When buying groceries, it is an old adage to buy something from every food group. We know this; yet those "reduced calorie", "fat-free", "light", and "sugar-free" snacks and frozen meals sure are tempting to any dieter, for their taste and sheer convenience. At first, you may lose some weight and then hit a plateau where you don't lose any.
Have you looked at the nutrition and ingredient labels on such foods? Not only do most have artificial ingredients that lack nutritional value, but are also loaded with salt and sugar to make up the taste. No wonder we get addicted to these foods!
So what happens to our bodies when we consume these supposed healthy foods? At first, you might lose weight because of a decrease in the number of calories you consume. Then you may hit a wall in your plan or even gain more weight back, because these foods just aren't natural to your body; basically your body starts rejecting these.
The best thing to do at the grocery store is to buy whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables, real yogurt and cheeses, skim or soy milk, and packaged foods in moderation. If you find that you need the convenience of grabbing a ready-to-go meal, make extras when you cook and freeze the leftovers in easy single portions. The right way to diet may take longer, but you will keep the weight off for good by making these choices.
These tips are great for eating at home, but let's assume that you want to eat out once in a while. First, watch your portions at the restaurant! Do you really need an appetizer, three rolls, a salad, an entre, and dessert? Such meals jeopardize any diet, because the calories and fat content are astronomical, almost always more than your daily allotment should be. If you want something from each course, at the very least try cutting the portions in half. A great trick is to box up half of your meal before you even dig in.
So what should you order? Some menus now have a "healthy" section that even tells you the calories and fat content. Just ask about the salt content; you don't want the meal to bloat you out. Opt for grilled or broiled choices, with no cheese or cheesy sauces (think marinara vs. alfredo), and be sure that half of your meal contains all vegetables. By following these simple guidelines, you won't be afraid to eat out ever again!
As far as beverages go, water and tea are always the best option. "Diet" sodas can be just as bad as their regular counterparts, because of the aspartame content. Any carbonated beverage can make you retain water, thus making it hard to lose weight. Alcohol should also be used in moderation. The best choices are a light beer or a glass of red wine. Try to avoid mixed drinks, as they are loaded with sugar and calories.
Remember if you slip up, as any normal human being does, don't beat yourself up and think that you ruined your diet for the day. Everyone can have a slip up or a treat once in a while! Just get back on track to your goals and you will keep the weight off for good!