Let’s face it, dieting can be exhausting, overwhelming, and frustrating. There are tons of different diet plans to choose from, many of which involve calorie counting, food restrictions, and prepackaged foods that are filled with artificial ingredients. But you don’t have to diet to lose weight. In fact, by following these tips you’ll be able to live a healthy lifestyle without feeling deprived.
1. Eat Mediterranean meals
Eating Mediterranean meals can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and has also been linked to a decreased incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, Mayo Clinic explains. Following the eating habits of those who live in the Mediterranean consists of eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and nuts; replacing butter with healthy fats, such as oil; and using herbs and spices rather than salt to flavor your foods. In addition, Mayo Clinic suggests eating fish and poultry at least twice a week, and limiting your red meat to no more than a few times a month.
2. Eat small meals
Eating frequent, small meals has proven itself to be an effective weight-loss strategy. Livestrong.com explains that eating five small-portioned meals a day can help you maintain a healthy body weight by keeping you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. This ensures you won’t end up feeling extremely hungry and overeating later on.
3. Become an occasional vegetarian
You’d be amazed at what the occasional meat-free meal can do for you. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, vegetarian diets are high in fiber, naturally low in saturated fat, and filled with antioxidants and phytochemicals. Those who eat meatless meals have lower rates of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and asthma, states the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. However, you don’t need to swear off meat for life in order to reap these benefits.
4. Eat slowly
Experts estimate that our brains register they’re full about 20 minutes after our stomachs do. Reader’s Digest warns that if you eat too fast, you won’t give your brain time to catch up to your stomach, which leads to overeating and weight gain. Eating slowly, however, will help prevent you from eating too much. To force yourself to eat more slowly, WebMD recommends turning off the television and any other distractions, and simply concentrating on the meal in front of you. You can use this time, particularly at dinner, to catch up with your loved ones. Remember, the more you talk, the more slowly you’ll eat!
5. Eat what you want, when you want
Don’t deprive yourself of anything. Instead, become an intuitive eater. Science of Us explains that intuitive eaters don’t believe in good or bad foods but know there are nutritional differences between the two. It follows the basic premise that cravings shouldn’t be ignored and by occasionally indulging, you will prevent yourself from binge eating later on. This means that an intuitive eater may eat a piece of pie but will then instinctively crave more nutritious foods afterward to balance out the excess fat and sugar.
6. Start with soup or salad
Beginning a meal with a broth-based soup or a nutrient-rich salad will help you eat less. The Huffington Post writes starting with a side salad has been shown to help you eat about 12% fewer calories at that meal. Additionally, research has also shown that people who start lunch with a vegetable soup end up eating 20% less than those who don’t have any.