Diets work. From the balanced to the bizarre; if you carefully follow a diet you’ll lose weight. Once you stop, there’s a high likelihood of gaining it back. It’s a frustrating cycle to bounce between dieting, overeating, and eating normally. Life is too short to never enjoy French fries without guilt.
Here are our 10 tips to enjoy dessert without feeling like you’ve blown your diet.
Eat variety. It’s the spice of life for optimal health. A body needs over 40 different nutrients that should come from nutrient rich foods. The amount to eat depends on your weight (or ideal weight). You won’t get what you need if you eat from a narrow range of foods.
Eat whole grain bread. Yes, bread and other whole grains. The average American diet is weak in this category. We’ve become carb-averse. But, according to the Department of Agriculture’s most recent Food Pyramid, we need 6-11 servings of this category.
Eat for your ideal weight. Determine what it is, realistically, and eat for that weight, taking into consideration your sex, age, height, and activity level.
Know what a portion is. A 3 ounce portion of fish or meat is about the size of a deck of cards. One serving of ice cream is ½ cup, a serving of pasta is 1 cup, and a fruit serving is a medium apple, orange, or pear, or 1 cup of berries or cut up fruit.
Eat regular meals and often. Out of control hunger leads to all kinds of crazy behavior like overeating, sex in the afternoon, and giving in to the temptation to grab what’s fast instead of what’s healthy.
Eat what you want. Giving up foods we like creates a temptation to give in to what? Reduce, don’t eliminate. There’s no such thing as bad foods: if you love dessert, eat it but have less of it and not as often.
Pay attention to fat intake. If you eat high-fat meats and whole milk dairy at every meal, you’re getting too much fat. Replace high fat foods with low-fat dairy and lean meats.
Know your demons. To correct bad eating habits, you need to recognize what those bad habits are. Keep a journal of everything you eat for 3 days. You might be surprised at how much butter you’re putting on your toast, or the amount of mayo in your tuna salad.
Make small changes. Drastic diet measures are usually not sustainable over time. Start by trying to control excesses and deficiencies with small, incremental changes you can live with long term.
Exercise. Along with not smoking and healthy eating, it’s a major component of longevity.
Most transformations happen when you practice something with consistency.