"THE DIET" - What Should I Eat?

In order to lose weight successfully a combination of lowered food intake and increased activity works best. Increased activity will be dealt with later.

Decreased food intake can be accomplished in more than one way. One is to simply eat smaller portions or less food. Another is to forgo higher calorie foods and eat those with lower calorie content. Yet another way is to avoid foods with high fat content.

You won't find menus, food lists, diaries or recipes here. Dieting is a common-sense approach to healthy eating and health living. Diet is a very personal thing, including personal taste and ethnic background and must be something you are able to live with for the rest of your life. Sure, you will lose weight on an unhealthy diet of lettuce and celery sticks but you'll gain it back (plus a few extra pounds for good measure). What you need is a healthy meal plan that will allow you to lose all the weight you need to lose and maintain that weight loss forever. For this kind of diet ALL foods are acceptable...but in moderation. "Don't cut out, cut back!"

Unless advised to do so by your doctor never cut your intake to less than 1200 calories a day. Your body needs that many calories to survive. We talked about metabolism in the section on drugs...eating too few Calories a day puts your body in starvation mode and it efficiently lowers your metabolism in an attempt to hang on to everything it already has. Not eating enough is as self-defeating as overeating!

Keep in mind that your diet also needs to be nutritionally balanced. Choose foods daily from the basic food groups - dairy products, fruits and vegetables, breads, grains and cereals, and meat, fish, poultry and alternates. Ask your doctor or dietician for a food plan giving recommended amounts of these foods.

Choose foods that are low in fat. Lower fat foods have much less Caloric value. Fat promotes fat! Many books and charts are available outlining the fat content of virtually every food. Generally, 30 g of fat or less per day is recommended.

Avoid high fat snack foods such as potato chips and corn chips. Cookies, cakes, pastries, chocolate and candy all add a lot of sugar, fat and Calories to your diet and have little nutritional value. Avoid them! Enjoy plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for snacking.

Learn the art of substitution. It can make a big difference to your daily Caloric intake. For example use 1% milk instead of whole milk, diet spread instead of margarine, diet soda instead of regular, fat free whipped topping instead of whipping cream....well you get the picture! Be creative...see how many things YOU can substitute in your diet!

Learn to cook the low fat way - baking, boiling, broiling, steaming, microwaving are all preferable to frying!

Drink plenty of water.

Learn to eat only as much as you need to feel full...without overeating

 Three meals a day (including breakfast) plus planned and appropriate snacks are essential for a healthy balanced diet.

Many people complain that they can't eat first thing in the morning. It matters little if you have your first meal of the day at 6 a.m. or 11 a.m. as long as it is a healthy meal. So often people who skip breakfast are the first at the coffee truck mid morning buying high fat, high sugared energy boosters like donuts.

Plan healthy snacks for those times you need them most.

In a Hurry?

Want those extra pounds gone yesterday? Thinking you might just starve or eat grapefruit three times a day?

Liberate yourself from the fad diet trap. Recognize that short term diets don't work. Most of the weight you do lose comes back on again and leaves you feeling like a failure. Instaed you've got to....MAKE A NEW PLAN!

Wait for that "moment of readiness" to begin. Before you start, be sure you are really ready to make some permanent changes in your life. Half hearted attempts lead to that "lose a little, then gain back a lot more" syndrome.

Realize that it took time to add that extra fat and its going to take time to lose it. Make your goal a permanent loss and that means a diet you can live with for the rest of your life. Small changes add up over time to great results!


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