Two Easy Ways to Decrease Your Waistline

It’s Spring, the time when the days grow longer and warmer and we begin to think about being outdoors and in swimsuits!

Are your jeans getting tighter?  Are you afraid your excess weight will affect your health? If your waist circumference is over 35” (for women) or over 40” (for men) you have an increased risk of disease such as breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Losing 5-10% of your current weight (and hopefully decreasing your waist measurement) will decrease your health risks.

Losing weight is always difficult but possible with the right strategy.  You must have a 500 calorie deficit daily to lose a pound a week. The two tips that follow may help you achieve your goals. When you are trying to lose weight it is most helpful to take a few minutes each week and plan the next week. Planning the next week’s meals involves deciding what you will eat for the next 21 meals, purchasing the foods, and preparing foods ahead if time is an issue. When you take a few minutes to plan ahead, you will have more success following your meal plan. It is not always easy to prepare a meal and it is almost always easier to zip through a drive-though. Be careful not to sabotage your weight loss efforts by putting 2000 calories in a “to go” bag from McDonald’s.  

A weight loss program will also be much more successful if you plan and eat breakfast. Breakfast may very well be the most important meal of the day. When you skip breakfast your body produces ghrelin, a hormone that increases your appetite. The result is that you consume more calories than if you had eaten breakfast.  If you are not hungry when you wake in the morning (or at least ready to eat), you are eating too much the night before.

A well balanced breakfast will include protein and carbohydrate and will be low in saturated fat. The following suggestions for breakfast all contain less than 300 calories:

  • 6oz Greek yogurt and ¾ cup blueberries-170 calories
  • 1 English muffin with an egg or 1 oz. low fat cheese-200 calories
  • 2 slices of toast with 1 oz. low fat cheese or 1 Tbsp peanut butter-260 calories
  • 6 tablespoons dry oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick cooking) and 2 Tbsp almonds or walnuts-300calories


Spring recipe: Risotto with Shrimp and Asparagus [gluten free]

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)            

Serve with spinach salad. Add strawberries and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.


  • 4 cups  fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups  sliced asparagus (1-inch long)
  • 1/2 pound  peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1 cup  chopped onion
  • 1 cup  Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup  dry vermouth
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 cup  grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon  butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  2. Cook asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
  4. Add rice; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in 1/2 cup broth, vermouth and salt. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes).
  6. Add asparagus and shrimp; cook 4 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining ingredients.


Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 443 (20% from fat)
  • Fat: 6.8g (sat 2.2g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.7g)
  • Protein: 19.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 20g
  • Fiber: 3.9g
  • Cholesterol: 32mg
  • Iron: 2.6mg
  • Sodium: 469mg
  • Calcium: 70mg

Cooking Light, APRIL 2002