1. Know What You are Eating
The first step to maintaining a healthy weight is to know exactly what you are eating. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to count every carbohydrate that you consume, but keeping a journal of what you eat daily will give you more clarity as to where the problems may lie.
Writing up a detailed meal plan for each meal, including snacks to eat between meals is another effective method in controlling what goes in and out of your body. In the attempt to keep our sanity, it is recommended that this is done one week in advance. Meal planning for a longer stretch of time will become a chore and any plans designed to be less than a week make it difficult to get in to a routine.
It is very important that you make sure that your meals are well balanced, including whole grains so you have a good energy source, a protein for repair(preferably a lean protein). Fruits and vegetables should be consumed for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Healthy unsaturated fats which are used in hormone production and cell membrane production.
2. Portion Control
As said earlier calorie counting isn’t necessary for most people, but if utilized properly calorie counting can be an extremely effective tool. The saying “calories in equals calories out” isn’t 100% true, but it is close enough to the truth where heeding this warning makes sense. When it comes to portion control, measuring cups and utensils become essential. Using smaller dishes, bowls, and cups can also help in portion control as well. This is especially true for beverages, many of which contain loads of calories which are easily consumed. It only takes a few seconds to consume a drink as opposed to a meal, and the calories in juices, sodas and energy drinks tend to go unnoticed by many.
3. Maintain a Balanced Diet
Calorie counting is not the most important factor when it comes to losing weight, because there are other factors that contribute to weight loss. One huge thing to consider is blood sugar levels, and what effects it has on your body. The amount of calories you ingest is important, but if you are eating only junk food for example, the only nutrient your body is getting are calories, and they all come at once. This means that your body breaks down and synthesizes these nutrients rather quickly, leaving nothing left behind for your body to use later on. This is different from whole grain rice pasta for example which may have more calories and sugar than the junkfood item, but is supplied to the body over a longer period of time because it takes longer to break down. This also stabilizes blood sugar levels, which is important because high blood sugar levels can lead to complications and diseases like type II diabetes.
Not only is it important to include all the food groups in your diet, but it is also important to make sure that the foods you are eating within these groups are varied as well. This means that consuming a meal of spinach, broccoli, grilled chicken, sunflower seeds, walnuts and American cheese for example is more balanced and varied than say lettuce, swiss cheese and mayo on rye bread. Both cover multiple food groups yet the former is much more diverse in what nutrients it contains as opposed to the latter. This is important to remember because it is very easy to get lazy and to become nutrient deficient as a result.
4. Indulge in Moderation
Yes, believe it or not cheating on occasion is not only encouraged, it is recommended. It is extremely difficult if not impossible for most people to transition from one diet to another “cold-turkey”. Completely eliminating processed foods, foods high in sugar, foods high in salt, foods high in fat and other junk food items after eating them for such a long period of time isn’t a good recipe for success. A better approach is to of course limit the consumption of these items, but having one of these items for dessert isn’t completely out of the question. People can become addicted to foods in a similar manner that they become addicted to other substances, all based on chemistry. This is why it is better to gradually eliminate certain food items over time rather than eliminating everything immediately, the chances of maintaining a successful diet are much higher.