Shari Duncan

CHOOSING and STICKING to a Healthy Eating Plan
Shari

by on Feb.17, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

Are you controlling your diet or is your diet taking control of you?

To be successful in anything, including eating to lose weight, the process need not be too extreme or complicated. You will never stick with a diet plan that is not reasonable for you or your lifestyle. Strict diets and resolutions may seem good in theory, but they have a huge flaw built into them. More often, these fad diets will only set you up for failure. If your diet seems like some form of torture and the foods you eat give you no pleasure, you will not be successful.  Rather than trying to follow the exact rules of a particular diet, use sensible guidelines to point you in the right direction.

Add variety and Color to you menu

Add lots of variety and Color to you menu

HAVE LOTS OF FOOD CHOICES:

  • Don’t limit yourself to 5 or 6 foods.  This makes absolutely no sense.  Eat from all food groups. There are unlimited nutritious foods available to you and variety will keep you from straying.  “Grapefruit” or “cabbage soup” diets may take weight off temporarily but they will not work for the long term.
  • Shop around the edge of the grocery store. These tend to be the fresher, less processed items. You’ll have better nutritional options in those areas. Fresh produce, whole grains, dairy, meats, fish and poultry are found around the perimeter of the store. Sticking to the basics also keeps it simple.  Preparing and eating healthy need not be complicated.
  • Choose whole grains whenever possible.  Bright colors over white.  Wheat for white breads and pastas.  Brown for white rice. Sweet potatos instead of white,  etc.  Make a habit of preparing extra portions so leftovers can be placed in reusable containers for the next days meals.
  • Bake, broil, grill, sauté but do not deep fry.  It is more about HOW you prepare the food.  Use healthy oils like olive oil or non-stick sprays and experiment freely with herbs and spices for different flavors.  Stay away from butter, cream sauces, and added sugars.
  • Do not forget about the value of water.  Staying well hydrated is not only vital to good health but drinking at least 8–10 glasses of water daily will also help you feel full.  Add fresh lemon or lime.

Take Part in Regular Snacking

Eating more frequently with sensible portions will keep you from getting too hungry between meals and will keep your mind off of food.   There is a common misconception that snacking is wrong and that it is what puts most people’s weight on. However, the truth is that snacking actually benefits the body by accelerating the metabolism; it is what you are snacking on that matters!

Snacking stops the body from becoming hungry. It is unhealthy to leave the body without food for a long period of time and so snacking helps to bridge the gap before meal times. Just ensure that you are snacking on the right foods and you should be ok.

Some good snack choices include: low fat air popped popcorn, fresh fruit and veggies,  cottage cheese, greek or low sugar yogurt, cereal bars, protein bars or  nutrition shakes and smoothies, rice cakes with peanut butter, whole grain crackers with hummus, boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups,  low fat cheese, nuts or seeds.

Have a realistic approach. Healthy weight loss is about 2 lbs a week.   If you’re losing only 1 or 2 pounds a week, you shouldn’t experience tremendous hunger. Not if you plan your meals and snacks correctly.

Go ahead, dine out.

Dining out is easy when you know how and what to order

Dining out is easy when you know how and what to order

Eating out is fine if you know how to order. You do not need to socially isolate yourself or avoid going out with family or friends…

Don’t be timid to ask your server to prepare the food a certain way.  Here are a couple of things to remember:

. avoid fried entries and those made with cream sauces. Baked or grilled poultry or fish are best options.
. ask for steamed veggies or fresh fruit as sides.
. salads – ALWAYS order dressing on the side (vinagrette much better than ranch)
. if you order an appetizer,  order a broth based soup and skip the rolls!
. Drink Water with lemon or lime.

When you know you will be going out to eat, DO NOT starve yourself all day. BAD IDEA! Continue to eat your smaller size meals through the day so you will not be FAMISHED by the time you get to the restaurant. When you get too hungry, you tend to not only overeat but also make bad choices.

Participate in some form of exercise program.

Just like your meal plan, exercise should not be another form of torture.  Find an activity you enjoy or find a partner to work out with you to make it more fun.  If you are not self motivated or uncertain about what to do once you get to the gym, join in a group fitness class.  Match the activity to your interest and you will be more likely to stick with it.  Group classes also add the element of accountability.  Think of it as a weekly appointment that you cannot miss.  Open your mind up to try something new; you may surprise yourself at what you can do.

REMEMBER THIS, one of the many benefits of working out is that it builds lean muscle.  And the more muscle you build, the more you continue to burn the fat!

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