A greater proportion of people are obese today than ever before. Any successful diet means consuming fewer calories – in other words, eating less food, but eating healthy food. You are fooling yourself if you think a "diet plan" that permits you to eat anything you what will help you to lose weight.
Genetics can play a part in this. With two obese parents there is an 80% chance for a teen to be obese; with one parent, 40%; and with lean parents only a 10% chance. However, obesity is not inevitable and no one has to be overweight if they don't want to be. Many people eat when they're bored, lonely, or stressed. Or, out of habit, they keep eating long after they're full.
Slowing down can help because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize how much is in your stomach. Sometimes taking a break before going for seconds can keep you from eating them. Avoid eating when you feel upset or bored – try to find something else to do instead (a walk around the block or a trip to the gym are good alternatives). Eat slowly and chew your food well.
Eating a couple of small snacks during the day can help people to make healthy choices at meals. Take a couple of healthy snacks (carrot sticks, a low fat granola bar, pretzels, or a piece of fruit) with you so that you can have one or two snacks during the day. Adding healthy snacks to your three main meals and eating smaller portions when you sit down to dinner can help you to cut calories without feeling deprived.
Replace junk food by fruits and vegetables! Five or more servings of fruits and vegetables aren't just a good idea for losing weight – they will also help keep your heart and the rest of your body healthy. Exchange white bread for whole-wheat, for example.
Think about what you drink. Sodas, juices and other drinks can contain many calories, so cutting out soda completely can remove hundreds of calories each day from your diet. Diet sodas are not a solution: aside from the fact that the artificial sweeteners are considered harmful chemicals by many, they also tend to make some people hungry. Drink a lot of water instead. Switching from whole to nonfat or low fat milk is also a good idea, or switching to soy milk is even a better idea.
Drastic changes are much harder to stick with than small changes. Try reducing the size of the portions you eat and giving up soda for a week. Once you have that down, start gradually introducing healthier foods and exercise into your life. Drink lots of water and make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. Don't skip breakfast – having some cereal and (soy) milk and a piece of fruit is a much better idea than grabbing a donut as you run to the bus stop or eating no breakfast at all.
Don't eat while you're doing something else, such as watching TV or working at a computer. Stop frying food! If you need to snack, stock the fridge with low-calorie snacks: you can only eat the wrong things if you bring them into the house in the first place! Don't shop when you are hungry – shop after a meal.
Don't eat a large meal in the evening when you'll have little opportunity for exercise afterwards. It's best to eat more at the times when you are going to be the most active. Eat a hearty breakfast, a substantial lunch, and a light dinner.
These sayings exist for good reason:
"Eat breakfast alone; share lunch with a friend; give dinner to your enemy."
"Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."
Your body is a highly complex, interconnected system. Instead of guessing at what might be wrong, let us help you discover what is really going on inside your body based on the many clues it is giving.
Our multiple symptom checker provides in-depth health analysis by The Analyst™ with full explanations, recommendations and (optionally) doctors available for case review and answering your specific questions.