5 Easy dietary changes to help you kick start your weight loss journey

By: Denise Ferreira, CPT, CNC

This is not an article about jumping on the latest fad diet and it’s definitely not one that is going to list a whole bunch of restrictions. Instead, what I’m going to do is share with you some easy and totally doable small dietary changes that will help you get started on your weightless journey.

First, it’s really important to explain how weight loss works for everybody because it really only works one way. Weight loss is obtained through Caloric Deficit. Now if you’re wondering-“how do I get into a caloric deficit”.  the best way to know is to have an understanding of where you are starting from. How much are you eating right now?

When starting to make changes to your nutrition, the last thing you should ever do is feel like you are on a diet. Making changes does not include eliminations or restrictions. Its doesn’t mea eliminating carbohydrates, meal timing changes, restriction of alcohol or caffeine. You want to keep familiarity while making small effective changes because the goal is sustainability. Creating healthy eating habits for the long run, not for short term results. The main goal is to eat the foods that make you feel really good and staying away from the ones that don’t.

Here are 5 simple and easy dietary changes that will help you get started on your weight loss journey, without you having to reinvent the wheel and not make you feel defeated.

Kick the habit of drinking sugar!

More often then not, this is something that I work with clients on all the time and it’s one of the easiest changes to make. Regular soda pop and juices are full of added sugars which is what makes them high in calories. Although I am not a fan of “diet” anything or Soda pop in general, expecting you to cut out pop or juice cold turkey is unrealistic, but asking you to switch to diet soda pop (preferably the ones without artificial sweeteners) is a much more sensible approach.  Asking you to go from 2 cans a pop to no cans is unrealistic, but asking you to go from 2 cans of pop to 1 mini can is much more sensible and totally doable.  Same thing with Juices. Switching from Tropicana Orange juice to a natural, fresh pressed juice is a much easier approach then stopping completely.  Changes don’t need to be drastic and you can still enjoy the things you love, just take a second to stop and think about which one will be better for you overall.

Up your liquids!

rAs a nutrition coach one of the most frequent comments I get is “I always feel hungry”.  Dehydration triggers hunger, when you body is dehydrated it mimics the same feeling of being hungry. Staying hydrated has so many healht benefits from better skin, nails and hair, to helping all your organs work properly.  Here is a quick tip on how to increase your water intake. Pick a reusable water bottle, then pick an easy marker. For example time of day. By 11, 2pm and 7pm. By each time your goal is to finish 1 water bottle by each of those times.  Dislike plain water? Try infusing it with lemon and mint. If you love drinking warm drinks, herbal teas and hot water with natural flavors such a lime, lemon are great choice as well.

Ditch the hidden calories!

Salad dressings, BBQ sauces, Dipping Sauces they are the hidden culprit.  Most of the time we think ordering a salad from a restaurant is harmless, until you look up the calories.  On average a restaurant salad will contain anywhere from 700-1200 calories, for some that’s half of  their daily caloric intake.  The reason why they tend to be so high in calories is because of the salad dressings.  When dining out, ask for the dressing on the side and the reason why I recommend this is because it’s measured.  Most of the side little dressing cups they use only hold 2tbsp of salad dressing. When a restraint prepares your salad in the kitchen it’s done by eye. When you can control these little things, they make a huge difference in your daily nutrition.

Fresh summer green salad mix with salad lettuce, spinach, fennel, celery, tomatoes, radish, olives, chicory and arugula in white bowl with forks on wooden background. Healthy eating concept. Top view.

Change your protein.

Choosing leaner proteins not only cuts the calories but adds to your overall health.  Red meats tend to be high in saturated fats and cholesterol.  Choosing white meats such as Turkey or Chicken and fresh fish allows you to cut the overall calories per meal while keeping you full. This is not to say that red meat needs to be eliminated completely, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a steak or burger, but reducing your amount is a simple way to get started

Low Calorie, High Volume

Low calorie and high-volume foods are a great way of providing fullness while keeping the calories low.  All fresh vegetables are low in calories, so choosing a vegetable and pairing it with a healthy fat like hummus or avocado as a snack choice is a great way to keep on track with daily calories.

*The most important tip is DO NOT restrict or eliminate an essential nutrient. Allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love, just be smarter with how much of it you eat. Implementing unrealistic and non-sustainable changes is what results in you failing and giving up. Unfortunately, carbohydrates are associated with weight gain, and that cannot further from the truth. Eliminating a macro nutrient starves your body from essential vitamins and minerals your body needs.  Instead of eliminating, make better choices and watch how much you eat.  It’s okay to enjoy a glass of wine and it’s totally okay to eat a cookie. Food freedom starts with control. 

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