Sunday, April 7, 2013

You Don’t Have to Diet; Small Lifestyle Changes Can Make a Big Difference:

When many people set out on a weight loss journey they tend to set impossibly high standards and restrictions that may not be overly reliable for long term weight management. This post is about making small, healthier changes to aid with your nutritional goals. I practice all of these tips to the best of my ability and they have become a part of my daily routine. 

1. Read labels carefully:

Get into the habit of reading ALL labels on the foods you purchase. Pay close attention to the fat content, sugar and the sodium levels. Remember even if a food item boasts a fat free label it does not mean that it is healthy. Many foods contain high amounts of sugar to make up for the lack of fat, which still makes it unhealthy so read, read, read!

2. Cut out unnecessary sugar:

Many foods and drinks have tons of refined sugar and cutting back on these can make a world of difference to your diet and your energy levels. Foods such as chocolate milk, juices (that have added sugar), soda, iced coffee drinks, candy, cereals ect. I am not advising you to completely deprive yourself of sweet treats all I am saying is cut back and limit yourself.

3.  Keep a food diary:

Keeping a food diary allows you to put what you are eating into perspective and it forces you to take accountability. I wrote a previous blog on the My Fitness Pal app check it out in my older posts for more details. 

4. Eat smaller and proper portions:

In a supersized world it is easy to get into the habit of eating more than you need, but by cutting down your portions you can drastically cut back on calories and train your body to make due with less food.

5. Limit carbohydrates:
I am not an advocate for cutting out carbs completely and joining one of those fads that lets you gorge yourself on meat instead. You should enjoy food but eat everything in moderation. Eating smaller portions of rice and pasta and having larger portions of lean meat will help reduce your sugar intake and calories. You can opt for other bread types such as rye or pumpernickel and you can eat brown rice instead of white.

6. Enjoy fruits:
Fruits can help satisfy your sweet tooth but the sugar found in fruit is natural sugar not refined white sugar and therefore can be broken down by your body and not stored as fat. Fruits are also high in fibre, antioxidants and vitamins so snacking on them throughout the day can curb hunger pangs.

7. Potion control snacking:

Buying portion controlled snacks are a great way to have your sweets but not overdo it. Special K has some smaller snack bags of chocolate cookies, pretzels, and other delicious snacks that are 100 calories. Skinny Cow also has some tasty ice cream bars made with skim milk and reduced fat. Although these products do have sugar they tend to be healthier than sitting down with an entire bag of chips or cookies thus promoting you to eat less. Just make sure you limit yourself to one portion.

8. Find healthy snacks that you like:

When hunger strikes you should always have healthy snacks on hand.
 Some of my favorites are:
*Non fat no sugar added Jello Mousse cups (60 calories)
*Non fat Greek Yogurt sweetened with organic honey with sliced banana
*Spicy hummus and organic corn chips
*Apple slices and almond butter
*Twistos baked snacks
*Sliced banana with peanut butter
*Cottage cheese
*Fruit salads

9. Be prepared for mealtime:
If you don't think ahead and prepare your meals the more likely you are to reach for something unhealthy. This may be easier said than done but having a nutritious home cooked meal with no extra preservatives, salt or fat is a lot better than eating out where you don’t even know what is going into your food.

10. Work out:

Working out will help you stay at your physical best and help burn fat. Do anything you like but just get out there a few times a week and MOVE! I try to get to the gym anywhere from 3-5 days a week.

11. Eating out healthy:

When you eat out opt for more healthy items, a delicious chicken or turkey wrap or a healthy sandwich instead of a fast food burger and fries. Try some healthy grilled meats and salads instead of fatty fried foods.  

*Do not eat at fast food restaurants:

You should be able to go out and enjoy a meal at a restaurant but I always opt for healthier places to eat out. I avoid places like Burger joints such as MacDonlads, Burger King, Harvey’s, A & W, Wendy’s, Checkers and other types of burger and fast food chains that sell similar foods. I also avoid places like KFC, Popeyes, Chick-fil-A and pretty much all other fast food restaurants that sell burgers, fries and fried foods that contain a lot of fat, salt, sugar and artificial ingredients. 

12. Make the most of your calories:
Don’t waste your calories, make them count. What I mean is don’t eat a high in sugar high in fat chocolate bar or muffin when for the same amount of calories with less fat and sugar you can have a delicious sandwich on wholesome rye bread. The sandwich is a meal and will help you feel full whereas the chocolate bar or sugary soda won’t fill you up with anything but excess calories.

13. Drink a lot of water:

This sounds cliché I know but drinking water with meals is not only good for your body and digestion but it can also help make you feel fuller and eat less.

14. Buy lean meats:

I always buy extra lean chicken, skinless chicken breast, and for my husband extra lean ground beef. I personally don’t eat or like red meat, but if you do limit your consumption and chose meat that is trimmed of fat.

15. Make time for breakfast:
Waking up and having a healthy breakfast is important to keep your metabolism up and when lunch rolls around you won’t feel like you are starving or need to eat a huge meal.

16. Don’t eat too late at night:
Don’t have dinner too late and after you have dinner allow yourself a healthy snack but no heavy foods or meals.
Going to bed early can also help you eat less because you won’t be sitting up all night getting hungrier. Getting enough sleep is also said to help aid in weight loss.

17. Use your clothing to keep motivated:

Pick out an item of clothing that you no longer fit into but makes you feel and look great and try it on periodically to help you track your success and keep your goal in mind. You will love how good you begin to look in your clothes.


  1. Thank you for posting this! A lot of small changes make a huge difference.

  2. Great tips! I know a lot of them but my problem is I need to actually start doing more of them!!

  3. These are great tips and things that can easily be done if you set your mind to it. I think this might just give me the motivation I need to start paying more attention. Thanks for sharing this at the Friday Follow Along


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