Skip over the fast food and get excited to exercise! Both of these tips may seem obvious when it comes to losing weight, but they’re some of the most basic things you need to do to get started, so don’t overlook them. Los Angeles physician Dr. Samir Shahin gave us 9 of his best dieting tips, and even though they’re not complex, they’re all essential.
1. Portions – Many Americans are so used to eating over-sized portions that they start to believe that they are normal. If you end up becoming uncomfortably full after a meal, take a step back and breathe. There’s a good chance that the portion may have been too big, and this can start to become a bad habit. Instead, learn to recognize what a proper serving for your weight looks like. Try to use smaller plates, and check out the calories in each serving size. Soon you will start to realize that eating the correct size portion will be just as satisfying.
2. Eating Out – Plan ahead by deciding what you are going to order before you go out to dinner. It’s easy to over order when you’re hungry, so come with a plan. One other problem that comes with eating at restaurants is that everyone gets the same size meal, no matter their size. Nobody is going to weight you at a restaurant to determine your portion. To make things worse, the gut-busting portions served in restaurants are usually some of the most popular choices. Have the waiter put the food you do not want in a doggie-bag before you start eating. You can also save money and calories by drinking water and splitting the meal with your friend. Also don’t super-size anything when you are on a diet, no matter how great the bargain.
3. Planning – To reach a weight loss goal, most people need some type of diet plan. Picking up whatever food happens to be available as you go about your day cannot be part of your plan. Trying to lose weight with only the knowledge that certain foods are bad, and then eating them cannot be part of your plan. Feeling bad about being overweight is not a plan. Instead, have a good attitude about your diet plan. This is a positive plan for you to get better, not a punishment or deprivation. It’s a change that will improve your entire life. You gained weight one small impulse at a time. You will lose weight one day at a time, one step at a time. You’re not the first to go through it and you can do it!
4. Making Meal Plans – A meal plan is a daily menu of what you intend to eat for the day. Some studies show that individuals who use meal plans are more likely to lose weight and keep the weight off. There are many other benefits to meal plans:
A. The quality of your food will be better since you are planning ahead. You can select nutritious recipes that appeal to you and will satisfy you.
B. Your food decisions are simplified and made in advance, when your resolve is strong, instead of deciding what to eat when you are hungry. Impulsive food decisions can sometimes lead to poor meals.
C. You limit temptation because only the foods you plan to eat are going to be available. When shopping at the grocery store, you’ll know exactly what to buy and how much. Plus, you can really start to focus on portion sizes.
Meal plans take work in the beginning. But little by little you’ll find more recipes from cookbooks, friends, and TV shows that you will enjoy.
5. Prepackaged Meals Can Work – One reason is because they are portion-controlled. When you finish your prepackaged meal, you’re finished eating. If you choose a healthy prepackaged meal, you will still eat good quality food, and you will also learn what a proper portion size looks like. Frozen dinners are potential sources of prepackaged food with known calorie counts and correct serving sizes. Note that restaurant delivery is not the same thing, since they serve over-sized portions of high calorie food. That is why we enjoy them, but this is not a good choice if you are trying to lose weight.
6. Foods to Avoid – The average American’s diet consists of one third junk food. Soft drinks, alcohol, fruit drinks, sweets and salty snacks account for 30% of calories. Here’s a rule of thumb: It’s best to avoid alcohol. It’s high in calories, and most of it doesn’t have any nutritional value. Dr. Shahin’s research has not found that wine will promote a healthy heart. Since the flavonoids and resperitol in red wine are also found in grape juice, he recommends skipping the wine and trying a handful of grapes or an apple.
7. Exercise – If you adhere to a healthy diet and exercise regularly, you’re more likely to lose weight faster than if you just eat healthy. Exercise also reduces your chances of gaining weight, relieves stress, and decreases your appetite.
8. Stress Reduction – A positive attitude is the key to reducing stress. Are you the type of person who honks angrily during a traffic jam, or the one who is happily singing to the radio? Be the one who handle stress better. To reduce stress, let the little things go. Getting behind a healthy lifestyle and diet will make you feel better. Get enough sleep, enjoy your work and have fun. Here are some other ideas:
A. Make your life interesting – This helps distract you from eating out of boredom or depression. Find a new hobby, join a club or take a walk with a friend.
B. Slow down and relax – Savor your food. Chew slowly. Drink water. If you must have seconds, wait 20 minutes.
C. Don’t use alcohol and drugs to cope with stress.
D. Get an adequate amount of sleep.
9. Have a Friend – Having a weight loss buddy makes your diet and exercise program more fun, plus you can keep each other focused. Some studies show that people who lose weight as part of a team are more than twice as likely to reach their goal weight.
10. Don’t Make Excuses – Instead of thinking of the reasons to visit that fast food restaurant, concentrate on what you have to do to reach your weight loss goal. Part of your journey to living a healthier life can be to write down all the excuses you’ve made in the past that have caused you to break your diet rules. Then you can identify the threats that keep you from getting to your goal of becoming a healthy, slender person.
11. Stay Away from Human Threats – Avoid negative people who try to discourage you. When they say, “What makes you think that you are going to lose weight this time?” or “Why bother losing weight, you’ll only gain it all back”, you can ask them to be more supportive, and offer to tell them what helped you lose weight so they can succeed as well.
12. Look Your Best Now and Reward Yourself – Go ahead and get your teeth whitened and your nails done now. Have your hair styled. Don’t wait to buy nice clothes. You don’t need to wait until the diet is over to start looking your best. Looking good now prepares you for the better you. You will transform from the inside out. Give yourself little gifts along your weight loss journey to reward yourself. Make this fun!
For more information about Dr. Samir Shahin, click here!