Most clients I work with are looking to lose a few pounds, and many have tried several different dieting strategies. The results have been disappointing, as the beginning weight has come back, and for some, even been added to. I employ several strategies for slimming down, and when I learn of new ones, I share them. I too, especially since I had to give up running, seem to be trying to lose 5-10 pounds of fat that I typically put on over the winter holidays.

These three tips appeared recently on Dr. Oz’s website: 1) Keep the thermostat in your house below 68 degrees-your metabolism will increase to keep you warm. Research also says people sleep better when the bedroom temp is between 63-68 degrees, which leads us to #2) Get more sleep-Poor sleep stimulates appetite hormones into a gimme-more mode. 3) Eat dinners out once a month. In one study, eating just one restaurant meal a week upped the risk of obesity by 50%. Preparing your own meals allows you to control fat, sugar, and salt content. Data also show that fewer calories are consumed.

Cut down or eliminate alcohol during your dieting period. Alcohol interferes with the way your body metabolizes calories, storing fat and burning the alcohol sugars, just the opposite effect you want.

I’ve heard so-called experts say to eat a big breakfast. Eating a small or no breakfast would cause you to be hungry and to eat extra calories later in the day to make up for it. Not true. Eat a big breakfast and you just end up eating more calories that day. Personally, If I eat a big breakfast, I seem to be hungrier throughout the day-strange.

A study published in February in the journal Obesity, followed a group of overweight subjects age 55 and up for a period of three months. Half the people were told to drink two cups of water before each meal. At the end of the study, the water group lost an average of 15.5 pounds, compared with 11 in the other group. A 2008 study showed a similar effect, showing a 13% reduction in calorie intake in overweight subjects who consumed water before breakfast. Give it a try.

I’ve talked before about the apple cider vinegar effect on fat metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism. I keep my vinegar next to the kitchen sink so that I remember.

Exercise will not burn the pounds off for most of us, you also have to watch calories. But exercise will help you keep them off. Keeping your weight and body mass index at a desirable level can add six years to your life.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.