9 Must-Follow Rules for Dieting
There are tons of different diets and plans for losing weight and getting healthy, but they all have a few of the same basic rules in common. Whatever your diet of choice, be it Vegan, Paleo, Low-Carb, or Real Foods, follow these basic rules for dieting safely and effectively to reach your goals.
Related: 5 Tips for Better Eating Habits
Don’t Drink Your Calories
This is rule number one for a reason. Skip the mocha latte, soda, and Gatorade. Don’t waste your calories on sugary drinks. You should even find alternatives for your favorite alcohol drinks — replace your Red Bull and vodka or Jack and Coke with red wine or a vodka club. It all has the same effect in the end, right?
When we drink our calories, they don’t come packed in fiber, and when we skip the act of chewing, we trick our body and mind into thinking we didn’t eat. You won’t feel as full from a glass of strained orange juice as you will from an entire orange. The same goes for soft drinks and sports beverages. If you have to drink your calories, go for thicker drinks like unstrained juices or smoothies so you still get the fiber!
Snack on Fruit
Fruit, in its high-fiber, high-carbohydrate natural state is incredibly filling. It’s refreshing after a workout, and a great thing to munch on in between meals. Seriously, when you’re on a diet, you can pretty much eat as many apples, bananas, and oranges you want. It’s the one thing you can binge on.
Start with Water
Consume 1-2 liters of water first thing in the morning, and drink a full glass before every meal. In addition to water’s great health benefits, it also fills up your stomach, leaving less room for overeating. All dieters should try to greatly increase their water consumption to help fuel a healthy body.
Skip “Diet” Foods
“Diet” on food labels is normally just a nicer word for “fake.” Diet soda contains aspartame – a chemical which fakes you into thinking you’re consuming sugar; the same goes for most low-fat, low-carb, high fiber, and omega-3 claims.
Eat food as close to nature as possible. Instead of paying extra for omega-3 fortified eggs, spend that extra money on pastured eggs from your farmer’s market. They naturally have more omega-3 than the grocery store brand. Without synthetic additives!
Choose Fats Wisely
We all know that we should avoid deep-fried foods, but do we know why? Recent studies tell us that straight-up fat doesn’t make you fat, but that certain types of fats do. Hydrogenated vegetable oils, fake fats, and those containing trans fats are the bad fats.
Try to get your fat from natural sources such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, pastured butter, and lean meats. Stay away from the margarine and vegetable oil!
Cook at Home
This is a big one. When you cook for yourself at home, you (normally) naturally make healthier foods than you would find on a restaurant menu. We all love those creamy soups from Panera, but if we try to recreate it, we’ll see exactly how much butter, cheese, cream, and salt makes it so delicious, and we’ll think twice. Cook at home and you’ll have full control over what goes into your body.
Now that you’re eliminating a lot of unhealthy additives, and consuming more water, fruits, and vegetables, remember that it’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while. Whether that means a piece of dark chocolate every night, or a small slice of cheesecake once a month, you should occasionally treat yourself with the real, full fat and full sugar varieties of your favorite foods.
This gives you something to look forward to, and helps you stick to your diet. Eventually you’ll probably lose the cravings and some of the taste for these high fat/sugar/salt items and naturally eat them less frequently.
Skip Refined Carbs
This is a basic rule for all dieters, as consuming refined carbs is like eating cardboard. Sure, they taste amazing, but they have zero nutritional value, and they shock your metabolism, making it easier to get chronic illnesses, and harder to lose weight.
Skip the white flour, white pasta, and white bread, and reduce your intake of polished white rice. Remember: six packs start in the kitchen, not the gym!
Don’t Eliminate Macronutrients
Finally, you shouldn’t fully eliminate any real food or nutrients from your diet. It’s okay to somewhat reduce your fat/protein/carb intake, but remember that if you reduce your carbs, you have to increase something else, so make sure you’re offsetting your diet with healthy alternatives, like fruits and vegetables.
Image: Pink Sherbet