5 Diet-Free, Figure-Friendly Tips

One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to buck the traditional going-on-a-diet system and turn to a healthy lifestyle. Give a rousing welcome to a few new healthful habits that will help you reach your weight loss resolutions. Believe it or not, you can lose weight without dieting.

Happy woman eating salad

The best diet might just be no diet at all. Here are a few tips to help you shed the pounds going into the new year:

Bump up lean protein

Tip: Get your grub on with protein — seafood, white meat poultry, eggs, beef, beans, soy and even yogurt will all help you slim down. Be wary of protein bars that may be loaded with sugar and fat.

Eating protein may signal your stomach to produce less of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, as reported in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also reported greater satisfaction, less hunger and weight loss when subjects' protein was increased to 30 percent of their total calories. Their intake of fat was also reduced to 20 percent of the total calories in their diets and carbohydrates to half of their total daily caloric intakes. The study participants ate 441 fewer calories a day when they followed this high-protein diet and regulated their own calorie intake! How much protein do you need? Divide your body weight in half. Voila! This is the number of grams of protein you should eat to experience positive effects.

Remove refined carbs

All carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose, the simplest form of sugar. Whole-grain sources of carbs, due to higher fiber content, release glucose more slowly into the system. Highly processed, refined carbs, which are devoid of fiber, bran and other important nutrients, are metabolized very quickly; thus blood sugar rises quickly, then drops quickly, too. When your blood sugar drops, your desire to eat more quick-fix, refined carbs increases, and the cycle repeats. So nix all refined sugar and/or flour-containing cookies, crackers, breads, pies, pizza, soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, candies and gum. It's better to have a slow release instead of a fast blast into your system.

Tip: Trade your candy canes, gingerbread men and pumpkin pie in for happy carbs such as popcorn, oatmeal or low-carb fruits like cantaloupe, blackberries and strawberries.

kaleGet your greens on

Salads rule. They really do, as long as they aren't swimming in creamy, fat-laden dressings. So load up on fresh greens such as kale, romaine, baby spinach, and red leaf and green lettuce. Toss in fresh herbs such as fennel, basil and cilantro. Make your own salad dressing with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon. Season to your liking with sea salt and pepper, or Mediterranean herbs. Accompany your lean protein entree with a heaping helping of steamed broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Have a side of sauteed green beans or asparagus. Make it a twice-a-day habit to load up on delicious and nutritious greens, which help feed your body's mood- and immunity-boosting nutrients.

Tip: Go green and nourish your body with lettuce. Try to develop a love affair with arugula as it is the lowest carb lettuce of them all.

glass of waterWater, water and more water!

Fall in love with water and make it your beverage of choice. It's good for you. Water flushes toxins from your body. Being properly hydrated can prevent fatigue — and fatigue is bad for your diet because we often eat more calories when we feel tired. Water can also fill you up and take the edge off hunger.

Log your daily food intake

Become aware of your eating patterns and your emotions as related to food and energy levels. What is your stress level when you eat? The trick here is to spot your eating habits, activity levels and your coping mechanisms for stress. Paying attention to what, when and why you eat (even if you aren't hungry) is one of the most important steps in eating a healthful diet on a day-to-day basis. There are several apps that can help you log what you eat, and what you felt when you ate it. Our favorites are MyNetDiary Calorie Counter, MyFitnessPal, Weight Watchers Mobile and SparkPeople Diet & Food Tracker.

More healthy eating tips

5 Food priorities for healthy eating
How to make healthy resolutions a reality
Top 30 diet tips for New Year's resolutions

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