Clean up your diet with a few simple tweaks.
Whether you've tried one too many fad diets, have fallen off the bandwagon, or just want tips for lifetime weight management, read on for my excuse-proof tips to help you flush the fat and stop the dieting merry-go-round.
1. Break that fast.
Think about it. You have been fasting for a good eight to 10 hours since eating dinner and going to sleep. Studies on both adults and children show that breakfast skippers have problems concentrating and a lack of sustainable energy. You'll be reaching for coffee, sweets, and sugar-laden energy drinks to give your blood sugar an immediate lift, but soon after you'll feel drained again and on the prowl for another sugar hit.
My solution: Find a powerhouse plant-based protein powder that is dairy-(including whey) and soy-free. I especially like a blend of brown rice and yellow pea protein because it provides a complete protein source of amino acids. Yellow pea is high in lysine, the amino acid typically deficient in brown rice, while brown rice provides the sulfur-bearing amino acids cysteine and methionine, which are lacking in yellow pea protein.
To make a lip-smacking smoothie, simply combine in a blender: One scoop protein powder, 8 ounces water or Fat Flush cran-water (1 ounce 100 percent unsweetened cranberry juice to 7 ounces water), 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 1 tablespoon flax or chia seeds, and ice cubes (if you'd like). Enjoy delicious satisfaction for three to four hours!
2. Eat all the colors of the rainbow.
You'll get all those stellar phytochemicals (think lycopene, lutein, and sulforaphane) in seasonal vegetables and fruits. Include at least two dark, leafy greens (like kale, collards, and romaine lettuce) and brightly pigmented vegetables and fruits (like tomatoes, fresh corn, oranges, and blueberries) to complement your daily intake of protein foods (omega-3 eggs, organic poultry, lean beef, deep sea fish, legumes, and tofu) and healthy fats (olive oil, walnuts, and chia seeds).
3. Don't eat the same foods every day.
Variety is the spice of life, and the more kinds of foods you eat, the greater your chances of taking in all the important nutrients that ward off disease like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Strive for at least 10 different kinds of foods a day instead of just a few.
4. Eat lunch like a king and dinner like a pauper.
Our caloric and metabolic needs peak at midday. Work with your metabolism, not against it.
5. Use pure water as your number one beverage. Since water is the most natural and effective diluting agent, it is important that it be used therapeutically for cleansing. Drinking any other liquids, such as coffee, tea (even herbal teas), soft drinks, diet drinks, carbonated water, mineral water, or unsweetened fruit juice, is not recommended. All of these beverages contain some type of substance that must go through a digestive process. This is exactly what you don't want. Here's why you should drink your eight to 12 8-ounce glasses today:
- Drinking water before a meal takes the edge off your appetite.
- Water ensures normal bowel and kidney function to rid the body of waste -- as well as stored fat.
- Drinking water alleviates fluid retention -- only when the body gets plenty of water will it release the stored water.
- Water gets rid of excess salt.
- Water helps plump the skin and prevents dehydration.
- Water helps to prevent the sagging skin condition that often follows weight loss.
6. Try not to go more than four hours without eating.
Keeping blood sugar levels steady translates into more weight loss for you.
7. Snack in the mid-afternoon.
Learn to grab a handful of raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or an ounce of low-fat cheese with a piece of fruit. Feeling creative? Try a sliced apple or nectarine rolled in toasted ground or milled flaxseeds with cinnamon, or celery ribs stuffed with mashed tofu, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne.
8. If you go out to eat, ask the server to remove the bread ASAP.
Instead, order a seafood cocktail or grilled Portobello mushrooms to get you started and take the edge off your hunger. This way you won't be tempted to fill up on carbs.
9. Don't desert dessert.
In other words, don't deprive yourself. A little bit of a natural fruit sorbet or even fresh fruit (fresh pineapple is so good for your digestion) will give your sweet tooth just the satisfaction it needs.
10. Ensure proper dietary intake.
If you eat out frequently, or are prone to skipping meals due to your hectic schedule, then consider a multivitamin to the rescue. A multivitamin is important year-round, but is especially ideal during the summer. When you sweat, your body loses magnesium, the most important mineral for your heart. I recommend a multivitamin that contains 250-500 mg magnesium daily.
If you integrate even two or three of these tips and tricks I bet you'll reap huge benefits. Here's to a slimmer, healthier summer!
For more by Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS, click here.
For more on weight loss, click here.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more