7 Foolproof Rules for Changing Your Diet
Personal trainer Jim Karas suggests that you build a support system by telling friends and family about your plan.
Go back to the basics and realize that your body weight is a function of the equation: Calories in minus calories out equals your body weight. If you're not happy with the outcome, then you need to work on your numbers.
Keep a Food Diary
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when people wrote down what they ate, they had underestimated on average by 1,053 calories a day. That is major. Write it down and see the reality of what is going into your mouth.
Don't Suffer from "Portion Distortion"
Most of us have no idea how many calories are in certain foods. You have to read labels and learn to eyeball the caloric values of portions. Buy a measuring cup and a food scale—not to use forever, just until you get a handle on the actual calories you are consuming.
Eat Out but Eat Smart
Order your food grilled, not fried, and make sure the grilling is done with very little olive oil. Vegetables should be steamed, not sautéed, and never let a restaurant put the dressing on your salad. That dressing could be more than 500 calories and pure fat. Get it on the side, and dip your fork tongs into it—once!—or use balsamic vinegar or carry packets of fat-free, low-calorie dressing. And please stay away from the bread. It could add hundreds of calories.
Stop Drinking Calories
New research shows that your body does not register liquid and solid calories the same way. If you drink orange juice, your body is still hungry. Eat an orange instead, and your body will register the calories in a way that makes you begin to feel full. So drink water rather than juice, soda, and milk-heavy cappuccinos, and be moderate with liquor. Try sparkling water with lime or lemon or, to ease the transition, dilute your juice with 50 percent water, either sparkling or still.
You Can't Part-Time Diet
Most dieters are so careful during the week, only to undo their good work with weekend splurges. The body counts all calories.
Plan a Treat
My 5-year-old daughter knows she can have a treat every night after dinner. But that's it. If she asks at any other time, then she knows it will come instead of the regular one, not in addition to it. So plan on having the cookie, piece of chocolate, frozen yogurt, whatever. Just know the calories and predetermine a reasonable portion. That way you won't feel deprived.
Next: Is it possible to think yourself thin?