16. Avoid the Most Dangerous Aisle in the Supermarket

Avoid the bakery aisle at all cost! In the past, trans fat was commonly used in baked goods because it made them soft and flaky, contributed to a delicious flavor and mouth-feel, was inexpensive, and extended the shelf life of the product. However, due to regulations passed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all packaged goods are now required to list the amount of trans fat per serving and many companies have elected to cut back on the amount of trans fat used in their products as a result of this disclosure.

Be careful though. Companies are only required to list the amount of trans fat per serving, and they don’t have to list anything under 0.5 grams. That means if you eat more than the recommended serving—a metabolism don’t on any day—you could be eating a dangerous amount of trans fat.

Some items in the bakery may not be labeled, but you can ask the bakery manager for nutrition information. If she doesn’t have it, then ask to see the ingredient list for your favorite products. If that list includes the words hydrogenated or shortening, then you know that the bread, cookie, or pastry contains artificial trans fat.

17. Shop the Perimeters

One of the best ways to make the healthiest food selections is to shop the perimeters of your grocery store. Most grocery stores house the produce, dairy products, protein, and fresh food on the perimeter aisles. All those aisles in the middle house processed foods, snacks, cookies, ice cream, soda, and sugary cereals. Next to making a list and sticking to it, avoiding aisles where temptation might lure you into buying unhealthy foods is the most important thing you can do to boost your metabolism.

18. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Obviously, planning your meals long before you eat will help you make smarter food choices and balance your diet. Start by planning for one day, then two, and so on until you are planning a week or two ahead. That way, you can select the variety of foods needed to provide maximum nutrition and take advantage of all the food tips in this book that will help you boost your metabolism.

The famed Mayo Clinic’s website (www.mayoclinic.com) provides a calculator for an individualized “Healthy Weight Pyramid.” Enter your info for a customized pyramid that will help you plan your meals for maximum nutrition and health benefits. Then, take their advice, as follows:

• Plan healthy meals and snacks using recommended food servings. Focus on foods at the base of the pyramid—fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

• Be familiar with the serving sizes in each food group.

• Spread out the food servings throughout the day. Include at least one serving from most food groups at each meal.

•Stay flexible and adjust your food-serving goals as necessary. If, for example, you don’t reach your fruit goal on Monday, add extra servings of fruit to Tuesday’s menu.

19. Eat Less

The basic methodology behind losing weight is simple—burn more than you consume. To lose a pound of fat in a week, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories. You can achieve this by reducing your normal food intake by 500 calories, by burning 500 extra calories each day, or through a combination of the two.

20. Eat Enough

It’s extremely common for people who are dieting to eat too little. You will lose weight to start, but your body won’t understand that you have plenty of food but are choosing to minimize the intake of calories. Instead, your body notices that supply has gone way down, deduces that you don’t have enough food available to eat, and lowers your metabolism to burn what you do eat more slowly. It also hoards extra fat in case your energy reserves go too low. Instead of depriving your body, keep your metabolism high by eating around 1,200 calories a day. If you do this, your body should continue burning fat and you’ll continue to lose weight.

21. Eat Several Small Meals a Day

The act of eating and digesting burns calories, so every time you eat, your metabolism kicks in. If you eat small meals spaced throughout the day, you’ll be firing up the furnace every two to three hours. Once lit, your metabolic fires will burn until the fuel runs dry, so making sure your body has a constant supply of fuel is an ideal way to boost your metabolism. That said, it’s important that you limit what you eat to healthy food in healthy portions. Also, combining protein with a complex carb and a healthy fat is ideal, just make low-calorie choices and keep those home fires burning.

22. Stop Eating Before You Feel Full

It takes at least 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know that you’re full. Slowing down will give your body time to alert you before it’s 100 percent full, and it will give you the option to knowingly and willingly cut back on the amount of food you eat. Eat only when you are truly hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. Eating more slowly also ensures proper digestion. To slow down, take sips of your beverage between bites, put your fork down, and enjoy the conversation of others. Sit down to eat instead of eating while standing, driving, or watching television. Eating while doing other things means you are eating unconsciously and can easily consume more.

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