(These are originally from Bob Harper, Oprah’s weight loss and fitness ‘guy’. Now, whatever you may think about Oprah (and she is a conflicting personality), the woman has literally made a career out of her journey into health. I think Harper is the most realistic of her gurus and his list is sensible.)
1. Drink a large glass of water before every meal.
2. Don’t drink your calories.
3. Eat protein at every meal.
4. Slash your intake of refined flour and grain.
5. Eat 30-50 grams of fiber each day.
6. Eat apples and berries every single day.
7. Learn to read food labels so you know what you are eating.
8. Stop guessing about portion size and get it right.
9. No more added sweeteners.
10. Get rid of white potatoes.
11. Make one day a week meatless.
12. Get rid of ‘fast’ and fried foods.
13. Eat a real breakfast.
14. Make your own food.
15. Eat at least 10 meals a week at home.
16. Banish high-salt foods.
17. Eat your vegetables.
18. Go to bed hungry.
19. Sleep right.
20. Plan one ‘splurge’ meal a week.
What I will add to this is:
Plan your meals and prep as much as possible in advance. Personally, I make very bad food choices if I don’t have a good breakfast. Also, I can’t eat cereal for breakfast (bad intestinal things happen, although I am neither gluten- or lactose-intolerant). So I take time on Sundays to make my breakfast for the week: baked berry oatmeal,, or baked eggs with veggies in either tortillas or hash browns, or ricotta cheese waffles w/ fruit sauce, crustless veggie quiche, etc. Bringing my breakfast makes a huge difference in how well I do during a day.
Another key is having a variety of snacks. I am a ‘hangry’ person, so getting low blood sugar is a Bad Idea. My office keeps ‘Naked Medley’ snacks — plain nuts and raisins — on hand, and I reach for them if I run out of what I bring from home. From home I try to bring a variety, because that helps me keeps from feeling like I am on a diet. Sardines on whole grain toast are nummy (but you’ve GOT to keep them sealed in a smell-proof container and eat them over two days or your office mates will hate you), guacamole on sliced veg, hard boiled egg with a slice of nut & fruit bread, salmon ‘candy’ (from Vital Choice), apple with peanut butter, fresh fruit, or just the old standby: sliced carrots and celery.
My lunches are usually leftovers from dinner, which makes meal planning very easy and keeps me from being tempted to spend money/ eat excess calories by buying lunch.
So that leaves dinner planning as my complicated weekly task. (And I’ll do another blog post on how I do dinner planning a month at a time, and then I just have to tweak weekly.)
Other smart eating tips I’ve ‘discovered’ over the years are:
- Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up. Keep a mug by your sink and do it before/ after you brush your teeth. It’s worth the extra 15 seconds.
- Eat the highest quality food you can afford, starting with your proteins. (Costco does a really good job of working with organic producers, so join their club and get good prices. They also have organic milk, eggs, and butter.)
- Eat when you are hungry, not according to the clock.
- Eat slowly. Put your fork down frequently. Stop eating when you stop feeling hungry, NOT when you are feeling full. It takes a while for your brain to catch up with your stomach so give it that time. You can always get a bit more food.
- Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter. Eat all of the fruit before it goes bad. (You can always cut it up and freeze it for smoothies. but make a smoothie that week.)
- Switch to smaller plates: use salad plates instead of dinner plates.
- Read the label:
if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, don’t eat the food
if it has more than 5 ingredients, seriously contemplate whether you want to eat it
can you create it yourself? if so, would purchasing it truly make your life simpler?
There is no such thing as a ‘diet’ — there are changes to what you eat that suit your lifestyle that will help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Since your lifestyle will change, so too will what you eat. It’s a fluid situation, not static — don’t get stuck. Moreover, there are plenty of ‘skinny’ people who are incredibly unhealthy (high cholesterol, diabetic, etc.) Pay attention to your HEALTH, not your weight. Are you fit? Are your numbers (cholesterol, glucose, etc.) good? then you are healthy.