Written by Melinda Hershey, Health Educator
We hear all the time that in order to lose weight, we're supposed to constantly say ''no'' to things. But it doesn't have to be so negative! Here are six smart principles to say ''yes'' to that will help you look and feel your best in the long run.
When you first decide to lose weight, you might approach the process thinking that you won't be able to eat any of your favorite foods anymore--but that's not true! By using portion control, you can literally have your cake and eat it, too.
Instead of munching on your favorite snacks straight from the bag, measure out the proper portion size into smaller containers so that you'll always eat the correct amount. When you go to a restaurant, ask your server to box up half of your meal before your food gets to the table. Every time you say ''yes'' to portion control, you're saying ''no'' to excess calories, feelings of uncomfortable fullness, and weight gain, while still getting a taste of all your favorites.
We hear it all the time: ''Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." And it's true! Saying ''yes'' to a balanced breakfast helps to rev your metabolism and stops you from overeating later on in the day. Try starting your day with a well-rounded meal that includes protein, whole grains, and healthy fats to keep you going until lunchtime. Think you don't have time for breakfast? Check out these quick and easy breakfast ideas that you can pull together in minutes.
Protein-rich foods keep you fuller longer while playing an important role in muscle and tissue repair. Lean meats, nuts, beans, seeds, legumes, eggs, soy products, dairy, and even grains are all protein-rich food sources, so it shouldn't be too hard to find ways to say ''yes'' to this nutrient! If you don't eat meat, try these vegetarian protein sources.
Saying ''yes'' to as many natural foods as possible is a great step toward losing weight and getting healthy. Strive to eat as much fresh produce as possible (at least five servings per day) to look and feel your best. Stumped on how to fit it all in? Check out these great ideas for eating more fruits and veggies.
When choosing grains, make sure to make most of them whole. When grains are refined, they lose many of their nutrients, including fiber, which helps with satiety. Say ''yes'' to complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal to keep hunger at bay and stabilize your blood sugar.
When you're trying to lose weight, you might take an ''all-or-nothing'' attitude, banning certain foods (like dessert) from your diet. Although it might seem like a good idea in theory, this strategy is likely to set you up for an all-out binge when you finally do give in to your cravings.
Instead of making desserts and snacks completely off-limits, allow yourself to have them in moderation, or make smart substitutions. Instead of having an enormous ice cream sundae, enjoy a small cone. Rather than snacking on empty-calorie chips, fill up on whole-grain crackers and protein-rich cheese. By making small tweaks like these, you can enjoy snacks and desserts and still lose weight!
Need some sensible dessert and snack ideas? Check out these smart ways to quell your sweet tooth.
Losing weight can be a long and difficult journey, but you're not alone! There are so many resources out there that can help you find your way. Tell your friends and family about your goals to help keep you accountable, and do your weight-loss research using SparkPeople's nutrition articles as a guide. When you say ''yes'' to support and knowledge, you're really saying ''yes'' to a more empowered, informed you--which will make your journey to weight loss a much smoother one.
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