Small Things Add Up: How to Stick to Your Diet

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Weight gain is often the cumulative effect of a series of small decisions: do you take the stairs or the elevator? Do you walk to the corner store, or drive? Sit in front of the TV, or walk the dog? Fortunately for those who want to stick to a diet, the small decisions we make every day can help us to reach our goals without feeling as though our lives have been dominated by the desire to lose weight. Here are some ways you can focus on the small things that have a huge effect on the success of your diet:

Mentally prepare yourself every day: When you wake up in the morning, consciously think about your diet. Before you even enter the kitchen, remember your goals, and mindfully select food that will fuel your body for the day. Whole grains and fruits are the perfect way to get your metabolism going without spiking your blood sugar levels.

  • Enjoy every bite: Take time during your meals to fully chew and savor every bite. Even if you are only eating your dish because you know it’s good for you, remember it’s healthy for a reason—those vitamins and minerals help your body perform the functions that sustain your very life! Rejoice in your body’s incredible machinery, and give it the fuel it deserves.
  • Stay accountable: Even if it pains you, step on the scale every day. It keeps you honest, and reminds you that the decisions you make throughout the day are leading you to your goal. You can even keep a food diary to chart your progress and keep track of the foods you eat throughout the day.
  • Regularize your eating: Eat at the same time every day, and plan meals that are both nutritious and help you feel sated. When your body gets in the habit of an eating schedule, you reduce hunger and the midday temptation to snack too much.
  • Exercise with a friend: Accountability can be the deciding factor in whether or not a diet succeeds. Plus, exercise is much more enjoyable when in good company.
  • Take the stairs: Remember, everything matters, and small adjustments make a world of difference when it comes to losing weight. Every opportunity you see to burn more calories or eat healthier, take them.  Get acquainted with the stairs, and be sure to break up the hours at the desk with a stroll to the water fountain, or just stand up for a few minutes. Really, anything burns more calories than sitting.

Do you have the secret to a successful diet? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

Omega-3s: 5 Ways to Load Up on These Healthy Fats

omega3Many people hear the word “fat” and immediately think it should not be a part of their diet. But what you might not know is that some fats are actually good for you!

Omega-3 fatty acids are in the “healthy fat” group, and your body actually needs them to function normally. Not only are they great for your brain, but they also have been shown to reduce inflammation, boost heart health, lower triglycerides, relieve rheumatoid arthritis, and even aid in the treatment of depression. As an added bonus, Omega-3s are an antiager!

These miracle fats are vital to your overall health and longevity. Your body can’t produce these healthy fats on their own, so you need to make sure you’re getting a daily dose through your diet.

Chances are you’re already eating foods that contain Omega-3s without even knowing it. Below are five wonderful sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and how to include them in your diet. Happy eating!

1. Fish

Salmon and tuna are two of the best natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are a wonderful dinner option, served with wild rice or on top of a salad. Don’t shy away from the white part of the fish when it’s cooked – that’s where the highest concentration of Omega-3s is!

2. Avocados

Cut up an avocado and toss it into your salad – it’s a great way to get those healthy fats with fewer calories! Plus, they add variety to your traditional salad.

3. Walnuts

Keep a handful of these at your desk to ward off afternoon hunger and keep your mind alert.

4. Olive Oil

Heart-healthy olive oil is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, and is also great for your skin and waistline! Try substituting it for butter when cooking your morning omelet.

5. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds have one of the highest concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids found in nature. A three-tablespoon serving of flax seeds has the same amount of Omega-3s as a pound of fish, making this a great option for a girl on the go. Add them to your cereal, or serve with yogurt and fruit for a nutritious meal that will keep you going all day!

There are also many Omega-3 supplements available at your local health food store, if you feel that you’re not getting enough of these foods. Just make sure that you’re taking 500 mg of fish oil, or Omega-3s, per day.

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Healthier Ways to Make Your Favorite Winter Comfort Foods

comfort foodsAh, winter comfort foods—is anything better than curling up in a blanket and eating your favorite?

However, many comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and creamy stews and soups, are full of fat and calories we don’t need. Following are a few tips to reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing the taste and comfort you want.

Cut down the butter.

If a recipe calls for three tablespoons of butter, try using only two tablespoons (or less). Chances are you won’t notice a difference in taste. Using margarine presents its own problems, as most of them have hydrogenated oil you need to completely stay away from.

Try using lower-fat dairy products.

Instead of heavy cream, try using half-and-half, or use 2% milk instead of full-fat milk. Sour cream and cottage cheese come in low-fat varieties. You can find lower-fat cheeses, or use a smaller amount of high-quality cheese.

For some recipes, a lower-fat substitution might not work, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Reduce sugar by half.

While sugar doesn’t have that many calories, reducing it is always a good idea when trying to eat healthier. If you don’t like the taste with less sugar, try adding a little bit of honey.

Add more lean protein, fruit, and vegetables.

If you’re making a chicken potpie, use the leanest cuts of the chicken and add more vegetables. Try some broccoli, cauliflower, and beans.

Try pan-frying instead of deep-frying.

You’ll use less oil and have fewer calories. Try frying in olive oil or coconut oil for a change of taste. Taking the skin off will reduce fat, as will baking or oven-frying.

If all else fails, simply eat smaller portions, or make adjustments elsewhere in your diet.

If you can’t stand the way your mac ‘n cheese tastes with lower-fat substitutions, by all means, cook it the right way—just eat from a smaller bowl or plate. If you don’t want to do that, then plan your mac feast and eat less during the other meals of the day.

What do you do to reduce the fat and calories in your comfort foods?