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THE DIET DETECTIVE, A COLUMN BY CHARLES STUART PLATKIN

Tips for losing weight: Have a goal, eat low-calorie fast food

Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 12:01 am

The reality is that not everyone is on Facebook and/or Twitter. Here you can have the experience without having to go online. For more you can go to www.DietDetective.com, or go to facebook.com/DietDetective or twitter.com.

1. “Just because you're not sick doesn't mean you're healthy.”

2. When trying to lose weight, be sure to have a very clear reason why. Without one, it is easy to make excuses.

3. Plan ahead. Most restaurant menus are available online, so figure out what your healthy meal is going to be before you go.

4. Fast food is OK. There are low-calorie options available at most places — but learn what they are and decide to order them before you go. Look on the Web and make your choices before you get there.

5. It's your meal; order it your way. Many restaurants will prepare foods the way you want them. All you have to do is ask.

6. Beware of salad sabotage. The great health values of salads can be ruined by high-calorie dressings, croutons and sugary fruits. Always ask for low-cal dressing on the side.

7. Don't be a Diet Hero. Get unhealthy temptations out of your house and out of your life for good.

8. Don't just make reservations, make a plan. Eating out is not the best way to lose weight, but when you do go out, call ahead. Find out what healthy items are on the menu and whether the chef will prepare foods to fit your needs.

9. Special order: When you're at a restaurant, don't be afraid to ask your server for special requests. You don't need to be embarrassed. After all, you're the one who will suffer from an unhealthy diet.

10. Healthy living is about compromising, not conforming. You don't have to order what everyone else is ordering. You're living your own new healthy life, and you need to do it your way.

11. Quick grocery tip: Shop the perimeter of the store. Most stores keep their freshest and healthiest items around the outside.

12. Use power, not willpower. Willpower is temporary; power is eternal.

13. Don't pass up the frozen and ready-to-eat foods. There are great healthy and tasty options in the frozen-food aisles these days. This can be your new, faster fast food.

14. Eat more naturally fiber-rich foods. They contain more water, so you can eat a lot more food for fewer calories. Plus, you'll stay fuller longer.

15. Healthy living is a family affair. Your family needs to be aware of your new life choices and agree to keep unhealthy foods out of the house.

16. It's important to look inside so that you can change the outside.

17. It takes 50 minutes of biking to burn off the calories in just one doughnut. Think before you eat.

18. It takes two hours of walking to burn off the calories in just one blueberry muffin. Think before you eat.

19. It takes 14 minutes of dancing to burn off the calories in just one chocolate chip cookie. Think before you eat.

20. Just one large bite of a candy bar would require 25 minutes of walking to burn off. Think before you eat.

21. It takes more than three hours of walking to burn off the calories in a cup and a half of chocolate ice cream. Think before you eat.

22. Beware of foods that wear a “health halo.” So many foods these days want you think they're healthy when they're not. Read labels and don't be fooled.

23. If you can't afford to buy everything organic, at least buy these: peaches, apples, celery, sweet bell peppers and strawberries.

24. Make sure you pick the right fats. A little olive oil or avocado or salmon is good, but stay away from saturated and trans-fats.

25. You can't lose weight by just dieting or just exercising. You have to do both. Find time to create all-new healthy patterns in your life and you'll find success.

26. There's nothing stronger than the power of two. Get your spouse or best friend involved in your new healthy life. Eat healthy together. Exercise together. You'll succeed together.

27. Get a pedometer and walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Walking is one of the healthiest things you can do, and it can be as simple as walking your kids to school or strolling with your spouse after dinner.

28. Find practical opportunities to exercise. Walk your dog instead of letting it out in the backyard, or ride your bike to the grocery store instead of driving.

29. Find exercises you enjoy. Don't like running? How about jumping rope at the park with your kids, or find a dance class that keeps you moving.

30. If you eat a double burger with fries and a soda you'll need to walk almost six hours to burn off the calories. Think before you eat.

31. Swap out the car for the bike — it helps the environment, saves money and burns 423 calories an hour.

32. It's great to dream about a new healthy life, but there's no magic; the magic is you. Write down your dreams, and then create a plan that helps you achieve them.

33. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is great, but it's not enough. If you really want to lose weight, you need at least an hour of exercise every day. You can find the time — you really can.

34. Serious about losing weight? Advice: Walk at least 60-90 minutes a day. It doesn't have to be all at once.

35. Give yourself little pep talks. Create personal affirmations reminding yourself that you can do it. It really does help.

Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.