Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Easy Tricks to Stay on Your "Diet"

The word diet is truly a four letter word.  I do not use the word in the context of starving yourself through-out the day or denying yourself all of your favorite foods.  Diet should refer to a lifestyle of eating healthy foods on a regular basis.
One of the things I often hear is that when someone goes on a diet they skip breakfast.  This actually has the opposite effect on the body that you are hoping for.  By skipping a meal you can cause a dip in your blood-sugar which can leave you sluggish, irritable, and ravenous at lunchtime.  Sound like someone you know?
This is what I do to stay on track:
1. Eat a healthy breakfast: Skipping breakfast can also make your brain crave high-fat foods.  So don’t leave the door without eating something healthy – even if it’s quick - like whole grain cereal or oatmeal with berries and skim milk. 
2. Eat one or two healthy snacks through-out the day:  If you are watching your weight the idea of eating a snack may seem preposterous.   But eating healthy snacks between meals helps to keep your metabolism up and running and keeps your blood sugar from dipping too low.  A couple of good choices are low-fat yogurt with a handful or almonds or berries, a banana with 1 TBL natural peanut butter, or cut up fruits and veges.  If you have them already cut up in baggies they are easy to grab on the go.
3. Get plenty of Sleep:  We all have busy schedules but lack of rest can be detrimental to our “diet” plan.  Lack of sleep can decrease our smart decision making abilities including what food choices we make.  The optimum amount of sleep is 7-8 hours every night.  Just 2 nights in a row of less than 7 hours can impair your decision making ability, leaving you vulnerable to making poor food choices.
4. Don’t Deny yourself all the foods you love: Unless it’s a doughnut that is!  I love pizza, wine and chocolate.  I could not go through life happily if I was not allowed to eat those foods again.  So I choose to make my own healthy pizzas: light on the cheese, no meat, and heavy on the vegetables, go easy on the wine, and eat only good quality dark chocolate in very small amounts.  This way I can continue to enjoy my favorite foods, not feel deprived,  and keep my “diet” on track.

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