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Sticking to a Healthy Eating Plan over the Holidays and into the New Year

 

Most of us have been there with New Year’s resolutions of losing weight. We start the year with a great diet and exercise plan that seems to fall apart before we know it.

Eating a healthy diet and being physically active has many benefits, including helping to prevent or manage diabetes. Some 29.1 million adults in the United States have diabetes, but one-quarter of them don’t know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of us want to get to our weight loss goals as fast as possible. But in terms of adopting new eating plans, we should look no further than the story of the  “The Hare and the Tortoise.’’ If we approach weight loss as the Tortoise, our chances of success are much greater.

Humans are creatures of habit and dieting should be no different. Those who are most successful at maintaining a healthy eating plan have adopted habits and routines that they maintain for the rest of their lives. Here are some simple guidelines that will enable you to lose weight and keep it off.

Pick an eating plan

A diet that is rich in lean proteins, complex carbohydrates along with fruits and vegetables is a good start.

Count calories

Start by calculating your daily caloric needs based on your height, weight and activity level.  Then consume 200 to 400 fewer calories than you need. At first this may seem cumbersome, but once practiced it becomes easier.

Get into a rut

One of the most important aspects of dieting is getting into a routine. Although boring at first, a new eating routine becomes easier to stick with once the weight starts to come off.  Breakfast and lunch are typically the easiest meals to plan for so decide on two meal choices for morning and two for noon with each meal totaling between 300 and 450 calories. For example, a standard bowl of oatmeal with an artificial sweetener and two eggs fried in olive oil amount to about 350 calories.

Plan

Stock up on healthy foods. The last thing you want is to try and figure out what you will be eating when you are hungry at mealtime.

Snack

To help avoid binge eating, eat at lean protein snack – such as a protein shake or protein bar – about one hour prior to your heaviest meal to help reduce your appetite and ward off binge eating.

Chew your food

A simple technique to control your appetite is to slow down and chew your food. By chewing your food between 30 and 50 times enables the body to release its satiety or “I’m full“ hormone. This also helps prevent the desire to go back for seconds and potentially overeat.

Avoid dessert

Unfortunately, sweets are off-limits, with the exception of a once-a-week “cheat.’’ Pick a day as your day for your dessert. A nice daily substitute for a weekly dessert craving is a piece of fruit or a cinnamon spice fiber wafer cookie which won’t derail your healthy diet.

By adopting new habits to living healthier and changing how you eat, you can go a long way toward changing your life.

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