30 New Years Diet Resolutions
Time to make those New Year’s resolutions! And after the holiday glut of heavy feasts and high calorie beverages, it’s no surprise that “lose weight” and “eat better” are at the top of your list. Instead of simply making your diet-related resolutions with the best of intentions, put the following diet tips into practice and stick to your New Year’s resolutions all year.
DIET TIP #1: EAT A BALANCED DIET
How often do you hear that advice? But how often do you actually follow it? Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN, certified personal trainer and a specialist in performance nutrition says, “The healthiest and most body fat-resistant diet contains protein and carbohydrates and fats.” In her book Crack the Fat-Loss Code: Outsmart your metabolism and conquer the diet plateau, she extols the virtue of protein in every meal but she also advises to partner it with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, such as omega-3s found in fatty fish and flax..
DIET TIP #2: DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR CALORIC INTAKE
If you have been shredding calories – according to the cardio machine’s calorie counter – and reducing your caloric intake but are still not losing weight, chances are your caloric assessment is in your favor but unfortunately not accurate. “The bottom line is that people underestimate the calories consumed, and overestimate the calories burned through their exercise programs, said Michael Atwood, expert personal trainer at the largest health club in New England, and author of The Health Club Diet. Talk to a registered dietician as well as a personal trainer to determine the number of calories you need to eat and expend to reach your diet-related goals.
DIET TIP #3: DIET WITH A BUDDY
Zone Diet instructor John Erickson, nutritionist for Zone Delivery USA, and author of The USA Diet Plans Manual, advises “Find somebody who has similar aspirations and set challenging goals for one another. It’s good to surround yourself with others who also follow a health-promoting lifestyle because it will only motivate you.”
DIET TIP #4: VISUALIZE YOURSELF HEALTHY
Erickson also recommends that you use the power of visualization to picture your ideal self. He says, “Pretend you are already the person of your dreams and forget about the internal dialogue of ‘wanting to have’ or ‘I wish I was skinny.’ Act as if you already have ripped arms, the perfect butt, shapely legs…As you think, you will become.” Keeping a positive self-image will make you feel better and keep you motivated to eat healthier.
DIET TIP #5: AXE THE QUICK-FIX ATTITUDE
In the article “Expert tips to avoid fad-diets”, author Diana Bocco says, “Weight loss takes time, and there is no reasonable or healthy way around it. When it comes to dieting, any diet plan or weight loss product that seems too good to be true usually is.” Apply the energy you spend on searching for the quick-fix fad-diet solution to simply cutting down on calories or portions and increasing your daily physical activity.
DIET TIP #6: DEDICATE YOURSELF TO EATING BETTER
A fit body requires a commitment to long-term healthy eating as well as sensible diet modifications when necessary. Fitness spokesperson for Women’s Health Amy Dixon says, “Looking good takes a lot of work and dedication to a nutritious diet plan.” That means if you want to reap the benefits of a healthy diet, you need to stick to it.
DIET TIP #7: EAT WITH YOUR SENSES
Mindless munching will derail the best of diet intentions. Tune in to the foods you eat with all of your senses and make it an experience in pleasure. In my article 7 Tips to eating with your senses, I give you the sensuous eating how-to. Once you start eating mindfully, ditch the foods you don’t really like and slowly savor the ones you do. The slower and more attuned you are to your meals, the greater the likelihood you’ll eat less.
DIET TIP #8: EXERCISE BEFORE BIG MEALS
Whether it’s the holiday season or another celebratory reason to feast, preface your meal with a workout. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends that you take a long, hard walk or run about an hour before eating. This will elevate your metabolism and help you digest your food more effectively.
DIET TIP #9: EAT LIGHTER AFTER HEAVIER MEALS
Another tip from ACE: Don’t panic or feel guilty if your diet seems to have gotten out of hand. You can make up for a feast of rich, higher-fat foods with lighter, lower-fat meals for the next couple of days. You can also make up for the damage by picking up your physical activity for the next couple of days, too.
DIET TIP #10: MAKE GROCERY SHOPPING A HEALTHY PLEASURE
If you detest the supermarket chaos after work, change your grocery shopping action plan to make it more enjoyable. In her book The Daily Fix, Alexa L. Fishback, MS, RD says, “Make grocery shopping fun, not a chore. Find your local farmers market and enjoy walking through different stalls and stands. Along with items on your list, pick up some fresh flowers to help boost your mood all week long.” In addition to avoiding long grocery check out lines, the foods you pick up at the farmers market will also be healthy, eco-friendly and freshly picked.
DIET TIP #11: DON’T EAT LIKE A MAN
Jenna Bergen, author of Your Big Fat Boyfriend: How to Stay Thin When Dating a Diet Disaster, warns that if you try to keep up bite for bite with your man, you are going to end up overweight. She writes, “The hormone that makes your man a man (testosterone) is the main reason behind his (annoying) ability to eat so much without gaining a single ounce.” Bergen goes on to say that testosterone causes the body to build muscle, which burns more calories than body fat (giving you more reason to incorporate weight training into your regular gym routine). Figure out how many calories your body needs and stick to an eating plan that is appropriate for you – not your dude.
DIET TIP #12: HAVE A HEALTHY FIRST COURSE
Before you dive into your entree, have a light starter course. Sneaky Chef Missy Chase Lapine, author of the Sneaky Chef cookbooks, says “Start the meal with a salad or hot low fat soup – research shows people who do this eat less.” Just be sure you don’t drown your salad in high fat dressings as well as avoid the heavy cream-based soups. Toss your greens lightly with an olive oil based vinaigrette and savor soups with a broth, tomato or pureed vegetable base.
DIET TIP #13: DITCH YOUR DAILY DIET SODA.
Research suggests that diet colas aren’t diet-friendly at all and may even be bad for your bones. Sarah Wassner Flynn, author of Reasons to ditch the daily diet soda, recommends that you replace your calorie-free cola with tea, fruit juice or a glass of club soda infused with a flavored syrup. And for your bones, a glass of milk won’t hurt, either.
DIET TIP #14: EAT FOODS LOW IN CALORIE DENSITY
Foods that are high in water and low in fat – such as fruits, vegetables, soup, lean meat, and low-fat dairy products – are low in calorie density and provide few calories per bite. Dr Julia A Ello-Martin, lead researcher in a study comparing low calorie density diet with a reduced fat diet, says “Eating a diet that is low in calorie density allows people to eat satisfying portions of food, and this may decrease feelings of hunger and deprivation while reducing calories” said Dr. Julia A. Ello-Martin. Women who ate low calorie density foods in the study, which was published in June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, lost more weight than women following a reduced fat diet.
DIET TIP #15: FIBER UP
In the article Celebrity workout tips Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, author of the F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight-loss says, “I always tell clients ‘fiber and protein at every meal, makes losing weight no big deal.’ Focus on high fiber and lean protein and you can achieve similar results without going to extremes.” It may take longer to lose weight but it increases your chances of keeping it off for good. Fill up on fruits, veggies and whole grains – and be sure to read package labels to find the foods with the most fiber.
DIET TIP #16: DEVELOP A LIFE-DIET
Instead of focusing only on diet or exercise, aim to improve your total lifestyle. Fitness professional Jeri Lynn Sunok, owner of Orange County’s Fitness Intuitive and author of Fitness Intuitive, Opening Your Mind and Body to Lifelong Fitness, recommends a whole-fitness philosophy, a philosophy that incorporates a total body and mind approach to becoming fit. Eat right, follow a workout plan that incorporates variety, and practice a mind-body modality such as meditation or yoga. Develop a life-long comprehensive health and fitness plan.
DIET TIP #17: SUPERCHARGE YOUR HEALTH WITH SUPERFOODS
Though fad-diets don’t work for the long-haul and most diets deter you from certain foods, Jenny Schwartz, registered dietician and personal trainer for Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, recommends The Super Foods Rx Diet. She explains, “The reason this diet is good is it tells you what foods you can eat and focuses on fruits and vegetables. It gives you grocery shopping suggestions and recipes to help you reach your goal. It is also written by dietitians who are experts in the field.” (Get a jumpstart with these10 everyday superfoods.)
DIET TIP #18: UNDERSTAND YOUR BODY, UNDERSTAND YOUR DIET
Sarah Lurie, fitness professional, kettlebell expert and founder of the kettlebell strengthening and conditioning center Iron Core in San Diego, CA, suggests gaining a better understanding of your body for long-term diet success. “In order to achieve your ideal body, you have to first understand how your body works and processes foods as well as gain insight into why you eat what you do and how much you really need to eat to function at an optimal level. Understanding what you need, how much you need and how your body responds to certain foods is a key ingredient in losing extra pounds for good,” she advises. She recommends “eating for life” plans such as You on a Diet, The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, and Jay Robb Fat Burning Diet.
DIET TIP #19: GET HELP
Registered dietician Shwartz says, “Diets can be dangerous and a very short-term solution to weight loss. Some diet plans are healthy and can be effective if followed correctly. The effectiveness of a diet plan depends on what [you were] eating before [you] started the diet. If [you were] eating poorly to begin with, most diets will work but longevity is the key. Everyone’s nutritional needs and goals are different, so you may want to see a registered dietitian if you want a diet plan tailored to you.”
DIET TIP #20: SMART CARBS ARE KING
The low-carb craze spread rampant waves of carbohydrate fear through the masses, resulting in all carbs getting a bad rap. Truth is, complex carbohydrates – found in fruits, veggies and whole grains – are healthy and should be a cornerstone of your diet along with lean proteins and healthy fats. In my article Celebrity workout tips, celebrity health expert Jackie Keller, author of Body After Baby and directing founder of NutriFit, a Los Angeles based nutrition company, says “Our star clients follow a balanced diet along the line of our general NutriFit recommendation of 60 percent favorable carbs (fruits, vegetables and whole grains), 20 percent lean protein and 20 percent healthy fats.”
DIET TIP #21: DITCH THE SPECIAL OCCASION MENTALITY
Eating out is no longer the once a month special occasion. According to the National Restaurant Association, people today eat out an average of six times per week – hardly a frequency considered special or on occasion. In the article Diet-conscious strategies, Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, lead nutritionist at Novo Nordisk Presents: Divabetic – Makeover Your Diabetes and author of Eat Out, Eat Right not only advises eating at home more often, she also recommends enjoying the relaxing qualities of eating out without using it as an excuse to overeat.
DIET TIP #22: EAT BREAKFAST – AND LUNCH AND DINNER
In my article 7 Diet tips for women to eat healthier at home, nutritionist Warshaw says “Breakfast is the meal skipped most often and, yet, research on successful weight loss shows eating breakfast is a key to successful weight control.” Prioritize your morning meal and you’ll be prioritizing healthy eating as well as improving your chances of reaching your goal weight. Additionally, eat regular meals throughout the day, fueling your body every three to four hours to keep your blood sugar on an even keel, prevent hunger-induced bingeing, and keep your energy up.
DIET TIP #23: THINK BABY STEPS
Christine Cristiano, author of Small steps to a healthy lifestyle, advises that you don’t try to do too much at once. In the article, Kelly James-Enger, motivational speaker and co-author of Small Changes, Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life, says “Most people try to overhaul their entire lives all at once, which is nearly impossible to stick with for any length of time.” Instead, opt for simple changes like including one more piece of fruit in your day or replacing white bread with whole grain. Do smaller more manageable changes and you’ll find them much easier to live with.
DIET TIP #24: AVOID FOODS THAT SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF YOU
Celebrity fitness guru and trainer for Novo Nordisk Presents: Divabetic – Makeover Your Diabetes High Voltage advises, “Stay away from foods that rob you of energy. Focus on unprocessed foods that are full of life because they will, in turn, give you life.” Eliminate processed foods and fast food, replacing them with wholesome options like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, probiotic-rich dairy, and healthy fats – not only will you decrease the chemicals in your diet, you’ll also be increasing your consumption of essential nutrients for your health.
DIET TIP #25: DON’T FOCUS ON THE SCALE
In his article Top 10 diet mistakes that prevent women from losing weight, professional women’s fitness coach and the author of Slim Girl Secrets – A Woman’s Guide To Getting A Shapely Sexy Body Geo Grigoryan says focusing on the scale is not a true representation of how you look. He adds that if you are working out – building muscle and burning fat – “how you look and feel has little to do with how much you actually weigh.” Stop obsessing with the scale and take a good look at yourself instead.
DIET TIP #26: DETOX
According to Sylvie Beljanski, an expert on environmental health effects and founder of Manhattan’s Beljanski Wellness Center, detox programs can help aid long-term health, energy and weight loss because they help the body get rid of toxins that compromise the immune system and cause other mental and physical maladies. She recommends seeing a professional to determine if a short- or long-term detox plan is right for you. Beljanski adds, “The advantages include: the immune system is stimulated, the hormonal system is enhanced, dependency on substances such as sugar, caffeine, nicotine or alcohol can be reduced.” Plus, you’ll feel and look better.
DIET TIP #27: DON’T RELY ON SUPPLEMENTS
Dr Michael Finkelstein board-certified internist and certified holistic physician and founder of the healthy living concept Skillful Living says, “It is important not to allow ourselves to become romanticized by the fantasies that one, two or a combination of 10 supplements will resolve our underlying issues. The ‘dependence’ on supplements, instead of an approach that is more holistic leads people down a path of greater reliance on outside forces to keep their life in balance. People lose touch with more reliable ways of caring for themselves and often get stuck.” That means eating a healthy well-balanced diet that provides the nutrients you need and only then take a multi if you think your diet is falling short.
DIET TIP #28: JOIN AN ONLINE DIET GROUP
“Join a website program that helps you to track calories. Accountability is a huge help,” says Amy Hendel R-PA, a family nutritionist and the author of Fat Families, Thin Families. Having the support of a positive online group can keep you motivated to stick to your good diet intentions as well as provide tips to help you overcome diet obstacles. If available, consider joining a diet group that meets face to face in your community – being around supportive, like-minded people is one of the best ways to keep you enthused about eating better.
DIET TIP #29: BRUSH YOUR TEETH AFTER MEALS
This is a simple yet so often overlooked trick to prevent snacking after meals. Once you are finished eating – any meal – excuse yourself and go brush your teeth. Having a fresh clean feel in your mouth will deter you from eating anymore. To boot, you’ll be taking care of your chompers, reducing your risk of dental caries and gum disease.
DIET TIP #30: KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL
In the article The single best way to lose weight, experts suggest that, to help break bad habits, you record not only what you eat, but the circumstances that prompt you to eat. When you begin to notice unhealthy patterns, you can figure out ways to change them. Best yet, you’ll see results quickly – even after a couple of weeks, you can compare today to Day 1 and see how you’ve already improved