Before we start, please just allow to tell you that we absolutely agree with you when you say that restrictive dieting is absolutely no fun. It can make meals boring. It can make you feel like all the joy has been sucked out of your lunch break. It can even send you careening over the edge of a binge eating cliff. The good news is that there are effective ways and tips that you can apply to yourself to make your eating plans bearable and maybe even enjoyable.
#1: The Red-Orange-Green Rule
A plate full of vegetables? Sure, it’s healthy, but for many it’s also incredibly boring. One of the easiest ways to add variety to your meals and to make you feel like you’re having a great one at that is to apply the red-orange-green rule to your meal prepping or cooking strategy. What that means is adding a food of those colors to your plate for every meal. This rule pretty much guarantees that you’ll get some produce on your plate and help you keep the high-calorie, not-good-for-you-anyway kinds of food off of your plate.
#2: Develop A Drinking Habit
Put that beer away, that’s not what we’re talking about. Hydration is one of the most important aspects of a proper diet, so making sure that you consume enough water in a day is one of the best tips to give to anyone trying to eat healthy and lose weight. Consuming water helps you stay full for more longer. Sipping frequently during your meals will also ensure that you have less space for calories in your tummy. Worried about storing water weight? Don’t. We’re actually more likely to store water weight when we don’t drink enough water, not vice versa.
#3: Balance Your Nutrients Not Your Calories
When we’re dieting, our tendency is to focus on the number of calories we can consume. We start obsessing over how many calories are in a certain food rather than what it can bring to your body nutritionally. Instead of zoning in on the calorie count, focus on eating a healthy balance between protein, fat and carbs. By giving your body what it needs in terms of nutrient in the form of longer-digesting foods will keep you on track and satiated in the longer run.
#4: Fix A Plate Before You Sit Down at the Table
If you’re the kind of person that likes serving themselves from dishes at the table, try fixing your plate of food in the kitchen before you sit down at your table to eat. This may seem silly or overboard but it’s totally helpful. When you portion your serving out on your plate ahead of time, you know how much you’re consuming from the beginning and you’re more mindful about what you eat. It’ll also make you think twice about getting up for seconds.
#5: Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry
As with many things in life, we make poor decisions when our ability to make judgement calls has been compromised. When it comes to hunger, there’s an urge that is absolutely difficult to keep at bay, which means more opportunities to trip up and go on a food bender when the cravings get to be too much to handle. The best way to manage your hunger is to make sure that you never get too hungry. You can do this simply by having healthy snacks available to you at all times or to plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. A handful of nuts, yogurt or a hard-boiled egg are all great snack options.
#6: Say Hasta La Vista to Salt
Salt is public enemy number one to weight gain and is likely the culprit behind some people’s difficulty in losing weight. Consuming too much salt comes with many problems, the chief of which is bloating, thirst and water retention. Salt can also make you feel hungrier and thirstier meaning an ever trickier time trying to lose weight and keep bloating at bay. As it is, most people today consume double the amount of salt they should be. Try keeping your salt intake to about 2 teaspoons max throughout the day and see the difference.
#7: Spice Up Your Life
The Spice Girls were really on to something when they told everyone to spice up their lives. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that adding hot spices to your food can help keep hunger at bay. Moreover, other studies have shown that a compound found in chilies called capsaicin can signal your brain to release endorphins. We don’t know about you, but we sure don’t see a downside to feeling full and being in a good mood throughout our diet process.
#8: Turn the Other Cheek at Anything “Diet”
Diet soda, low sugar candies, sugar-free ice cream. These are all things that you need to learn to say no to. While the idea of a food product being “diet” or “sugar free” may sound appealing, it is destructive and could cause you to gain more weight or even put you at risk for a 500% growth in your waist line. This is because of the artificial sweeteners that are found in these products and the way they disrupt your body’s ability to regulate caloric intake. Studies have also shown that those who consume diet food are more likely to overeat.
#9: Go for A Bowl of Soup First
Have you ever given thought to starting your meals with an appetizer of soup? Research conducted at the Penn State University has found a direct positive correlation between people who start their meals with a low-calorie vegetable soup and total caloric consumption at the end of the meal. Starting your meal with vegetable broth can lead to eating up to 20% less calories.
#10: Show Up to Your Party Full
We can’t even count the number of times we’ve gone to a party hungry and wound up pounding a bowl of chips down. When dieting, or when choosing to live an overall healthier lifestyle, eating before the party means a smaller likelihood of going crazy with the party food. You’ll eat 47% less calories and your body will thank you for it.