Healthy Diets When You Can't Exercise

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Fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy diet that controls weight and leads to weight loss. (Image: Yuri Arcurs/Hemera/Getty Images)

Exercise is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It becomes even more critical when you are also relying on it to help you lose weight. But not everyone is physically capable of performing exercise to lose weight, and some feel they don't have any time in their day to devote to physical activity. Weight loss can still occur without exercise, but the foods that comprise your diet take on even more importance.

Healthy Food Integration

A reduced-calorie diet is more important -- and effective -- than any other aspect of dieting touted by diet books and weight loss programs. You need to burn more calories than you consume in a day to trigger your body's use of fat deposits as fuel. Integrating certain foods into your diet can help you achieve this. First and foremost are fruits and vegetables, most of which are low in calories and high in water content, fiber, vitamins and minerals. These help flush your system and fill your stomach without adding large amounts of calories to your body. Low-fat foods, including lean meats and skim or low-fat dairy products, can also help you reduce your calorie consumption.

Eliminating Unhealthy Foods

Sugary, high-calorie foods are often consumed as snack or dessert items, and all of these can set you back in your dieting efforts. You can cut calories quickly by drinking water in place of sugar-added fruit juices, soft drinks and sports drinks. Limit or eliminate alcohol, particularly beer, which can be high in calories. Avoid cheeses, meats and snack foods that are high in calories and/or fats. Integrate fruits and vegetables as between-meal snacks to eliminate unhealthy snack foods. High-calorie foods such as grains are important to your health, but you need to keep your consumption of these under control.

Controlling Portion Size

The amount of food you eat at meals greatly impacts your daily total calorie consumption. Some experts recommend breaking your three main meals down into five or six smaller meals throughout the day -- this can help control hunger and keep your metabolism even, leading to more efficient digestion. By serving yourself smaller meals and trying to stop as soon as you feel hungry, you can decrease the calories coming into your body and gradually acclimate your body to a smaller amount of food at meals. This will help you control hunger pangs.

Tracking Your Diet

It helps for some people to record the caloric value of all the foods they eat in a day. By doing this, you can track the calories consumed at every meal and in between, and depending on your total calories you can easily identify areas where calorie consumption could be reduced. In order to make use of these exact measurements, though, you should also determine your body's approximate daily calorie usage and aim to consume at least a few hundred calories less than needed each day.

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