Tip: Diets must satisfy your hunger. Hunger is the number one reason for diet failure. It’s nearly impossible to stick to a plan that leaves you hungry all the time. You will find your thoughts turning to high-calorie foods quite often, and you won’t have a lot of energy or patience.As long as you are coming close to your calorie requirement each day, your hunger level should stay manageable. Avoid any diet that reduces your calories dramatically. Experts recommend eating between 1,200 and 2,000 calories a day for weight loss. If you’re eating a reasonable amount but not feeling satisfied, you might want to add more protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats to your diet. These foods help satiate you, and leave you feeling fuller longer.
Tip: Diets must include foods you enjoy. While you might need to make some adjustments to your usual eating plan, you don’t want to depart too radically from the norm. You need a diet that incorporates the food groups you enjoy most. For example, if you love fruit and whole grains, you might want to avoid low-carb diets. If you’re more of a carnivore, you won’t be satisfied with a vegetarian diet.
Fortunately, there are reasonably healthy diets to suit every palate.
Tip: Diets must include a variety of foods. A funny thing happens when we eat the same things over
and over again: Our cravings decrease, and we tend to eat less food per sitting. If this were a long-term effect, it would be easy to follow monotonous diets. However, the effect wanes over time, and feelings of deprivation set in. From a health standpoint, variety is key. Our bodies are omnivorous, and they work best when they receive fuel from many different sources. Eating lots of different foods also keeps you from getting bored with the diet and makes you less likely to abandon it.
Tip: Diets must be easy to follow. It’s hard enough keeping track of your calories or carbs each day, but some diets will have you counting points, weighing your food at every meal, and trying out
bizarre food combinations to maximize weight loss. All weight loss can be boiled down to one simple truth: To lose weight, you simply need to burn more calories than you eat. There is no need to make elaborate preparationsor to measure every morsel that passes your lips.
Learn to estimate portion sizes on sight. For example, a baked potato serving is about the size of a computer mouse. An ounce of cheese is about the size of three dice stacked together. You can go online to find more examples of easy portion estimators. Familiarize yourself with the calorie content of the foods you eat most frequently. With an accurate idea of the calorie content and proper portion sizes of these foods, you will easily stay within your allotted calories for the day.
Tip: Diets must not break your budget. Diets that involve pre-packaged meals, shakes, bars, and supplements can get very expensive very fast. Many dieters abandon these plans because they feel the results aren’t worth the price. Choose a diet plan that uses regular foods you can purchase at the grocery store. You’ll avoid the extra cost (and often the extra sugar, sodium, and chemical flavor
enhancers) that pre-packaged diet foods entail.
Tip: Diets must promote long-term health. For life-long success, you need a diet you can stick to for life. The plan should be a healthy one that provides abundant nutrition and doesn’t place unrealistic restrictions on the foods you can eat. Remember: Variety is the spice of life, and that
includes healthy lifestyle changes. Monitor the foods you eat, but do indulge on special occasions. Change up your meals frequently to avoid boredom, and add exercise to make your body the healthiest it can be. Start with small, sustainable changes. Soon, you won’t even feel like you’re on a diet. Your new habits will become the norm, and you will simply be eating in a way that will keep you slim and healthy for life.