Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So You Are Ready For A Diet...

The hardest thing in changing your eating habits (I don't call it a "diet") is getting started. It may seem like "what's the use?, this is going to take forever". And in reality, it will. If you are obese, then you probably do have bad eating habits (excluding medical conditions), and a complete lifestyle change is needed. I am no doctor, but I have lost 20 lbs in the last 5 weeks just by using the following tricks. I will admit, I do not exercise much, so there is really no excuse if you have been considering shedding a few pounds.

1. When sitting down for a meal, immediately take half of it off your plate and put it in a storage container. Put it in the refrigerator.

2. Eat more salad, but cut back on the dressing. You do not have to get "fat free" dressing (yuck), but dilute it heavily with apple cider vinegar (organic if you so choose). Store-bought dressings are too thick anyway. To keep yourself from burning out on lettuce salad, try different types of greens like a Bok Choy Salad or fresh spinach.

3. Substitute low-fat cottage cheese for sour cream. Especially great on Mexican dishes.

4. Have rice instead of mashed potatoes. Make it with chicken broth to enhance the flavor.

5. Have fresh fruit handy. We all love bananas, apples and oranges, but sometimes it is just easier to grab the potato chip bag while watching tv. A better snack would be a low-fat yogurt on top of apple and orange slices covered with a sprinkling of Grape Nuts cereal. Also prunes, (yes, prunes) Sometimes a change in diet can lead to constipation, eat 5 prunes every day, preferably in the evening.

6. Take a multi-vitamin every day. That way if you decide to skip a meal (nudge, nudge) once in a while, you will still get the nutrients you need.

7. Drink more water. Soda and beer are a waste as a food product. At least switch to a light beer or diet soda, and no more than 1 a day, sorry.

8. Have something around the house you can just "pig out" on. There is nothing more depressing than having 7 good days on a diet, then backsliding on something you know you shouldn't have eaten. It can derail your whole outlook when you see yourself as a failure. I like to use unbuttered (lightly salted) popcorn. It keeps well and if you HAVE to have that full feeling once in a while, popcorn can fill the void. Slow cooked rice is good too, it is filling! Also great is some lean protein like pinto beans and great northern beans. Randall makes a variety of beans in a jar that are ready to eat and are completely fat free. The great northern has a "cooked all day" taste, but my favorite is the jar of pinto beans. Mildly spicy and extremely filling, and also fat free. Canned cooked black beans are great. When I need something to pig out on, beans are what I choose as not to ruin my diet

9. Don't be afraid to throw (old) food out. Just because there are leftovers, doesn't mean you need to eat them. I know we did good in step 1, but in a smaller household, sometimes leftovers need to be pitched. Coming from a poorer large family, this is one of my hardest things to do.

10. Weigh yourself EVERY MORNING at the same time and track your weight loss results on paper or on the computer. Having a visual record makes it more of an event instead of just a thought. It is also important to see your results in the long term. You may lose 5 pounds, then be STUCK there for 2-3 days. At the time, this is discouraging, but seeing the overall picture with a gradual decline will make those days easier.

Now I have posted this for me as well as for you. I have a responsibility to lead by example and keep on track.

*With any change of diet, you may want to visit your doctor to make sure you are otherwise healthy.