Losing weight is difficult. Unfortunately, this fact is unavoidable. Dieting is often a rigorous process that requires huge amounts of time, commitment, and willpower. This is what dooms most dieting! We are all busy, we have jobs and families, and at the end of the day, we just want to unwind and relax instead of weighing grapes on a food scale. So if you want to make changes in your life, without drastically decreasing your quality of life, here are five useful diet tips that are sure to make a difference.
1. Always Have Snacks on Hand
Bringing your own snacks accomplishes several things. First, it keeps you from getting hungry and splurging on something unhealthy and fattening; second, it keeps your metabolism working faster and more efficiently. Snacking throughout the day will ensure that you will be able to say no to those calorie-laden cookies that your co-worker brought in, and it will help you keep your main meals smaller as well. Snacks are also a good way to get some essential nutrients into your diet. Good snack options include dried or fresh fruits, and easy-to-pack veggies such as carrots or celery, and nuts.
2. Do Something After Eating
Oftentimes, once you’ve eaten your well-portioned dinner, the temptation to keep eating is strong. Maybe you’re not quite full yet; maybe you want “something sweet” to chase your dinner with. Whatever it may be, it’s not a good idea. Your meal was most likely enough food, and getting to the point of “full” will delay your dieting goals. In order to avoid the urge to continue eating, consider diverting your attention elsewhere.
Some people find it helpful to floss or brush their teeth after eating. Alternately, you may decide to go for a walk or do a household chore. The truth of the matter is, many times we eat not because we are hungry, but because we are bored and food is our go-to entertainment. If you re-focus yourself on something even remotely productive, you will most likely forget that you were “hungry” a moment ago and go on with your day. Overeating is never good, so do your best to trick yourself out of it.
3. Write Down Your Progress
There are many smartphone apps that can keep track of your food intake and your weight. However, studies show that you are much more likely to fully process information if you manually handle it. In the case of dieting, actually writing down something that can be tracked, such as your daily weight or the number of calories you burned during a workout, can be immensely helpful in staying on track. Something as simple as writing down your weight on a calendar can make all the difference.
4. Cut The Easy Things First
Many people feel overwhelmed by dieting because they feel like they have to give up everything they love, from sugar and carbs to fried things. While ultimately yes, you will have to give up at least some of those things in order to make healthier eating choices, your diet can start much more simply. Give up the easier things first!
For example, many people do not realize how many calories they drink. Foregoing sugary drinks for water can help you quickly shed pounds. Remember that even if you are not drinking fruity mixed drinks, alcohol has a great deal of sugar and can easily rack up calories during a night out.
Another easy diet decision may be switching from fried to baked. In many cases, this is not difficult to do, and the taste results are negligible. Potatoes, meats, and veggies are all very bakeable and can yield great results with a pinch of salt and a bit of olive oil.
Take stock of your eating habits, and cast off anything unhealthy that you won’t miss too much. Making small and incremental changes will set you on the path to weight loss, which will motivate you to make even bigger changes in the future.
5. Do Your Own Cooking
This is a common dieting recommendation, but it always bears repeating. You will always be more successful at losing weight if you are in charge of your own meals. Yes, most restaurants feature calorie listings on their menus nowadays, but ultimately, you still do not know what you’re eating.
After consuming a 400+ calorie meal in a chain restaurant, you may find yourself hungry within two hours. Why? Because not all calories are created equal, and most chain restaurants are not too concerned with nutrition. When cooking for yourself, you can make a 400-calorie meal that will keep you full and energized for hours. What’s more, the leftovers from a meal you’ve cooked can serve as the next day’s lunch or snack.
In the end, there is no “easy” way to lose weight. Dieting will always require some level of work and commitment, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself. The idea of changing your life drastically and immediately, as many diets require, is overwhelming and, ultimately, unsustainable.
Starting with small steps that make a noticeable difference is the best way to keep on track and adhere to a diet. If you have tried and failed before, don’t give up! Consider implementing these five entirely reasonable changes, and watch how well they can work for you. For more diet tips or for more information on healthy living choices, keep reading our blog or feel free to contact us.