Yes, following a diet can result in weight loss. But, most diets are not sustainable for the long-term and end up being a temporary fix. If you don’t want to regain weight after accomplishing your weight loss goal, the key is to drop the deprivation diets and shift to a new way of eating for life. Want to set yourself up for lifelong success? Try using these ten sustainable nutrition tips:
1. Don’t Deprive Yourself All At Once
Set yourself up for success by not depriving yourself from every “bad” food choice at once. Instead of going cold turkey from your less than optimal food options, ease yourself into new sustainable habits. Just make a few changes at a time. For example, stop ordering the regular mocha late and ask for the skinnier version instead. That one choice will save you several hundred calories. Just think about how that one small choice can impact your progress, if you were having that beverage daily? Small changes can lead to big results.
2. Switch Out the Carbs
Individuals who have been following a high carb diet commonly experience a withdrawal when they lower their carbs due to the addictive properties of sugar. Instead of drastically slashing the number of carbs you are eating, switch up the types of carbs you consume to complex options, such as oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potato, and reduce the overall amount of carbs slowly. Strive to have 30% to 40% of your calories come from carbohydrates. You should be providing your body enough carbs to sustain workouts and maintain even blood glucose throughout the day. If you are doing it right, you will efficiently burn off what you are putting in while still feeling satisfied.
3. Be Consistent
Make a permanent lifestyle switch. The less you splurge, the more likely you will be able to stick to your lifestyle change. That means everyday of the week should be consistent – not just during the week or when it is convenient. On weekends, social events, while traveling or during the holidays, be prepared to make healthy food choices no matter what the occasion. Yes, you can have a treat from time to time, but don’t look at special events as times to “escape” healthy eating. Yes, enjoy a few treats, but don’t plan to abandon healthy eating altogether.
4. Take Control
Take time to sit down each week and prepare for the week ahead. Think about your schedule—where you will be and what you will need to make your diet successful? Create a menu each week, go grocery shopping ahead of time and be sure you have what you need. More importantly, evaluate the past week when creating your menu for the upcoming weeks. Did you have success? Could anything have been done better? Was there any food you preferred?
5. Eat Frequently
If you want to have diet success for the long term, you need to start eating more frequently. Eating a small meal every three hours can help keep your blood sugar in-check, while keeping the metabolism ramped up and eliminate ravenous hunger, which often leads to bad choices. Skipping meals can result in overeating at a later time. Research has shown that women who skipped meals lost about 8 pounds less than those who ate more frequently. Aim to have about 5 to 6 small meals per day.
6. Don’t Limit Your Food Choices
If you want to stay on your diet for the long run, you need to make sure you have some variety in your diet. There are plenty of different vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meat options from which to choose. Every meal doesn’t need to consist of chicken and broccoli! Not only can you suffer from diet burn out, but you will also be more likely to cheat if your taste buds are not satisfied. Each week, try a different vegetable, switch up your sweet potato for squash, instead of chicken, try turkey or extra lean pork, etc.
7. Portion Control
Many people think they eat less than they do. The real truth is that we tend to eat way more than we think. We have become accustomed to eating larger portions, thanks to everything being super-sized. If you don’t have a scale, a set of measuring cups and measuring spoons, it will be very hard to determine if you are eating the right amount. So, make sure you invest in these kitchen essentials and start using them pronto. As you become accustomed to the lifestyle, you will be able to pretty accurately estimate portions without these tools, if need be.
8. Eliminate Processed Foods
This really is a no-brainer. If you want to sustain a healthy diet and weight, eliminate foods that don’t provide you with good nutritional value. Consuming foods that are high in simple sugars and saturated fats can spike blood glucose levels, increase insulin release, cause fat storage and result in a blood glucose crash, which leads to more hunger. Stick to whole natural foods that provide sustained energy, vital nutrients and antioxidants and help maintain a steady blood glucose levels.
9. Eat Protein With Every Meal
Protein is essential when it comes to not only maintaining your diet but also maintaining your physique. If you want to get the most of your hard work in the gym and are looking to build and sculpt a lean muscular body, you need to make sure you are getting sufficient protein to do so. Protein not only helps maintain muscles, but it also has a thermic effect in the body, as it takes more energy to burn off versus other foods of the same caloric value. Get at least 1 gram per pound of body weight every day, divided into 5 to 6 small servings throughout the day.
10. Drink More Water
Water can help regulate metabolism and aid in digestion. It can also help reduce appetite between meals and reduce the amount of food eaten at meals. Also, many people mistake thirst for hunger, because the symptoms of dehydration are very similar to those of hunger – feeling weak, lacking energy and endurance and feeling dizzy. Be sure to get 3 to 4 liters each day.