Diets don’t work. Counting calories is tedious. Half of us are on a “diet” but as a nation we continue to have a major problem with obesity. Obesity promotes heart disease and heart disease is the number one killer in America. Diets don’t work because they are a short-term, quick fix – like repairing a leaky faucet with duct tape. That repair may stop the leak for now, but you know you’re going to have to eventually fix it properly.

3500 calories equals one pound of fat. Cut a few hundred unnecessary calories a day and you will lose a pound of fat a week. As time goes by, your scale will see the results.  Here are 5 tips about eating that will help you gradually lose weight without riding the diet and binge rollercoaster.
1. Eat Breakfast:
You are not saving calories by skipping breakfast. Multiple medical studies prove that when you skip breakfast, you eat more during the day. You also lose your edge at work in the mornings if not properly fueled. Never skip breakfast which should include a piece of fruit, a high fiber carb and protein. My favorite quick weekday breakfast is a high fiber toasted English Muffin, real peanut butter (not the processed in the jars) and some jelly made with fruit juice to sweeten (not sugar). I also grab berries and an apple or orange to go.
2. Watch Liquid Calories
: Sweetened iced tea, soda or juice is about 100-150 calories per glass. Drinks with artificial sweeteners have added chemicals your body doesn’t need. So, think about your liquid intake. I drink mostly water, seltzer, unsweetened iced tea (all flavors) and very little soda or juice – I’d rather eat the fruit and get the added fiber benefit. When I do sweeten a drink, I use a small amount of unprocessed sugar (not white refined) – about a half a teaspoon in a cup of coffee. Initially you’re going to miss the sweetness, but after a while it’s no big deal. Also, with summer on its way, remember that a 12oz margarita is @450 calories whereas a 1.5oz shot of Tequila is @100 calories. Also, watch how many 150 calorie beers you’re drinking at happy hours.

3. Eat More Produce: For some reason, when we’re out shopping or working and want a snack, we seem to grab pretzels, frozen yogurt, packaged crackers, granola bars or candy. You should be tossing fruit into your work bag every day. When you get hungry, eat a whole apple, an orange or a pint of blueberries and then see if you really want more food. Buy celery, radishes, green peppers and carrots, cut them up right away and then grab some for a work snack. You don’t need a ranch dip, peanut butter or salt with that. Having pizza for lunch? Order a large salad with vinegar and olive oil along with your piece of pizza instead of eating two slices of pizza. Make two or more vegetables at dinner and eat a lot of them – spinach and broccoli or brussel sprouts and string beans. Bring leftovers to work for a snack. Eating more vegetables at lunch and dinner means you are eating less high calorie foods. Period.

4. Eat Whole Grains: Refined grains have been milled; a process that removes the bran and germ and also the dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Research has shown that 95% of the grains we eat today are refined. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole grains take longer to digest so you feel full longer. Examples of whole grains are whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, quinoa, barley, corn (popcorn), brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), farro, millet and quinoa. . Try quinoa porridge, whole wheat pasta, Ezekiel bread, a pilaf with bulgur wheat, vegetable soup with farro and wild rice with sautéed shitake mushrooms – there are endless recipes using whole grains that are delicious and easy to make.

5. Read Food Labels: Stop buying products with hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats) and added high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Avoid added chemicals. If it’s bagged, canned, bottled or boxed then it’s already been processed. You want to eat food the way Mother Nature intended – but we’re all busy and need shortcuts. Packaged foods can be healthy and satisfying if you read labels and make good choices. For example, Kelloggs Corn Flakes uses milled corn. Kashi Corn Flakes uses organic whole grain corn. A bowl of the Kashi is a bowl of whole grain carbohydrates – full of fiber and vitamins. A bowl of Kelloggs is a bowl of refined carbohydrates which is basically a bowl of garbage.

So instead of “going on a diet” try just eating a healthier diet – it really works. You will lose weight and not feel like you need to binge eat. Of course you’re going to eat some junk and fried foods! But your main eating should be geared towards more produce, less meat, more whole grains, less refined carbs, eating breakfast every day, reading food labels carefully to avoid chemicals, HFCS and trans fats and also not drinking your calories. Give it a few months and you will be pleasantly surprised to see a weight loss and an energy gain without feeling like you needed a food binge.

In my practice we have hour long appointments so my patients and I can discuss healthy eating that’s personalized for their lifestyles. We don’t count calories together! I’ve recently opened-up my practice to accept new patients so call and schedule a meet and greet. Spring is a time for new beginnings so think about beginning to eat a healthy diet without counting calories.