10 Diet Tips To Help You Lose Weight

If you are trying to lose some weight it will probably make  little to no difference to you whether you want to lose ten pounds or a hundred pounds. The task probably seems gargantuan and insurmountable. There are, however, some easy to follow tips which can make your weight loss  journey a bit easier to manage and, hopefully, more enjoyable. If you’ve tried more than your share of “miracle” diets only to find yourself back where your originally started, or even a bit heavier, don’t despair. There is a way to do this if you approach it from the right direction, and with the right attitude.

Tip #1: Eat More Food, Not Less!

eat more, not lessOne of the biggest mistakes dieters make is thinking that if they eat  LESS  food they will lose weight more quickly when in point of fact, the exact opposite is true. It is a big mistake to go for more than three to four hours without eating. That does not mean you should eat a big meal every three to four hours but you should eat something: an apple, two saltine crackers with some peanut butter on them, some carrots and greek yogurt dip. By doing this, you are telling your body that food will be coming on a regular basis. If your body does not realize that,  it will think that starvation will be occurring and will automatically slow down your metabolism in order to conserve calories. This reaction is a left-over from our caveman days when the vast majority of people died of either disease or starvation. It is a normal bodily function and nothing you can control. So, eat up on a regular basis. Doing this will also help you maintain your energy throughout the day.

If you’re not keen on having lots of small mini-meals throughout the day,  enjoy a healthy snack between lunch and dinner. A healthy snack will include some protein which will help sustain you until dinner. My favorite is a small bowl of Greek yogurt with some blackberries because Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein.

Tip #2: Consume More Whole Foods

Whole grains, because they are significantly less processed will keep you feeling fuller longer. This is because they take longer to digest.  This means getting back to food basics. But just because you want to get back to more food basics does not necessarily mean you have to go organic or vegan. It means instead of reaching for a glass of apple juice when you’re hungry or spooning some apple juice into a bowl, opt for a small to medium-sized fresh apple. Cut up a few pieces of cheese to have with your apple which will be protein. The apple has fiber in it and  it will take longer to digest, helping you stay full and satisfied longer. Making some whole grain pasta for dinner is a wonderful way to get your grains and boost your protein in one fell swoop. If you top this dish with some Parmesan cheese, you will have an easy to prepare and highly nutritious meal.whole-foods

Tip #3: Do Not Completely Give Up Your Favorite Dishes

One of the biggest reasons diets fail is because people become too strict with what they allow themselves to eat. I say continue to eat everything you love just in moderation. It might help at the beginning if you start to measure your food out. Using this simple but helpful tool helps me because when I go to a restaurant, I know what a serving of rice actually looks like because I regularly measure out one cup of rice before putting it on my plate. I go back to weighing and measuring my food for a weeks’ time about once every six to seven weeks because I have noticed that, over time, my portion sizes start to creep up in size, no matter what I do. Try doing this with something like a simple bowl of cereal. Look at the side of the box where the nutrition information is provided and see how much is in a “serving size”. Then pour what you estimate that amount to be into a bowl. Next, take what is in the bowl you just poured and measure it. You will probably be amazed to see that the amount you poured without measuring is quite a bit more than the “serving size”.

cheat-mealAllowing yourself to continue to eat all your favorite foods will help keep you from feeling deprived. This is crucial if you want to successfully change your eating habits. I keep using the words “changing your eating habits” rather than “dieting” because if you want to be successful at losing weight and keeping it off forever, you will have to fundamentally change your relationship with food and how you eat. So, if you love ice cream, having a small ⅓ of cup after supper will just hit the spot and let you feel that you’ve finished off your meal completely. As for that piece of chocolate cake being served for dessert at the dinner party on Friday night? Go ahead and have a piece. Cut your serving in half after you receive it at the table and that will help minimize the number of calories you actually take in while still allowing you to be an active participant at the dinner party and enjoy a dessert like everyone else.

Tip #4: Don’t Eat After 10:00 p.m.

Don't eat after 10 pmEating late at night is one of my biggest downfalls and it gets me into trouble more quickly and more completely than just about anything else I might do over the course of your day. So, if like me, you like to eat a bag of chips in bed while reading your favorite book before you turn out the light, try substituting them for something like kale chips. Try to have dinner as close to 6:00 p.m. as possible and if you usually head to the gym after work before you head home for dinner, pack a healthy snack to eat after your workout so that you  don’t arrive back home ravenously hungry. Remember the old adage: You should eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner.

I tend to be an emotional eater and so it was really important for me to sit down and try to figure out the emotional triggers that would entice me to start on a food binge. Keeping a food diary for a month or two really helped. Also signing up for an online weight loss program helped. Find one that is free and which will allow you to log in food and exercise. It helped because it forced me to be accountable to “someone” even if it was just an online community. Be careful that you don’t fall into the group of people who use exercise as a way to eat more food. “I walked a mile, therefore I can eat this bag of chocolate.” If you do that, you are defeating the purpose of engaging in any exercise. Exercise should be incorporated into your weight loss plan because it makes you healthier and will make you feel better and shed pounds more quickly, not as a means to an end for food rewards at the end of the day.

Tip #5: Get Rid Of Your Scales But Still Get Weighed On A Regular Basis

stay-off-the-scaleThis will probably be just about the hardest thing for any dieter to do but doing this helped me tremendously. When I was weighing myself daily, I would get consumed by what the scale showed me in the morning and completely forget about the normal ebb and flow of daily weight fluctuation. I would let it dictate how much I ate so instead of staying on a regular, consistent eating plan, my eating varied widely from day to day based on what the scale showed in the morning. Now, I judge by the way my clothes fit and I go into my doctor’s office once a month to be weighed on their scale. Getting weighed on a correctly calibrated scale once  a month also helps keep things in perspective. It also gives you a longer view over what is really going on.

Tip #6: Don’t Forget To Put Fruit On The Bottom

fruit-bottom-yogurtIf you are going to have a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for dessert some night, why not add a bit of fruit at the bottom of your bowl? It will give the bowl the appearance of being fuller and the trick on your eye will infiltrate your brain and help you feel more satisfied. Works like a charm. It doesn’t even have to be fresh fruit. Frozen fruit will work just as well.

Tip #7:  Make Sure You Get Enough Rest

losing-weight-by-restingEveryone knows the importance of getting enough sleep at night but did you know that NOT getting enough quality sleep will hinder your ability to resist cravings during the day? In order to do this, you need at least 8 hours of sleep each hour so turn your television off about an hour before you plan to hit the sack and curl up with a nice romantic novel. Ensuring that you get enough sleep will energize your body for the next day which will help you be better prepared for trouble when it arises.

Tip #8: Do Some Serious Menu Planning

menu-planning-for-weight-lossOne of the hardest things for me to resist is fast food. It’s always there when I leave my office at the end of the day and if I’m too tired to go home and cook, the temptation to duck in for a burger and some fries can be almost irresistible some nights. So, my solution? I spent quite a bit of time figuring out and putting together a month’s worth of meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. An enormous amount of work, no doubt, but it has paid off handsomely. Once I had my monthly meal plan set, I went back to it and made up my shopping lists by week. I put all of  this in a binder  organized with tabs. When I am ready to grocery shop for Week #3, I just pull out my list for week #3 and off I go to the supermarket. I also keep a fully stocked pantry as well for nights when I want to deviate from my meal plan and cook spontaneously. I have saved countless dollars by doing this all the while nourishing myself deliciously. There are dozens of websites which can help you do this easily and efficiently. If you are able to modify recipes, you will be pretty much set.

Tip #9: Set Reasonable Attainable Goals

attainable-goalsNo one likes to feel like a failure so the best way to avoid that is to set goals that are short-term and easily achievable . This way it will be easy to reward yourself for reaching your goals. In the beginning set a goal of losing three or four pounds. And when  you’ve lost those three or four pounds reward yourself with something you’ve been longing for for awhile. Try to keep these rewards under $20.00 a piece, though so you don’t bankrupt yourself in the process!

Tip #10: A Calorie Is Not A Calorie Is Not A Calorie

If you drink an 8 ounce glass of Coke, you are consuming 106 calories. How many ounces of broccoli can you eat for the same number of calories? You might be shocked.  Each ounce of broccoli has about 10 calories. You do the math. Yeah, that’s a lot of broccoli.

Just in the same way that different styles of clothing will look different on different people, it is the same way with food. There is something called a glycemic index.

The glycemic index is a new and different way of classifying carbohydrates in terms  of how quickly they will be broken down into the glucose your body needs to fuel itself. Virtually all food except for things like onions, mushrooms and protein and certain cheeses will be broken down by your body and turned into fuel, i.e. glucose. This is in turn processed with a hormone called insulin which is what allows the glucose to enter the red blood cells and be used as energy. Foods with a low glycemic index will raise your blood sugar levels only moderately whereas food with a high glycemic index will cause higher levels in blood sugar. The more insulin your body produces to change food into energy, the more prone you will be toward gaining weight. Consequently, choosing more food with a lower glycemic index will reduce the amount of insulin your body is forced to produce thus making it easier for you to lose weight.