A New Year has arrived and resolutions have been made. Most of them involve eating healthy, dropping a few pounds or going to the gym more often. Sadly, we’re creatures of habit. We’ll diet and workout, but then after a few weeks we’ll return to our coach potato roots. Any weight lost simply returns and you try again next year. Instead of repeating this cycle over and over again, it’s better to just start on the right foot. There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re dieting especially if you want to be successful.
If you want to lose the weight long term, then you have to think long term.
I’m sorry to have to break it to you, but you can’t eat a whole pizza, fast food and dessert and expect to lose pounds. You will have to change some of your bad habits. If you try a liquid only or carb free diet, there is a problem. When you return to normal food the pounds will return.
So how do you fix this? You have to look at ways to cut back on the calories and fat by doing something for the long term.
- If you try a clean or raw diet where you eat more greens and fresh fruits, when you’ve met your weight goal you have to keep those foods incorporated in your regular diet.
- If you like the liquid diets, then expect to always replace one meal a day with a smoothie or shake.
- You should watch your fat and calorie intake both when you’re dieting and when you aren’t. That way your hard work pays off.
Don’t eat fast food and eat out less.
I assure you there are plenty of nights that I don’t want to cook, but eating out is the easiest way to destroy your healthy goals and your budget. We have all heard the horrors of fast food, so I’ll only say this once: stop eating fast food. Your body will thank you! Yes, fast food is getting healthier, but that’s still not saying much.
One of my favorite eye opening books and articles I enjoy is Eat This, Not That. They grade different restaurants, dishes and tell you the details that you wouldn’t know unless you were standing over the cook’s shoulder. What you’ll discover is that restaurants load their meals with salt, butter, oil, mayonnaise and products with lots of chemicals and use less fruits, vegetables and protein to help them save money. Even salads aren’t safe! Still don’t believe me?
Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad has 1,340 calories, 98 g fat (15 g saturated; 1.5 g trans) and 1,200 mg sodium. Do you still think eating out is a great idea? Make it yourself. You can still have the foods that you crave, but won’t have nearly the same amount of guilt.
Avoid eating processed foods
I’m sorry to have to state the obvious, but if you want to lose weight you have to let go of frozen, boxed and some canned foods. Preservatives, chemicals, excessive salt and sugars are only the beginning of the reasons why you don’t want to eat processed foods. Cooking your own food is cheaper and so much better for you. There are of course going to be days that you’re going to want to have ramen noodles. Once a month is manageable. Once a day is a problem.
Thanks to the internet you can find thousands of recipes that require you to be standing in the kitchen for less than thirty minutes. You’ll have leftovers and don’t have to starve yourself just to lose weight. If you don’t have time to go through the recipes and work with your budget, the best website is eMeals.com. They do all of the research for you. For $3-7 a month, you can save yourself weight and money. That’s a win in my book.
Basic things to try in the kitchen:
- When you cook your meals, use reduced fat ingredients as opposed to the regular versions. This way you can maintain the flavor and have less guilt. Reduced fat options also have less chemicals than the fat free alternative.
- If you love desserts, go to cookinglight.com and make something that tastes delicious but has half of the consequences. No one knows would ever know it’s a light dessert.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
Did you know that if you eat an apple 15 minutes before you eat dinner that you won’t need to eat as much to feel full? It’s the healthiest way to maintain portion control.
One of the biggest things that we’re all missing from our diets is fresh fruits and vegetables. Now, don’t cheat and go buy vegetables in a can and think that it’s the same. When you boil down fruits and vegetables, you lose most of their nutritional value. Try to eat your fruits and vegetables either fresh or steamed.
Along the same lines, fruit juice and canned fruits do not provide the same benefit as a piece of fruit because of the added sugars, chemicals and preservatives. Fresh or frozen fruit is best.
Go to the gym
I’m sorry but even with the best of nutritional changes, you won’t drop 20lbs as quickly as you will by going to the gym. Exercise and healthy eating should go hand in hand. Now there are thousands of different workouts. You can do them at home, at work or at a gym. You just have to pick the one that works best for you. I prefer to do intervals. They’re quick, intense workouts that get you better results than spending an hour on the treadmill.
These are some great examples of interval workouts. Give it a try. You will definitely see results!
Drink more water
I don’t mean vitawater or some sort of sugar packet mixed into your water. Drink plain, boring water. It’s so much better for you than pop, juice or beer. Get rid of it and watch the pounds disappear.
Studies have shown us that when we cram our lunch into 5 minutes and barely allow fifteen minutes for dinner that we eat more than normal because our body barely has time to tell us that it’s full. Take a deep breath between bites. Force yourself to eat dinner in courses if necessary, but do what it takes to stop shoveling down the food. Appreciate your meal.
Also, turn off the television. It’s been proven that when you eat in front of the television or at your desk at work that your focus is on the screen and not on your meal. Once again, you’ll eat more than you intended with ease. If you’re married or have children, the 30 minutes of quality time is always a good thing.
Balance is the key
When you’re dieting, eating healthy or trying to lose weight you want to let go of the unhealthy habits and take control of your health by making smart choices. Now, don’t expect yourself to be able to give up everything all at once. Start slowly. Cut back on fast food and eating out. When that’s easier, cut back on processed foods and cook your meals more often. Take everything one step a time. You will see results and it will all be completely worth it!