Are you struggling with losing weight and keeping it off? This weight loss diet tip guide may help you find the solution to battling that stubborn bulge and finally achieving the body of your dreams.
If you have given any effort to losing weight, you have probably learned this simple truth – diets don't work! Fads come and go, and you may get some great results at first, but most of the time you will end up right back where you started. Most diets are too rigid and impossible to maintain.
Unfortunately, there really is no magic pill – although there are some pretty persuasive marketing campaigns that would like to convince you otherwise. The key to avoiding temporary results is making permanent lifestyle changes that will help you achieve and maintain a healthy body.
When it comes to weight loss, we all know the obvious – eat less and exercise. But, often it's the small things that can make the biggest difference. As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details”, and sometimes the littlest factor can be what is sabotaging your best laid diet plans. Don't be discouraged, though, because the tiniest little tweak could be all it takes to turn your program around and start your journey toward success.
Read through this list and see if there are any changes you can make to help you lose weight and keep it off without feeling deprived, stressed, or frustrated.
1. Eat Balanced. This sounds basic, but it is really difficult to find a popular diet today that actually promotes healthy, balanced eating. Most of them involve eliminating major food groups altogether, cutting calories to starvation level, or buying products and supplements that will have a greater impact on your bank account than your BMI.
Instead of following highly restrictive diets, make healthy, well-balanced choices that will give your body everything it needs to function properly. Whole foods such as fruits, veggies, unprocessed grains, and lean proteins will keep you satisfied longer so you will be less likely to give into cravings.
Many nutritionist's suggest following an 80/20 rule where you strive to eat healthy at least 80% of the time while still giving yourself some “wiggle room”. Some people adopt this strategy on a daily basis while others will give themselves one “free” day a week. However you approach it, balance is the key.
2. Eat Frequently and Snack Smart. If you let yourself get too hungry, you are more likely to eat the wrong foods. You can choose to eat several mini meals throughout the day, or have 3 balanced meals with healthy snacks in between.
Some people don't have a problem going from breakfast to lunch without eating; but, if you often fall victim to the mid-morning/mid-afternoon munchies, then don't torture yourself – eat! Eating is not taboo, it's what you eat that matters. Keeping your hunger satisfied and your metabolism working will help you better control your appetite and achieve your goals.
3. Portion Control. Most of us eat too much; but let's be realistic – a single serving of pasta wouldn't fill up a 5 year old. When it comes to meat and carbs, be more diligent about measuring and weighing your portions because these are often the foods that prevent weight loss. Of course, you can't smother your veggies in butter or high calories dressings! You might even want to try using a smaller plate so less food looks like more.
But, feel free to fill the rest of your plate with low-fat, nutrient dense veggies. A half of cup of rice and a small chicken breast can seem pretty bleak, but when you pile on a large salad and a big spoonful of steamed broccoli, it will suddenly look like you are eating a large meal while only adding a few extra calories.
4. Don't Skip Meals. Based on the previous point, I suppose this is obvious; but, many people do use skipping meals as a weight loss strategy. However, our human brain logic usually says, “I didn't eat lunch so I can afford a second piece of bread at supper.”
Studies have shown that skipping meals typically does not result in less calorie consumption. In fact, in many case, it leads to a higher calorie intake. And, not feeding your body regularly can slow metabolism or cause it to go into a fat storing mode, which will make it even harder to lose weight. Waiting too long between meals could be the main reason why you are having a hard time shedding those pounds.
5. Be Aware Of Mindless Eating. Have you ever sat down in front of the television with a huge bowl of popcorn and suddenly notice that every last morsel was gone without you even realizing how much you had eaten? Do you ever find yourself mindlessly munching when you are distracted or absorbed in an activity?
When you don't pay attention to what you eat, it is very easy to underestimate how much you are actually consuming. If this is a problem for you, record everything in a journal so you can see exactly what you are eating throughout the day. And, when you want a snack, give yourself a set amount and no more. If you sit down with the whole bag of potato chips, chances are you will eat every last bite. So, fill a small bowl and don't go for seconds.
6. Be Aware Of Why You Eat. Do you have a tendency to overeat when you are bored or stressed. Are you an emotionally-driven eater? If so, find non-food ways to handle stress (yoga is great because it will help relieve tension while also burning calories) or take up a hobby to keep your mind off eating.
7. Allow Indulgences. Don't give up your favorite treats. This will only make you feel deprived and more likely to binge. But, don't over-indulge either. It's all about moderation (remember the 80/20 rule?). Allowing yourself to eat what you like once in a while will actually help you stay on track.
8. Avoid Late Night Snacking. Those late night munchies, especially when you are watching tv, can be very distracting – almost thought consuming. But, resist the urge. Don't eat anything after supper, and do your best to eat more calories earlier in the day and less later in the day.
Not only is this better for your metabolism, but it will also help improve your sleeping patterns and give your body the chance to regenerate and rebuild while you are off in dreamland.
9. Store Leftovers Immediately. Once you have served yourself the allowable portion, put leftovers away so you will be less likely to go for seconds.
10. Slow Down. When you eat slowly, it takes a smaller amount to fill you up. Shoving food in too quickly usually leads to overeating. By the time the food reaches your stomach and you realize that you are uncomfortably full, you have already eaten way too many calories. Besides, eating slowly and enjoying your meal is much better for your digestive system.
11. Plan Ahead. When you plan meals and snacks ahead of time, you will be less likely to make unhealthy impulse choices. It is also a good idea to make a grocery list so you can get the foods you need while also avoiding the junk food aisle – out of sight, out of mind, right?
12. The Holidays. Eating right during the holidays can be a real challenge. No sooner do you get done with one holiday but another one pops up.
13. Read Labels. Too many times we fall victim to the “low fat”, “low-cal” marketing schemes. Unfortunately, a lot of so called “healthy” foods are full of salt and sugar – two main culprits of weight gain.
14. Water. Water boosts metabolism, controls appetite, flushes toxins that prevent weight loss, and increases energy levels. Some studies have even shown that in many cases, thirst is often confused with hunger, so people will reach for a snack when all they really need is a glass of H20. Besides, drinks can add a lot of extra calories to your diet, so when you stick to water, you are getting all the benefits without the unnecessary fat or sugar.
15. Focus On The Positive. Since you are making lifestyle changes, it is important to look at the benefits rather than the sacrifices. It is a bit of an oxymoron since we are talking about weight loss, but when it comes to food, try to stay focused on what you are gaining rather than what you are losing.
Think about all the new and interesting healthy foods you can add to your diet instead of lamenting the loss of your daily donut or pastry. Set goals and document your success. Results can be motivating! Visualize yourself thin and keep the goal before you at all times.
16. Be Active. Do less sitting. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand in front of your desk to work instead of staying in your chair. Get up and move around as much as possible. Wear a pedometer and set a goal for the number of daily steps. You might be surprised at the difference a little more activity can make.
17. Diversify Your Workouts. Keep things interesting. Not only will you stave off boredom, but your body won't get too comfortable with a regular routine. Since muscle burns more calories, try to add at least a couple of strength training sessions into your program.
18. Sleep. With the demands of a busy schedule, it is sometimes difficult to get enough sleep, but it is a key factor in the weight loss process. Sleep affects the hormones in your body that control hunger, appetite, fat burning, fat storage, and muscle maintenance. Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels which is a main contributor to belly fat. Also, when you are tired or fatigued, you are more likely to reach for a high sugar snack to get an energy boost and less likely to make healthy food choices.
Losing weight isn't easy, keeping it off is
even harder. But, if you have been struggling, a small, simple change might
make all the difference. Whether it is eating more often, going to bed earlier,
packing your own snacks, or reading labels to reduce sodium and sugar intake, a
few little tweaks could reset your metabolism and help kick-in the weight loss
process. Hopefully this weight loss diet tip guide will help you reach your weight loss goals.
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I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.