Dieting is the most frustrating and least effective method when it comes to losing weight. It’s a known fact that dieting does not work, while you might lose some pounds by restricting your food intake, counting calories is one of the worst ways to do so because they’re tedious and time-consuming.
The diet industry has always been trying to get us hooked and they do it by making impractical promises of quick weight loss. They think we’re stupid. They prove it every day with headlines like, “Lose Belly Fat Like Crazy With This One Simple Trick,” which is utterly ridiculous, of course. And then there are the commercials that promise six-pack abs without dieting or exercise, illustrated by fitness models who claim to be just like you while citing “clinical studies” we’ll never see.
And you can have it all for FREE!!! “Ahem, (mumbling) just pay shipping and processing.”
Such ads attract eyeballs and make sales, however, so they aren’t likely to disappear any time soon.
The #1 Way To Lose Weight
If you can get this next sentence into your head, it will change your life forever…
Ready? Pay attention…
The best way to lose weight is to get healthy.
End of story, but getting healthy is about more than just eating less. When we focus on what goes into our mouths, not just how much of it is consumed in a day or week, the experience becomes transformative and sustainable. It takes a transformation of lifestyle and commitment that lasts long after the motivation to fit into our skinny jeans has gone away.
Making a promise to yourself is the easy part. The hard truth for most people, though, is that change happens slowly and requires many slip-ups on your way to living life differently than before.
With that in mind, here are 14 diet hacks to keep you on track while you’re transforming your life and health.
Note: If you’re looking for a guide for losing 10 pounds in 10 days, this is the wrong place for you. If you’re still entertaining ideas like this, you’re not serious about losing weight in a healthy way.
1. Don’t keep food in your house that you’re trying to avoid.
You can avoid many common pitfalls if, every time you crave sugar, treats, or junk food, you make yourself get up, put on your shoes, and drive to the grocery store to buy it. This way, there are many points between home and the store in which you can stop yourself.
Maybe it’ll be too cold to go out, maybe you won’t have the $10 to spend, or maybe you’ll suddenly find some self-control, but it’s much harder to change your mind if the junk is only a few feet away.
If you do end up making the trip, only buy a single serving. You’ll eat it, and then it’ll be gone, and there won’t be any for tomorrow. Add another level of security by making yourself go for a walk or do push-ups before you leave.
2. Eat something good before eating something bad.
If this works for kids, it’ll work for adults, too. You need to make a simple rule:
If you are going to eat cookie, you have to eat an apple first. If you want to drink soda, you have to drink a glass of water first. If you follow such rules two things will happen:
1. Sometimes you’ll skip eating anything at all.
2. Other times, you’ll eat some junk, but you’ll already have a belly full of fruit (or whatever) and will be less likely to over-indulge.
3. Eat the healthy foods you LOVE when you’re hungry.
If you like omelets, vegetable stir-fry, pistachios, smoothies, chicken kababs, apples with almond butter, etc., then eat these when you get cravings instead of junk food, regardless of whether it’s 11 a.m. or 9 p.m. If you’re looking to satisfy your taste buds, always choose real food over something from a box or bag.
4. Eliminate any food you can go without and not care.
You might not be hungry for a bowl full of french fries and Lucky Charms, but you’ll devour one if desperate enough (just ask my college roommate). If going to cheat, make it count. Satisfy your craving instead of just reaching for anything because bored.
5. Put more green things on your plate.
I don’t mean green jelly beans here. I’m talking about green vegetables. Eat more of them.
If you can’t give up that chunk of bread you eat with dinner every night just yet, you can allocate more plate space for healthy fare. If green vegetables normally make up zero to one-third of your meal, make them half or two-thirds of your meal instead.
6. Change one thing at a time.
Don’t try to overhaul your entire diet in a day. Such an approach rarely works. Focus on achieving one small change at a time. Start with the easy stuff and tackle the more difficult adjustments later.
7. Keep easy, healthy snacks available.
Since your house is completely void of junk food and sweets (right?), keep some healthy snacks on hand. Leftovers, nuts, and fruit are easy and often my first choice when I need to grab and go.
8. Don’t reward yourself with food.
You’re not a dog, so don’t reward yourself with treats after a few successful days. As long as you have this kind of relationship with food, you’ll never reach your goals. Make your reward health, vitality, and a long life.
9. Death-punch your sugar cravings.
That’s right, death-punch it right in the throat. Sugar cravings are the biggest reason people fail at long-term diet change, and the problem cannot be ignored.
10. Keep a food diary.
This is not for counting calories, carbs, or carrot sticks. It’s purpose is to keep you conscious of the decisions you’re making. Write down everything you eat, but the rule is you have to log the entry BEFORE YOU EAT IT.
This will provide you a moment to pause and consider what you’re about to do, and give you a chance to change your mind.
11. Watch yourself eat.
Although cruel and unusual at times, this technique works. Eat all your meals in your underwear (or naked) in front of a full-length mirror. Most of us are unaware of how we chew, swallow, and generally consume our food. This practice will make you aware very quickly, and keep you mindful of every bite.
12. Turn your body into a fat burning machine.
It’s possible, but you have to retrain your body to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar.
13. Eat protein and healthy fat rather than carbs.
Weight loss supplements that promise to suppress your appetite make me want to taunt baby kittens with a laser pointer (that’s as violent as I get). Your body already produces its own appetite suppressants and begins to release them the moment you put food in your mouth.
Carbohydrates trigger the smallest release of appetite suppressants. Protein produces the most, followed by healthy fat. This is why you still feel hungry after you eat a banana, but not so much after a steak.
Read also: The Facts On Fat. What’s a Healthy Fat and What’s Not
Read also: Best Protein Powders For Women
14. Plan ahead.
This is 80% of your success or failure.
The difference between those who slip and those who don’t is often in their willingness to plan. If you haven’t prepared for lunch, you’re more likely to make a bad decision when your stomach starts to growl. You’ll head to the drive-through or mosey on over to the vending machine because you’re “starving.”
If you already have something healthy to eat, ready and waiting, you’ll have to invent a different excuse to chow down on that Snickers bar.
Keep in mind that these diet hacks should not be permanent. They are short-term solutions you can use to avoid snares and hangups on your way to completely transforming the way you eat. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and one which never ends.