Do diets never seem to work for you? Easy Diet seems far reached? You’re not alone. Not being able to stick to a diet, and diets just not working are two of the biggest complaints among people who are trying to lose weight and get into better shape and health.
It’s not surprising, when you think about it. People drop out of diets because they feel deprived, which negatively impacts their emotions; when they feel satisfied, they are happy. Other diets are based on unsound principles or unproven (or unsafe) fads, and don’t really help you lose the weight and keep it off. You’ve probably been let down by those types of diets in the past.
The good news is that you can successfully diet while eating the foods you love. There is no need to feel deprived to lose weight and be healthy, and you can do it with sound scientific principles that actually work. If you are finally ready for diet success, here are the things to do.
- Eat Fewer Carbs
This doesn’t mean you can’t eat any carbs. Just keep the amount down. Make carbs the smallest part of your diet. You know carbs. They are those wonderful grains and starches that taste so good, and make you so sleepy afterward. Breads, muffins, cakes, crackers, cookies, potatoes, and other root vegetables are all carbs, though processed white flour is the worst offender among them, nutritionally speaking.
Carbs turn to sugar in our bodies, and sugar, if you’re not exercising it right off, turns to fat. Because they make you sluggish and mess with your blood sugar in unpleasant ways, you aren’t likely to go out and hit the gym right after eating them.
The amount of carbs you need to cut depends on how much weight you want to lose. If you have a lot of weight to drop, you’ll need to keep your carbs to between ten and twenty grams a day. If you want to lose weight fast, keep it between 20 and 50 carbs a day. And, if you just want to reach your ideal weight and become healthier, a diet consisting of 50-150 carbs a day is fine.
So, go ahead and eat that sandwich, that piece of pumpkin bread, the blueberry muffin, or the baked potato. Just be aware of the carb counts of what you are eating, and keep it to a minimum. This way, you can have your treats and still lose weight and get in shape.
2. Eat Healthy Fats
All fats are not created equal, and all fats are not bad. What you want to avoid is trans fat. That is the stuff that will clog your arteries and make your waistline expand. Trans fats are found in fried foods, and anything with the word “hydrogenated” on the label (including many baked goods and packaged foods).
Instead, add healthy fats to your diet. Olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, and flax oil are all excellent choices. These have healthy fats in them in the form of Omega 3 and 6 acids, and they actually clear the arteries, and burn fat right off of you.
Keep the optimum cooking temperatures for these oils in mind when using them. Reading their labels is usually the best way to know how to cook with them, or if you should just use them for flavoring. Even the healthiest of fats can become a trans fat if it is cooked at too high of a temperature (such as in frying).
The good news is that you can simulate most of your favorite friend foods with healthy, baked alternatives, all with virtually the same ingredients. By baking at low temperatures, you’re leaving out the trans fat and keeping the good ones that make you healthy.
3. Pile Up on Protein
Protein is a high-energy, fat-burning food. It also builds muscle, so it is excellent for you if you are incorporating exercising to re-shape your body into your diet plan.
You want to stick with lean proteins, so leave out anything that is obviously fatty. Most people think of meat when they think of protein, and this is an excellent source of it. The redder the meat, the more protein it contains, as a general rule.
However, there are other sources of good protein for those who are cutting down on meat, or who don’t want to eat it at all. Nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, and even some fruits and vegetables, like avocado, are full of lean protein and healthy fats.
Protein makes great before-workout snacks, and should be included as a portion of every meal. Making about a third of every meal protein is ideal for healthy eating, weight loss, and energy.
4. Eat Real Food
What is real food? It is anything that is found in nature that our primitive ancestors would have eaten. Real food is chock full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you need to not only live, but thrive
While this means staying away from packaged, processed, and most pre-made foods, it doesn’t have to mean you are feeling deprived. You can make some wonderfully tasty and fulfilling meals out of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. You can’t have an easy diet and Processed food together.
As a general rule, if the ingredient label has chemicals or other unknown substances in it, stay away from it. You can even make shopping for real food easier by buying heavily from the produce aisle, or by going to farmer’s markets.
5. A Little Dark Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
You may have heard that dark chocolate is actually healthy for you, and it is really true. Science has proven it. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that bring a ton of health-giving properties. The darker the chocolate, the better for you it is, and can increase circulation, open and unclog arteries, improve your memory, give you energy, and improve your mood.
Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa, though a higher cocoa percentage is better. For the best results, get raw cocoa powder. This is the pure, unadulterated stuff. It’s bitter on its own, which some people like. If you don’t care for the raw taste, simply blend it into a high-protein, nut-based fruit smoothie. You’ll get all the benefits of dark chocolate, and a better, sweeter taste (and no additional calories).
If you decide to go the chocolate bar route, keep your consumption to no more than one ounce (usually a square off the bar) of chocolate a day, as chocolate bars often have sugar added.
6. Stay Away from Processed Sugar
While we’re at it, keep away from processed sugar. That fine, white stuff you get in a bag at the grocery store is not your friend. It is the single most powerful cause of weight gain and fat retention.
Do you remember the low-fat craze of the early and mid-1990’s? There were all these low-fat products on the market like cookies and cake that were supposedly good for you. However, no one really lost weight eating this way.
Not only were they depriving themselves of good, fat-burning healthy fats, they were unknowingly loading up on sugar, which was added in extra quantities to the low-fat products to make them taste better.
While processed sugar has to go for you to lose weight (and you will be surprised how quickly you will lose weight once you’re off of it), it doesn’t mean you can never eat anything sweet again.
Natural sugars are perfectly acceptable in small quantities, and many of them have powerful health properties of their own. Fruit, coconut palm sugar, and honey are some examples of natural sugars that can be kept as a small part of your diet, and keep you on your weight loss, health, and fitness goals. Stevia is another.
Blackstrap molasses and real, 100 percent maple syrup are some other choices you can make in the sweetener department, while avoiding processed sugar. Really, with these substitutes from nature, you will never miss it.
7. Coffee, Tea, or Water, if You Please
In your quest to stay away from sugar, you must avoid fruit juice (which has lots of added sugar), soda (full of sugar), energy drinks, powdered drinks, and anything else with processed sugar in it. Remember, processed sugar often hides on labels under the name “high fructose corn syrup.”
Coffee with unsweetened creamer and a natural sweetener is fine, as is tea with honey, or just plain water. All of these have excellent health benefits, such as antioxidants, electrolytes, and hydration, which helps keep you feeling full without eating any extra.
If you must have something like a soda, use juice made from 100 percent fruit (no sugar added), and mix it in small amounts with sugar-free soda water. When chilled, it is a tasty, refreshing, and healthy beverage you can use as an occasional treat.
As you can see, healthy eating to lose weight is not that hard. Just stick to these seven easy rules, and you will be fit, easy diet, energetic, and healthy again before you know it. Best of all, you won’t even feel like you’ve been on a diet. It’s because this isn’t a diet….it is a healthy lifestyle.