Better Habits - Not A Diet

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Posted by Helene

When I needed to lose weight I hated the word "diet" and I still do as a matter of fact. Losing weight and keeping it off is a lifestyle, both in your workout routine and eating habits. After years in the sports nutrition fields I find there are easier ways to shake the scale than just to follow a rigorous diet.

Studies show that people who incorporate healthy daily food habits have better success at reaching their goals and keeping the pounds off than people restricting their eating too much.

1/ Forget fads: Low calorie and fad diets can have serious health implications: they do not provide insufficient vitamin and nutritional intake, they can leave you fatigued, slow down your metabolism, mess with your hormones, and might even leave you severely dehydrated. Dieters commonly experience feelings of hunger or deprivation, which can lead to "cheating" or bingeing.

2/ Don’t eyeball, measure: we underestimate how much we really eat each day and end up consuming too many calories without realizing it. Keeping a diary or log recording exercise and food intake is one of the most successful weight loss tools.
- record where you eat (tv, car, couch, counter, dinner table), how much you eat and what mood you are in when you do (boredom, stress, sadness,…)
- pay attention to food labels: at first glance, an item may appear to be 100 calories (juice, cookie, frozen meal) but a closer look will show that the package includes two or more servings, which defeats your trying to eat less. At a quick glance, a bottle of juice (or bag of chips, candy bar, or frozen entrée) may appear to contain 100 calories, but a closer look will reveal that the package includes two or more servings, which doubles the caloric content.
- get the measuring spoons and cups out of the drawer: get familiar with serving sizes of common foods by measuring them. Two tablespoons of peanut butter, mayo, or dressing is about the size of a golf ball. A serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. A medium piece of fruit is similar to a baseball.
- Think mini: single serving packages of crackers and cookies are great for portion control. If you shop in bulk, measure out single servings and put them in ziploc bags as soon as you get home.

3/ Hold the fat: remember that not all fats are created equal. Certain oils (olive, canola), and nuts are nutritious and healthy to eat. Remember that fat does have more than twice the calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein (9, 4, and 4, respectively). So do not load up on trail mix with nuts on the pretext that it is “the good fats”. A serving of nuts is about 20, and a serving of olive oil is 1 teaspoon. Spray your dressing on your salad or use cooking spray at the bottom of your pan when cooking meats and vegetables, you might end up saving 200 calories a day. Use low fat sour cream and cheeses as much as possible and keep the real deal for a special meal. Add flavor to foods without excess calories and fat by using herbs, lemons, limes,…When cutting out high-fat and high-calorie foods, replace them with wholesome foods like fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories, but high in volume, fiber and nutrients, which can give you a feeling of fullness for minimum calorie intake.

4/ Drink water: limit your alcohol intake throughout the week and try to drink water as much as possible (add some lemon or Crystal Light if you don’t like straight water). Sometimes we think we are hungry when we simply are dehydrated. Drinking water throughout the day will give you plenty of energy, whereas alcohol can impair your self control when it comes to food causing you to overeat or make the wrong food choices.

Losing weight and keeping it off is about a healthy lifestyle, not a quick fix. We did not gain the pounds overnight, they are not going to melt off in a flash either. Think fresh, natural, wholesome and flavorful and reducing calories or eating healthier should get a little easier.

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This Post was written by Helen from Tartelette


This is great Helene. It's true to look more closely at the labels. It's amazing what's really hiding inside some of these items.
Great tips!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
August 13, 2007 at 7:58:00 AM GMT+2  

A post that speaks from my heart. :) I switched to eating mostly vegetarian in order to be able to stick to healthier food easily, so I know all about changing your habits permanently. I don't eat *less* now, but I tend to eat healthier, and in general also less fatty (although I should sometimes remind myself that fries are not a food group :) ). It seems to have worked OK so far.

I like how much emphasis you have on staying hydrated in your posts! Drinking enough water will not only keep my fluid levels up (if you eat less you will probably also take up less fluid with your food) but also make my stomach feel less empty. I personally love to drink tea and try out new herbal tea sorts during the day.

What do you think about eating times (or am I anticipating something that will follow in a later post again)? How would you plan your meals throughout the day, to fit them into a workday schedule?


August 13, 2007 at 10:32:00 AM GMT+2  

Thank you both for your responses. Jokergirl: you are right: I was thinking about this as I was writing the article so I will post that soon.

Helene said...
August 13, 2007 at 8:17:00 PM GMT+2  

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