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6 Ways to Stick to Your Diet

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    Tanya Zuckerbrot

The top New Year’s resolution each year is to lose weight. This typically results in cutting out food favorites like carbohydrates and fats, and in doing so creating a diet plan that is unrealistic to maintain throughout the year. The key to successful dieting is to make small changes that will transform your life but not your lifestyle. Here’s how to make the most of your New Year’s resolution.

Eat breakfast

Did you know that in order to gain weight, sumo wrestlers in Japan aren't fed breakfast? It’s true, skipping breakfast slows down metabolism and encourages weight gain. Start your day with a breakfast that combines fiber and lean protein, in order to rev up your metabolism and keep you feeling full till lunchtime.

Add more fiber to your diet

Fiber is the secret to easy and successful weight loss. The addition of fiber-rich foods to your diet decreases feelings of hunger, so you tend to eat less throughout the day. The ADA recommends a minimum of 30 to 35 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. How much fiber are you getting? The average American only gets 9 to 11 grams of fiber per day. You can easily add more fiber to your diet by having high fiber cereal for breakfast, or as a snack mixed with yogurt in the afternoon. F-Factor High Fiber Skinny’s are the highest fiber cereal on the market, with 18 grams of fiber in a serving (that’s 72 percent of your daily needs in just 1/2 cup!). To find out more visit FFactorFoods.com.

Increase your dairy intake

According to a study in Obesity Research, dairy products can boost weight loss efforts. Research shows that not getting enough calcium may trigger the release of calcitrol, a hormone that causes us to store fat, whereas meeting your daily calcium needs helps us burn fat more efficiently. People on a reduced-calorie diet who included three to four servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories. While dairy is a great source of calcium and protein, it is also high in artery clogging saturated fat. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products for the nutrients your body needs, without the extra calories.

Spice it up

Research shows that increasing your dietary intake of capsaicin—the compound that gives hot sauce and chili peppers their kick—may temporarily boost your metabolism and help you feel satiated after meals. A study from the European Journal of Nutrition shows that even a single lunch made with capsaicin can reduce levels of ghrelin (the hormone that makes you hungry) and raise the levels of GLP-1 (which prompts feelings of fullness) more than a meal made without it. So go ahead and heat things up, try adding Tabasco sauce to your eggs, curry to your soup, and hot peppers to your chili. Spices will add not only flavor but health benefits to your dish.

Start your meal with soup

Soup is one of the most filling foods around, and a big bowl of it is a great way to avoid higher-calorie temptations. Many soups are low in calories and high in fiber, making them healthy and satisfying. According to a Penn State University study, women who had chicken and rice soup as a snack right before lunch consumed an average of 100 calories less than those who opted for a chicken and rice casserole with a glass of water. This equates to a 10 pound or more weight loss in just 1 year. Aim for broth based soups filled with vegetables, which tend to have a lot fewer calories than cream or dairy based soups. Look for vegetable, minestrone, or bean soups, which are all great, low calorie, high-fiber options.

Add weights into your workout

Strength training is usually associated with body builders and competitive athletes. However, it is the best exercise for those trying to lose weight. Strength training creates strong ligaments and tendons, which serve to support our joints and decrease the likelihood of injury from other activities. It also increases muscle fiber size, which results in a boost of metabolism. This allows you to eat more without gaining weight, as your body will burn calories at a faster rate. Combining strength training with a healthy diet is the best way to achieve optimum health and body weight.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.SkinnyintheCity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor Diet™, 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 www.FFactorDiet.com.