Pair these tips with your favorite diet plan or use them as a stand alone program to help you shed pounds and feel better than ever before!
Tip #1 – Water Load
When it comes to losing weight, there’s no more powerful weapon than water. Making this your number one beverage will allow you to see results much faster. The typical person is recommended to have at least 6-8 glasses of water daily. For real weight loss, you can drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. It may seem hard to down that much water when you aren’t used to it. There are several ways you can add water that will make it easier to swallow.
- Keep a water glass on the kitchen counter. Make this a special glass that’s one of your favorites. Fill it up each time you walk into the kitchen.
- Drink a glass of water before meals. This will help to make you feel full and get more water in your body.
- Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. If you have water with you, you’ll be more likely to drink it.
- At restaurants, skip the soda and stick to water. It’s better for you and it’s almost always free.
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up each morning. It will help to hydrate you and give you a pick-me-up.
- Add lemon to water. Sometimes the taste of water keeps people from enjoying its health benefits. Adding a squirt of lemon or limejuice can help to perk up the flavor.
- Drink water cold. While some people enjoy room temperature water, many people find it more palatable when it’s cold.
Why is water so important? You are made of more than 70% water. Every cell in your body requires water in order to carry out its processes. You need water to dissolve important vitamins and minerals. Water helps to regulate your blood pressure, your body temperature, and keeps things running smoothly. When you don’t give your body enough water, it holds onto it. When you give it plenty, you’re less likely to retain water.
Your body also gets rid of fat through sweat and urination. If you’re not providing it with water, you’re not giving that fat an easy exit. But by drinking plenty of water, you’ll lose weight faster and you’ll feel better.
Tip #2 – Ditch the Diet Soda
It’s pretty common for someone to go on a diet and then immediately make the switch to diet soda. And while diet soda is free from calories and fat, it isn’t the best thing you can do for your waistline or your health. Diet soda is full of chemical sweeteners that have been shown to have some negative effects. For example, saccharine is a known carcinogen – which means it can cause cancer. And other sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, can actually cause your blood sugar to spike. While your body isn’t actually receiving sugar, these sweeteners trick it into thinking it is. This can make you feel hungrier – something you don’t want when you’re trying to take off a few extra pounds.
Drinking soda also decreases the amount of water you consume. This can also have negative effects on weight loss and dieting. If soda is your regular drink, you’ll want to look at ways to limit consumption. Instead of drinking diet soda, there are many things you can do:
- Drink regular soda. If you have to have the flavor of soda it would be better to drink a real one and account for the calories in your diet plan.
- Drink carbonated water such as Perrier and Pellegrino. These have the slightest taste of citrus, but don’t have the calories or artificial ingredients. Making a mix of half juice and half club soda can give you a sweet soda flavor and the feeling of bubbles without the artificial ingredients.
- Make iced herbal tea. This can be a satisfying, flavorful drink that you can use to replace the need for soda with a meal.
For some people, ditching the soda habit can be tough. You may be addicted to the caffeine as well as the flavor. You may not want to quit cold turkey. It’s a good idea to cut back if you’re someone who drinks several sodas daily. Instead, try to limit soda to once each day. Look at it as a treat, rather than your main beverage. Eventually, you’ll find that you don’t have to have as much in order to be satisfied and you may even find that you can let it go completely.
Diet soda is not the best thing for a diet. It’s time to say goodbye to soda and hello to a new you. By drinking more water and less soda, you’ll find that weight loss is a much easier challenge. You’ll also save money – soda can be a bit pricey.
Tip #3 – Fill Up on Fruits and Veggies
Most diets extol the virtues of fruits and vegetables. These natural products are chock full of vitamins and minerals that help your body to function properly. They also happen to be very tasty. For this reason, the recommendation for most people is to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies (combined) each day. For some people that’s pretty easy, but others find that many hard to attain.
Dieters can especially enjoy the benefits of fruits and vegetables because they are filling and very low calorie. That means you can eat a lot of them without totally going over your calorie goal for the day. While you know you need to eat your fruits and vegetables, many people are confused about how to incorporate them into their everyday diet. Here are a few tips to help you get your servings of plant-based foods:
- Try new foods. There is a huge variety of available fruits and vegetables available at your local supermarket. Try to pick up a new one each time you go shopping and research healthy ways to prepare it.
- Substitute spaghetti squash for actual spaghetti. It’s low calorie and delicious. Kids especially like to see how the squash turns into “noodles” after cooking.
- Eat a salad with every meal. This is a simple way to add veggies. Make one big bowl of salad and eat it for the entire week.
- Roast vegetables for easy flavor. All you need is a cookie sheet, some olive oil, and a little salt and pepper to make delicious roasted veggies. This is an easy way to add any type of vegetable to your dinner plate.
- Keep raw veggies on hand. Most people like raw carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and snap peas with dip. Keep an assortment of raw veggies at the ready. You can make a healthy yogurt ranch dip that will complement them perfectly.
- Make a fresh fruit bowl every week. Keeping fruit prepared and cut will make it easier to add a cup to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Look for bargains. Weekly grocery store fliers will show you what produce is the best deal for the week. While fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive, shopping the sales will make it easier on your family budget.
Tip #4 – Pay Attention to Your Hunger
When you’re dieting it can be easy to get caught up on calories and grams of various nutrients like carbs, fats, and fiber. But sometimes it can be easy to ignore nature’s most important signal – your level of hunger. Most people who need to diet have ignored that trigger for a long time. Eating until you’re stuffed can sometimes signal the end of a meal. However, if you feel stuffed you’re long past satisfying your hunger.
It might help to spend an entire day or two devoted to paying attention to your hunger signals. Some signs that you’re hungry may include:
- An empty feeling in your stomach
- Weakness or fatigue
If you’re feeling hungry in your mouth or that you just want to taste something, you’re probably not actually hungry. People eat for many other reasons than hunger such as emotions, sharing in social occasions, and wanting to experience a flavor. By focusing on using your food as fuel, you’ll be more likely to eat healthily. When you begin to feel hungry, have a small amount of food. Focus on eating until you’re feeling satisfied or the feeling of hunger in your stomach has gone away.
Eating past the point of satisfaction can lead to:
- Feeling sick
- Feeling bloated
- Having to unbutton your pants
- Ultimately gaining weight
- Feelings of failure that lead to more emotional eating
When you stop eating as you feel satisfied, you’ll naturally attain a weight that is natural and healthy for you. This is one of the most important things you can do for your health – but also one of the most challenging.
Tip #5 – Fill Your Plate Perfectly
When it comes to eating, you can use some simple cues to make sure you’re getting satisfied without overdoing it. A simple technique can help you to eat healthy without having to measure your food – and you’ll find that weight loss follows. First, make a commitment to fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal. This sounds simple, but most people are not eating enough fruits and vegetables – especially before dieting. There are many choices that will get that plate filled such as:
- Green beans
Once half your plate is filled with veggies, you have half your plate to fill with a serving of protein and serving of carbohydrates. Many recipes, such as casseroles, will end up giving you both of these nutrients. For example, a taco includes a carbohydrate shell filled with protein found in ground beef or chicken. So half of your plate would have a taco and the other would be filled with vegetables. This system helps you to make sure you eat a lot of foods high in nutrients, but low in calories.
Every time you sit down to a meal, and before you start heaping foods onto your plate, think about visualizing a plate where half of it contains vegetables, ¼ of it contains carbs, and the other ¼ of the plate is full of protein that your body needs for optimal health.
Tip #6 – Don’t Go It Alone
When you’re trying to diet and lose weight, it can feel like a lonely business. There’s so much temptation all around and it’s hard to stay motivated. Having a buddy system can really help you to succeed. There are many routes to getting support for weight loss and dieting. It’s important to choose the option that’s best for you. Here are a few things to consider:
- Joining a weight loss program. There are many weight loss programs that you can join that offer meetings and/or one-on-one counseling. These can provide support and come in a wide range of costs. Look in your local area for weight loss centers.
- Find a friend. This is one of the easiest routes. If you have a friend who also wants to drop a few pounds, you can support one another in the process. That could mean swapping recipes, phoning each other for support, or meeting daily to get a workout in.
- Look online. There are many places where you can find support online. In fact, many free websites provide social networking just for people interested in dieting and weight loss. There are some programs that charge a nominal fee. This is s good solution if you have a busy schedule and don’t have time to meet with people face-to-face.
- 12-step groups. If you’re truly concerned that you may have disordered eating, you may want to try a 12-step program such as Overeaters Anonymous. This is an organization that provides meetings to help you overcome problematic eating.
- Take a class. Taking a class in health and fitness can help you to find people who are interested in a healthy lifestyle. Look at your local gym, community center, or even hospital for classes that might help you to network.
- Form your own group. Many people have a circle of friends or coworkers interested in dieting and getting healthier. You can start your own group at the office or in your neighborhood. This route is free and helps you to get support from the people with whom you spend the most time.
The benefits of social support are great. People who don’t try to diet alone tend to lose more weight, keep it off for longer, and feel happier about the process. Friends can help you to keep going when you feel like giving up and help to cheer you on when you’re having success. Trying to diet alone can be isolating and can cause you to feel discouraged. The good news is that many people are where you are – ready to lose some weight and feel great. You’re sure to find a friend to help with the process.
Tip #7 – Brown Bag It
One of the most difficult parts of dieting is getting away from eating all of your meals out. When it comes to lunch, it’s not uncommon for people to eat out every day either from a cafeteria or a restaurant. An easy way to cut back on calories and stick to your diet is to take your lunch with you to work or school. It takes some planning, but when you take your lunch you can be in control of what you’re putting into your body.
If you’re new to taking your lunch, you may be at a loss of how to get started. Here are a few things to help:
- Buy a reusable, insulated container for your lunch. There are many stylish options available online or in our local superstore.
- Purchase several containers of different shapes and sizes for portioning your food.
- Get a thermos to help keep soups warm.
- If you don’t have a refrigerator available, look for reusable ice packs to help keep food cold and safe.
- Stock up on lunch foods such as bread, meats, cheese, fruit, vegetables, and low calorie snacks.
If you have a microwave available to you, leftovers can make an excellent and easy lunch. When you’re preparing dinner, just make a little extra to take for lunch the next day. Package it immediately and voila – your lunch is packed. If you don’t have the ability to reheat leftovers, a simple sandwich and veggies can get you through the day. You may want to pack your lunch the night before to avoid the morning rush of trying to get things together.
When it isn’t the culture of your office to bring lunch, it can be difficult to stand alone. Try talking with coworkers and see if you can start a trend of eating in. If you really need to get out of the office, try taking your lunch outside to a local park or good picnic spot. Taking your lunch can help you to save many calories and it can also help you to save money – something that just about everyone enjoys. You may find that just by making this simple switch you’ll lose a great deal of weight.
Tip #8 – Don’t Want to Do Without? Plan Ahead for Eating Out
While skipping the restaurant is usually easier on your diet, many people enjoy the experience of eating out. If you travel a lot for work, it may also be necessary for you to manage in a world of restaurant meals. You don’t have to avoid restaurants altogether if you’re willing to plan ahead for meals. There are several ways you can make good decisions and have a healthy meal when eating out. These simple steps can help you to succeed on your diet.
- Look at menus before you go. Many restaurants have menus including calorie counts online. If not, you can always ask for the menu to be faxed to you. This allows you to choose what you’re going to have before you even get to the place.
- Look for grilled options. When you avoid the fried items, you’ll save calories and stick closer to your diet.
- Choose steamed veggies on the side. This is the best side option to keep you on track with your diet program.
- Beware of salads. Many people see salads on the menu and assume they are a healthy option. However, restaurant salads often contain hidden calories in the dressings, cheeses, croutons, and other extras.
- Look for a section on the menu with healthier options. Most menus have light items or healthier choices denoted on the menu.
- Create your own plate. If there’s nothing on the menu that suits your needs, you can use the a la carte options to create the perfect meal.
- Keep a list of best options at different restaurants. This way when you travel you can have a list of go-to items and not have to do the research all over again.
- If you know you’ll be eating a heavier restaurant meal for lunch or dinner, eat lighter portions the rest of the day.
Eating at restaurants doesn’t have to be challenging. By making healthy choices, you’ll be able to enjoy the convenience and ease of having your food prepared while sticking to your diet plan. For many people, restaurant dining is a necessity.
Tip #9 – Get a Reality Check by Setting Goals
As you travel along the road of dieting, it helps to have a map. Setting goals can help you to have a clear idea of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Many people set goals that aren’t realistic or attainable. It’s important to set goals that you can actually attain in order to succeed. Otherwise you end up frustrated and wondering why you didn’t lose 100 pounds in 3 months. There are many ways you can set realistic goals.
Goals need to have three specific characteristics in order to work for you. They need to be:
Many people make mistakes by setting goals that lack one of these essential components. When it comes to dieting, weight loss goals are common. But they aren’t the only way to go. If you do set weight loss goals, be realistic. Try setting a goal to lose 1-2 pounds each week.
Make weight loss goals short-term. Setting a goal to lose the first five or ten pounds is more attainable than a goal to lose 50 pounds. Even more attainable than weight loss goals are goals that have to do with behavior. For example, you might set a goal to drink 8 glasses of water each day for a week. This is something that is doable, that can be measured, and is specific. While weight loss has many factors that affect it, you are in total control of behaviors.
Setting goals can help you to stay on track when you use them properly. Think about setting goals for eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, and keeping a journal of what you eat. If you reach these goals, you will inevitably lose weight and be healthier. Dieting is a long-term decision for most people. Make sure to set goals that will help to keep you motivated. There’s no better feeling than accomplishing the goals that you’ve set for yourself.
Utilize goal setting to stay on track. Be careful not to allow your goals to become too broad and unrealistic – that can lead to failure. Ultimately, when you set realistic goals, you’ll find that you are able to stay on track.
Tip #10 – Play the Numbers Game the Right Way
Dieting can make you a scale watcher. You’re constantly watching the scale for any change in the numbers. Slow progress on the scale can lead to feelings of failure and frustration. However, the scale is not the only way to measure your progress. There are many numbers that can change in response to the changes you’re making in your diet and lifestyle. It may help to keep track of numbers that aren’t related to the scale that can help you to see your success.
Take note of your measurements. A tape measure can help you to see progress that the scale doesn’t show. You may want to log your measurements weekly to keep track of how you’re doing with your diet. For example, measure the circumference of your arm, thigh, waist, hips, and bust/chest. Taking these measurements regularly can show you that you’re changing the composition of your body. Another measure of body composition is a body fat test.
Calipers or electronic measuring devices can help you to determine your body fat percentage. These tests can also show that you while your weight isn’t changing as much as you would like, your body fat is decreasing. There are also health measurements that can make a big difference in your understanding of your success. You can ask your physician to help you track the following numbers:
- Blood glucose
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
You’ll be amazed how much a few weeks of dieting can change these important numbers. Your health is much more precious than any numbers on a scale. These indicators can show you success. Keep a small journal where you can look at your numbers and see progress. You may even want to plot a graph or make a chart that shows how well you’re doing. Use this as inspiration when the scale doesn’t give you the results you want.