Healthy living

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


10 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds


5. Don't Eat While Watching Television

You have heard this before — probably when you were in junior high school and wanted to put on your favorite show while the dinner table was being set (that's what we did). For some people, dinner is family time, and television is forever a point of contention between kids and their parents. For those who live alone or who are empty nesters, television provides an easy distraction while we eat. And for those who work from home, it seems like the television is always on, particularly when we eat. In fact, about 40 percent of Americans watch television during dinner every night.

But research indicates that the more television we watch, the greater our risk of becoming overweight. This correlation has been recognized in children and adolescents as well as adults. The reasons may include advertisements for high-calorie snacks, less physical activity, and eating mindlessly while we watch television.

Multiple studies indicate that we eat more — in some cases between 35 percent and 70 percent more — if we are watching television at the same time. One study found that watching television while eating a meal was associated with consuming over 200 extra calories. And the type of calories we consume while watching may also make a difference. We tend to snack on high-carbohydrate and high-salt foods while in front of the television. And when we are distracted from how much we are eating, we eat more. The studies that examine the effect of eating while watching television focus on mealtimes, but the larger effect may actually occur later at night. So if the television is on, keep your mouth closed-and if you're eating, turn off the television.


6. Save Your Starbucks

Starbucks is everywhere. And many people sit on those purple faux-velvet sofas on a daily basis, often without recognizing the ramifications of their purchases. The difference between a Grande and a Venti seem vague when you are face to face with the barista. And when whipped cream is offered for free, few people want to pass it up. Whereas New York City passed a law requiring that nutritional information be posted for chain restaurants, most of us do not know what we are drinking. Check out the nutritional information from the Starbucks website for these Grande-sized drinks.

Starbucks Grande-Sized Drinks



Saturated Fat (g)

Sugars (g)

Coffee (black)




Caffè Americano




Caffè Latte (nonfat)




Caffè Latte (2%)




Caffè Latte (whole)




Caffè Mocha (2%)




Coffee Frappuccino Light
Blended Coffee




Coffee Frappuccino




Java Chip Frappuccino
Light Blended Coffee




Java Chip Frappuccino
Blended Coffee




Hot Chocolate (2%) without
whipped cream




White Hot Chocolate (2%)
with whipped cream




To put the issue into nutritional perspective, it helps to know that the American Heart Association recommends that you take in less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat. If you take in 2,000 calories daily, that's just 140 calories from saturated fat. At about 9 calories per gram, that's 16 grams of saturated fat a day. Or about two large whole-milk lattes.

Changing your latte from whole milk to nonfat is an easy 90-calorie Solution, and it translates into 3,500 calories (one pound) in just over five weeks. Going from a Java Chip Frappuccino to the lighter version saves you 140 calories — or one pound in just twenty-five days. Swear off the White Hot Chocolate entirely and you have just lopped off almost 3,500 calories in one week.

If you are a stickler for your favorite drink, then just go smaller. The difference between a small and a large 2% latte is 90 calories, and the difference between a small and a large 2% mocha is 140 calories. Coffee Frappuccino? 160 calories. White Hot Chocolate? 210. That's a pound in seventeen days.

Oh, and by the way . . . a large White Chocolate Mocha (whole) with whipped cream has similar calories and saturated fat to a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Seems like if you cut out a beverage like that, every day, you would not only be saving toward your retirement, but you might have a better chance of reaching it at a healthy weight.

7. Walk Your Dog Every Day

In exchange for providing companionship, emotional support, and occasionally your slippers, dogs require a lot of attention and exercise to be happy. Many parents have their children walk the dog — it's part of the "responsibility" of having a pet, and also known as "so I don't have to."

But each time your kids walk the dog — maybe just fifteen minutes twice a day — you are missing out on an opportunity to get outside, clear your head, and burn some calories without realizing it.

This was actually studied in a fitness campaign called Active Family, Active Dog. Seven diverse families with very different lifestyles were each paired with a dog and were asked to care for it for a period of six weeks. All the participants reported lower blood pressure readings at the end of the study, and all the families reported being happier after caring for their dogs. One reason for being happy was that they all lost weight. The seven families lost a combined fifty-five pounds in the short six-week period — this averaged about two to four pounds per adult involved. Given that you can burn at least 100 calories in the twenty minutes it takes to get Spot to do his business, it seems that the time is well spent.

8. Don't Eat from the Restaurant Breadbasket

Restaurants want to make customers happy. And one way they placate us is by distracting us from the inevitable wait while they cook our food. Hello, breadbasket. And while having a slice of high-fiber, low-sodium bread would be a good way to start your meal, the scones and muffins you get in restaurants are not baked with your diet in mind.

Restaurant bread is generally high in calories and low in fiber — it will not fill you up as much as other foods. Also, we tend to eat bread to pass the time at restaurants before the food arrives, and tend not to really "count" it as part of our dinner, and this can lead to eating too much. When you consider that a typical breadbasket might include four to eight servings, the numbers add up quickly.

Breadbasket Item Calories

Melba toast


Oyster crackers


Whole wheat dinner roll


Italian bread


Sourdough bread




French bread roll


Pita bread


Bran muffin


Blueberry muffin


Consider some strategies for reducing the breadbasket's impact on your diet. Ask for the breadbasket to be half filled, or take just one item and then have the waiter remove the basket. Turn down the butter and request healthier olive oil. But all of this requires willpower. It may just be easier to ask your waiter not to bring the basket to the table at all. Just say no . . . to appetizer muffins, buttery croissants, and hearty slices of "home-baked" bread. Say no to mini-loaves, mini-cakes, and mini-buns.

The typical restaurant customer eats at least two breadbasket items per meal. Do that and it will run you at least 300 calories each time you go out. It is estimated that 40 percent of people eat out at least three times per week. Think about those business lunches with clients or meals at family restaurants on the weekend — that's a lot of bread. Try multiplying the number of breadbaskets you come in contact with each month by 300 calories, and enjoy the savings in turning them away.


Continued on next page >

Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
What Is Hepatitis C?
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Diagnosing Hepatitis C
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
Just Diagnosed? Here’s What’s Next
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
Understanding Hepatitis C Treatment
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
Your Guide to Hep C Treatments
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
Managing Side Effects of Treatment
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
Making Hep C Treatment a Success
These tips may up your chances of a cure.