To most people, “diet” is a four letter word. When you hear it, it conjures up thoughts of having to clean out your fridge and replace all the stuff you enjoy eating, with quinoa, kale, and organic lentil juice (I just made that last one up but it probably exists). Whatever diet you aspire to make a part of your life, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can make simple gradual changes to start that can have an outsized impact on your weight loss goals.
1. Choose the Healthy Option
You may be shocked to read this, but dietary fiber is not digestible by humans. But it’s that fact that makes it such a miracle food for you. When we include fiber in our diet, it slows the process of digestion making us feel fuller longer and reduces the amount of fat and carbs we absorb in the food. So the next time you’re at a Chinese restaurant and they ask you for white or brown rice, choose the brown. I know, brown rice tastes terrible, but eating it with your meal will actually reduce the amount of fat and sugar you will absorb from that delicious sesame chicken on top of it.
2. Add a Healthy Option
When with an unhealthy food option, like a hamburger, add in healthy items to lessen the overall impact to your body. For example, throw on a tomato. Tomatoes actually burn more calories in digestion than they contain. Tack on some dark leafy green lettuce while you’re at it, and if you’re really feeling like Richard Simmons, ask for a wheat bun. If these items ruin the flavor of the hamburger for you, ask for those veggies on the side, and eat them separately with a little salt sprinkled on top (This is the only way I eat my Fuddrucker’s burgers).
3. Eat The Real Thing
When you've spent as much time looking at Nutrition Facts labels as I have, one thing stands out: the difference between processed food and whole food is usually that processed food has the fiber removed and sugar added. When faced with a choice between a food and its processed alternative, choose the whole food. Greek yogurt is a great example. Greek yogurt has been all the rage lately, such that traditional yogurt brands have come out with their own versions. But check those labels before you pick up the popular brand. Real greek yogurt is actually very tart, and should have about 9 grams of sugar (milk sugar) per serving, whereas that processed stuff will taste great but will have anywhere from 12-19g of sugar (sweet fructose) per serving. They both have greek yogurt on the label, but one is the real deal and the other… not so much