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Maintaining a Healthy Weight Without Going on a Diet

Updated on December 31, 2010

Statistics Tell Us That Diets Don't Work

The diet industry is a huge money maker - over $55 billion a year is spent on diets and the success rate is not very impressive. Ask anyone who has lost weight only to gain it back again. The National Institute of Health estimates that dieters regain two-thirds of their lost weight within a year and that they can also expect that within a 5 year time period they will gain all of their weight back and possibly add more.

Share Your Tips With Others

I don't pretend that I am an expert on dieting or weight control, nor am I oblivious to the fact that some individuals are more prone to gaining weight than others. I simply wish to share with others what has worked for me and invite others to do the same with their comments.

Common Sense Tips

I am fortunate -- at only two times in my life have I experienced a serious struggle with unwanted pounds. In my early twenties I ate candy and other sweets in excess and gained about ten pounds. I stopped eating sweets and with the help of exercise I returned to my preferred weight within a short period of time. More recently I struggled with staying at my target weight when I experienced menopause. I craved food and was especially hungry at night. It was a struggle to stay away from fattening foods and I gained about 7 extra pounds. I did continue with exercise and now in my post menopausal years I am back to my natural target weight. I am 61 years old, 5"2" tall and my weight ranges from 110 to 115 pounds.

I have several suggestions that work for me:

  • Stay away from sugary foods, but if you do indulge eat a very small portion.
  • Don't snack late at night. A small healthy snack before 7:00 p.m. would be the exception to the rule.
  • Eat slowly and stop when you are nearly full but not uncomfortable.
  • Make your beverage of choice water or tea.
  • When snacking eat small portions of healthy nutritious foods.
  • Try to stay away from pre-packaged foods.
  • Find a form of moderate exercise you like and do it.
  • Eliminate caffeine and alcohol from your diet.
  • Eat foods that you enjoy.
  • Consult with individuals who maintain a healthy weight rather than trusting fad diets and costly diet foods.
  • Beware of toppings and sauces -- eat foods plain or with low cal toppings

Examples of My Daily Food Intake

I can suggest foods that are healthy and appealing to me, but if you eat too much of anything you will gain weight. Portion control is essential. As mentioned previously, eating just enough to be satisfied without feeling full or uncomfortable is my gauge of how much food to eat. I eat my favorite healthy foods often. For instance, I regularly eat a bowl of a whole wheat cereal with flax-seed for breakfast. I add a piece of fruit such as a banana or an orange. Actually, I stick to the same breakfast item for months and my appetite and body seem to be satisfied with this. I rarely choose fruit juices over a piece of fruit. I find that the fruit is more satisfying and it provides more fiber and nutrition than expensive juice drinks.

For lunch my food choices are varied. I enjoy salads (especially in the summer months) and top them with some protein like white meat chicken. I use salad dressing but choose the low fat varieties. I also often eat leftovers from the evening meal for lunch and add an apple or granola bar. I prefer delicious apples since they help to reduce symptoms of acid reflux. I sometimes fall prey to the convenience of frozen meals for lunch, but I purchase the lean varieties.

Dinner consists of vegetables (generally two), a meat or fish in moderate portion (chicken, lean beef, salmon, haddock for example) and a side dish of rice, sweet or baked potato, pasta,couscous or barley. I also eat a container of a pro-biotic yogurt daily to add calcium and digestive enzymes to my diet.  Breads add fiber and the whole wheat, rye and pumpernickel varieties are my favorites.

Adding interest to foods doesn't have to mean adding calories. Butter and other rich food enhancers that are used to top foods can transform a healthy dish into a prescription for caloric disaster. However, there are many ways to dress up foods without adding unwanted calories. Some examples include lemon juice, onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme just to name a few.

As previously mentioned, my beverage of choice is water and herbal or green tea. I also purchase herbal flavored water which is flavorful and contains no calories or artificial sweeteners. Sparkling water is also a fun no cal drink.

I do snack during the day if I am hungry. I keep some snack foods in my desk at work such as granola bars, oat pretzels with flax seed, dried mango, and whole wheat crackers. Just after dinner I occasionally eat a small portion of frozen yogurt. I try not to eat anything after 7:00 p.m. and I don't drink after 8:00 p.m. Sleep experts say that eating and drinking after 8:00 pm can affect your sleep. I find this to be true.


It's Really Easier Than You Think

I realize that my tips may seem simplistic, but they work for me. I never feel that I am depriving myself of food since I eat whatever healthy food I am  hungry for.  I realize that I could easily fall prey to the trap of eating sweets and fattening over processed foods. I find that if I do indulge (which does happen on occasion) I begin to crave sweets, wanting more and more so, I stop. I suppose that is the key - knowing when to stop. Also, exercise has always been an integral part of my success. I have stopped exercising during periods of laziness but I always return to it because it provides the balance I need to keep my weight in check. It also helps me to control stress which can easily lead to over-eating if left unchecked.

Summing Things UP

Happy, healthy eating wishes to all.  What works fo me may or may not work for someone else.  May your road to health and happiness be filled with good nutritious foods and family and friends to share in the joy of healthy eating and living. 


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    • soozeqsh profile image

      soozeqsh 7 years ago from Boyertown, PA

      sligobay - way to go!

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 7 years ago from east of the equator

      I got on a bicycle for the first time in years yesterday. Thank you.

    • soozeqsh profile image

      soozeqsh 7 years ago from Boyertown, PA

      sligobay - Yes, I believe that weight is connected to your state of mind or thinking. It's about the habits we form, not fad diets. Thanks for your support.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 7 years ago from east of the equator

      Thank you for the sound advice and tips. My weight is high and my exercise level is low. Change your mind and you can change your weight. The mind thing is the toughest part. Good article. Keep writing!