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The American Sleep Apnea Association has found that additional adipose tissue around the neck may make the airway narrower, making obstructions more likely to occur.  Therefore, the association cites weight loss as an effective treatment for sleep apnea.  Overweight individuals who lose even 10% of their weight can reduce sleep apnea and improve sleep quality.   The following guidelines* are important pieces to achieving weight loss.

  1. Establish regular meal times
    Avoid skipping any meals, especially breakfast, because this often leads to overeating later in the day.

  2. Eat slowly
    It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that you are full.

  3. Do not drink calories
    It is better to eat your calories than to drink them.

  4. Read food labels when you are purchasing food items
    Pay attention to the portion size and the number of calories in each portion.  Choose foods high in fiber and low in fat and sugar.  This will help you to make healthier food choices.

  5. Make small substitutions in your diet to cut calories
    For example, substitute water or crystal light for high-calorie drinks like soda.  Choose lowfat versions of salad dressings, cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise.  Limit fried foods – bake, broil, poach or grill your food instead.

  6. Pre-portion your servings to control the amount
    For example portion out a serving of potato chips into a bowl instead of eating out of the bag.

  7. Avoid mindless eating. 
    Portion out your food, eat it at the table and avoid having the television on while eating.

  8. Limit eating out to once per week and control calories when dining out
    At fast food restaurants “down size” rather than “super size” your meal.  Choose baked or grilled items over fried and breaded items.  When dining at sit-down restaurants share your entrée with a friend or spouse and substitute vegetables for French fries.

  9. Pre-plan meals and snacks and be sure to have the food on hand. 
    This will make it easier to resist unhealthy snacking and resist trips to the vending machine.

  10. Avoid places and situations that trigger eating
    For example, replace the candy dish on your desk with fruit or avoid walking past the office candy bowl.

  11. Try substituting other activities for eating
    For example, take a walk, call a friend or listen to music.

  12.  Exercise on a regular basis if physically able to. 
    Shoot for at least 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days per week.  Be sure to include muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week.  Make exercise fun by taking up several activities you enjoy, such as walking, aerobics class, bike riding, swimming, and hiking.
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