood sugar. High fiber diets (around 30 g/day) help with weight control.
  11. 11. Drink water, unsweetened teas, or herb teas. These are calorie free and will keep your mouth occupied. Avoid diet sodas and drinks artificially sweetened as they may not help with weight loss, and may actually contribute to weight gain.
  12. 12. Bake, roast, or broil instead of frying. These cooking methods can help cut out unhealthy fats.
  13. 13. Listen to your stomach. Rank your hunger on a scale of 1-10 ( 1 is starving and 10 is stuffed). You should STOP eating when you are at 6-7. In 20 minutes you will feel satisfied at about an 8.
  14. 14. Eat small frequent meals with adequate protein, healthy carbs, and a little fat. This will help keep you SATISFIED, control your blood sugar levels, and maintain energy levels.
  15. 15. Instead of juice, eat a piece of fruit. The fiber in the fruit will satisfy you longer. You are more likely to take in more calories drinking juices.
  16. 16. Make it a family affair. It is important to have the whole family learn to eat better, not just the dieter. Emphasize healthy changes for LIFE, not a short term diet.
  17. 17. Always eat a high fiber breakfast with some protein. Breakfast eaters manage their weight better than breakfast skippers and tend to be leaner.
  18. 18. Limit those products that are packaged, bagged, or canned.  These products can have preservatives, artificial flavors, and other toxic ingredients.   A fresh whole food diet is best!