Dieting has a negative connotation associated with it. Who wants to give up the foods they love, be hungry all day and go crazy counting calories? All that doesn't seem very fun. The truth is that dieting for losing or even gaining weight isn't about depriving yourself or going crazy over numbers. It's about knowing how much and what kind of food to eat to reach your weight goals. Once you know the rules of dieting, you won't have to deprive yourself of foods you love or get a headache from counting calories all day.
Foods You Love
When you go on a diet, you don't have to give up the foods you enjoy. Doing so will actually decrease the chances that you'll succeed with your weight goals. If you really love chocolate and you've been eating it on a regular basis for a long time, how are you going to suddenly give it up and hope to never crave it again?
Having a healthy diet isn't about restricting yourself, it's about enjoying the foods you love but in moderation. If you like chocolate, have a few pieces of chocolate. Healthy alternatives can help you eat delicious foods without turning to junk. For example, dark chocolate is a lot healthier than milk chocolate, baked chicken is better than fried chicken and frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream.
Cheat days have a very important role in a successful diet. Think of them as your pressure release valve. When you're fed up with watching what you eat and worrying about how many calories you're taking in, give yourself a cheat day. For one day, let go of all the rules you've placed on yourself and enjoy every bite you eat.
Cheat days shouldn't be taken too often. About once a week works good. You also shouldn't use your cheat day as an excuse to binge on everything you see. You should eat the foods that are normally off limits without going crazy.
Calories and Serving Sizes
Though counting calories religiously can drive you crazy and isn't a good idea for everyone, you should have an idea of how many you are taking in. You should also try and stick by the serving sizes on the nutrition label. If you count only one serving but are actually eating 3-4, your calorie estimation will be way off and you'll end up gaining weight.
Remember that calories are the only thing that will dictate whether you lose, maintain or gain weight. The simple equation is calories in versus calories out. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat less than you burn, you will lose weight. There is no way around this equation. There are no pills, miracle exercise routines or magic foods that will let you eat an unlimited amount of food and lose weight.
The biggest enemy of a diet is hunger. When you get hungry, you get cravings and usually these cravings aren't for healthy foods, they're for high calorie items such as ice cream, hamburgers and soda. The trick to avoiding hunger is to eat smaller meals and snack throughout the day. By eating before you feel any hunger, you won't get cravings and binge on unhealthy foods.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that if you eat foods you like in moderation combined with healthy options such as salads, fruits and lean meats, you will lose weight without giving up what you like or going crazy over numbers. The keys to any diet are balance and moderation.