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Stop Fad Dieting, Just Improve Your Eating Habits

By ANDREA MIRANDA,CBS Houston
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Stop jumping from fad diet to fad diet and just change your eating habits. Instead of following expensive, restrictive, unimaginative and  trendy diets, make meaningful changes that will last  and have a positive impact.

For one month, document when and what you eat in a food journal. The following month look at the food journal and identify changes that can be made to improve your eating habits. To make positive and meaningful changes read and implement the following :

Change the circumstances and the times when you eat.

Many people have bad eating habits because of their peers,  unhealthy emotional drama or eating randomly everyday.

Eliminate binge eating sessions with your friends. Good friends will understand that you want to shed a few pounds and will have to skip this week’s pig out session at a buffet.

Elect to hang out with friends that model the eating habits you wish to aspire to. While dining with them, you can share ideas, figure out what helped them to achieve these healthy habits and  remain motivated by your company with similar goals.

Stress can become too much to handle for people that resort to medicating with food. Try talking to a counselor or asking friends about good ways to deal with stress that do not involve a gallon of ice cream and a shovel-shaped novelty spoon.

There are plenty of creative and physical ways to channel stress. Exploring yoga, meditation, martial arts, studio art classes, hobbies, group therapy or having a friendly meet-up can greatly decrease stress and tension.

Eat your meals regularly and enjoy a small snack between the major meals. Eliminate meals that occur after 9pm. Calories taken in before bedtime are the least likely to be worked off. Wake up early and enjoy breakfast. Early risers have more opportunity to burn off calories than late risers.

Replace junk food snacks with healthy snacks.

There is nothing wrong with snacking . Its more important to focus on what you are snacking on and how many times a day you feel the need to snack.  Eat small snacks that will help benefit your body. Try to find foods that have very little processing and no additives. To make your healthy snacking transition, try to find healthy versions of your snacks or explore new foods.

Decrease your dependency on refined, artificial or chemical sweeteners.

Instead of adding granulated sugar, syrup or artificial sweetener to your meals, try adding fruit puree instead.  Apple sauce  made with Granny Smith apples can be baked into many recipes or used as a sweet topping. Bananas can be combined with heavy cream and drizzled over dairy desserts.

Fat should not be completely cut out of your diet.

Fat is stored energy, acts as insulation, gives shape to your body and cushion to your organs and frame. Eating good fat in moderation helps eliminate the need to munch uncontrollably. Snacking is your body’s way of telling your brain it requires nourishment or energy. Eating foods that have good fats in them will help decrease the cravings for junk food.

Replace fast food meals with healthy versions and explore new types of foods.

If you love the taste of a good hamburger and fries, try to find healthy alternatives you can make or purchase. Hamburgers made at home can be tailored to suit your tastes. You will know what is in your hamburger and can control the portion size.

Hamburgers made in fast food places can contain other parts of the cow. These parts may not be nutritionally valuable or easily digested. Some places also add a variety of artificial additives, fillers, oils and other ingredients that could be pretty hard to work off.

Substitute the side order of fries with baked sweet potato or yam fries. Sweet potatoes and yams are rich in beta carotene and vitamin A.

Add more healthy side dishes and entrées.

Gradually incorporate more healthy foods into your main meals. Carrots and peas can liven up a plain rice dish. Placing a baked garlic chicken fillet on a bed of uncooked spinach and cold feta cheese is a great exploratory start.

Create boundaries for how you will eat.

Keep yourself from temptation by avoiding the need to eat at places that you know carry tempting  junk foods.

saigon vegetarian food Stop Fad Dieting, Just Improve Your Eating Habits

(credit: wikimedia.org/Creative Commons License)

Have a contingency plan in case  you find it necessary to dine at an unhealthy dining spot. See if you can get healthy choices not available on the menu. Many fast food places have healthy alternatives,  substitutions or made to order menu items.

Be forgiving.

Your habits will only take effect when you are motivated, stay encouraged,  goal-oriented and in control. Don’t let bad emotional reactions interfere with your progress.  Forgive yourself for slip-ups. There are going to be temptations or situations that get to the best of any of us.

Some fad diets depend on you “falling off the wagon” and then eating to medicate the guilt you feel. This can put even more weight back on the dieter.

Strengthen your resolve to rid yourself of damaging guilt. Learn from your mistakes and make plans to overcome those mishaps next time.  Remember your goal is to improve your eating habits and setbacks will become easier to avoid.

Have fun and explore new foods.
Find ways to enjoy improving your dietary intake and the improvements will last longer. Many people that improve their eating habits have experienced less craving for junk foods,  more energy,  less digestion-related illness, noticed decreases in depression and improvement in self-esteem.

To find out more about eating balanced healthy meals, Click Here.

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