Getting Started- Transitioning from a ‘Bad’ Diet

Let’s face it, when you hear the word “diet”, it doesn’t really make you jump for joy. That’s because it usually means giving up your favorite snacks and foods. If it’s packed with carbohydrates, is greasy, deep-fried, salty, sweet or carbonated, it’s probably not good for you, so say goodbye to bacon, soda, donuts, fried chicken, French fries, milkshakes, pizza, cheese sticks, chips and the like. For anyone who’s interested in long-term weight loss, dieting is definitely a lifestyle change, one that requires commitment and flexibility. What good is all that sacrifice if you’ll just gain all the weight back after a few months? Enjoying your diet program is essential to your success, which is why you have to want it and be motivated enough to make sacrifices in order to really see results.

Too good to be true? It probably is.

Don’t be fooled by all those fancy diets preaching about 30 pounds of weight loss in a week. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Stick with good old-fashioned hard work and dedication to help you attain your goals.

Pack snacks for a quick bite in between meals.

If you’re coming from a fatty, greasy, salty diet to low-fat, low-sodium foods, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll cheat on your diet within a week. That’s because doing a quick 180 on food habits is not only psychologically difficult, but physically demanding as well. It’s like withdrawal, but for all your favorite foods. You may find yourself contemplating at a drive-thru because you’re hungry and in need of a quick snack, or at a dinner party faced with a delicious feast. For situations like this, you’ll need something quick and nutritious to tide you over, like a protein bar or shake. Even a small pack of nuts will do. To keep within your diet, you’ll need to anticipate last minute events that could keep you from healthier meals.

Slow and steadyweight loss is sustainable weight loss.

To ensure sustainable weight loss, the key is to start out small. Aim for at least 1-2 lbs. of weight loss a week to start with until you can see how well you can adjust to your new diet. Slowly cut down on the unhealthy junk and replace them with healthier food options that are nutritious and filling. Never starve yourself; this will deprive your body of essential nutrients. In addition, starving your body of food slows down your metabolism, which slows down weight loss.

Establish short-term goals to stay accountable.

If you’re not interested in a cookie-cutter diet that dictates the number of calories you consume per meal, a good rule of thumb is to cut all your portions in half. Eat half the amount of mashed potatoes, drink half a glass of soda, and consume half a ham and cheese sandwich… you get the idea. This way, you’ll still be able to eat all your favorite foods, but you’re already on your way to losing weight because you’re only consuming half as many calories as you normally would. Once you get used to smaller portions, you can move on to smarter food options. Once again, it’s all about starting small.

Switch from white to brown, refined to whole grain.

If you’re big on bread and rice, you could opt for brown rice and wheat bread instead of white rice or white bread. The same goes for pasta. When it comes to setting eating goals, they must always be reasonable. Eating goals are meant to encourage you and give you structure, not bring you down. Switching to whole grain or high-fiber alternatives promotes satiety, keeping you fuller for longer

Choose foods that are filling but low in calories.

Apples

The popular saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has been said one too many times, but it’s true. Apples are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as polyphenols, flavonoids and fiber. They’re perfect for smoothies and desserts, and are relatively low in carbs.

Organic Dark Chocolate

Satisfy that craving for chocolate with organic dark chocolate instead of white or milk chocolate. It’s better than desserts with refined starches that even deplete your energy stores. Try non-dairy, organic dark chocolate as it contains the most antioxidants out of all kinds of chocolates. It does contain sugar, so be sure to control your intake.

Lemon Water

Add a few drops of lemon juice to your water. Fatigue can be caused by dehydration so this is a great way to hydrate whilst being a refreshing source of vitamin C!

Blueberries

Blueberries are among nature’s superfoods because of its antioxidants that can improve cognition as well as reduce the effects of aging. Paired with oatmeal and walnuts—which are rich in omega-3—you have yourself a tasty snack.

Bananas

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, which stabilizes blood pressure and heart function. It’s also a convenient snack that can be easily carried with you.

Eating – Breakfast

Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day. It helps set the tone of the rest of your meals, so make it a good one. Try a hard-boiled egg with whole-wheat toast, or oatmeal with strawberries and bananas. Make sure not to overeat, as it’s still very early in the day. You’ll never know if there will be an unexpected lunch or dinner date.

Eating – Lunch

For lunch, it’s best to keep things simple especially if you’re at the office. Chances are, you won’t have enough time to fix up an elaborate lunch, so stick to either salads or sandwiches using lean meats and complex carbohydrates. Seasoned chicken breast with sweet potato is a great example.

Fresh vegetables seasoned with a little garlic and a pinch of lemon supply you with a light, flavorful snack that is high in fiber and vitamins that keep you full and reduce stress. Serve it in a bowl with a sprinkling of herbs and you’re good to go.

Eating – Dinner

For dinner, try a pan-seared chicken breast with a side of steamed green beans, or steak and pepper tacos with whole-grain tortillas. As the day progresses, you must remember not to overeat, especially when it comes to dinner. Eat until you are satisfied, not overly full. Your meal should be high in protein and fiber, with moderate fat and carbs. Eat at least 2 hours before you retire. 


Featured apparel as worn by Stephanie Sanzo available from strongliftwear.com- Gym Wear for Lifters.

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