So you’re thinking about dieting? Good for you! No matter your reason, changing your diet can come with numerous health benefits. While everyone will tell you that dieting is hard and that cravings are terrible, let us be the first to say that it doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t need to join a meal plan and you don’t need to count every single calorie or gram of sugar you eat. You also don’t need to quit your favorite foods cold turkey. The best dieting tip we can give you, even if you only read this far, is that you should do everything in steps. Never try to quit cold turkey unless you absolutely have to. This makes it so much harder on yourself!
If you’re still with us, we at IV Revival have some great tips on dieting for beginners. Ones that will help you stick with your diet and make a sustainable plan.
Involve Your Doctor
If you’re planning on dieting to lose weight, then it’s a good idea to bring your doctor into the loop. They can review your medical history and medications and give you recommendations for what to try. For example, you may be gaining weight because of medication. A simple switch-up might help, or your doctor can recommend a plan to help keep the weight off.
You should also talk with your doctor about previous weight loss efforts, if any. Be open about any diets you’ve tried and why they didn’t match your lifestyle. Your doctor might be able to direct you to weight-loss support groups or refer you to a registered dietitian.
Beyond all of that, they will be able to make sure you are dieting in a safe and healthy way.
Consider Your Personal Needs
There isn’t one “perfect” diet out there that works for everyone. We’re all different — different body types, different dietary needs, and different tastes. Bring all of that into your dieting plan. If you love cheese, then you should include some cheese into your diet!
Think about all of the following:
- Diets you’ve tried and why they didn’t work
- Your goals
- Lose weight?
- Eat healthier?
- Cut out something entirely?
- Your preferences
- Do you want to diet alone or with someone?
- Do you want to follow a strict plan or make one your own?
- Meal service or no?
- Your budget
- Health conditions, allergies, and cultural restrictions
All of the above points are important when you’re planning your diet. Take everything into consideration and make sure you’re happy with the foods you’re about to eat. Remember, dieting should not be torture!
Create a Daily Plan
While creating a daily meal plan may seem like a nightmare, it actually helps so much. You’ll not only know what you’ll be eating this week, but you’ll know what to buy at the grocery store and will be able to prepare everything ahead of time (if you want). Once you incorporate making meal plans into your weekly routine, you’ll never go back to spontaneous shopping trips.
Here’s what we do:
Create a list or a spreadsheet (we do it on our phones!) of what meals you want to eat that week. We separate it by days, but you can do whatever works best for you, such as separating by meal.
Before you make your list, consider what meals can be split into leftovers. For example, if you’re making chicken and veggies over cauliflower rice, then you’ll likely have leftovers that can be moved to the next day’s lunch.
Then, meal prep! If you’re into meal prepping, it will save you so much time and effort in the morning. You’ll have a grab-and-go lunch that you know is healthy and filling.
Look Beyond the Number of Calories
If you don’t do anything on this list, at least consider this tip. Don’t focus only on calories. While they’re important, you should consider other nutritional facts as well, such as sugar and sodium. Notice how we didn’t say fat? Eating fatty foods doesn’t make you fat! It is your sugar intake that directly contributes to the formation of fat cells in your body. So if you’re looking to lose weight, cut out some sugar!
On top of that, choose foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and health fats. We recommend fish, blueberries, strawberries, flaxseeds, oats, and any red, yellow, or orange veggie! You also should consider adding spinach to your diet to get a healthy amount of magnesium and vitamins too.
Don’t Substitute Veggies for Veggie-Based Foods!
No veggie substitutes, period. All of the veggie chips, crackers, or pasta that you see aren’t going to give you nearly the same amount of nutritional benefits as the real thing. Veggie chips, for example, add a ton of starch to their recipe and are actually about as healthy as tortilla chips — not the worst, but not the best either.
If you’re craving veggie chips, look at the ingredients. Avoid anything with “vegetable powder” and instead choose an option that lists the actual vegetable first. Also check the salt (sodium) content. The less, the better!
For optimal health, you should incorporate non-starchy vegetables into every meal of your day. Add spinach to a breakfast smoothie or salads to your lunch. For dinner, try cauliflower rice (it’s shredded cauliflower), or pasta made from actual squash or zucchini. You can also enjoy regular pasta too, just in moderation!
Choose Whole Fruit instead of Juice
On the same line of thought, substituting fruit for fruit juice is not a healthy habit either. Fruit juices are chock-full of bad kinds of sugar — not the natural sugar you’ll find in apples or oranges.
Fruit juice is also stripped of the fiber found in whole fruits. Fiber is one of four “shortfall nutrients” inadequately consumed in the standard American diet (SAD) and is crucial for a healthy gut and heart.
Instead of fruit juice, focus on eating whole fruits such as berries, kiwis and apples!
Limit Sugar Consumption
We can’t say this enough, so we’re going to say it again. The best way to lose weight with dieting alone is to limit your sugar intake. Excess sugar intake is a major driver of obesity, type II diabetes and other chronic diseases.
The problem is that sugar is everywhere in the food supply and it can be confusing to navigate what is considered “good sugar” and what is “bad sugar.” In general, sugar from fruit is a lot better for you than sugar in cookies. However, sugar in homemade cookies will be better for you than sugar in store-bought cookies, due to the lack of sweetener chemicals. When in doubt, check the ingredient list for things called:
- Acesulfame Potassium
Making a habit of reading labels is a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of what you put in your shopping cart!
That’s it! We hope this guide helped you get a better idea on how easy dieting for beginnings can be! Remember, it doesn’t mean cutting out your favorite food, but limiting your consumption of them during the week. We’re rooting for you!