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... for Shaping Up (for Women)

  1. Don't buy into the body image promoted by television, the fashion industry, Hollywood, toy companies and diet supplement producers.  Part of their job is to make you dissatisfied with yourself so you will buy their products.   In addition, men are often intimidated by women-- by their biology and their needs--  as well by their own expectations and shortcomings.   A woman's "helplessness" gives some false confidence and a sense of power they lack elsewhere in their lives.  This is why many males are attracted to small, young, weak, delicate women, female clothing that binds or inhibits activity, long hair that gets in our way and high heels that prevent us from running away.  The fashion industry has promoted this idea for its own benefit.   Strong, independent, self-confident men don't need this, nor do strong, independent, self-confident women (or those trying to be).

    Most of us have sturdy waists, wide hips for childbearing, thick thighs and ankles to carry us through, strong arms to embrace life, big feet to plant firmly on the ground, and enough extra body fat to tide us over when the game animals have migrated south.

    What's really important is what's in your heart and mind, your attitude, your interest in and love for others, what abilities you posses,  and that you have a healthy body.   Rejoice in your strength!
  2. Never say you "can't lose weight" or "can't stop smoking".  If you were shipwrecked on a desert island with only enough resources to keep you alive, you would lose weight and stop smoking, right?  You can lose weight; you just have to find the right way to do it.  So create the right mental and physical environent, set reasonable goals and believe in yourself.
  3. Unless you must reduce quickly because of a life- or health-threatening disease, don't buy into weight-loss hysteria.  Instead of restricting and decreasing your food intake, improve your overall diet.
  4. Keep fattening foods and nutritionally empty ones out of the house; if it's not there, it can't call your name.   This includes most fake fat, artificially sweetened and sugar-laden "fat-free" treats.  Don't sabotage yourself.
  5. Invest in good quality, non-stick cookware and the utensils you need to use with them, and get in the habit of cooking with lower heat; this lets you cut excess fat.  Use cooking spray.  Learn to roast, grill, broil, steam, poach, marinate and season.
  6. Make sure you always have healthy foods on hand.   A stock of delicious, nutritious, low-calorie munchies will keep you away from things you shouldn't eat.   Eat lots and lots of veggies; they're lower calorie and rich in nutrition.   Eat extra cruciferous veggies, squash, pumpkin, and all kinds of greens.   Learn what the power foods are.
  7. Get lots of fiber.  Whole grains, vegetable and fruit fiber, flaxseed, dried fruits such as prunes, added oat, rice or wheat bran and other such foods fill you up, carry some fat and cholesterol out of the body and speed up elimination of wastes.  
  8. Drink fluids - at least 8 glasses a day, and preferably twice that.   Many times when you think you are hungry, you're actually thirsty.  Water fills you up, too; try a glass of water before a meal.  Or start a meal with a first course of broth-based (not cream-based) soup.  Coffee and sodas don't count; they work in the opposite direction as far as keeping you hydrated.   Add an extra glass of fluid to your intake for each cup of coffee or can of soda you drink (even diet soda).  Add to your nutrition by drinking only healthy beverages.
  9. Drink green tea.   Research shows that green tea intake helps you lose weight naturally.
  10. Exercise!   Your appetite is pre-set for a time before the wheel, when human beings walked or ran everywhere, ground their grain and washed their clothes by hand, toted babies and small children a lot of the time, carried water and other burdens daily and were physically very active.  Not only does exercise maintain muscle strength, bone density and vascular health, it helps to firm you up and keep your weight in check. 
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