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The 10 Best Dieting Tips!

Updated on May 18, 2007
1. Be aware of what you drink!

It's amazing how many extra calories are in the sodas, juices, and other drinks. Cutting out soda completely can save you 360 calories or more each day. AVOID diet soda too, the artificial sweeteners are probably not good very good for you & they tend to make some people hungry. Drink a lot of water. Switching from whole to nonfat or low fat milk is also a good idea, or switching to soy milk is even a better idea.

2. Move your body!

You may find that you don't need to give up calories as much as you need to get off your behind. And don't get stuck in the rut of thinking you have to play a team sport or take an aerobics class - try a variety of activities from hiking to cycling to rowing until you find ones you like. Not a jock, you say? Find other ways to fit activity into your day: walk to school, jog up and down the stairs a couple of times before your morning shower or take a stroll past your crush's house - anything that gets you moving. Your goal should be to work up to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week - but it's fine to start out by simply taking a few turns around the block before bed. This may also help you to avoid becoming a TV, video game, or Internet junkie!

3. Start small!

Drastic changes are much harder to stick with than small changes. Try reducing the size of the portions you eat and giving up regular soda for a week. Once you have that down, start gradually introducing healthier foods and exercise into your life.

4. Stop eating when you're full!

Lots of teens (and adults) eat when they're bored, lonely, or stressed or keep eating long after they're full out of habit. 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). Many teens find it's helpful to keep a diary of what they eat and when. Reviewing their diary later can help them identify the emotions they have when they overeat or whether they have unhealthy habits. A registered dietitian can give you pointers on how to do this.

5. Eat less more often!

Many people find that eating a couple of small snacks throughout the day helps them to make healthy choices at meals. Stick a couple of healthy snacks (carrot sticks, a low fat granola bar, pretzels, or a piece of fruit) in your backpack so that you can have one or two snacks during the day. Adding healthy snacks to your three squares and eating smaller portions when you sit down to dinner can help you to cut calories without feeling deprived.

6. Five a day keeps the pounds away.

Trash the junk food and buy lots of fruits and vegetables! Five or more servings of fruits and veggies aren't just a good idea to help you lose weight - they'll help keep your heart and the rest of your body healthy. Other suggestions for eating well: exchange white bread for whole-wheat; drink lots of water and make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. Don't skip breakfast. (Having low fat cereal and milk and a piece of fruit is a much better idea than inhaling a donut as you run to the bus stop or eating no breakfast at all!) A registered dietitian can give you lots of other snack and menu ideas.

7. Avoid fad or prepackaged diets.

If we were meant to eat from cans, they'd grow on trees. It's never a good idea to trade meals for shakes or to give up a food group in the hope that you'll lose weight - we all need a variety of foods to stay healthy. Teens, in particular, should stay away from fad diets because they're still growing and need to make sure they get proper nutrients. Avoid diet pills (even the over-the-counter or herbal variety) unless your doctor prescribes them! These can be very addictive!

8. Don't banish certain foods.

Don't tell yourself you'll "never" again eat your absolutely favorite peanut butter chocolate ice cream or a bag of chips from the vending machine at school. Making these foods forbidden is sure to make you want them even more. Besides, you need to have some fat in your diet to stay healthy, so giving up all fatty foods all the time isn't a good idea anyway. The key to long-term success is making healthy choices most of the time. If you want a piece of cake at a party, go for it! But munch on the carrots rather than the chips to balance it out later in the evening.

9. Forgive yourself.

So you were going to have one cracker with spray cheese on it and the next thing you know the can's pumping air and the box is empty? Drink some water, brush your teeth, and move on. Everyone who's ever tried to lose weight has found it challenging. When you slip up, the best idea is to get right back on track and don't look back. Avoid telling yourself that you'll get back on track tomorrow or next week or after New Year's.

10. Start now!

There is no better time than now to get started, stop putting it off!!!

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