Here are some everyday, helpful hints to get you started, keep you going, and help you stick to your diet.
1. Never leave home “starving.” Always have a light snack before eating dinner in a restaurant, such as a piece of fruit, a glass of juice or a carrot.
2. Don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach! You’ll be tempted to buy everything in sight.
3. Don’t be tempted by treats. Store them out of view, off counter-tops and as out-of-reach as possible.
4. Don’t eat in front of the TV. Watching the boob tube — instead of watching your plate — lulls you into overeating. Also avoid being tempted by food and snack commercials.
5. Make it a rule in your house to confine your meals to the dining room or kitchen table! Never eat standing up! This leads to mindless snacking.
6. Think before you drink. Alcohol adds lots of calories, but no nutrients. Also, it weakens your willpower to avoid the wrong food choices. Hangovers can cause wicked cravings for fatty or high carbohydrate foods that can sabotage any attempt at weight loss.
7. Fill up on soup first. Begin every meal with non-cream hot soup; it forces you to eat slowly and fills you up so you won’t overeat.
8. Take time to taste your food. Don’t gobble food down! Rushing through your meals doesn’t give your brain the time that it needs to signal your body that you are full.
9. When dining out, request sauces and low-calorie dressings on the side.
10. There is no law that requires you to finish everything on your plate.
11. Prepare a shopping list (with menu ideas in mind) and stick to the list. Avoid being tempted by bargains that grocery stores place on the outer aisles and at the back and the front of the store. The healthiest foods are usually in the long narrow aisles.
12. Use non-stick pans to reduce the need for cooking with fat.
13. If you must use oil, try a flavorful one like olive or sesame oil. Now remember, a little goes a long way! Make just a spritz of oil go even further by buying a Misto. A Misto is an aerosol can that you can fill with a good fat such as olive or canola oil.
14. A pinch of grated cheese or blue cheese will provide a flavorful kick without adding a lot of calories to a salad or grain dish.
15. If you cook in large quantities for your family, store leftovers in individual serving size containers. This is a way to practice portion control for yourself so you don’t eat too much at one sitting.
16. Nibbling off someone else’s plate may seem harmless — but those calories do add up!
17. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day. A beverage before mealtime will also help you feel full faster and longer. Water also helps your body digest food, which is especially important now that you’re eating a fiber rich diet.
18. Store really tempting treats in opaque containers or silver foil — and stick them in the back of the refrigerator. Out of sight out of mind!
19. Are you stuffing yourself? If you have to loosen your belt a few notches after meals you’re definitely eating too much!
20. Mashed bananas, prunes and apple sauce are great baking substitutes for fat, especially in bread, brownie and cake mixes.
21. When you choose to eat “fast food,” choose wisely: skip fried foods; avoid large portions; and opt for a small hamburger.
22. Sauté foods, if possible, in chicken stock, low-sodium soy sauce or water, instead of fat.
23. When cooking, broil, bake, roast, boil or stir-fry and let the fat drain. A George Foreman grill is an excellent investment for those who want to eat meat and avoid eating the fat drippings too!
24. Sauces and soups can be thickened with a puree of potatoes instead of cream.
25. Instead of eating any product directly out of the box, pour a reasonable portion onto a plate or bowl, and put the box away. This also prevents mindless snacking.
26. If a recipe calls for ½ a cup of oil, cut that amount in half, your taste buds won’t know the difference — but your waistline will.
27. Add spice to your life instead of fat; fresh herbs will perk up any dish without adding calories. Experiment with different ethnic foods and seasonings; they’re full of flavor — not fat.
28. Freeze leftovers immediately so you can’t raid the refrigerator later.
29. Watch portion size by dishing out meals and bringing plates to the table. Don’t set “bottomless” bowls and platters where they’ll tempt you to reach for more, unless it’s a salad or a bowl of vegetables. You can never get enough of those greens.
30. Start saving for that new outfit now! When you reach your goal weight, you can buy yourself some fashionable new clothes!