When you’re on a diet and trying to lose weight, transitioning to healthier eating is often easier said than done.
Ideally, we love to think we can thrive on a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and lean protein, but if you’re not used to eating clean and healthy, you may find yourself not only feeling hungry and deprived throughout the day, but bingeing more on foods you probably shouldn’t be eating.
Jumping right into a healthy diet that’s completely different from the one you’re used to can actually cause you to give up more easily and feel frustrated before you’ve even had a chance to make progress.
Like weight loss, the transition to healthier eating doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it’s best to venture into a healthy diet a little bit at a time to take the pressure off losing weight in general and to ensure lasting, long-term weight-loss success.
Here are small transitions you can make right now that will eventually result in your eating a clean, healthy diet that will help you lose weight.
Make your own salad dressing at home
Many store-bought salad dressings actually contain sugars and additives that can compromise weight loss, including those labeled as “fat-free” or “low-fat.” However, healthy salad dressings do exist — just make sure you read ingredients and nutrition labels before buying any. Or, you can make your own healthy salad dressings at home using vinegar, oil, and your favorite spices and seasonings.
Substitute high-fat side dishes for healthier items when dining out
Dining out after weight-loss surgery can be a fun and fulfilling experience as long as you’re making healthy choices. If your meal comes with a side that is fried or high in fat, such as french fries, ask your server if you can substitute the item with a healthier side, such as carrot sticks or a small salad.
Stop eating boxed cereals for breakfast
Many Americans consume boxed cereals for breakfast, which is understandable given how easy and quick cereal is to prepare. But what most don’t know is that many cereals — even those being touted as healthy and high in vitamins and minerals — contain sugar and additives that can be detrimental to your weight-loss program. Instead of resorting to boxed cereal in the morning for breakfast, eat healthier whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, turkey and chicken, and other items that will give you the energy you need to make it through the early part of the day.
Buy plain yogurt instead of flavored, sweetened yogurts
Yogurt can be a great addition to your diet, but only if you purchase plain yogurt with live cultures that lacks additives. Many popular yogurt brands contain a wealth of processed sugars and sweeteners that can trigger weight gain and even have an adverse effect on your health. To sweeten up plain yogurts, mix in natural honey or your own sliced fresh fruit.
Treat yourself to dark chocolate with high cacao percentages
In its purest form, dark chocolate contains antioxidants that studies have shown can trigger weight loss and lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Consult with your nutritionist or bariatric surgeon prior to consuming any sweets throughout your weight-loss journey, and buy dark chocolate that contains a high percentage of cacao. The higher the cacaro percentage, the more health benefits you’ll reap from dark chocolate.