It seems everyone has a diet plan that they claim either worked or didn’t work for them. Some seem reasonable, others seem way out there. How can you decide what diet plan will work for you? And once you have chosen a plan, can you do anything to “upgrade” it so you can make sure you get the best results possible?
We’re going to give you some basic ideas you can use to boost the diet plan you are already using. You will also experience weight loss by simply implementing some of these concepts in your daily life..
Remember the Water
A common mistake among dieters is to misinterpret thirst as hunger. When this happens, you end up eating extra calories when all you really needed was a glass of water.
The next time you are “hungry” pour yourself a glass of cold water to drink. Wait 10 minutes or so. Are you still hungry?
If plain water is not your beverage of choice, try adding a lemon, lime, or just a splash of juice, to change the flavor. Adding ice to your water will help as well. It is also reported that drinking from a straw actually causes you to drink more water than without a straw. Give it a try!
Experiment with New Foods
When you diet, you usually think of what you CANNOT eat. Turn your thinking around and begin thinking of what you can ADD to your diet.
You should be eating 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Do a little research online and find some new recipes with fruits or veggies that you know you like. But don’t be afraid to try something new! What fruits or vegetables have you never even tried before? Start working vegetables into meals and not just serving them as side dishes.
One other thing to remember is to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season, when they taste their best and are the most flavorful.
Eat Smaller Meals More Often
It’s a known fact that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. When you feel hungry all the time, though, eating fewer calories is sometimes near impossible.
“Studies show people who eat 4-5 meals or snacks per day are better able to control their appetite and weight,” says obesity researcher Rebecca Reeves, DrPH, RD. She recommends dividing your daily caloric intake into smaller meals or snacks. She also advises to eat as many of your calories as you can early in the day. She believes dinner should be the last time you eat each day.
Choose Your Snacks Carefully
Have you ever heard the term “mindless eating”? This is when you sit down with a bag of chips, only to find out you have eaten the entire bag without even realizing it. It has also been called “eating amnesia.”
Can you guess where most mindless eating takes place? The number one spot is in front of the TV or while watching a movie, followed by eating in the car.
Be prepared for your light night snack urges. Here are some ideas of food choices you should have available:
- 94% fat-free microwave popcorn (20-25 calories per cup, and you can make it in two minutes or less)
- 100-calorie bags of snacks you like. You can either buy them pre-packaged, or you can package them yourselves in small Ziploc baggies.
- Pre-washed, peeled and sliced vegetables. If they are ready to eat, you are more likely to choose them. If you have to wash, peel and slice, you will probably grab something else.
Enjoy Your Favorite Foods
If your very favorite foods are 100% off limits, you will likely find yourself “rebound over-eating”… and gaining weight back. Instead of making your favorite chocolate chip cookies a thing of your past, become a “slim shopper.” Buy one cookie instead of a dozen. Enjoy every bite of that cookie. Also enjoy the fact that you did NOT buy (and eat!) a dozen of them!
Include Protein in Every Meal
Because protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, some feel it may be the “new” secret weapon in weight control.
University of Illinois protein researcher, Donald Layman, PhD, says, “Diets higher in protein [and] moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to help weight loss.”
Protein also helps preserve muscle mass, encourages fat burning and keeps you feeling full longer. Add some healthy proteins to your meals and snacks. We recommend yogurt, beans, cheese and nuts.
Change Your Eating Out Habits
The simplest way to eat out while dieting is to order from the kids’ menu. Portions are smaller, and they almost always have the “basics.” You can enjoy a small hamburger with a small portion of fries. You certainly don’t need all the calories in the adult-size version!
Another suggestion is to substitute your pasta or bread with a side of veggies. On average, this will cut your caloric intake by 100-200 calories.
Watch “extras” like salad dressing. A Caesar Salad can actually pack in more calories than a piece of pizza! Don’t believe the salad is healthier just because it’s a salad. Ask for your dressings and condiments on the side.
Be Physically Active
This does not mean you are training for a marathon! Thirty minutes or more of exercise per day is recommended. However, if you cannot fit that in every day, don’t give up on the days that you CAN fit it in. Any activity is better than no activity.
Think of ways you can fit movement into your busy schedule. Can you park a few blocks away from your destination and walk the rest of the way? How about looking for the parking spot that is farthest from the door instead of the closest one? Are you “stuck” at your son’s baseball practice? Fit your exercise in by walking around the field. Make it more enjoyable by getting another parent to walk with you and make it a habit.
Does your job require you to sit in front of a keyboard all day? Make a point to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes or so.
How many things do you ask others to do for you… that you could be doing yourself? Don’t ask your kids to hand you the remote for the TV or bring you the mail. Get up and do it yourself. Do you have a well-trained dog that will fetch your slippers or the morning paper? Do it yourself.
A daily multivitamin is recommended for everyone, but if you are dieting, you want to make double sure you are including this. Sometimes this is overlooked, as people believe they are eating healthier than they ever have before, so why would a multivitamin be necessary? It is still important and necessary.
Losing Weight and Fat Quickly
For those who want to lose weight (and fat) quickly, we recommend the hCG Diet. If you follow the protocol outlined in Dr. Simeons’ book, Pounds & Inches, you WILL experience substantial weight loss without feeling hungry. You will be able to increase your metabolism naturally, which will ensure that you keep the weight off long-term.
Find a Weight Loss Buddy
Studies show you are far more likely to lose weight if you have a friend or family member who wants to lose weight as well. You will become each other’s sounding boards and support. You will push each other on to succeed. You will rejoice with each other over your successes and encourage each other through your dieting struggles. It will greatly help you to have someone to talk to who understands what you are going through.
Only Weigh Once A Week
Don’t become a slave to the scale. Your weight will fluctuate day-to-day, and you do not want to base your weight success or failure on the number you see first thing in the morning. Choose a day each week to weigh, and resist the urge to step on the scale each and every morning. You also need to pay attention to how your clothes are fitting, and do not base everything on the scale. You are most likely still losing inches even when the scale does not show downward movement.
By implementing some or all of these changes into your life, you WILL lose weight, and a lighter you means a healthier you. Find the diet plan that works for you, and stick with it. You will feel better and you will have more energy to do the things you enjoy. You will love your new life!