Adopt a healthy lifestyle: dieting refers to a period of time – you go on a diet and then you go off a diet. Studies show that the average person who “diets” will eventually go off their diet and will gain not only the pounds they lost but up to an additional 20lbs! Let’s change the “diet” idea into a Lifestyle Change – where we incorporate life-long habits.
Drink plenty of water: 8-10 glasses per day. There are three reasons for this:
(1) to increase metabolism (the process in which we burn calories effectively)
(2) Often the body cannot distinguish between hunger and thirst – so instead of reaching for a calorie-packed meal, reach for water first; it may be that you are only thirsty.
(3) Drinking 8-10 glasses of water will also help with digestion and give you a sense of fullness.
Don’t skip breakfast: you have probably heard the statement, “it’s the most important meal of the day,” and it’s true! A breakfast high in protein and fiber will jump-start your metabolism and keep you full for most of the morning!
Follow the 90/10 rule: 90% of the time make every effort to choose healthy foods (high protein, high fiber, low fat, low sugar) and allow yourself the 10% for those special occasions (e.g., birthday party cake).
Reduce/eliminate amount of sugary drinks: drinks with high sugars, artificial colors and synthetic sweeteners. Drinks that claim to be fruit drinks tend to be mostly sugar, with a very low percentage of actual fruit juice (in some cases as low as 5% fruit juice), so be aware of ingredients. But the general rule for juice is “it’s better to eat the whole fruit rather than to drink the juice”, because there are more nutrients and less sugar content in the whole fruit versus the juice.
Watch your portion size
Calories Out (calories burned through physical activity) should exceed Calories In (calories consumed) for weight loss
Set short-term goals: to reach your “ultimate” goal, start with 5-10% of weight . E.g., if you are 180 pounds and want to be 140 pounds (40 pounds may be ultimate goal), start by losing 18 pounds first.
Make your goals specific, attainable, measureable: Here is an example of how to develop a specific, attainable, measureable goal: “get more active” may be too general; “walk 5 miles per day” may not be attainable if your just starting out; “walk 30 min/day” may be difficult because of the possibility of days when the weather is bad or you work late; “walk 30 minutes, 5 days a week” is a good goal because it is simultaneously specific, attainable, and measureable.
Reward yourself for reaching intermittent short-term goals—but not with food! Good rewards could include going to a movie, getting a massage, etc.
Self-monitor: find out what your cues for unhealthy behavior are, e.g., “I eat more when watching TV.” Then make a plan to respond to these cues in healthier ways.
Get the Fullness Message: Changing the way you go about eating can make it easier to eat less without feeling deprived. It takes 15 or more minutes for your brain to get the message you’ve been fed. Slowing the rate of eating can allow fullness signals to begin to develop by the end of the meal.
Pay attention to the Nutrition Facts Label: It is important to understand how to read the nutrition facts label (see below) to make quick, informed food choices that will contribute to a healthy diet.