After splurging on holiday goodies, many of us are now making those New Year’s resolutions to eat better and lose weight. Unfortunately research shows that only one in four people who start a diet will be able to stick with it for a full year.
Resolutions for eating healthier will often start with the restriction of foods. A diet that is too strict, however, can easily backfire and result in your giving up and reverting back to old habits. This typically occurs by mid to late February as people start to lose their motivation and get bored with limited food choices.
So, instead of focusing on short term goals to take off the pounds it would be much more effective to focus on small, simple strategies that are sustainable, livable and habitual to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Here are my top weight loss tips for 2008:
Eat breakfast, even if you are not hungry.
Studies show that people who eat breakfast every day are much more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Eating breakfast revs up the metabolism and can keep hunger at bay so that you are not as ravenous by the time lunch hits.
People who eat breakfast on a regular basis are also more likely to have a structured eating plan throughout the day and are less likely to succumb to eating empty-calorie foods.
If you are typically not hungry in the morning start with something small, like a piece of fruit, yogurt or smoothie.
Eat a 4 o’clock snack.
There is no question in my mind that people who eat a mid-afternoon snack are much more successful at eating less at dinner and managing portions.
Do not be afraid to snack. If losing weight is your goal plan to snack every four to five hours as this will keep your appetite in check, your blood sugar stable and portion sizes down at meal times. Some people find that a 4 o’clock snack can also help prevent cravings late in the evening. Some calorie-wise suggestions include: yogurt and fruit, small handful of nuts and fruit, a non-fat latte or homemade smoothie.
Indulge once a week.
Don’t deprive yourself when trying to lose weight. This effort will backfire and you will only end up craving these foods even more, especially when you are bored or stressed. Indulging on a favourite food once a week will make it easier for you to stick to your resolution.
So, if you are on a weight loss programme, treat yourself once a week and don’t feel guilty about it!
Keep a food journal.
People who keep a food journal tend to eat healthier. If you are determined to lose weight this year, keep track of what you eat for the next four weeks.
This will provide you with focus, motivation and awareness. You will be able to see what you are eating (or not eating), and it is also a great way to get in touch with portion sizes.
Weigh yourself weekly, or daily.
If you want to lose weight, plan to step on the scale once per week to measure progress. Weighing-in provides you with immediate feedback, and monitoring your progress provides motivation to keep going.
Some people find it more helpful to weigh daily as the frequent weighing allows you to catch small increases quickly and adjust behaviors to prevent further weight gain.
Although it is important, the scale is not your only source of feedback. Often times, people will choose a smaller dress size or focus on circumference measurements that indicate ‘inches lost’ to measure progress. Whatever method you choose, use it consistently.