A nutritionist breaks down some weight loss suggestions you've probably never heard of
The trick to losing weight and keeping it off is not by dieting. Yes, you heard right - fad diets, juice cleanses, or cutting out all carbohydrates may help you shed your undesired pounds for the time being, but in order to truly get the body you desire, the key is not through dieting. What you need is a lifestyle change.
"Weight loss should not be about an allowed or avoid list," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, a New York based dietician and the creator of BetterThanDieting.com. "Weight loss is about reconnecting with food and establishing a healthy relationship with your body. The ultimate goal is not to feel like you're being punished and that's why you have to lose weight. The ultimate goal is to look and feel your best." Here are some more helpful tips to change your diet without a diet that you've probably never heard of.
1. Cut out cheat days
So you've been so good on your low-carb, no-sugar, all organic, non-GMO, vegan diet, but it's your friend's birthday this weekend and you're dying to just let loose — but this attitude isn't exactly a helpful one. "I really detest the thought of cheat days," Taub-Dix tells me. "Firstly, the word 'cheat' just has this really negative connotation — like you're doing something wrong, and I don't believe there should ever be negative feelings towards food."
Taub-Dix explained that just because you're trying to lose weight, doesn't mean you have to cut out all pleasurable and indulgent foods from your diet. "The key is knowing when to have them so that they really count and what kind of quantities to have them in," she shares. "It's also important to know that after you eat a piece of cake you're going to feel OK about yourself and not guilty."
2. Use as little oil as possible
If you're looking to shed weight, oil, no matter how healthy it may be, is very high in calories. Which is why Taub-Dix suggests cutting out oil as much as possible, trying to use a non-stick pan where you can.
"Whatever oil it is olive oil, corn oil, it doesn't matter, it contains almost 2000 calories per cup. At that amount, if you're scrambling eggs in oil, putting some on your salad for lunch, or adding to your veggies at dinner, that oil, weighing in at almost 2,000 calories a cup, really adds a lot of calories to your diet that you probably weren't planning on," Taub-Dix says.
3. Offset your calories
"When it comes to weight loss, consider the idea of cutting out versus cutting down," Taub-Dix said. The healthiest way to lose weight and create a healthy self-image is not by cutting out complete food groups, it's by cutting down on them. "I don't want to call it diluting it down, because that sounds like you're taking away from the food's taste, but the idea is to try and offset calories when you can. This way you're not sacrificing taste and you're still eating the foods you want," she explained.
So, how do you offset calories? Taub-Dix gave some great examples. "Instead of eating a full bowl of a sugar cereal, mix it with plain Cheerios. This way you are literally cutting your sugar in about half," she said. Other good ideas; instead of straight pasta for dinner, slash the calories by combining it with zoodles (zucchini noodles) — now you're getting the best of both worlds. Lower the calories of your favorite salad dressing by pouring half of it into a jar and filling the rest up with balsamic vinegar. Now you won't feel as bad using it on your salad.
4. Don't go cold turkey
Ever hear of getting hangry? You know, hungry and angry. Well, you don't lose weight when you're hangry. "People who want to lose weight tend to just skip meals, and this can backfire," Taub-Dix said.
"Being hungry will not only have a negative impact on you physically, but also emotionally because when you're hungry you feel more irritable, tired, less focused, and truthfully if you're too tired, or too hungry, it all leads to that same word - apathy. Which is not the feeling you're trying to achieve when you want to lose weight." So don't get hangry, you just end up grabbing the first thing you can lay your hands on and then regretting it later.
5. Give your tastes time to adjust
Taub-Dix pointed out that when you're looking to lose weight, you have to be patient and give your tastes time to adjust. "If you're used to really sweet foods, it can take some time to tailor your tastes so that you're getting your body accustomed to things that are less fatty or salty," she said.
One great tip Taub-Dix had to help with this adjustment is to ditch the salt from the salt shaker and fill it up with other seasonings that are more flavorful and better for you. "Certain seasonings can provide a tremendous amount of flavor to your food and can taste way more satisfying than just salt," she shared. Try smoked paprika, Sriracha, or even lemon juice.
6. Fill up on fibre and fluid
When you cut out back on fat it can be much easier for you to become constipated which leads to feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Then you just end up feeling like you're not doing a good job," Taub-Dix explained. "If you add more fiber to your diet you'll really help things move along better." Taub-Dix recommended getting fibre from whole grain cereals, or fruits and veggies. But, don't forget the water.
"Fiber and fluids make the best marriage. A big mistake people make when they're trying to lose weight is not drinking enough water, especially as the summer months are coming and it's really easy to get dehydrated," Taub-Dix said. If water isn't your thing, try cold herbal teas with cut fruit inside for a refreshing pick me up.
What this translates into: the name of the game is moderation. It's different from person to person, but when you get it right, the results can be very pleasing indeed.