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By Annie Kim

Remember all of those New Year’s resolutions … the same goals we set year after year and tend to break after a few weeks because we are overwhelmed with work and drowned by the issues that come with everyday life? Well let’s switch our New Year’s resolutions to lifetime goals; at least we should when it comes to dealing with our health. The start of a new school year is the perfect time to do it.

Eating healthy and losing weight go hand-in-hand. Although, we’ve all heard it before, losing weight isn’t going to be easy. It is going to require a ton of patience, persistence and discipline.

I have compiled a few simple tricks and tips from Fitness Magazine, Self Magazine and Yahoo Health to help you maintain a healthy weight and to guide you on to a healthy lifestyle for a life time.

Chew gum (preferably sugar-free): Research shows that those who chewed gum after a meal or snack consumed 60 to 100 calories less throughout the day.

Stay Active and Get Moving: A hard, sweaty workout not only burns calories and tones muscles but it also puts our minds in a positive place which will help us  make smarter food choices. The combination of working out and eating healthy will help you reach your weight-loss goal.

Write down your goals: Be specific! For example, tell yourself that you want to lose 10 pounds by March 31 or break it up to a pound a week. As long as you are in the writing mode, keep a food diary, jot down the things you eat each day. This simple trick can help save your mouth from mindless chewing.

Be Patient and Stay Disciplined: The number on the scale is going to fluctuate due to water weight, the clothes you wear, etc. Weight loss is a long process and it definitely is no walk in the park. Stick with your exercise and healthy-eating regimen and you will see results.

Get more sleep: Do not put sleep as your last priority. It is essential to our health and everyday function. A study in Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas tested students for a period of three weeks which showed that those who slept an extra two hours ate nearly 300 calories less than those who didn’t.

Eat Real Food: Don’t reach for 100-calorie packs for a snack because they are loaded with artificial sweeteners, corn syrup and artery-clogging trans fat. You’ll simply be left unsatisfied.  Give in to your cravings but in moderation. If you have the munchies, grab a snack that is packed with protein and fiber, which will help fight off hunger.

Skip the white stuff: Cut out the white bread, buttery crackers and bagels. They only bring in extra sugar and salt and empty calories. Bring in the wholesome wheat goodness, which will provide whole grains, fiber and other daily nutrition for our bodies to keep us running on a high of good energy all day.

Drop the sugary drinks: A 140-calorie can of soda may not seem like a lot. But ask your waistline in a couple of months. One hundred extra calories a day can lead up to a pound in one month. Plus, that cup of sugar won’t do you any good. Sugary concentrated fruit juices and sodas may quench your thirst for a moment but leave a lasting mark on an unhappy waistline and your health.

Eat your veggies and fruits: Include fruits or vegetables with each meal or snack. Throw in a banana for breakfast, eat an apple after lunch and stir-fry some broccoli with your dinner.

Drink 8 ounces of water before each meal: Water not only fills you up but it also flushes out all the “bad stuff” that lingers in our system.

Eat the “Adam and Eve Foods”: Food from Mother Nature such as leafy vegetables, broccoli and fresh colorful fruits contain fewer calories and are also loaded with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Stay away from packaged and wrapped foods that can live on your counter for over six months.

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