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Top 30 diet tips for New Year's resolutions

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Diet tips for a new you

Time to make those New Year's resolutions! And after the holiday glut of heavy feasts and high calorie beverages, it's no surprise that "lose weight" and "eat better" are at the top of your list. Instead of simply making your diet-related resolutions with the best of intentions, put the following diet tips into practice and stick to your New Year's resolutions all year.

New Years Resolution

Diet tip #1: Eat a balanced diet

How often do you hear that advice? But how often do you actually follow it? Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN, certified personal trainer and a specialist in performance nutrition says, "The healthiest and most body fat-resistant diet contains protein and carbohydrates and fats." In her book Crack the Fat-Loss Code: Outsmart your metabolism and conquer the diet plateau, she extols the virtue of protein in every meal but she also advises to partner it with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, such as omega-3s found in fatty fish and flax..

Diet tip #2: Don't underestimate your caloric intake

If you have been shredding calories – according to the cardio machine's calorie counter – and reducing your caloric intake but are still not losing weight, chances are your caloric assessment is in your favor but unfortunately not accurate. "The bottom line is that people underestimate the calories consumed, and overestimate the calories burned through their exercise programs, said Michael Atwood, expert personal trainer at the largest health club in New England, and author of The Health Club Diet. Talk to a registered dietician as well as a personal trainer to determine the number of calories you need to eat and expend to reach your diet-related goals.

My Body
  1. Calorie counting is so last decade. This decade focus on calorie density – foods that are high in water and low in fat.
  2. Superfoods are great but give superflowers a nibble too... try dried hibiscus – equally beautiful and tasty in a salad and so good for you too!
  3. Stay away from foods that rob you of energy. Focus on unprocessed foods that are full of life because they will, in turn, give you life.

Diet tip #3: Diet with a buddy

Zone Diet instructor John Erickson, nutritionist for Zone Delivery USA, and author of The USA Diet Plans Manual, advises "Find somebody who has similar aspirations and set challenging goals for one another. It's good to surround yourself with others who also follow a health-promoting lifestyle because it will only motivate you."

Diet tip #4: Visualize yourself healthy

Erickson also recommends that you use the power of visualization to picture your ideal self. He says, "Pretend you are already the person of your dreams and forget about the internal dialogue of 'wanting to have' or 'I wish I was skinny.' Act as if you already have ripped arms, the perfect butt, shapely legs…As you think, you will become." Keeping a positive self-image will make you feel better and keep you motivated to eat healthier.

Diet tip #5: Axe the quick-fix attitude

In the article Expert tips to avoid fad-diets, author Diana Bocco says, "Weight loss takes time, and there is no reasonable or healthy way around it. When it comes to dieting, any diet plan or weight loss product that seems too good to be true usually is." Apply the energy you spend on searching for the quick-fix fad-diet solution to simply cutting down on calories or portions and increasing your daily physical activity.

Diet tip #6: Dedicate yourself to eating better

A fit body requires a commitment to long-term healthy eating as well as sensible diet modifications when necessary. Fitness spokesperson for Women's Health Amy Dixon says, "Looking good takes a lot of work and dedication to a nutritious diet plan." That means if you want to reap the benefits of a healthy diet, you need to stick to it.

Diet tip #7: Eat with your senses

Mindless munching will derail the best of diet intentions. Tune in to the foods you eat with all of your senses and make it an experience in pleasure. In my article 7 Tips to eating with your senses, I give you the sensuous eating how-to. Once you start eating mindfully, ditch the foods you don't really like and slowly savor the ones you do. The slower and more attuned you are to your meals, the greater the likelihood you'll eat less.

Diet tip #8: Exercise before big meals

Whether it's the holiday season or another celebratory reason to feast, preface your meal with a workout. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends that you take a long, hard walk or run about an hour before eating. This will elevate your metabolism and help you digest your food more effectively.

Diet tip #9: Eat lighter after heavier meals

Another tip from ACE: Don't panic or feel guilty if your diet seems to have gotten out of hand. You can make up for a feast of rich, higher-fat foods with lighter, lower-fat meals for the next couple of days. You can also make up for the damage by picking up your physical activity for the next couple of days, too.

Diet tip #10: Make grocery shopping a healthy pleasure

If you detest the supermarket chaos after work, change your grocery shopping action plan to make it more enjoyable. In her book The Daily Fix, Alexa L. Fishback, MS, RD says, "Make grocery shopping fun, not a chore. Find your local farmers market and enjoy walking through different stalls and stands. Along with items on your list, pick up some fresh flowers to help boost your mood all week long." In addition to avoiding long grocery check out lines, the foods you pick up at the farmers market will also be healthy, eco-friendly and freshly picked.

Diet tip #11: Don't eat like a man

Jenna Bergen, author of Your Big Fat Boyfriend: How to Stay Thin When Dating a Diet Disaster, warns that if you try to keep up bite for bite with your man, you are going to end up overweight. She writes, "The hormone that makes your man a man (testosterone) is the main reason behind his (annoying) ability to eat so much without gaining a single ounce." Bergen goes on to say that testosterone causes the body to build muscle, which burns more calories than body fat (giving you more reason to incorporate weight training into your regular gym routine). Figure out how many calories your body needs and stick to an eating plan that is appropriate for you - not your dude.

Diet tip #12: Have a healthy first course

Before you dive into your entree, have a light starter course. Sneaky Chef Missy Chase Lapine, author of the Sneaky Chef cookbooks, says "Start the meal with a salad or hot low fat soup – research shows people who do this eat less." Just be sure you don't drown your salad in high fat dressings as well as avoid the heavy cream-based soups. Toss your greens lightly with an olive oil based vinaigrette and savor soups with a broth, tomato or pureed vegetable base.

Diet tip #13: Ditch your daily diet soda.

Research suggests that diet colas aren't diet-friendly at all and may even be bad for your bones. Sarah Wassner Flynn, author of Reasons to ditch the daily diet soda, recommends that you replace your calorie-free cola with tea, fruit juice or a glass of club soda infused with a flavored syrup. And for your bones, a glass of milk won't hurt, either.

Diet tip #14: Eat foods low in calorie density

Foods that are high in water and low in fat – such as fruits, vegetables, soup, lean meat, and low-fat dairy products – are low in calorie density and provide few calories per bite. Dr Julia A Ello-Martin, lead researcher in a study comparing low calorie density diet with a reduced fat diet, says "Eating a diet that is low in calorie density allows people to eat satisfying portions of food, and this may decrease feelings of hunger and deprivation while reducing calories" said Dr. Julia A. Ello-Martin. Women who ate low calorie density foods in the study, which was published in June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, lost more weight than women following a reduced fat diet.

Diet tip #15: Fiber up

In the article Celebrity workout tips Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, author of the F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight-loss says, "I always tell clients 'fiber and protein at every meal, makes losing weight no big deal.' Focus on high fiber and lean protein and you can achieve similar results without going to extremes." It may take longer to lose weight but it increases your chances of keeping it off for good. Fill up on fruits, veggies and whole grains – and be sure to read package labels to find the foods with the most fiber.

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