Almost as soon as the Times Square ball drops and the confetti is scattered, many people start making resolutions to improve their health and lives. In fact, according to ABC News, 45 percent of Americans vow to lose weight as the New Year approaches. Losing weight after the holidays doesn't have to be difficult, and with the right plan you can accomplish your goal weight. Here are some tips to get you on the right track.
1. Set realistic goals.
Write down where you would like to be with your weight in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and then 1 year. You gradually gained the weight over several months and even years, so always remember that you're in this for the long haul. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and with this mind set you will be able to create new healthy habits which will ultimately turn your "diet" into a truly healthy lifestyle.
2. Fill up on fiber and protein.
Make sure every meal is a combination of fiber and protein. Fiber and protein are the two nutrients that take the longest to digest. It is this perfect combination of foods that keeps your serum glucose levels consistant, leading to improved energy throughout the day. In addition, since fiber has zero calories per gram, and protein has 4 calories per gram, you are guaranteed the least caloric intake with the most food itake. Eating small, frequent meals helps to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels consistent. In addition, it helps to prevent you from becoming ravenous at night which leads to poor food choices and less portion control, and eventually leading to overeating. For lunch, have a big salad filled with vegetables and lean protein, and as a snack, have an apple with a piece of string cheese or peanut butter. These meals will keep you stay satiated throughout your days.
3. Don't skip breakfast.
Most mornings, we barely glance at the kitchen because we're either in a rush or would rather sleep until noon. Other people skip breakfast thinking they're saving on calories, but by mid-morning, that person is starved - leading them to be ravenous throughout the day. Recent research shows that eating breakfast can actually help you shed pounds by jump-starting your metabolism for the day. A breakfast consisting of fiber and protein is the ultimate combination because these nutrients will fill you up on the fewest calories. Some delicious and satisfying breakfast options include a high fiber cereal (5 grams or more) with skim milk and berries or an egg white omlette with veggies and a slice of whole wheat toast.
4. Lose weight with water.
Water is essential for everybody, and it is also the key to losing weight. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day is essential for losing weight. Not only is drinking water important for all bodily functions, but it keeps you hydrated and helps fight fatigue - a symptom that tends to lead to overeating. If you haven't been drinking enough water, your body has developed a pattern of storing water. This water retention equals unwanted pounds. If plain water is too boring for you, add a slice of lemon or lime or a sugar-free flavor packet.
5. Eat more fruits and veggies.
By simply adding more produce to your diet, you may find that you begin eating less and thereby lose weight without making any additional dietary changes. Filling up on fiber-rich vegetables and fruit add bulk and satiety to your diet without excess calories. Plus, you'll get the extra health benefits of crucial vitamins and minerals. Some fiber-rich choices include broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, heart of palm, apples, berries and pears.
6. Snack on pistachios.
In a recent study done at Eastern Illinois University, researchers confirmed that people are more influenced by perception then hunger. When a group of people were given the same amount of pistachios, shelled and unshelled, they ate 45 percent less nuts when they had to open them. This small study shows that by making small changes such as choosing in-shelled pistachios, which slow down consumption time, one can curb calorie intake dramatically. Pistachios also contain the highest amount of fiber compared to most other nuts, as well as heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower cholesterol.
7. Keep a food journal.
Writing down what you eat can double your weight loss, according to a new study of nearly 1,700 dieters from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research. Those who documented their food, drinks and exercise everyday lost twice as much over six months as people who did so occasionally or not at all (average difference: 20 pounds compared with 10). Journaling makes you accountable and aware of subconscious eating that packs on the pounds.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, is a nutritionist and founder of Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto