Finally Thin - How She Lost 212 Pounds
By Mary Kearl
(Information obtained from AOL Health)

  Your body does an amazing job of correcting fluid imbalances. But poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can tip the scales toward water retention. We have eleven water log prevention tips that will help you look leaner.
  
  Go Bananas

Bananas are a natural source of potassium, a nutrient needed to help the body balance fluids. Not a banana fan? Apricots, avocados and raisins are potassium-rich, too. Strive for 5 grams of potassium daily. Other nutrients to include each day through diet or supplements: 300-400 milligrams of magnesium (food sources include green vegetables, nuts, seeds) and 1000-1200 milligrams of calcium (orange juice, yogurt, tofu). Getting an adequate amount of each can help alleviate bloating.
  
  Many foods and herbs promote digestion and fluid-shedding: yogurt, fiber-rich cereal, brown rice, cabbage and cranberry juice. Ginger and dandelion have a mild diuretic effect. Both are available in tea so you can brew yourself a slenderizing drink.
  
  Ban Salt

Surplus salt makes the body retain fluids, but you'll need to do more than hide the salt shaker. Steer clear of high sodium foods like hot dogs, olives, salted nuts, pickles and many frozen foods. Be on the lookout for less obvious sources such as soy sauce, ketchup, deli meats and cheese.
  
  Skip the Sugar

Too much sugar can raise insulin levels, decreasing the body's ability to excrete sodium. Avoid high sugar foods, like sweetened cereals, cakes, cookies, ice cream toppings and products containing high-fructose corn syrup, such as soda.
  
  Don't Undereat

Of course a low-cal diet will help you lose weight, but shed too many calories and you could create water retention. Don't eat less than 1,200 calories per day and include lean protein, an important nutrient in short supply in very low-cal diets that helps stave-off water retention.
  
  Move More

Your lymphatic system can't drain excess fluid out of tissues without body movement. Exercise about four times a week to relieve your body of extra fluid and salt through sweating and increased respiration.
  
  Get Dry

Alcohol acts as a diuretic at first, making you lose excess water. But that loss can lead to dehydration, causing the body to preserve its fluids. Opt for virgin cocktails, or dilute that glass of wine with seltzer.
  
  Get Wet

Take a swim. Water pressure forces fluid out of tissues and ultimately, the bladder. To emulate those results, take some of your workouts to the pool.
  
  Fill Up

While it seems contradictory, drinking plenty of plain
water -- 8 to 10 glasses per day -- will flush salt and fluid out of your system. A well-hydrated body in less likely to retain water.
  
  Spread It Out

Eat five or six small meals instead of three big meals. Nibbling or drinking at frequent intervals will keep you nourished and hydrated and will help avoid the rush of fluid to the tissues that may occur with eating large infrequent meals.
  
  Choose Natural

Anything packaged-including that can of asparagus that seems so healthy-will give you more sodium than you need. Become a purveyor of the farmer's market. Ditch canned products and flavored packaged grains. Plan meals that include fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

 
The seemingly ultimate yo-yo dieter, Kim Bensen, author of "Finally Thin!" went from size 6X to size 6, dropped 212 pounds, four ring sizes and 200 points of cholesterol. Now she's been at her goal weight for five years and is ready to reveal her top tips for losing weight and adopting a healthful lifestyle, without straying. Plus, here's her advice for how to get back on the weight-loss wagon if you happen to fall off.
  
  1. Find a Diet That Fits Who You Are

"There's not any one diet that's perfect for any one. Pick a healthy diet," and stick to it, says Bensen. "Trying to cut back on your intake -- that's awesome, but for most people who are really struggling with their weight, a structured program is important."
  
  2. Get Rid of All Your Red-Light Foods

"When I was 350 lbs. -- you need to eat a lot of calories to sustain that -- bakery items were really a big red-light food for me. You have to get them out of the house. Give them away if you can. Or throw them away. I have this saying, 'waste or waist,' because if you don't get rid of them, they'll go to your waist," Bensen says.
  
  3. Fill Up on Green-Light Foods

Replace the red-light foods with good things like fruits and vegetables -- but pick ones you love. "Take a diet and weave it into every facet of your life in every way so it becomes a part of your lifestyle -- the most wonderful lifestyle," Bensen encourages. "A salad to me is one of the most wonderful things in the world. I would rather have a dressing that isn't free that I have to save for."
  
  4. Plan Ahead

"Every morning, I would write in a journal as if I had already eaten. I do Weight Watchers, so I wrote down the foods I planned on eating and the corresponding points. Not only was I writing it down and keeping track, but I was mapping out how to follow it for the rest of the day," Bensen says.
  
  5. Gather Your Support

"People aren't mind readers. They aren't going to know that you need their help," says Bensen. Whether it's co-workers or friends -- reach out and tell them if you're struggling, and they'll be willing to help you by working your diet into your social outings. Some people may benefit from scheduled online or in-person support group or one-on-one support meetings, she adds.
  
  6. Know Before You Go

"Drive-thrus and restaurants have become a substitute for the kitchen table. Don't think you can't diet at the drive-thru, but you really have to know how to do it," says Bensen. "Speak up and ask about menu items," or look up the information online before you go, so you can order something that fits your diet.
  
  7. The Lesson of the Veggie Burger

"I was going to Ruby Tuesday's and I usually get the salad bar, but I wanted to have some protein, so I went for the veggie burger. When I got home I looked it up, and it was around 900 calories. I could have had four petite sirloin steaks for that one veggie burger. I wanted that petite sirloin but I thought I was being good." So the moral is: Look up nutrition information beforehand, and if all else fails, "go for the natural form of ingredients. Choose chicken, steak or baked potato without extra ingredients, because if you're getting something with mixed ingredients, you have no idea what's in that." And that could add up to unexpected fat and calories, which "can just mentally blow your diet, even if calorie-wise it hasn't blown your diet."
  
  8. No Such Thing as "Free" Foods
"You have to remember that no food is completely free. Every food has calories," Bensen says. Eating too much salad is still eating too much. "Spray butter is a really great example -- even though it's labeled calorie-free, per bottle it can range between 700 calories and 70 fat grams and 900 calories and 90 fat grams. It's a great alternative, but don't use a bottle a day!"
  
  9. Learn to Get Back On

"There's no straight line from A-to-Z with weight loss," Bensen says. She say people always ask her how she stayed motivated for two "whole" years while she was losing the weight. Her reply? "I've been at 'goal' for five years, so I've had to do this for seven years, but I'll do this for the rest of my life. I honestly never get off my diet." But that doesn't mean she doesn't slip up. Here are her five steps to follow if you've gotten sloppy in dieting, or if you want to recover from a huge binge.

1.Stop and clean the house again. Get out the red-lights and get in the green-light foods.
2.Get back to planning. Get out your journal. Get out old ones -- don't throw them away. They're menu plans that you have already shown can work for you.
3.Don't expect to come home and leave your meal to chance.
4.Ask for help -- you have a support group ready to help you from slipping up again.
5.Like the Nike commercial, you've got to just do it. You do get re-motivated. Cheer small successes: "I did it! I did it!"

You've got to take these steps continually when you get off track in life.


The seemingly ultimate yo-yo dieter, Kim Bensen, author of "Finally Thin!" went from size 6X to size 6, dropped 212 pounds, four ring sizes and 200 points of cholesterol. Now she's been at her goal weight for five years and is ready to reveal her top tips for losing weight and adopting a healthful lifestyle, without straying. Plus, here's her advice for how to get back on the weight-loss wagon if you happen to fall off.



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