Lighten Up: How to win in the elimination round

Cathleen Kronemer

By Cathleen Kronemer

As our “Lighten Up” competition goes into the home stretch, participants are getting more and more involved in the exercise and weight loss process. Kudos to all! While the most common topics of conversation around the gym lately tend to center on aerobic activities and healthy food intake, it seems another key aspect in the weight-loss game is being overlooked . . . the “process of elimination”.

Yes, we are talking about fiber. This important nutrient is found in many of our favorite foods; yet its vital role in weight loss seems to go unrecognized. Once ingested, fiber forms a gel in the intestine. High-fiber foods therefore tend to linger in the stomach and render a feeling of fullness, thereby cutting down on the consumption of additional calories. As water consumption is increased, too, fiber will aid in elimination, taking with it all manner of toxins and excess pounds.

The good news doesn’t stop there. Foods with a high-fiber content tend to be more energy-dense, delivering fewer calories for the same volume of food. These food sources also require more chewing, giving the brain plenty of time to register when the appetite is satisfied, thereby reducing the risk of needless overconsumption.

So, how do we incorporate this amazing nutrient into our everyday lives? That’s the easy part. The National Weight Control Registry has tracked the eating habits of successful dieters, and found that the overwhelming majority wake up to a high-fiber breakfast. By starting your morning ritual with oatmeal or a bran-based cereal, you are already a step ahead of the game. Plan for fresh fruits and raw veggies as mid-day snacks, incorporate brown rice at lunch or dinner, and before you know it this healthy high-fiber plan will become a delicious habit.