No one enjoys being on a diet. All too often, you find yourself concentrating on all the things you’re no longer able to have: cakes, cookies, pasta, and piles of bread. It’s even worse when you contemplate the idea of a lifestyle change instead of a diet. Are you really going to have to give up all of those things permanently? It seems absolutely miserable! Developing a diet plan that works for you, however, isn’t about deprivation. It’s about improving your relationship with food to create a happier, healthier you.
1. Look for alternatives to your favorite treats.
One of the worst parts of any diet is the food that you feel like you can’t have anymore, which typically includes your favorite treats. Women, however, cannot live on carrot sticks alone, nor should they try. The more you deprive yourself, the harder it is to keep your diet on track. You may struggle along until you find yourself “cheating” more often, sneaking in things you know you aren’t “supposed to have,” and ultimately, giving up on your diet altogether, just as you have all too many times in the past.
The reality is that dieting doesn’t have to be miserable! In fact, you may discover that some of your favorite treats can be made over to be truly good for you. Instead of feeling deprived, check out some of these delicious substitutes that actually satisfy on the same level as the decadent goodies you “can’t have.”
- Instead of sitting down with a bag of chips, try a big bowl of air-popped popcorn.
- Lack of ice cream getting you down? Frozen yogurt or ice cream made from almond milk is a much healthier, lower-calorie alternative.
- Looking for a way to soften your sweet tooth? Check out Chocolate Covered Katie, a fantastic resource for healthy dessert recipes.
- Craving pizza? Try a cauliflower crust to significantly reduce your calories without missing out on your favorite toppings and flavors.
- Missing pasta? Whole wheat noodles are an excellent substitute. You’ll also find that zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash are an excellent, lower-calorie alternative.
2. Be realistic about the number of calories you need.
For some reason, many women feel as though they must follow a diet that consists of just 1,200 calories per day. If you panic at the thought of exceeding that number when you’re on a diet, chances are, you’ve fallen victim to a common myth.
The reality is that a 1,200-calorie diet is just shy of starvation. 1,200 calories are actually the minimum that your body needs to survive, and falling into the trap of cutting calories too tightly can cause a host of health problems that you’ll live with for years once you’re actually off of that diet.
You don’t just want to be thinner. Ultimately, your goal should be a healthy, well-fueled body that’s capable of doing the things you ask of it. In order to find your true caloric goal, there are several things you can try.
- Use an online calorie calculator to determine the number of calories you really need per day. This is a wonderful approach if your days normally contain about the same amount of activity.
- Check out a personal fitness tracker. They don’t provide perfect estimates, especially if you’re doing weight training or heavy lifting, but they can give you a more accurate estimate of the number of calories you really burn each day.
- Gauge the way you feel. If you’re tired and dragging, never feel as though you have enough energy, or are constantly hungry, chances are, you need to reevaluate your diet and substantially increase the number of calories you’re consuming.
3. Be honest with yourself.
All too often, when you’re trying to diet and exercise for weight loss, you’ll find yourself making excuses, especially if you’re using a fitness tracking app to calculate the number of calories you’re burning versus the number you’re taking in. In order to take full advantage of those calculations, however, you have to be honest with yourself. It doesn’t do you any good to track calories in versus calories out if you’re going to fudge the numbers.
Here are a few hints that can help you stay honest about your eating habits, while also staying healthy and not shooting too high.
Learn about portion size. Often, portion sizes are difficult to calculate, especially if you’re eating at a restaurant or don’t have a kitchen scale. Being realistic about your portion sizes, however, is the only way to get an accurate calculation of the calories you’ve actually consumed.
Be realistic about your exercise. It’s okay to have a slow day when you spend more of your “run” at a walking pace than you do at anything faster than a jog. When you’re calculating calories burned during that exercise, however, you need to be honest with yourself in order to get an accurate number. Don’t count a full aerobic workout when you barely broke a sweat because you were moving slowly.
Track patterns. You probably aren’t exercising seven days a week, and you shouldn’t be! Your body needs time to recover from strenuous exercise and be ready to dive back in next time. On the other hand, if you’re skipping workouts more often than you’re making time for them, it makes sense that you’ll struggle to meet your fitness goals. The same goes for your eating: an occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing, but regularly overindulging can lead to the very weight gain that you’re trying to avoid.
Dieting is never easy. It helps to take the attitude that this is a long-term goal: you aren’t going to lose the extra weight overnight, but you can make healthy lifestyle changes that will help you work your way to the body you really want. Looking for more healthy lifestyle tips? Contact us today for more information.