A Diet Makeover: 8 Simple Rules to Live by

Friday, September 21, 2007 - 2:49pm

By Karen Crawford, MS, RD, CSP

Are you looking to lose weight and be healthy, but do not want to go on a diet? I personally grow tired of hearing about all these great diets my friends are on, only to not hear any more about them four weeks later. I don't mean to oversimplify things, but eating right is simple-it just takes the desire to do so, a bit of will power, and a little organization. If you are more interested in your well-being than how great fast food French fries taste, then I would like to share something with you. Below are the 8 rules I personally live by, and have so for years. This is not a diet: These are my commandments that keep my diet in a healthy direction.

The 8 healthy eating rules

  1. Organize: Plan your meals before they happen. Eat "in," pack lunches and snacks, and make the commitment to eat right.

  2. Pantry Purge: Throw away all of the low-nutrient density foods (i.e., chips, cookies, crackers, candy) and restock with better options (whole wheat crackers, pretzels, whole wheat pastas, whole wheat breads, canned vegetables).

  3. Upgrade you carbohydrate choices : Choose sweet potatoes over white, whole grain or whole wheat over refined, and lentils and beans for something different.

  4. Choose healthy snack and dessert options : Keep almonds, natural peanut butter, dried fruit, sugar-free jello, sugar-free/fat-free pudding, and string cheese on hand.

  5. Eliminate all liquid calories: Change to diet soft drinks or water, use a sugar substitute when making tea and coffee, and use the sugar-free flavor packets for bottled water.

  6. Construct sound meals: Include a lean protein source (skinless chicken, baked fish, lean ground beef, tofu, etc.); vegetables (choose dark green and orange ones more often); a complex carbohydrate (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat slice of bread); and a whole piece of fruit (fruit can be added to meals or eat them as a dessert or a snack).

  7. Add snacks: One to two planned snacks per day is okay, as long as you choose wisely. Carry them with you or plan what they will be-do not be caught out and about and starving!

  8. Be consistent and deliberate: Miscellaneous calories add up over time. Commit to staying away from co-workers' candy jars and just say no to unnecessary sweets and treats. Eat around the same time everyday-your body will adjust to these times.

These are not "diet" rules; these are rules that promote healthy eating. I think you will find that if these are applied, by default you will lose weight, have more energy, be more organized (as food will be less of an issue), and be very proud of yourself.