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Changing Your Diet Without Dieting

The holidays are filled with lots of good food, which usually translates to a few extra pounds on the scale.  Watching what you eat the rest of the time can really limit the amount of winter weight gain, even if you gorge yourself on those big holiday meals.

Going on a diet isn't easy, it takes a lot more mental capacity than most of us have to spare.  So instead of changing your eating completely, pick one or more of the following small suggestions:

  • Watch what you drink!  Don't send me hate mail for this, but you can cut out hundreds of calories just by changing what you drink.  I'm not just talking soda here, I mean lemonades, most juices, shakes, even fitness drinks (unless you're training for a major athletic event you probably don't need them).  By limiting your drinks to water, milk, or other low calorie low sugar beverages you can prevent weight gain, or even lose weight.
  • Eat out less.  Cut back on how often you eat out, try for at least 50%. When you do eat out order the senior or child portion sizes, go for a sandwhich shop, or if you absolutely need a hamburger, skip the large chains and go for a local Mom and Pop establishment (chances are they use fewer preservatives and your food will be fresher).
  • Switch meats!  By switching from ground beef to ground turkey breast (the healthiest of the meats that are available ground) you can eliminate a lot of fat.  When used in a heavily spiced or sauced recipe you probably won't even notice a difference.  If you are prone to iron deficiencies make sure you are still getting plenty of iron in other foods.
  • Eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup!  (HFCS, also known as High Fructose Corn Sugar, it's the same thing)  This one sounds scary, but it's not as bad as you think.  Watch for it in tomato products, salad dressings and breads.  You might have to switch brands on a few products, but you can still get most of the foods you are comfortable with without HFCS.
Though none of these alone will result in drastic weight loss like a regular diet would, it can pave the road to a healthier lifestyle.  Even small changes can make a difference.  If your weight doesn't change, you may still see an improvement in your hair, skin and nails.  

Though I personally do all these rules, I am not super strict about it.  For example when I shop I don't buy anything with HFCS, however, when I eat somewhere else I still eat what they're serving.
Make healthy choices once, at the grocery store, not every time you open your cupboard!

Amy N. loves to run, play the piano and talk, a lot.  With a cycling husband and two active boys she is always on the go. You can read about their adventures here.

*Photo courtesy of Stephanie Oram.  Used with permission. Click here for the recipe shown above.  It's one of my favorites. 

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