Dieting With Success: Tips for Healthy Eating

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Part 1

As summer approaches you may be looking for a new diet to help get you in shape for the summer swimsuit season. Trying the latest fad diet, meal replacement shake, pill, etc. may make you lose weight, however, it is important to remember that without making permanent changes in your diet and activity levels, you will start to gain back some of the weight you have lost. When you look into a new diet try asking yourself  “Will I be able to eat like this forever?” Often people find the restrictions of fad diets are not something they can do forever. So instead I challenge you to look at dieting a different way.

Make the choice to change your eating habits for life. Not just for the summer season. A few simple changes in the foods you already eat can jump start a whole new healthy, active lifestyle for you and your family. This will do more than help you shed the pounds it will increase your happiness, your lifespan, and help cut down on medical costs. Try working some of these tips into your current diet:

Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation.  Having those high sugar/high fat foods at least once a week will keep you happy and stress free knowing you can still enjoy those things you love to eat without them being a burden on your health.

Try to make your meals as colorful as possible.  This will increase the amount of nutrients your body is receiving, which will improve your mood, the way you feel, the way you look, and your overall health.

Try cooking the food you already eat in adifferent way. Choose foods more often that are grilled, baked, broiled, roasted, sautéed, stir fried, steamed, and boiled in order to avoid added fats and extra calories. Also, limiting the heavy sauces can make a huge impact on your calorie intake as well.

Make sure at least HALF of the grains you eat are WHOLE grains. These are more nutrient-dense and fibrous which will keep your body satisfied and feeling full longer. Look at the ingredient lists on your favorite foods. There may even be a whole grain alternative you can try.

Drink water throughout the day. Try to get 8 glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration and help you determine the difference between hunger or thirst. Our brain doesn’t always recognize the difference; so many times we grab the extra food.

Try to limit sugary drinks (i.e. soda, juice) and alcoholic beverages.  These things pack on the pounds without filling you up! Do feel free to have your occasional calorie free (aka diet) beverage as long as you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. As you are trying to implement some of these changes into your lifestyle you may get frustrated or feel overwhelmed. Try doing just a few of these things at a time. Once you have succeeded add some more healthy habits to your lifestyle. Like getting 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day!

Using these tips to make positive lifestyle changes will allow you to lose weight and keep it off. It also makes you a role model of healthy behaviors for your family and friends. Try these tips everyday. Unlike a pill or a strict diet plan, you are in this for the long haul. For more tips check out the next article in this 3 part series on Dieting with Success. The next installment will include healthy meal suggestions for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner.

For more information on healthy eating, physical activity and dieting please contact Olivia Jones at olivia_ jones@ncsu.edu or 252-232-2261.

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