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Best Dietary Habits to Help You Lose Weight

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
3
December 18, 2021

Whether your diet is wonderful already, or needs some help, there are a few quick guidelines to always follow for a diet that both boosts metabolism and also protects the body from health complications, stress and fatigue. Ask your health coach or Dietitian to help find solutions that work for you, and follow these quick tips:

What are Some Great Standard Diets to Follow?

  • The Mediterranean, DASH, or Vegetarian Diets are great because they all focus on a few key things:

          1. plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds

          2. Omega-3 rich fish 2-4 times per week, and

          3. Foods from less processed, natural sources

  • Small, Frequent meals: giving your metabolism a boost
  • Balanced meals: eating a little of every food group at each meal is helpful to ensure you get a variety of vitamins in each meal. Follow the balanced plate method for basic assistance.

Fad diets may promise fast results, but such diets limit your nutritional intake, can be unhealthy, and tend to fail in the long run. There are several ‘diets’ or ways of eating that are correlated with weight loss and overall improved health outcomes, but most of the widely effective and long-lasting ones involve balanced eating without excessively avoiding a food group. When we avoid an entire food group, carbohydrates, for example, we can not only shock the body into a drop in metabolism, but we oftentimes end up filling our stomach with more harmful things, instead.

There is no magic numbers that everyone should follow for calorie restriction, but the standard recommendation is between 45-60% of the meal from natural fruits and starches and whole grain carbohydrates, 20-30% from healthy proteins, and 20-30% from healthy fats.

How to Handle ‘Cheat Days’

We often try to eat healthy, but for many of us, we want a special day of the week to treat ourselves for a job well-done, give in to the cravings just a little, or share a special meal with friends and family. We call these days ‘cheat’ days. Some people advocate for a special treat food on the cheat day, while others believe in a cheat meal. Regardless, we should not take this literally as an entire day of dietary cheating. In fact, I’d actually suggest to not call it cheating at all - I don’t want to feel bad about what I’m doing, so instead of calling it cheating, I call it ‘treating’.

  • Make concessions: You may have a healthy diet most of the time, but make concessions on your cheat days. A little cream in your coffee today can easily become part of your normal routine. Did you find a low-calorie, ‘less-bad-for-you’ ice cream? Great! Don’t make it a part of your regular shopping list, and don’t eat the whole pint. Remember, it is still a treat.
  • Treat in excess: Have you ever said to yourself: ' well, I’m already eating this little treat, and I worked hard this week. So I might as well treat myself a little more at dinner, too.' Try to avoid it. If you dilute your day with treats, you run the risk of diluting all that hard work that you’ve done, and setting you back in your weight goals. When you have multiple treats, it becomes increasingly difficult to feel rewarded on future cheat/treat days. You may also shock your body with too much food that your body is no longer accustomed to digesting, leading to indigestion and bowel troubles.
  • Not adding it all up: Eating a special meal on Friday, a treat with friends on Sunday, and not having enough vegetables in your diet on Monday and Tuesday are all little things that add up. Try to think about your entire day, and your week that past and week ahead. If there’s a special event coming, then reserve that as your treat-day. Try to be on good behavior throughout the week.
  • Eat the wrong things when you’re hungry: Did you already eat a meal, but you still feel hungry? Before you grab some munchies, think about why you might still be hungry: was the meal low fiber, missing vegetables, carbs, or protein, or did you not drink enough water? If your answer is yes to any of those, then try to fill your body with what is missing, not just what is around you.

Takeaways

Whatever your goals for your weight, it is important to eat natural, healthful, balanced meals, and keep on a regular routine to keep your metabolism revved. Avoid junk foods, and keep your special treats in your diet to just one meal, or just one food, instead of an entire day. And always remember that your care team is in your corner, ready to provide you with support to prevent you from getting off your diet, and to help you get back on routine when you’ve fallen off. Chat with us today!