I never make New Year’s resolutions but after the holidays (when things calm down), I think it’s a good idea to take note of my bad eating habits. You may feel the same way, or want to get back on track in case you gained some extra pounds during the pandemic stay-at-home orders. The start of the New Year is the perfect time to set intentions and make a few changes for the better.
During the holidays, I slip back into some eating habits that I know are simply not good for me. And as I’m exhibiting these bad habits, in the back of my head, a little voice says, “What are you doing? This is horrible for you and you know all the diet rules!” I also understand if I keep eating this way, I won’t look or feel any better, and worse yet, I won’t fit into my clothes (which is not economical). So I put together a list of 9 diet tips you probably already know, but like me, you may need to be reminded. These trustworthy tips can help you with your weight loss goals now or any time.
9 Diet Tips You Already Know
1. Keep Your Hand Out of the Bag
This bad habit is actually the catalyst for this post. Recently I have found myself (too many times actually) with my hand in a bag. It may be a bag of crackers, chips, granola or, even worse, trail mix…with chocolate! I have been eating mindlessly in a trance, grabbing morsels from inside a bag, and thinking about other things! This is the absolute worst thing I can do, and it definitely leads to overeating. I know better!
So what I need to do is take a look at the food label to see what a real serving is, and measure it out! And not just visually divide the bag into 12 servings with the belief that I ate 1 or 2 servings, because I probably ate 4 servings! In the case of my trail mix, 4 times one serving becomes a whopping 560 calories, 32 grams of fat, 44 grams of sugars and 60 grams of carbohydrates! I also need to be aware while eating. No more mindless noshing.
2. Measure It Out Diet Tip
I need to literally measure the food out. I always remember seeing them do this (with good food choices) on The Biggest Loser along with a little pitch for Ziplock Baggies or other containers to help with portion control. So if a serving is 1/4 cup, I will get out my measuring cup and measure my snacks so I know exactly what I am eating. Not a random bag grab. I need to measure each serving out and put it into a bowl, or make mini snack baggies. It will also refresh my memory of what an actual serving looks like! Because as we all know, the actual serving size is generally a lot smaller than we think.
3. Get The Nutrition Facts
Besides cutting back on the quantity, I need to take a better look at what is inside the food I am eating. I need to read the nutritional information more closely in the store, compare and purchase products with less sugar, sodium, saturated fats and carbs. By checking the labels, I have found some foods I need to keep out of the house! I know I do that with potato chips, but I probably should take inventory on what I thought were “healthy snacks”.
4. Cut It In Half
OK, I understand I can’t go around with a measuring cup all the time, especially in a restaurant or at someone’s house for dinner. Instead I have to keep in mind the concept of “cutting your dinner in half” or, better yet, into thirds, and take the rest home (well at a restaurant, not at a friends house because that’s rude). You can literally take a knife, and separate the portion you plan to eat. However, I think it is better table manners to eyeball it.
When I follow this rule, I am amazed at two things. 1. I’m am shocked how full I feel after eating half of the meal, and 2. I’m surprised how far the extra portion goes when I bring it home. The problem with restaurant food is that you really don’t know the ingredients in the dish, but you can usually count on a lot of butter and sodium in the meal because they make food taste better.
Other eating out tips (you probably already know) are to avoid the bread basket, appetizers (unless it’s your meal) and desserts. Order oil and vinegar salad dressing on the side. Ask for fresh steamed vegetables instead of the delicious fries or twice baked potatoes, etc, etc, etc. I personally like the cut-the-meal-in-half idea. That’s because you can still enjoy yourself when you are out at a restaurant, yet you can stick to your weight loss goals.
5. The Don’t Eat Out Diet Tip
A good diet tip is to avoid eating out or carry out all together. When I cook at home, I know exactly what goes into each meal. For example, I know how much olive oil or salt I am adding to the fish. Carry out and buffets at Whole Foods are fun, but even at healthy food places, you don’t know what they used to get it to taste so good! Take the mystery out of your meals and cook it yourself. It is the best thing for your diet, and you will save money which is a bonus.
6. A Glass of Water Before Every Meal
I know I should be hydrating all day, but it always helps me to make that concentrated effort of having a glass of water before each meal. Not only do I feel fuller and eat less, it also assists me with getting in the daily hydration I need. This diet tip works well for hydration, especially if I have another glass of water with the meal.
7. Eat Good Fats
We have all learned it is better to eat satisfying good fats over carbohydrates which turn to sugar. I grew up with the low-fat craze that lead us to all to high-carb hunger! I feel fuller and also reduce my craving for sweets and carbs when I include healthy fats in my diet. Good food choices are almonds, walnuts, avocados, low-sugar Greek yogurt and even a little bit of dark chocolate helps me eat less. Remember to measure out a real serving!
8. Avoid Alcohol
I love wine, especially with meals, but when I look at the empty calories it adds to my diet and and the way it converts to sugar, I know it is best to avoid alcohol. Drinking several drinks at a bar (or splitting a bottle of wine at 625 calories) can add 312 extra calories in just one sitting. And how about when you split two bottles? I have unwittingly lost weight simply by going on the bandwagon, so I know this tip works! Try taking a month off from drinking.
9. Drink What You Know
Mixed drinks and wine have many unknowns. So I know I may be better off to order a beer with nutritional information right on the label (or in my memory). This is safer than ordering a fancy mysterious frou-frou drink. Or ask the bartender to put 1 shot (yes 1) of vodka or tequila in a glass with sparking water and a wedge of lemon or lime (this doesn’t spike your blood sugar either).
Remember to count the number of drinks you consume because they add up! This includes all drinks from juice to cream in coffee to sodas. Juice is empty calories and it is better to eat fruit whole than drink it. Sugar-free sodas contain a lot of sodium and chemicals, so take stock of everything you drink.
I know you have heard all of these diet tips before, but I’m sure you don’t mind being reminded of them! Most of them are common sense and help you to think about your food choices and how much you are eating. Following even a few of these tips can help you with your weight loss goal.
Do you have any diet tips that help you eat right?
You may also like to read more health for women over 40 posts like Aging Backwards: The Anti-inflammatory Diet and 7 Anti-Aging Beauty, Nutrition and Mind-Set Books You MUST Read.
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