Nothing seems to help motivate dieters more than a quick drop in pounds. The reasons for wanting to take off excess weight are varied--from wanting to look great in a swimsuit to getting healthy and fit. Whatever the case, set reasonable goals and diet sensibly. Find a long-range plan that you can stay with for a lifetime. Having a fast start is fine, as long as you do it in a healthy manner and don’t have unrealistic expectations. Most people can’t lose more than 3 or 4 lbs. in one week without jeopardizing their health.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Start each day with a healthy breakfast. Include a serving of protein, at least one or two servings of fruits or vegetables, one serving of grains and some dairy for calcium. A healthy, hearty breakfast will provide the fuel you need to get through the morning, and it will help prevent the desire to grab a gooey, mid-morning pastry.
Drink at least eight 8oz. glasses of water each day. When you feel the first stab of a hunger pang, drink a glass of water first and give it time to quench your thirst. You may not be as hungry after that.
Substitute Healthy Foods
Instead of munching on unhealthy foods, substitute healthy foods that will nourish your body and not add the fats or unnecessary carbs to your body. Some examples of healthy substitutions include fat-free dairy instead of full-fat dairy, air-popped popcorn instead of buttered microwave popcorn, oatmeal instead of sugary cereals and angel food cake instead of pound cake.
Eat More Often
Beware of sitting down to three huge meals per day. This prevents getting too hungry from waiting too long between meals, and it helps heighten your metabolism. If your body doesn’t get the fuel it needs on a consistent basis, it is likely to go into starvation mode.
Increase Your Activity
Find excuses to move as much as possible. Park as far as possible from the office or stores so you can take a few extra calorie-burning steps. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. If possible, instead of e-mailing someone in the office, walk over to the person and hand deliver the message.
Use Small Plates
Go ahead and fill up the plate, but make it a smaller one. Use a salad plate for a meal or a custard cup for ice cream. You can only get so much food on the smaller size plate, so you’ll need to resist the urge to go back for seconds.
Fiber-rich foods will give you the feeling of being full more quickly, and they’ll help your digestive system run more smoothly. Some excellent high fiber foods include most fruits, vegetables and grains.
Write it Down
Keep a small notebook with you at all times. Write down every single bite you put into your mouth. You may be surprised at how many unintentional calories you consume each day. Even small tastes of something will help pack on the pounds if you overdo it.
Sit down to eat and enjoy your food. Cut small bites, and after you put them into your mouth, put down your fork and chew your food. This helps with the digestion, and it gives your body time to acknowledge when it’s full.
Diet with a Friend
Make yourself accountable to a diet partner. If you’re the competitive type, have a contest. If not, you’ll enjoy losing weight with a buddy.