1. Thinking about stuffing your mouth with cookies or chips? Drink a glass of water first. It is very possible to confuse hunger with thirst, and if you can quench your ‘appetite’ with a glass of water and avoid consuming all of those extra calories (about 140 calories in 2 soft cookies and 150 calories in 10 chips). If you don’t like plain water, that is no excuse! You could easily add a wedge of lemon or lime to make it more interesting and flavorful. Yes, drinking water instead of eating junk food will definitely help you minimize your calorie intake when you think you are craving a certain food, so always have it on hand!
2. Choose your nighttime snacks VERY carefully. After dinner most people want to relax, maybe watch a little TV or read a book or magazine. This is when mindless eating occurs, and subsequently mindless weight gain. Consider closing the kitchen down after a certain hour (after getting all the water you think you will want for the rest of the night), or allow yourself one small low-calorie snack like yogurt parfait, a fruit salad, or a handful of nuts. These are snacks that are filling, low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients that contribute to heart health.
3. Enjoy your favorite foods. Do you love chocolate, cake, or…..mmmm…..chocolate cake? Well then eat it! Don’t completely cut out your favorite foods, be a smart shopper instead. Buy one cookie from the bakery instead of an entire box or bag, get a small candy bar instead of the large size, or buy a one serving size of pie instead of the whole 8″ pie. The key is moder(ation) not depriv(ation)!
4. Eat a lean source of protein at every meal. Protein is the main source of food that will fill you up–even if you are a dedicated vegetarian. It is more satisfying and filling than carbs or fats, it preserves muscle mass, and it encourages fat burning. Incorporating a healthy protein in your diet like cheese, nuts, beans, lean meat and yogurt into your meals and snacks is important to ward off cravings between meals. Also, never skip any breakfast, but especially incorporate a healthy protein into the first meal of the day.
Weight loss is hard enough without depriving yourself of your favorite foods, trying to fill yourself up with foods that lack nutrients, and berating yourself for snacking at night. Your quest for weight loss should be built upon sound principals that are practical, easy to understand and manageable. Follow these tips to help you achieve your weight loss goals, feel better about your eating habits and still eat that chocolate piece of cake that you’ve been craving!