Lifestyle: In our eat-and-run, massive-portion-sized culture, maintaining a healthy weight can be tough—and losing weight, even tougher. If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight before, you may believe that diets don’t work for you. But while there’s no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve lasting weight-loss success.
The truth is there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To find the method of weight loss that’s right for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with different foods and diets.
1. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Eating breakfast revs up your metabolism. If you skip breakfast you’re likely to eat more calories by binging later in the day. But Pop-tarts, donuts and Hot Pockets don’t cut it. Cooked oatmeal, whole grain cereals, whole grain breads, eggs and tofu with a salad are all healthy choices.
2. Stop counting calories and eat foods that nourish your body. A meal of fat-free, sugar-free, refined processed foods is also nutrient-free. Plus, it won’t satisfy you for long compared to a meal of nutrient-dense whole foods like vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fat. As you begin eating more nutritious foods and get a little more physical activity, your body will come to its natural healthy weight.
3. Always have some veggies and fruit washed and cut in your fridge. This way they’re easy to grab when you’re hungry (instead of reaching for that giant-size bag of potato chips) and you can throw them in your bag when you’re on the go.
4. Replace diet soda with unsweetened beverages. Diet drinks keep your sweet tooth craving sweets. Plus, they make you feel virtuous. Many people who drink diet drinks actually reward themselves with extra calories through the day. Instead, drink iced teas or plain or carbonated water with a slice of lemon or lime.
5. Use the “Plate Method” to make a healthy meal. Fill half your plate with low or non-starchy veggies like broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, string beans, mushrooms, peppers, or leafy greens and some fruit. Fill one quarter, with a whole grain like brown rice, barley, bulgur, or quinoa, or a starchy vegetable like corn or potatoes, or beans. Fill the last quarter with protein like broiled, sauteed, roasted, or baked (not fried) fish, chicken or turkey without the skin, lean cuts of meat, tofu or eggs.
6. Cut down on carbs. Refined carbohydrates (cake, candy, cookies, muffins, scones, cupcakes, soda, fruit juice, syrups, chips, and most supermarket breads) you don’t burn turn into fat. Even foods like fruit yogurt and many breakfast cereals have lots of added sugar. Replace fruity yogurts with Greek plain yogurt, choose high-fiber, lower carb cereal and add small amounts of healthy fat to your meals with avocado slices, unsalted nuts, seeds and olive oil.
7. Shrink your lunch and dinner plates. If you and your family eat off a plate larger than ten inches, replace them with plates that are nine or ten inches in diameter. We tend to eat what’s in front of us. Using smaller plates there’s less food in front of you to eat.
8. When eating out ask your server to double the green veggies in place of the potato or rice. I always do this and benefit from more nutrition and less carbs. Also, share food at the table. My husband and I always share an appetizer and when with a group, if someone orders dessert, it comes with a spoon for everyone.
9. Keep tempting foods out of the house. Stocks your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and you’re creating an environment that will help make you successful. Enjoy treats occasionally when you’re out.