Anyone that has attempted to lose weight probably knows the world of dieting can be extremely overwhelming. TV, magazines, social media, and many other advertising platforms offer “the perfect diet regimen” for anyone looking to lose weight. People do extensive research and spend hundreds of dollars to find the perfect program, and unfortunately are often disappointed in the results. There are several reasons these “fad diets” prove unsuccessful, and leave many very discouraged in their weight loss journey.
Many diets focus solely on numbers, forcing you to count calories, carbohydrates, or points. They require you to measure portions, meal prep, or completely avoid the food you enjoy. These diets can leave you feeling mentally defeated, especially if you slip up or lack the time required to prepare. Complicated diets are hard to stick with, and many people will give up before seeing any results on the scale.
Other diets are based on a time frame. They advertise with statements like “Lose 50 pound in 30 days!" People buy into this promised success. A misunderstanding about these weight loss programs is that you have to stick to a healthy lifestyle after its completion. Unfortunately, it is too easy to fall back into our old habits after a diet, and we gain the weight back.
Fortunately, there are minor changes you can make to your lifestyle that can help you lose weight, feel better, and keep the weight off long term. Small adjustments to one’s lifestyle can be the main factor in a successful diet. If one of the “fad diets” has you intrigued, I am not writing this to stop you from trying it. However, there are some simple lifestyle alterations you can make alone, or with a diet routine, to help you lose the weight and keep it off.
Don’t skip meals.
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, will leave you hungrier and more likely to snack on nonessential foods throughout the day. Eat balanced meals. You do not need to eat three BIG meals each day. Instead, eat meals that include protein and fiber. This will leave you feeling full longer. When you feel hungry between meals, have a light snack. Avoid potato chips or processed foods. These will temporarily fill you up on empty calories, and leave you hungry again in no time. Consider snacks with protein, like celery and peanut butter.
Replace unhealthy foods.
Very small alterations to your normal choices can make a world of difference. Replace white rice or bread with whole grain options. Replace candy or sweets with fruit. You would be surprised how quickly an apple can satisfy your craving for a sugary snack. Replace the bag of potato chips with a crunchy vegetable. Replace dressings with ranch made with Greek yogurt, and use in moderation. Small changes make a huge difference!
Have healthy options available.
It’s too easy to warm up a frozen dinner or grab a bag of chips. Unfortunately, we live in a world where convenience is everything. Replacing these items with healthier, easily accessible options is key to a healthier lifestyle. Have carrot sticks or other produce packed in sandwich bags, so they are easy to grab from the fridge. Make a healthy dinner in the crockpot, then eat those leftovers, as opposed to warming up frozen dinners that lack protein and fiber. If you do not give yourself the option to make unhealthy choices, you won’t make them.
No late night snacking.
This, at least for me, is the hardest obstacle. Close the kitchen at a reasonable time every night. Do not allow yourself to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn or sleeve of cookies. Over snacking on healthy foods late at night can have adverse effects on weight loss goals. Establish rules and stick with them. Once your mind and body adjust to this change, it will become easier to stay away from the kitchen at night.
I’m sure everyone that has attempted any diet has heard about portion control. This topic is one of the most important parts of lifestyle changes. It can majorly affect the outcome and success of a diet. For most of us, our “eyes are bigger than our stomach.” When we get a snack, we get an unnecessary portion and eat it all, even though we were full halfway through. Be mindful of how much food you are grabbing. Eat a small portion and give yourself some time to feel full before getting more.
As you can see, you can make minor changes that can have a significant impact on your weight loss success. Whether you are using a specific diet plan, or you want to live a healthier lifestyle, these small adjustments can really help.
I wish you all the best of luck in your pursuit of health and wellness, and may God bless you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.