One of the best things you can do when looking to lose weight is to go on a diet. Whether you are looking to improve your beach body or shed thirty to forty pound, dieting is a great way to help you reach your weight loss goals.
There are hundreds of different dieting strategies available, and you can pick and choose to match your lifestyle and desired outcome. Just be sure to do your research and make certain of the benefits. Many diet plans may be hoaxes or simply more dangerous than beneficial to your body.
Overeating, unhealthy food choices, and a sedentary lifestyle are the top contributors to weight gain (Read: You Are What You Eat – 7 Dangers of Eating Fast Food). There may be a variety of diets on the market, but the best ones are going to have similar guidelines concerning these aspects.
Regardless of one’s weight loss objectives, here are ten basic dieting tips that everyone should be implementing with their diet plan.
- Get rid of the bad. Before you can even begin your diet you need to rid yourself of any distractions. Scour your pantry and remove temptations like cookies, chips, candy, and so forth. Do the same with your fridge – pudding, ice cream, fattening frozen food, and the like should be ditched. Not all of these things are bad in small doses, but cleaning everything out will allow you to start fresh.
- Don’t quit cold turkey. A lot of people who want to go on a diet try to form new habits the very next day. It can be very difficult to restructure your eating habits, especially if you have been eating junk food all of your life. Jumping straight into the diet and quitting all other food will only bring success to the most strict and motivated of people. The rest of us will try valiantly for a few days, all the while obsessing over thoughts of Oreo’s dipped in milk, and then finally give up because it’s just not worth it.To help yourself avoid giving up on your plan, simply ease into it. Cut down on the amount of junk, but don’t cut out your favorites completely. Honestly, a brownie here and a few M&Ms there isn’t going to do much to ruin your chances of weight loss. The main thing is to reduce the portion size and eat them less often. Try buying only the smallest portions of junk food. That way you won’t be tempted to eat too much.
- Drink your water. Sometimes when you have cravings, you aren’t really hungry but just thirsty. Having a glass of water will satisfy these hankerings without chancing a calorie-filled snack. Water also aids in flushing out toxins and waste products and rehydrates your body, helping you physically and mentally to make healthier choices in food.
- Avoid the nighttime snacking. Most people probably aren’t eating apples or Greek yogurt at night, but rather potato chips and jellybeans. For most of us the evening is a time for resting and relaxing from our busy days. In this relaxed state we are much more likely to reach for the junk food then worry about nutritious alternatives. Also in this sedentary mode our body’s metabolism and digestive processes have slowed doing, meaning a greater chance of weight gain. If you can’t ignore your munchies then at least grab something that is low in calories.
- Don’t eat too much or too little. If you’re not careful then your body will try to rebound from its fast of junk food by overeating the healthy food. At the same time, diets that force you to near starvation are very drastic and unhealthy means of weight loss. Moderation and balance are crucial, and eating multiple lower-calorie meals throughout the day will help you have more control over your weight.A good goal is four to six smaller meals with constrained portion sizes. If you go out to eat try ordering an appetizer and adding sides. When eating at home try to use smaller plates, and round it out with another serving of salad or fresh fruit if you still feel hungry.
- Be reasonable. Many diets call for expensive organic products or extravagantly complicated recipes. Some might have relatively simply meals, but the time and manner in which they want you to eat them will be inconvenient. Either way, these are all big turn offs for a diet. To keep yourself undeterred from your plan, be wise about what and when you eat. A good example is compiling a list of healthy meals and snacks that are quick and easy to make. This way, when you’re busy or feeling lazy, you will be less likely to order delivery or hit up a fast food drive-thru.
- Know when and how to eat protein. Protein is a good source for energy, growth, and muscle mass. However most people focus heavily on protein and eat way too much of it. The beneficial aspects of protein will backfire on you if you don’t eat it wisely, and especially if you aren’t working out. Try to buy only lean protein and avoid processed meats. Also, mix up your protein sources by eating fish, beans, and nuts along with your usual meat selections.
- Enjoy fruits, vegetables, and carbs. Some diets, like popular all-protein diets, are too one-sided to be useful. Focusing on one particular food group will allow you to see all of its benefits, but you will also be missing out on other necessary nutrition. Your best bet is to eat a well-balanced diet. Fruit and vegetables are important for getting the vitamins, antioxidants, fibers, and minerals your body needs. Also do your best to transition to whole grain or multigrain carbohydrates (in the form of bread, pasta, rice, etc).
- Limit sugar and salt intake. Effective dieting is all about eating a balance of what’s good and reducing what’s bad. The most unhealthy food choices are the ones high in sugar and salt. Decreasing your consumption of sweets and junk food is an obvious first step, but sugar and salt can be found in a variety of places. Check more closely on grocery store products like butter, instant foods, and frozen foods to see what is lurking underneath. Also, foods that are naturally sweetened should always be chosen over artificially sweetened items.
- Don’t stop with just the diet. Going on a diet is a great way to become healthier and shed a few pounds. But if you really want to lose some weight, and lose it much more quickly, then you should supplement your diet with a workout plan. Exercising a few times a week, be it hitting the weights or simply using a treadmill, will make the effects of your diet much more apparent in your body. It will also help you to shred more weight and burn excess fat. [Read: Top 15 Killer Fat-Burning Exercises]
Diets are helping people attain their weight loss goals all the time. However, they can only help if you stay motivated and consistent. Refusing that third slice of cake or buying diet soda isn’t going to make the cut. You’ve really got to commit yourself to changing habits and eating differently.
Picture a skinnier you six months from now and keep that image in your mind the entire time. Put motivational post-it notes on the fridge and bathroom mirror. Do whatever it takes to stick to your diet plan, and eventually your dedication will pay off.