Eating healthier doesn't have to be a complete overhaul of your diet. It just means making healthier choices. And there are little things you can do to set yourself up for success.
For example, if you don't have junk food in your house, you won't snack on cookies at night. If you don't go to fast food restaurants, you won't find yourself getting a large order of fries. The key is to replace old, unhealthy habits with new, healthy habits.
With that in mind, here are a few basics that can make a BIG difference in your waistline:
1. Shop Smart
Avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store. Stores put all the packaged foods, frozen foods, snacks and high-fat items in the middle aisles. Avoid temptation by shopping along the walls, where you'll find healthy choices like fresh produce, meat and fish.
2. Eat slowly
It usually takes about half an hour for the full feeling to kick in, so eat slowly. The faster we eat, the more we eat.
3. Turn Off The TV
According to Nielson Media Research, the average American spends close to 5 hours per day in front of the TV. And much of that time is spent with a remote control in one hand, and food in the other.
Savvy marketers try to capitalize on the TV-snacking connection by hammering us with a barrage of fast food, potato chip and soda commercials designed not only to inspire you to purchase their products, but also to raid your cupboards during commercials and eat the products you already purchased so that you will need to buy more.
What's more, eating in front of the TV leads to what researchers call "mindless eating." Studies have shown that people are so tuned out when sitting in front of the TV that they can eat up to 40% more food!
4. Eat Every 2-3 Hours
Going too long without food or not eating enough is one of the worst decisions you can make when you're trying to lose weight because your body will basically shut down your metabolism. It reacts as if you are in danger of starving and slows down your metabolism in order to conserve energy.
The smartest approach is to eat breakfast as soon as you wake up and then eat a meal or snack every two to three hours until an hour before bed, so that your metabolism never slows down.
5. Limit Refined Sugars
Reduce the amount of candy, cakes, desserts and chips you eat, and avoid sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice. Check nutrition and ingredient labels for sugar and its equivalents, including sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, honey and molasses.
6. Do it Yourself
Frozen dinners are convenient, but they won't help you lose weight. Even packaged foods labeled as "low-fat" and "healthy" often offset the effect on flavor by adding tons of sugar and/or salt and MSG. Eat in and prepare your own meals whenever possible. This will give you total control over portions and ingredients.