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Top 10 Diet Tips Everyone Should Follow

dieting tipsThe following are my top ten dieting tips you should be following when you start a new fitness program. Incorporate these tips if you want to reach your weight loss goals.

Drink a Lot of Water

The human body is around 60% water, and certain parts of it like the brain, lungs, and muscle are even higher. It plays a vital role in nearly every body function. A short list includes:

  • Transports nutrients through the blood
  • Lubricates joints
  • Helps control body temperature
  • Helps digest food
  • Transports waste material from body

Water is essential to life, and is a major component of every cell in the body. It makes every body function work more efficiently. It’s a great weight loss aid because it helps reduce confusion between hunger and thirst.

Read more about how drinking water is the secret to fat loss.

Start Today

The two most popular days that people start their diets are tomorrow and Monday. Maybe you’ve heard it before, or maybe you’re guilty of it yourself. It goes a little something like this:

You want to start losing weight, but pizza sounds really good tonight. So you tell yourself that you’re starting your diet tomorrow. Or hey, why not Monday? That way you can start off the whole week right.

Start your healthy diet today. Chances are, if you tell yourself you are going to start your diet in the future, you will continue to push it off to another day.

Today is a good day…start NOW!

Start today was 1 of 20 healthy weight loss tips from people who lost over 50 pounds. Read all 20 tips here.

Eat Your Veggies

Vegetables are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. They are nutrient dense and calorie sparse, and they help to fill up your stomach. This is a great benefit when you are feeling hungry. A short list of these vegetables include:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Arugula

It’s next to impossible to eat too many of these foods. They are so full of water and fiber that it makes it hard to eat too many calories from them. Eat up!

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Don’t Eat Too Little

Eating too little can be just as harmful to your diet as eating too much.

Your body is programmed for survival. When you don’t eat enough calories, your body sheds what it doesn’t need first. Fat is energy. Your body does not look to shed fat first. It needs the energy. Instead, it sheds the unnecessary muscle that it would need to carry around and maintain.

If your body thinks it is starving, its survival mechanisms will kick in, and it will rid itself of what it doesn’t need. Muscle is highly energy intensive to maintain, and that will be the first to go.

If you don’t want to lose muscle, you need to maintain a positive nitrogen balance by eating enough food to keep the body’s starvation mechanisms at bay.

Read more about how you’re not eating enough calories to lose weight.

Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store

Where you shop in the grocery store is directly correlated to your fat loss success.

Stop and think about where you shop. Do you go up and down all the aisles? Do you tend to avoid the aisles and shop around the perimeter?

The best foods for losing weight and being healthy are going to be found around the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you will find the fresh meats, eggs, poultry, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.

Try to avoid the aisles. They are mostly packed with processed foods that will work against you in your dieting efforts. The foods there are calorie dense and nutrient sparse – not a good combo for fat loss.

Buy Body Fat Calipers

Body fat calipers are one of the best progress measuring tools out there. They differentiate between weight and fat. They are cheap, and you can usually do most of the skin fold tests yourself.

The most important thing to be measuring when dieting is your fat loss, not your weight loss. Your body composition is what matters.

Body fat calipers can keep that motivation going when the scale isn’t moving and your mind starts to play tricks on you. You are making progress – measure it the right way.

Here’s a pair of body fat calipers for under $7 you can use to measure your body fat percentage.

Get Past the First 48 Hours

The majority of diets fail in the first 24-48 hours. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is because food is addicting. When you eat food, your body undergoes many of the same physiological and emotional responses as it does when drugs are ingested. Neurotransmitters are released, and the “feel good” chemicals circulate the bloodstream.

Before you started dieting, you were more than likely eating a lot of processed foods that were high in sugar that registered high on the GI (glycemic index) scale. When these foods are ingested, it sends a lot of glucose to the brain at one time, and because of this, many “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are released at once.

During the first 24-48 hours of dieting, these neurotransmitters are lower than usual because you are eating slower digesting/lower GI foods. Because of this, your body starts craving what it used to have – sugar.

You had an addiction to processed food, and withdrawal is setting in. Stay strong and get past those first couple of days. Once you have a new eating routine down, it gets easier.

Here are 10 tips to help you break your carb addiction.

When Eating Out, Look Up the Menu Online First

Most restaurants nowadays have their menus posted online. Planning what you are going to order beforehand can help prevent you from making bad food choices when rushed at the restaurant.

Many times when we are out eating with friends or family, we end up being rushed or pressured to find something to eat. Healthy eating takes time and planning. Know what your meal’s calorie content is supposed to be before you go to eat, and then find something that fits from the online menu.

Take 5 minutes before you leave to view what’s healthy on the menu. You’ll end up thanking yourself when you walk out of the restaurant, and you won’t get discouraged from derailing your progress.

Here are 10 more healthy tips for eating out.

Make Your Diet Public for Motivation

Is being overweight and unhealthy not enough motivation to keep you going? Then why not try making your diet progress public for motivation.

Try starting a free blog and keep a daily journal of what you eat, your exercises, and your progress. You should do this anyways. But instead of keeping it private, invite your friends and family by giving them the link.

Sometimes a little accountability is what we need to keep us motivated. I think you might be surprised by the amount of positive reinforcement you receive from friends. And who knows, you might even inspire them to start a blog of their own.

Need more motivation? Here are 101 ways to get motivated to lose weight.

Stop Looking at the Scale

The scale is a poor tool to use to monitor your fat loss progress. A scale measures the force of gravity on your body. Weight is far down on the list of valuable measurements when it comes to dieting.

Lets look at an example:

Man # 1 – 180lb man at 20% body fat = 36 pounds of fat
Man # 2 – 180lb man at 10% body fat = 18 pounds of fat

Both of them check the scale weekly and see that their weight never changes. It’s obvious that Man # 2 is going to have the better physique. He carries half the amount of fat on his body that Man # 1 does. But the scale will never show that.

There are much better ways to measure your progress. Try looking in the mirror, using a tape measure, taking progress pictures, or using body fat calipers. Whichever method you use, try to stay off the scale. I’ve seen it discourage too many people that were making good progress.

Here are 10 more ways to effectively measure your weight loss progress.

Use these top 10 dieting tips when you’re ready to embark on a new weight loss journey. They can save you a lot of the frustration that comes with changing your lifestyle.

  • Deanna

    Great tips! I look forward to more.

  • Ellie

    I do use all those wonderful fresh fruits and veggies daily , especially when I don’t have time for lunch. Definitely noticed my weight is more irregular when I am not sleeping well. Suggestions on how to destress for a better nights rest?

  • Coach Calorie

    Hey Ellie, I have a few tips to get a better night’s sleep.

    First and foremost, make sure you are working out. That can play a large role in getting good rest.

    Also make sure you are being consistent with your sleeping schedule – going to bed at similar times and waking up at similar times.

    When do you workout? If it’s in the evening, you might still have some adrenaline pumping from your workout. You might want to consider a different time.

    Finally, try having no carbohydrates in your final meal. High blood sugar can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep because it can prevent certain hormones like growth hormone from being released at night.

  • Jenn of

    Thanks so much for the mention in #9. I am honored to be part of your list.

  • Coach Calorie

    Hey Jenn, thank you for the useful information.

  • Lantana H.

    You are so very right. I’ve been going to start my diet tomorrow for a month and just today I told my mom I was starting on Monday. I needed to hear this!

    • Coach Calorie

      I think just about everyone has said they were going to start their diet tomorrow. You’re not alone!

  • Claudia M

    great tips ! i love tip#10 …. i am always worried when i dont see the scale move :)

    • Coach Calorie

      Thanks Claudia. The scale can play some pretty convincing tricks on you.

  • Claudia M

    sure is … what is your opinion on sweetners like diet- coke etc ? you hear so much about it that it’s no good for you . But if i would use sugar i would gain more weight :(

    • Coach Calorie

      I avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague. I’d rather choose sugar. We have no idea what health problems these sweeteners cause, and I have a feeling weight gain is the least of our worries.

      In a perfect world though, sugar would be gone too. Depending on what you need sweetened, you can use fruit. I use fruit to sweeten my protein shakes instead of buying the “no carb” artificially sweetened protein powders.

  • Brianna

    I agree with this, however, I strongly do not believe in the word “diet”. I believe that if one wants to “lose weight”, they first need to change their way of life. After all, their original way of life is what got them to gain unnecessary fat. What this article did not mention was the essential exercise routine. No one can expect to make healthier changes in their body unless they increase the amount of daily exercise.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Brianna, I agree with you about the word diet. I preach a healthy lifestyle over dieting all the time. However, I have nothing against dieting, and I believe the proper dieting teaches you a lot about how to take control of your body, and learning macronutrients among other things.

      And yes, very true about exercise. That deserves a whole blog post of its own. I wanted to focus on the nutritional aspect of dieting for this one.

  • anita

    i’ve read many diet books and these are pretty much the same reoccuring theme throughout all of them so it must be true. Don’t eat too little is a good rule. you may think this is an oxymoron for a dieter but it’s true. i’fve seen it in Jilian Michael’s book, Naturally thin by Bethanny and Abs diet by Mens Fitness imnotarunner at gmail dot com

    • Coach Calorie

      Yup. Eating too little is just as bad if not worse than eating too much.

  • ria clarke

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as body fat calipers- you learn something new everyday!
    Great tip about water- my resolutions for 2012 are to drink more water and to improve my posture (you core strengthening exercises will help me out there)

  • Laura S

    Great tips. I lost 20 pounds last year by doing just about everything on your list. (I don’t have the body fat calipers). I was never much of a produce eater until I realized just how much food I could eat if I made most of it veggies and a piece of fruit or two. I even discovered several new fruits and vegetables I like that I’d never even tried before!

    • Coach Calorie

      Congrats on the weight loss Laura. Fruits and veggies are nutrient dense and calorie sparse – the perfect dieting food.

  • Donna B.

    Thanks for all the great tips! I was happy to see except for owning calipers, I was following all the others :)

    • Coach Calorie

      Seems you’re on the right patch Donna! Those calipers are very valuable, and they can be bought cheap. I’d recommend getting some.

      • Donna B.

        I will once I get a little closer to my goal weight… although I’ve lost 135# so far, I still have a bit more to go, and between that (and the saggy skin!) I’m not sure the calipers would do much for me right now except depress me LOLOL

        Honestly, I wish I’d known about your site when I first started my weight loss journey! I did send the link to my nutritionist, and I’ve shared it with a few friends who are also working on their weight loss journeys :)

  • Deb Dorrington

    I like that you suggest that I make my weight loss public..usually I keep it quiet so if I fail no one but myself is the thanks for this advice and the rest of the tips.

    • Coach Calorie

      Putting yourself out there is certainly a great motivator!

  • Wendy T

    Didn’t know there was such a thing as the body fat calipers. I know those will be good for me. I”m gonna check it out.

    I went back (second time this week) to the fresh food store and bought some more salmon to have tonight. And tons of chicken.

    I’m feeling motivated that this time is gonna prove to be different!

  • Donna B.

    I’m now only checking my weight a couple of times a week, rather than a couple of times a day – still not great, but it’s progress. I’ve also been working on making my dieting public but that’s a tough one for me!

  • Rachel Runyan

    Great Tips! I’m really bad about getting enough water and eating enough food. I actually had to go on a specialized diet to try and wake up my metabolism.

  • Sarah L

    I think the water tip is one that people forget about. Veggies & fruit are easier to think about than just reaching for that water bottle.

  • Matt B

    Great post! Loved the reminder about shopping around the perimeter at the store.

  • Robin

    You are so right about the scale. For years my scale just went up and down. I was doing weight watchers but only walking for workouts. Ten months ago I started doing Personal training – using weights, boot camp and Zumba for my cardio. I have lost only 20 pounds, however, I am down from a size 14 (busting out) to a very comfortable size 8. I have dropped my body fat!! The key I believe is eating frequently – every 3 hours or so – good choices protein at every meal and weight training. I am 52 and I have not been in a size 8 since before my daughter was born – over 22 years ago!! I am thrilled and can’t wait to lose a bit more – I am still considered overweight as I am only 5’2″. But if I stayed like this the rest of my life – I could be a happy woman – I will tell you this – I will NEVER stop working out – I am doing 3 1/2 to 4 hours of Zumba every week and at least 2 hours of weight training – 1/2 hour four times a week. I love every minute of it!!!! The key for me is preparation – get all the main food made on the weekends and get my exercise stuff ready the night before so I am all packed up for my after work exercise.

  • Coach Calorie

    Great job Robin!! You understand the importance of planning, and you’re obviously making your health and fitness a priority. Sounds like this lifestyle is gonna stick with you :)