Spring is on the horizon and warm weather is fast-approaching, so it’s a good time to kickstart your diet full of fresh, healthy foods. We understand that a lot of people’s stomachs turn at the word “diet”, but the truth is, starting a diet is easy—maintaining a healthy diet is the tricky part.
A lot of diets focused on weight loss are too restrictive. They forbid dieters from eating certain foods and enforce unrealistic fitness regimes. Not only is that not fun (which eating should be), it’s unsustainable. In truth, successful diets should stress the importance of eating healthier foods, drinking more water and exercising regularly, while also making allowances for people’s different lifestyles. And of course, like everything in life, a successful weight loss program always comes with a few tricks up its sleeve, so to help you achieve and maintain your weight loss goals, we’ve compiled our top four secret weapons!
1. Eat More Protein
Increasing protein intake has long been touted as a prime method for losing weight—and for good reason. Replacing portions of your meals with extra protein can help you feel fuller for longer, which may decrease your likelihood of overeating. Protein takes longer to digest and also contributes to muscle growth, helping you lose weight while maintaining muscle mass. Additionally, diets rich in protein can help boost your metabolism.
When it comes to selecting your protein of choice, consume lean cuts. Fish like Tilapia fits the bill, as it’s high in protein, low in calories and low-carb. A 4-ounce Tilapia fillet is loaded with 21 grams of protein and only 90 calories. Incorporating lean fish like Tilapia into your daily diet is an excellent way to stay energized and satisfied while reducing your overall calorie intake. And if you need a little recipe inspiration, we’ve got you covered!
2. Make a Realistic Plan
How you plan your diet can be the make-it-or-break-it factor that determines weight loss. Outlining specific, attainable goals is key to building new, long-lasting habits, and it can help you to hold yourself accountable.
Prioritize meal planning and preparation by creating dinner menus and grocery lists in advance. Studies have actually found correlations between people who weigh less and those who keep grocery lists, as heading to the store without a list makes you susceptible to impulse shopping. It’s much easier to grab a packet of cookies and forget to pick up your vegetables when you haven’t specifically outlined which items to purchase.
On the same note, be sure to always have healthy, instantly satiating foods on-hand to munch on. Some of our favorite prepared foods to snack on in a pinch include hard-boiled eggs, almonds, fruit with peanut butter, and celery or carrot sticks with hummus.
3. Eat More Good Fat
It might seem counterintuitive to eat more fat to lose fat, but moderately consuming the right kinds of fats can be an effective way to lose weight. Similar to the impacts of eating a high-protein diet, consuming enough healthy fats can lead to greater satiety. Foods rich in healthy fats can also curb insulin crashes, keeping your body burning energy efficiently.
As you probably already know, there is a huge variance in the health ramifications of different types of fats. A moderate intake of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are encouraged, while trans fats and saturated fats should be avoided.
“Good” fats to eat more of include olive oil, avocado, brazil nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. To work more of these into your diet, try your hand at dishes like these tasty Tilapia Fish Tacos with Avocado Salsa.
4. Keep a Food Diary
Several studies have found that dieters who maintain food journals, compared to those who don’t, are much more likely to effectively lose weight. Tracking your diet in a journal can alert you to eating patterns you might be implementing without realizing. That daily latte or those bites of your child’s leftovers here and there really do add up!
If you don’t want to take pen to paper after every meal, there are dozens of fantastic, easy to maintain food tracking mobile apps available.
Achieve your weight loss goals by shifting your intake of certain food groups and implementing healthier habits. For those serious about the weight loss goals, you can even consider trying out a healthy eating challenge to help you jump start your goals. And if in doubt, just try adding a little more Tilapia to your weekly meal plan—health experts agree, this protein-packed fish is without a doubt your number one secret weapon for weight loss!
For more healthy habit tip, check out our list of simple dietary swaps to help you lose weight.
Photo Credits: Thirteen / Shutterstock Inc., Jacek Chabraszewski / Shutterstock Inc., Africa Studio / Shutterstock Inc.