Showing posts with label 25 best diet tips of all time. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 25 best diet tips of all time. Show all posts
Monday, June 23, 2014

15 Weird Diet Tricks That Work

Earlier this year, we shared the 25 best diet tips of all time.  I stumbled across an article recently detailing weird weight loss tricks that work from Allure.

nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
I found  this t-shirt online and couldn't help but smile.

There are some of the usual suspects like eat off small plates (a proven weight loss winner) and give up the guilt. The latter is a diet gamechanger. Turns out the stress induced by the guilt of overeating can cause you to eat more. Just enjoy an indulgent meal and move on. That has saved me in more ways than one.

Some of the other suggestions are fascinating and smart:
  • When eating out, sit at the end of a table away from the center where the bread and chips are normally placed. Easy, simple and genius. 
  • Sleeping in a chilly bedroom can help rev up your metabolism. It forces your body to heat itself up and, in turn, you will burn calories keeping yourself warm. 
  • Researchers have found that drinking one to two glasses of wine a day helps keep your weight down. Why? Well researchers can't exactly explain but they have found that women tend to eat fewer calories when drinking wine and burn more calories after drinking than men do. The key? It's moderate wine consumption.
  • Check your allergy meds, these can be a sneaky cause of unexplained weight gain because H1-type antihistamines like Claritin or Allegra block the histamine's in the immune which play a role in appetite and metabolizing fat. 

One More
I would add perhaps my most effective one: put your fork down between bites. It forces you to eat slower which allows your brain to signal your stomach you're full. It works. Promise.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Diet Tip #20: Check for Sneaky Sugar

Tuesday we focused on snack swaps you can make when you're craving sugar.  Today let's be more proactive.

Sugar can be the devil.  It's a devil I love and battle every day.  Excessive sugar can damage your heart, cause diabetes and much more.  It's not like one cookie killed anyone.  Moderate indulgences are fine but it's hard to be moderate when it comes to the white stuff.

That legal crack is everywhere.

If you start checking nutrition labels you will be shocked when you learn about the amount of sugar in some of your favorite foods that you thought were naturally sugar free.

In fact, among the changes the FDA recently suggested the White House make regarding food labels was to address added sugar.  Most food labels only list "Sugar" which is a combination of added and natural sugars.  One proposed change is that the amount of added sugar be clearly labelled. This will help you determine how much sugar comes from a natural source and how much is added.

Still, it's good to check for what I like to call "sneaky sugars".

Any time you see a word ending in -"ose" that's added sugar.  Dextrose, fructose, maltose, sucrose, glucose?  All forms of sugar.  Beware of other forms such as cane syrup, cane juice, corn syrup, malt syrup, honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate or brown sugar.

Then there are foods you wouldn't think have much sugar but do:
Fat-free salad dressings, crackers, bread, spaghetti sauce, instant oatmeal (a sugar BOMB), yogurt (another bomb), frozen dinners, cereals, ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Look at these two examples from my cupboard:

On the left is a box of All Bran cereal while on the right is a box of Back to Nature Crispy Wheat crackers, two things you generally wouldn't consider "sweet" food items.  The cereal has six grams of sugar per serving while the crackers have four. 

This barbecue sauce has nine grams of sugar per serving. 

How much should sugar you consume? 
The American Heart Association recommends nine teaspoons for men and six for women per day.  You can blow your wad in a regular 12-ounce soda when you realize it has 10 teaspoons of sugar.  

The thing is, sugar is listed in grams on most nutrition labels.  A gram and teaspoon are two different units of measurement.  A gram measures mass (aka weight) while a teaspoon measures volume.

How do you know how much you're consuming?  In general, there are about four grams of sugar per teaspoon. 

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon 

The Takeaway
Again, moderate consumption of any of these items won't hurt you.  It's the cumulative effect and overindulgence that does damage.  Just be mindful of your overall sugar consumption each day.

I'll be fighting that battle against the White Devil right along with you.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Diet Tip #18: Brush Your Teeth

If you're fighting a craving, brush your teeth.  Doing this signals your brain that you won't be eating for a while.   Brushing your teeth also gives you that minty fresh breath, something that doesn't mix with chips, candy or whatever it is you might be craving.

sonicare tooth brush
Brush those teeth to fight cravings!
I am a nighttime eater.  This trick has worked for me time and again to help fight those evening urges.

Not only does this diet tip give you fresh breath and improve your oral hygiene, it might also help you lose weight.

Try it just once and see how it works.
Friday, January 24, 2014

Diet Tip #17: Check Calorie Counts When Dining Out

Starbucks cranberry orange scone
Starbucks Cranberry Orange Scone/Courtesy
This falls under the category of things you don't want to know but should.  Be proactive about learning more about the calorie counts of food items at your favorite dining establishments.  It might make you rethink your food choices.

When I found out my favorite Starbucks cranberry-orange scone had 490 empty calories and 34 grams of sugar I almost choked on my latte.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Diet Tip #16: Learn How Many Calories You Should Be Eating Daily

Even if you hate math and numbers you should have a decent working knowledge of calories and how many calories you should be eating.  It's not that hard.  There are calculators galore to help you.

What is a calorie?
A calorie, technically, is 4.18400 joules, you could round it up to 4.19.  In English?  It's the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
As it relates to nutrition, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and energy usage through physical activity.  Think of it as the amount of energy you get from eating something.

Different types of food have different calorie counts:

  • Fats have nine calories per gram 
  • Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram 
  • Alcohol has seven calories per gram

How many calories should you be eating daily? 
This is different for every person.  It's important to know how many you need so you can plan your eating strategy for the day and week.

Determining how many you need can be a complex formula but there are calculators to help you do it.   Woo-Hoo! Try this one.  It's easy.

For me, I need about 2200 calories per day to maintain my weight.  If you want to lose weight, enter your desired weight in the weight category.  So, if I wanted to lose 10 pounds, I would need about 2100 calories a day to do that.  That's not a big difference.

If I wanted to drop 1-2 pounds per week, I would reduce my calorie consumption by about 500 calories per day.

See?  Easy math!
Monday, January 20, 2014

Diet Tip #14: Go Green One Night a Week with 7 Easy Veggie Dinner Ideas

Or red or purple or orange, whatever color floats your boat.

One night a week have a vegetable-based dinner.  That's it!  It's so much easier and more delicious than you think.

We know we need to eat more vegetables but we don't do it.  This gets you in the habit.

Stumped on what to make?  Here are some ideas:
  • Spaghetti squash with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil.
  • A veggie-based soup - I love my kale, lentil & sweet potato.
  • A mish-mash of steamed vegetables - broccoli, sweet potato, cauliflower, brussel get the idea.  Top with any seasoning you like. 
  • A huge veggie salad - use a dark lettuce and go wild creating a big vegetable mix featuring onions, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, celery, beets, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, whatever rocks your veggie world.
  • Steamed cauliflower with mustard - I could eat this as a meal almost every day.
  • Deep dish polenta pizza, recipe courtesy of Cooking Light. 
  • Eggplant Mexicano, recipe courtesy of Readers' Digest. 

Diet Tip #13: Nix the Artificial Sweetener

You might think you're doing yourself a favor using artificial sweeteners to make your favorite beverages sweeter. You're not.  Not only are you ingesting fake crap, you might also be making yourself fatter.

Studies show that artificial sweeteners stimulate your appetite and can increase your cravings for carbs.

So what can you do?  Nix the fake sweet stuff.  Don't replace it with sugar just nix it.  Have your coffee or tea without sweetener.  Novel concept, right?

I pitched this idea to a friend looking to lose weight and she asked "But how can I sweeten my drinks?"

My advice?  Let your appetite mature.  We're no longer children.  We don't need sweet drinks, sweet tea, sweet juices or sweet coffee all the time.  Once in a blue moon?  Fine.  Every day.  No.

Once your taste buds get accustomed to coffee with milk or naturally brewed tea without sweetener, fake or real, you will cringe at the taste of the pink, blue or even the yellow stuff.

You won't miss it all.  Promise.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Diet Tip #10: Use Your Non-Dominant Hand

This simple diet trick is along the lines of putting your fork down between bites and is just as effective.

What is it?

Use your non-dominant hand when you eat.  If you're right-handed use your left hand and vice versa.  It's much harder than you would think.

Using your non-dominant hand forces you to eat more slowly, something which is proven to help you lose weight.  A study by TCU determined that those who eat slowly consume 88 fewer calories than speed eaters.  That's not a ton per meal but over time....there's a theme adds up.

The Takeaway
Use your non-dominant hand while you're eating and while you're at it, put down your fork between bites.  This won't take away from the enjoyment of the meal.  On the contrary, eating slowly will likely enhance the experience.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Diet Tip #9: The 2-Bite Rule in Restaurants

Are you a member of the clean plate club?  I was for years.  At dinner my parents consistently told me to clean my plate, regardless of my hunger level.
ALESSI Plates KITCHEN Plate Porcelain
Don't leave your plates empty
Sure, there was some "eat your vegetables" thinking in that directive but so many of us were told to finish everything on our plates as children.  That thinking has subconsciously carried over into adulthood and we now feel compelled to eat everything put in front of us.  At least I do.

Today's diet tip: when you go out to eat, leave at least two bites of your restaurant entree on your plate.  That's it. Most restaurant portions are too big to start.  You could really get away with asking them to bag half of your dish at the beginning of meal, that IS if you're ordering an entree. You know I am a fan of ordering two appetizers in restaurants.

Leave a few bites, better yet take half of this home
Anyway, if you order a big entree leave two bites on the plates.  It's just a few calories but it adds up over time. And remember: put down that fork between bites.

All of these tactics are incredibly effective.
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Is Your Salad Making You Fat?

salads, salad calories, fattening calories

We have the best intentions when we make a salad or order one in a restaurant. We think we're being virtuous ordering those greens with a bit of cheese and a few croutons.  How about some bacon bits and ranch dressing? Before you know it you have a salad on your plate that has more calories and saturated fat than a hamburger.

You can get fat eating salads. Really. If you add creamy salad dressing, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, croutons and bacon bits, you're adding hundred, if not thousand, of calories. Dr. Oz warns us of the fat salad, too, claiming that some women get half their daily calories from salad dressing.  Salad dressing = the emptiest of calories.

Okay, so how do you avoid the fat salad? Simple. Don't use that nasty salad dressing from a bottle or the fattening dressings they offer in restaurants. When I was fat, I lived on fat-free salad dressing.

Use salsa, balsamic vinegar or olive oil with a bit of salt and lemon as your dressing. Simple as that. (Tweet this).

Other Things to Nix
While we're at it, forgo the croutons and bacon. They are both empty calories. And if you're going to have cheese, have a flavorful one so that you need less of it. No cheddar or Monterey Jack. Have some feta, blue cheese or goat cheese. These all add a lot of flavor without a lot of calories.

Feta cheese
The Takeaway
  • Don't eat bottled or restaurant salad dressing. Use salsa, vinegar (I love balsamic) or olive oiul & lemon. 
  • Nix the croutons, bacon bits and bland cheese. 
  • Opt for flavorful cheese, if you must have it, like feta, blue cheese or goat cheese. Just a bit to add some complexity.  
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Diet Tip #6: Wear Tight Clothing to Eat Less

Selma's A Basket Full of Cookies
Are you someone who doesn't have an "off switch" when it comes to food?  I am.  I could eat an entire head of broccoli dipped in queso (weird, I know), a jumbo bag of Lay's original potato chips or a basket of gourmet cookies in one sitting.  I am a recovering fat girl and could easily be one again if I wasn't vigilant about making quality food choices.

One of the most effective tips I've ever used when trying to eat less and engage that "off switch" is to wear tight clothing.

Stick with me.

I am not talking hoochie clothes.  I am referring to clothing that has a waistband or certain rigidity to it so that it will be constricting if you overindulge in food.

When you wear stretchy pants, flowing moo-moos or other loose-fitting clothing your waistline can expand if you eat too much.  There's a reason you see people in sweatpants at the all-you-can-eat buffets.

The Takeaway
SPANX High Power Shaping Brief
SPANX High Power Shaping Brief
If you're in situation in which you will be presented with copious amounts of food, try tightening up.  Wear form-fitting pants, a slim-cut jacket, an a-line skirt or your SPANX.  You won't be comfortable eating a lot and you'll feel better about yourself for not doing so.

This tip works. Try it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Daily Diet Tip #4: How High-Volume Foods Help You Lose Weight

To drop pounds, pump up the volume.  Not the volume of your music but the volume of your food.  Think fiber and water.

Fiber is your best diet friend.  It is bulkier and makes you feel full on less food.  Foods with a high water content offer the same benefit.

Wonderful Watermelon/Courtesy
A cup of watermelon has 46 calories, according to TheDailyPlate.  One big, oatmeal cookie from, say, Starbucks (which I love) has 220 calories.  The watermelon is also a better choice from a nutritional standpoint versus the cookie which offers little nutritional value.  I usually can't stop at a cup, so have two cups for dessert.  That's still less than 100 calories and after two to three cups of a watermelon, you're probably pretty full.  One cookie?  It's not all that satiating.

starbucks oatmeal cookie
The Starbucks Oatmeal Cookie/Courtesy Starbucks
The watermelon for cookie is an easy swap.  What else can you do?

Fill up on a big bowl of broth-based soup as an appetizer, go light on the cheese, breaded items, etc.  Too hot for soup?  Go for a veggie-laden salad.  Again, nix the croutons, heavy cheese, bacon bits and creamy dressings.

The Science
There is data behind this.  According to Women's Health Magazine, a study at Penn State University examined obese women who ate foods with a higher fiber and water content.  Those women lost 40% more weight than women who simply controlled their portion size and cut back on fat.

In another Penn State study, women ate the same weight of food over a 2-day period.  The women who ate the high-fiber foods on the second day took in 30% fewer calories but did NOT feel hungrier or less full.

The Takeaway
Think about it.  When you eat soup before dinner, you get full faster.  It's a simple matter of volume.

Here is a great list of high-volume foods (aka high-fiber, low-calorie) from the American College of Healthcare Sciences.  Definitely worth your time.
Monday, January 6, 2014

Daily Diet Tip #3: Eat Dessert, Just Not All of It

Neiman Marcus Red Velvet Rose Cake,
Neiman Marcus Red Velvet Rose Cake

This is one of those "well, duh" diet tips but it's one we tend to follow in theory, rather than at the table.

Go ahead and eat the rich, decadent dessert but don't eat all of it.  Eat only three bites.  You don't need every last bite of the key lime pie, chocolate cherry bundt cake or (in my case) Baklava Ice Cream Cake from Ziziki's.

This is how it works:
  1. Order dessert or, if you're at home, put it on the table.  Make the presentation nice.  
  2. Take a normal-size bite. 
  3. Put down your fork.  Remember that one? 
  4. Slowly savor your dessert. 
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 5 two more times.
  6. After your third bite, put down the fork for good and push away the plate.
  7. Enjoy what you just had and be proud of the fact you didn't gorge.
 Studies show that the first and last bites are the most rewarding. 

That's it!  It works.  Try it the next time you go out to eat or make dessert at home.  It's a truly effective method to lose weight or maintain your hard-earned weight loss.