Eat Smart: Common Sense Diet Tricks
Dieting: eat less, lose weight. If only it were that simple! If you eat too little, your body thinks you’re starving itself and holds onto what it has. Dieting doesn’t just mean eating less; it means eating smarter. A little moderation can go a long way.
We all know that if you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. To lose a pound per week, you must create a 500-calorie-per-day deficit. You can simply eat 500 fewer calories, or you can burn them through exercise. The fastest way to lose weight is by doing both.
Empty calories are calories that don't serve your body. Your food should work for you—whole grains provide energy, lean protein helps muscle growth, and fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and hydration. Soda, juice, energy drinks, white bread and most packaged foods will pack on the pounds without filling you up or contributing to body functions. Get the most from your daily calorie count!
Simply watching serving sizes may be all it takes to trim extra calories from your diet. Restaurant portions can be the size of two or three normal meals; over time, this causes us to lose perspective on healthy serving sizes. Read the nutrition label on packaged foods, and learn to eyeball the proper portions of fresh foods. A serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of cheese is the size of two pairs of dice. A pasta serving is the size of a tennis ball, and a bagel should be the size of a hockey puck. Compare proper sizes to your typical meal and you may be shocked at how much you're eating.
Fatty foods are generally high in calories. But not all fat is unhealthy—the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, olive oil, and fish are good for your heart, and should form the bulk of your daily fat allowance. Cut back on the saturated fat found in meat, butter, milk and cheese—it increases your risk of coronary disease and will derail your diet.
Stress contributes to weight gain. It alters hormone levels—possibly leaving you hungrier—which in turn can draw you to sugary foods and induce you to eat through fullness. Even if stress dampens your appetite, a weakened metabolism will pack on the pounds fast. Learn yoga, meditation, or any other stress-relief technique that interests you. And remember—regular exercise is relaxing!