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Take positive steps to reduce weight

Smaller portions will help reduce waistline
BY BECKY VARNER Published: January 14, 2014

That time of the year has come when many people make New Year's resolutions. But two weeks into the new year, probably some of those resolutions are already history. That can quickly happen when resolutions are unrealistic. Many folks resolve to eat healthier, achieve a healthier body weight and get more exercise. These are great resolutions since poor diet and physical inactivity have been identified in the Executive Summary of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 as the most important factors contributing to an epidemic of overweight and obesity.

Making changes to create healthier eating and physical activity habits doesn't have to be difficult. Keep it simple. Taking small steps that fit your lifestyle to develop healthier habits is a great way to make resolutions that last. Here are some examples of steps to make a healthier plate:

• Portions: It is good to enjoy our food, but many people enjoy too much of it because of eating large portions. Avoid oversized portions. Use the portion size on the nutrition labels of products as a guide. Or get a visual image of portion sizes. For example, a 3-ounce portion of poultry or meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

• MyPlate: Compare the foods on your plate to MyPlate, seen below. Make half of the plate fruits and vegetables with the vegetable quadrant being larger than the fruit quadrant. Make the other half protein and grains with the grains quadrant being larger than the protein. Emphasize lean protein sources and make at least half of the grains whole grains. Remember the dairy and choose fat-free or low-fat (1 percent fat) milk and milk products.

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