Everyone has their own theory on weight loss and many people believe in following ridiculous fad diets – the cookie diet, eat like a caveman diet, cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet, etc. While these diets may have people claiming they lost weight – it is only temporary!! Many “diets” are misleading and can lead to serious health problems.
So what has been shown to actually work for the long term?
– If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! There is no magic pill or formula that will make you shed weight without the work. Also, avoid any diet plan that eliminates an entire food group.
– Pay attention to how many calories you consume, and be sure to spread them throughout the day. Aim for three smaller meals per day and a healthy snack. If you consume only one meal per day, you may actually consume more calories than you would if you ate throughout the day! Also, your metabolism may slow down from essentially starving yourself the rest of the day.
– Listen to your body. Eat only when hungry. After finishing your plate, wait 10-15 minutes to see if you are still hungry before getting seconds.
– Eat more high volume, nutrient rich, low-calorie foods. Water packed veggies and fruit will keep you feeling full with fewer calories compared to the same amount of say, pasta.
– Move it! Increase your exercise. If you can’t make it to a gym, park farther away, use the stairs, run your own errands at work, use part of your lunch break to walk around the building, etc. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day.
– Eat more fiber. It will keep you full longer and fight hunger from coming back as quick. Fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, and other plant based foods.
– Consume less processed foods. These tend to be higher in fat and calories and lower in nutrients. Read the nutrition facts labels.
– Don’t drink your calories. A 12-oz soda can add about 150 liquid calories without you even noticing! Choose a calorie-free replacement, such as water.
– Use portion control. Many restaurants have portion distortion and give you more than 2 times the actual serving size of a food item. Pack half to go prior to eating.
– Keep a food log. Writing down what you eat as you eat it may prevent you from making an unhealthy decision. It will open your eyes to how much you are taking in. At the end of your day, calculate the calories you ate using an online calculator such as MyPlate SuperTracker.
– Meet with a Registered Dietitian (such as me!) to determine your daily needs. A dietitian will tailor your new healthy lifestyle plan to your exact needs and food preferences. This will help you stick to the plan since it won’t be a “diet” but a healthy way of living!