If these situations sound like you, are you frustrated that your success doesn’t continue? You continue to search because maybe one day you will find that magic diet that burns the fat off.
Short of a medical condition, you lose weight when you burn more calories than you take in. I would be wary of a weight loss pill that claims to do that for you, giving you the ultimate bodyweight by just taking it.
Before you start another diet to help you lose weight, ask yourself this question. Do you plan on sticking to this diet, or pill for the rest of your life? If the answer is no, then you need to find a method that you can stick with forever, because it is safe, healthy and maintainable.
Before you think I am bashing fad diets, let me state that everything has its purpose. If you are getting married and you want to drop a couple of sizes fast so you can get down on the dance floor, then a fad diet is perfect for that.
If you have a short term goal and are strapped for time, then sign up with your credit cards so special meals can be dropped off at your house, then that’s a decent strategy.
However, you can only maintain the weight of your choice by learning how to enjoy nutrient
1. Enjoy Nutrient-Dense foods
You might be wondering why enjoying food is a technique, but hear me out. A little personal story might help you along. As a teenager and young adult, I was extremely thin. I was 1 pound away from being classified as underweight. I could never gain weight, so I ate whatever I wanted and I loved junk food. I scoffed at all those calorie watching people.
My diet mostly consisted of white rice, bread, and overall low nutrient but high carbohydrates foods. I was feeding myself sugar and I was lucky enough to have no physical effects of that. I was still as skinny as a straw. Then age caught up with me and karma I might add. Now I became a calorie watching person because those white bread and cakes went right to my tummy.
I had to learn how to eat healthier and include whole grains in my diet, which was not easy. Brown rice, whole wheat bread, and healthy grains tasted like a cardboard box. My palate became used to other low-nutrition foods.
White rice and brown rice both contain carbohydrates. In fact, white rice is just brown rice stripped down. The primary difference is the loss of nutrient-dense husk that contains fiber and nutrients that will keep you fuller for longer.
Nutrient-dense food with fiber keeps your blood sugar levels stable so as to keep you going for longer. Foods with healthy fats such as greek yogurt and avocados also have this effect.
You can get to enjoy foods that are generally tasteless by eating more of them. You can start by eating a very small serving and increase the serving size accordingly. This will effectively train your palate. This is not to say if you are repulsed by the food you need to force it down. You will know pretty quickly that you simply do not like the food and your palate will never change enough to accept it.
2. Make breakfast count
There is something different about eating breakfast with high protein and high fiber content. On days when I eat a pretty good breakfast, I forget to have lunch. When I do have lunch, I only need a snack. If you wait too long to eat however you feel as if you are starving and you overdo it.
A breakfast with just yogurt and a healthy fig bar was enough to keep me feeling full even
If you are going to invest money in a meal, do so for the first meal of the day. You will eat less in the long run and save money in the long run.
3. Make Meals for Yourself
This is probably the most significant reasons fast-food chains are alive and well. With jobs, kids, and hobbies when can we find the time to cook? My mother is a great cook, and I love her to death, but she takes around 2 – 3 hours to make a typical dinner.
If you cook like that, it’s no wonder you find cooking for yourself a burden. I will assure you that you can make dinner in a half-hour or less. Dinner that is healthy and made from fresh foods.
Let me add – there is nothing wrong with frozen dinners. But, all frozen foods are not equal. You can find supermarkets with frozen options made from simple ingredients and free from preservatives. However, watch out for high sodium content. You can make at home frozen options by making a large batch of food and freeze it yourself. Chili freezes well by the way (hint, hint).
A simple meal of salmon and asparagus takes less than 30 minutes to make, and it’s healthy and filling too. There is a myriad of other recipes you can try, that is clean and quick to make. Another quick-cooking option is sweet potatoes. With almost no prep, you can stick a sweet potato in an oven at 400 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes. You can prepare ahead of time and reheat when you need to. There are also several variations of sweet potato and yams you can try. One of my favorites is Japanese yams.
You need an inventory of meals that are quick to cook. Vegetables cook quickly. Brown rice takes forever to cook until soft but also freezes well. So you can make a large batch and reheat later. Quinoa and couscous are quick to prepare. So is whole grain pasta.
4. Eat small meals regularly
Instead of eating three large meals, try eating breakfast and then four small meals. Many of us are up for around 14-16 hours per day. If you space your meals by three, there are going to be several hours before you eat another meal. You will likely snack in between, which brings me to another point.
To sustain a habit of smaller meals more regularly, you will need to have healthy snacks on hand. Don’t know where to find these, try making them.
5. Keep tracking of your calorie intake
Like I mentioned above, I was very skinny as a younger person, and I was arrogant about how I ate. I’d probably eat something with four thousand calories and not think twice about it. As I got older and needed to come up with weight-loss strategies, understanding my calory intake was critical in helping me to maintain a healthy weight.
One innocent-looking milkshake can be as much as one thousand calories. That is about half or more of your daily calories. You would need at least an hour of vigorous exercise to burn that 1000 calories. And, you can quickly drink a milkshake in 10 minutes or less.
Just knowing the calories of what you eat can help you eat less of a certain food or switch to another option. This is not to say that you cannot enjoy a milkshake, just be mindful of how often you do so.
6. Add 30 minutes of exercise
If you don’t exercise at all now, you might need to work up to that number. Psychologically, we don’t maintain a habit when it feels overwhelming. You can start with ten minutes a day and increase that as exercising become a habit. Want to hear the next surprise? You don’t need a fancy gym or fancy equipment. Just grab an exercise mat and you are good to go.
You can follow along to a Zumba dance online, or any other exercise video, right in the comfort of your living room. You can find free videos online or get a Zumba DVD dance set here. You can take brisk walks around your block. You can take a break during your day at work and walk at a brisk pace around the compound. You can take a scenic ride on a bike trail. You don’t need to wait on getting a gym membership. Start today if you can.
Fitness watches such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit can help you track your exercise goals but certainly not required. As a bonus, you can compete with friends or family, which increases your motivation and earn you bragging rights when you win.
7. Swap foods
Please do this exercise. Make a grocery list for yourself. Don’t try to be healthy on this list, just make a list of your standard options. One at a time observe the items in the list. Do you need white rice, bacon, bagels, and steak? How about some brown rice or quinoa, salmon, chicken breast, seafood,
No, you definitely don’t need those potato chips for the evening munchies, eat fruit instead. In season cherries are to die for. You can about other substitution choices here.
8. Curb your sweet tooth
Do you get afternoon cravings for something sweet? While some cravings can be caused by a lack of nutrient in your body, most sugar cravings are caused by a desire that got programmed in your brain. Low protein intake can contribute to those cravings. Also, eating a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fiber and protein is a cause of sugar cravings (hint, read my section about eating nutrient-dense foods).
Also, ensure you are getting enough sleep. With not enough sleep, you can crave for the foods causing you to gain weight. Since cravings occur from the brain, a lack of sleep diminishes the brain’s ability.
9. Get the right kind of snacks for your home
You can’t eat junk food if you don’t have any available. Make your grocery list ahead of time and stick to it. A good tip is to shop when your stomach is full, and I mean right after you have had your dinner. If you shop on a hungry stomach, even the most un-appetizing food will look good to you. The potato chips will be begging you to buy them.
On the other hand, if you get a few healthy snacks such as plain popcorn, cranberries, nuts, kale chips, fruit leather, granola bars, trail mixes then when you do want an after-dinner snack at least you have something healthy on hand. You can use an air-popper for the popcorn and you can optionally drizzle a little butter on the
10. Cut out sugary drinks
I am guilty of this, so I am with you on this struggle. I don’t like to drink water and so I turn to options such as diluted juice, or juice that naturally has less sugar in them instead. Don’t get me wrong, a diluted drink of half juice and half water is better than a full serving of 100% juice. I recommend starting with diluting the option at first.
However, the goal is to cut out juice altogether or have it on occasion. I have developed a love for sparkling water with just a sprinkling of natural flavor. This beverage was something I developed a taste for because initially, I didn’t like sparkling water at all.
If you don’t want to try sparkling water, you can try water with a wedge of lemon. You don’t have to squeeze the entire wedge in the water. If you drop it in there that will give the water a subtle taste of lemon that will make it more palatable. Also, you may prefer ice-cold water. Or you can try teas with no sugar. You can start with small amounts of sugar and continue to lower it until you can drink it with no sugar at all.
The Bottom Line
The way we live is often habitual, and that includes the things we eat. Our palate is trained to like a specific diet, but it can be untrained. The way we shop is also habitual. The thing about habits is that they are difficult for us to realize that we have them and even more difficult for us to break. Also, breaking habits will usually fail if we try too hard at first. Breaking habits require a gradual process.
Try these suggestions but not all at once as it will feel like hard work. Pick one or two that applies to you and work diligently on those items. Look backward just this once on all your attempts at losing weight and/or eating healthier. Ask yourself how much time passed since you have been trying? That time is already lost. Going
Humans are often not programmed to operate like this. They look to the end goal and force all efforts to that end goal. Let’s try to break up those steps to get there. Try for a 2
One more thing, good luck!