March is National Nutrition Month, a great time to share my top 10 eating secrets that will help you lose weight, feel great and get you back on track!
1. Eat a minimum of 1,200 calories a day. Don't aim to restrict yourself to just 500 to 600 calories per day. Very low-calorie diets are designed to jump start weight loss by promoting water loss. However, it is difficult to maintain very low-calorie diets over time.
2. Make easy changes you can keep -- don't latch onto the latest fad diet.
No one can last eating the same tiny meal for weeks or months. The main problem is that once you introduce your usual calories, the weight is likely to come back. A balanced, reduced-calorie diet paired with exercise is the healthiest approach to long-term weight loss.
3. Make room for favorites. Don't eliminate all the foods you love.
People think that healthy eating and weight management is about willpower or "clean eating," but science proves deprivation does not yield results. For example, if you are a soda lover, opt for a diet soda or a smaller portion size like a mini can. Or, when you're at a birthday party or wedding, get a small piece of cake and skip the frosting.
4. Weigh and measure yourself weekly -- don't step on the scale every day. You'll get a better gauge of your weight-loss success by weighing yourself regularly about once a week rather than as frequently as every day. Weight fluctuates daily, so you may get a temporary weight gain, which can be discouraging. Avoid jumping to conclusions if you find yourself a pound or two off.
5. Enjoy your meals sitting down. Don't eat on the run or in the car.
Food is important to nourish our bodies, so take time to savor every bite. Mindful eating allows you to take time to sit down and thoughtfully enjoy what you're eating. And experts believe that practicing mindful eating is likely to result in consumption of fewer calories than rushed meals or those on the go. Slow down to trim down!
6. Cook at least one meal per week. Don't eat out every meal.
Not only will your wallet benefit from a home-cooked meal, but you are likely to consume less fat and sodium. And, this could be good for the whole family. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology Community Health, children who regularly eat meals together with their family typically have higher intake of fruits and vegetables than those who don't eat together.
7. Step up the exercise and feel the burn wherever you can.
Don't skip your daily physical activity just because you can't make it to the gym. Going to the gym or jogging are great ways to exercise, but there is so much you can do around your home or in your office. Try burning calories by getting up from your desk and delivering messages instead of sending emails or get off a stop early from your bus or train. Exercise will help tone your muscles and boost your overall mood.
8. Eat until you are satisfied. Don't strive to clean the whole plate.
Eat until you're satisfied and not bursting. Use the three-quarters rule, which allows you to feel three-quarters full with a little wiggle room. If you avoid overeating during meals, you'll likely avoid the craving feelings later on.
9. Take in 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day throughout the day. Don't overlook the variety you could find outside of veggies as just a side dish at dinner. Vegetables' nutrient-packed benefits go beyond the basics. Choose them based on their attributes, taste, satisfaction, seasonal availability and affordability. Orange, green, yellow, red or white -- a variety of vegetables will deliver potassium, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A and D to name a few. Give yourself and your family the gift of variety by focusing on all the possibilities such as juicing, smoothies, salads, side dishes, entrees and even desserts!
10. Get enough sleep. Don't be a night owl.
Give your body plenty of rest. Just like a car needs to rest for refueling, your body needs rest to repair and get energy to function properly. If you find yourself tired or restless, it's time to take a nap!