You made the choice to make changes in your life. Congratulations. Changes, especially changes that last, are not easy to make. Often the best approach is the slow approach, until you have a major medical issue requiring a drastic change at once. For the sake of this section, I will introduce several changes you can make in your life without feeling deprived or cheated.
- Cut easy calories
- Choose a safe diet.
- Eat bulky, low-calorie food.
- Control blood sugar.
- Measure portions.
- Seek encouragement.
- The taste barrier.
- No time to cook.
Today is always the right day to begin a new way of life
Breakfast - Yes this is an important meal for health and weight loss. Let this be a time for high fiber. Fiber One cereal with fruit , or oatmeal and raisins with a slice of high-fiber multi grain bread with peanut butter and banana sounds good.
Cut easy calories - Foods and drinks that only give you calories with no nutrients need to go. Sugared soft drinks, alcohol, baked good (large bagel, cookies, cakes), candies, and chips. Just this step alone can make all the difference in your weight program.
Choose a safe and reasonable diet - There is no one best diet when it comes to weight loss. A survey of 8,000 successful dieters from Tufts medical center found only 19 percent ever attended a commercial program, and less than one-third bothered to consult any of the then-popular diet books.
Consider your personal preferences. If you had meat, you will hate Atkins. If you need some red meat in your diet, you will not last on the vegetarian Omish diet. If you like a wide variety of foods, you will quickly get bored with the limited menu of a meal-replacement diet.
Good choices, if you are going to follow a specific diet include: for variety, Weight Watchers; if you hate to cook, a liquid diet such as MediFast or Slim-Fast; are you vegetarian, then something like the Ornish diet; for short-term, high-protein diets you may consider the Zone diet, Atkins Ongoing Weight Loss or Atkins Induction.
Eat bulky, low-calorie food - Your tummy tells you it is full from bulk or volume, not weight or calories. If you eat bulky foods your stomach will quickly get full and you stop eating. Fruits, vegetables and other water-filled foods such as soups have low energy density (calories per weight). Pastries, cheeses, nuts, and oils have the highest energy density. Meats and dairy foods are in-between.
Control blood sugar - Foods that make your body produce insulin have a higher "glycemic load" than foods that don't. You DO NOT want to produce insulin with your diet, so you want low glycemic load foods.
Foods that produce insulin are starchy, easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as refined flour, white rice, sugar, and potatoes. Low-glycemic meals help you feel fuller longer. This is why diets like the Zone diet work. Fats and protein are low-glycemic. High-fiber vegetables such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are also low-glycemic.
Measure portions - Eliminate the possibility of portion-estimating errors by using prepackaged low-calorie food. MediFast, or Slim-Fast replaces some meals with measured calories. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers also offer controlled-calorie frozen entrees.
Seek encouragement - Of all the diet strategies, personal support is the most successful. Weight Watchers has group-motivation and weight-in sessions; Jenny Craig has weekly in-person or telephone meetings with counselors; and eDiets has online contacts.
The Taste Barrier - Don't like vegetables? Try these tips:
- Young and sweet - baby vegetables (corn, carrots) are sweeter than mature ones.
- Hide them - add vegetables to dishes you already like like pasta, stews, and pizza.
- Add sizzle - Use part of your allowed 20-35% daily fat to make vegetables taste better. Saute in a little olive oil, melt cheese on top. Add toasted almond slivers to steamed green beans or asparagus.
- Change the texture - Soup with pureed broccoli or cauliflower. Add low-fat milk for creamier texture.
- Grill them - vegetables, or fruits like mango and pineapple, absorb the smoky flavor when grilled.
- Salsa - spoon it on top of broiled chicken, fish, and other plain fare.
No time to cook - don't let this stop your vegetables.
- Bag it. Put baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks in a sealable bag and snack on them at work.
- Zap it. Many vegetables cook in a few minutes in the microwave. Fresh asparagus in a little water with lemon. Cook 2-3 minutes.
- Ready-to-eat. Already-cut fruits and vegetables are readily available at the market. Buy bagged greens for easy salads or sandwich toppings.
- Veggie sandwich. Or add a couple extra vegetables to the standard lettuce and tomato. Roasted peppers, avocado, sprouts, onions, grated carrots, spinach leaves, or sliced black olives work well.
- Eating out. Substitute mixed greens or a vegetable for another side dish, or add a small side salad.