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Diet Tips


Everyone knows the keys to losing weight: Eat less and exercise more. Sounds simple enough, but in the context of real life and its demands, it can be anything but simple. So how do successful losers do it? According to WebMD who conducted a survey of experts, their best diet tips are:

     1.    Drink plenty of water or other calorie-free beverages.

People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. So you can end up eating extra calories when an ice-cold glass of water is really what you need.

"If you don't like plain water, try adding citrus or a splash of juice, or brew infused teas like mango or peach, which have lots of flavor but no calories," says Cynthia Sass, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

    2.    Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away.

Start by focusing on getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

"It sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it, because at the same time you are meeting your fiber goals and feeling more satisfied from the volume of food," says chef Laura Pansiero, RD.

You're also less likely to overeat because fruits and vegetables displace fat in the diet. And that's not to mention the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. More than 200 studies have documented the disease-preventing qualities of phytochemicals found in produce, says Pansiero.

Her suggestion for getting more: Work vegetables into meals instead of just serving them as sides on a plate.

    3. Consider whether you're really hungry.

Whenever you feel like eating, look for physical signs of hunger, suggests Michelle May, MD, author of Am I Hungry?

"Hunger is your body's way of telling you that you need fuel, so when a craving doesn't come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it," she says.

When you're done eating, you should feel better -- not stuffed, bloated, or tired.

"Your stomach is only the size of your fist, so it takes just a handful of food to fill it comfortably," says May.

Keeping your portions reasonable will help you get more in touch with your feelings of hunger and fullness.

    4.  Be choosy about nighttime snacks.

Mindless eating occurs most frequently after dinner, when you finally sit down and relax.

"Sitting down with a bag of chips or cookies in front of the television is an example of eating amnesia, where you mindlessly eat without being hungry, but out of habit," says American Dietetic Association spokesperson Malena Perdomo, RD.

Either close down the kitchen after a certain hour, or allow yourself a low-calorie snack, like a 100-calorie pack of cookies or a half-cup scoop of low-fat ice cream. Once you find that you're usually satisfied with the low-cal snack, try a cup of zero-calorie tea, suggests Perdomo.

    5. Enjoy your favorite foods.

 "I think putting your favorite foods off limits leads to weight gain because it triggers 'rebound' overeating," says Sass.

Instead of cutting out your favorite foods altogether, be a slim shopper. Buy one fresh bakery cookie instead of a box, or a small portion of candy from the bulk bins instead of a whole bag.

"You can enjoy your favorite foods, but you must do so in moderation," says Sass.

    6. Enjoy your treats away from home.

When you need a treat, Ellie Krieger, RD, host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite, suggests taking a walk to your local ice cream parlor or planning a family outing.

"By making it into an adventure, you don't have to worry about the temptation of having treats in the house, and it is a fun and pleasurable way to make it work when you are trying to lose weight," says Krieger.

And for those times you just can't get out? Krieger stocks her kitchen with fresh fruit, which she thinks can be every bit as delicious as any other dessert.

    7. Eat several mini-meals during the day.

If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. But when you're hungry all the time, eating fewer calories can be challenging.

"Studies show people who eat 4-5 meals or snacks per day are better able to control their appetite and weight," says obesity researcher Rebecca Reeves, DrPH, RD.

She recommends dividing your daily calories into smaller meals or snacks and enjoying as many of them as you can early in the day -- dinner should be the last time you eat.

    8. Eat protein at every meal.

Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and thus may be the new secret weapon in weight control.

"Diets higher in protein [and] moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to help weight loss," says University of Illinois protein researcher Donald Layman, PhD.

Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans, at meals and snacks.

    9. Spice it up.

Add spices or chiles to your food for a flavor boost that can help you feel satisfied.

"Food that is loaded with flavor will stimulate your taste buds and be more satisfying so you won't eat as much," says Perdomo.

When you need something sweet, suck on a red-hot fireball candy for a long-lasting burst of sweetness with just a few calories.

     10. Stock your kitchen with healthy convenience foods.

Having ready-to-eat snacks and meals-in-minutes staples on hand sets you up for success. You'll be less likely to hit the drive-through or call in a pizza order if you can make a healthy meal in 5 or 10 minutes.

    11. Order childrens portions at restaurants.

"When you are eating out, order a child's pizza or a small sandwich as an easy way to trim calories and get your portions under control," suggest Perdomo.

Another trick is to use smaller plates. This helps the portions look like more, and if your mind is satisfied, your stomach likely will be, too.

    12. Eat foods in season.

"If you don't love certain fruits or vegetables, it could be because you ate them out of season when they have little taste or flavor," says Pensiero. "When you eat seasonally, fruits and vegetables are more flavorful, at their best, and I promise you won't be disappointed."

    13. Swap a cup of pasta for a cup of vegetables.

Simply by eating less pasta or bread and more veggies, you could lose a dress or pants size in a year.

"You can save from 100-200 calories if you reduce the portion of starch on your plate and increase the amount of vegetables," says Sass.

    14. Use non-food alternatives to cope with stress.

Sooner or later, you're going to be faced with a stressful situation. Instead of turning to food for comfort, be prepared with some non-food tactics that work for you.

Sass suggests reading a few chapters in a novel, listening to music, writing in a journal, practicing meditative deep breathing, or looking at a photo album of loved ones.

     15. Be physically active.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, don't use exercise either to punish yourself for eating or to "earn" the right to eat more.

"When you do, it sets up a negative thought pattern, which is why so many people say they hate to exercise," says May.

Instead, focus on how great you feel, how much better you sleep and how much more energy you have when you exercise. Physical activity is good for you whether you are trying to lose weight or not, so keep it positive and build a lifelong habit.

DIET MISTAKES

According to WebMD, simple diet mistakes can derail your best efforts to get back into that favorite pair of jeans. If the scale seems stuck, or your weight drops off only to bounce back up, there’s a chance you could be making one of these 12 weight loss blunders:

  1.  Relying on Crash Diets: Determined to lose 10 pounds fast, you turn to a crash diet. Perhaps your plan calls for nothing but grapefruit or cabbage soup each day. You slash your daily calories to fewer than 1,000 -- and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly -- and gains weight more quickly -- than ever before
  2. Skipping Breakfast: Skipping breakfast seems like a simple way to cut calories, but the result can be insatiable hunger the rest of the day. This may lead to unplanned snacking at the office and eating a super-size portion at lunch, making calorie counts soars. But breakfasts that are high in protein and fiber can reduce hunger throughout the day. In fact, studies show people who eat breakfast every morning are more likely to maintain a healthy weight

  3. Losing Track of Your Snacks: Maybe you count calories meticulously at every meal, but what about all those nibbles in between? There’s the bag of pretzels at your desk, the little slice of cake at an office party, the taste of your son’s ice cream cone. All of this mindless munching adds up and could sabotage an otherwise well-planned diet. If you’re serious about counting calories, you may want to use a notebook to keep track of each bite.

  4. Not Snacking at All: While mindless snacking can pad your waistline, thoughtful snacking may do just the opposite. People who eat several small meals and snacks a day are more likely to control hunger and lose weight. Snacking helps keep your metabolism in high gear, especially if the snacks are protein-rich. Nuts are a good, high-protein choice, and research suggests people who snack on nuts tend to be slimmer than those who don't.

  5. Loading Up on Low-Fat: Low-fat products can play an important role in your diet. Just remember that low-fat isn’t the same as low-calorie and it’s not a license to take second and third helpings. If you pile your plate with low-fat cake, you may end up eating more calories than if you had a smaller slice of regular cake. The best way to know how much fat, sugar, and calories you’re getting is to check the nutritional label.

  6. Sipping Too Many Calories: When counting calories, many of us tend to overlook what’s in our drinks. This is a big mistake when you consider that some fancy coffees and alcoholic beverages have more than 500 calories. Even the calories in fruit juice and soda can add up quickly. What’s worse is that liquid calories don’t curb hunger. You’re not going to eat any less after a high-calorie drink.

  7. Drinking Too Little Water: This is one of the simplest diet blunders to fix. Water is essential for burning calories. If you let yourself get dehydrated, your metabolism drags -- and that means slower weight loss. Research suggests adults who drink eight or more glasses of water per day burn more calories than those who drink less. So try adding a glass of water to every meal and snack.

  8. Ditching Dairy: Milk, cheese, and ice cream are taboo for many dieters, but ditching dairy foods may be counterproductive. Some research suggests the body burns more fat when it gets enough calcium and produces more fat when it’s calcium-deprived. Calcium supplements do not appear to yield the same benefits, so dairy may have other compounds at work as well. Most dietitians recommend sticking to nonfat or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.

  9. Taking the Drive-Through Bait: The drive-through is convenient after a hectic day and you can always order the salad or other healthier option. But once you’re there, can you resist that milkshake or other treat? And if you allow yourself the ease of fast food once, it could become a habit. According to one long-term study, people who ate fast food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than those who had it less than once a week.

  10. Weighing Yourself Every Day: Weighing yourself daily is a recipe for frustration and doesn’t yield useful information. It’s more important to look for a long-term trend with weekly weigh-ins. If your goal is to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week, you’ll be satisfied to see those full-pound drops when you step on the scale. The result is more motivating than the confusing swings that may accompany daily weigh-ins.

  11. Setting Unrealistic Goals:  Telling yourself you’ll lose 20 pounds your first week is probably setting yourself up for failure. If you know you won’t be able to do it, you may never start your diet in the first place. If you do diet and lose 5 pounds in a week, instead of celebrating, you may feel discouraged that you didn’t reach your goal. A realistic goal is vital to successful dieting. If you’re not sure what your goal should be, talk to a dietitian.

  12. Avoiding Exercise: When you don’t exercise, you place the entire burden of weight loss on your diet. If you become more active, you can eat more of the things you like -- and still lose weight. The key is finding an exercise you enjoy. If the treadmill seems tedious, try swimming, ballet, biking, or Ping-Pong, all of which burn more calories than walking. Spend time at different activities until you find one you want to do on most days.

http://www.craive.org.uk/