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    The Alkaline Diet: Can This Unusual Viral Method Seriously Help You Shed Kilos?

    By dietician Karen Ansel

    The Alkaline Diet, or so-called pee strip diet, is having a moment. According to the New York Post, celebs like Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston are fans of the plan, which requires you to monitor your pH levels by peeing on a strip of paper that tests your urine. Fun right? It’s also doing the rounds on TikTok, with advocates touting its many health benefits, from weight loss to more energy.

    The Alkaline Diet theory

    Certain foods (and not always obviously acidic ones like lemons and tomatoes) are said to produce acidic by-products when digested. These can throw off your pH balance and lead to weight gain, according to fans of the diet. There’s also the theory that these foods produce mucous in the body, which fuels disease by allowing them to thrive.

    Proponents of the diet say you should swap acid-forming eats like meat, eggs, dairy, processed foods and most grains. Instead, opt for high-alkaline fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds to correct your body’s pH and magically torch fat.

    In order to create an alkaline environment, you’d need to cut out acid-forming foods and introduce alkaline foods. In order to make sure your body is in an alkaline level, you’d need to pee on a strip to test.

    But does it work?

    While it’s a no-brainer that switching from fatty meats and processed carbs to a low-kilojoule produce-and-legume regimen will help you drop kilos, there’s zero evidence that your body’s pH has anything to do with it – or even that a certain diet can affect pH at all.

    “If our diets were able to drive the pH of our blood outside of the body’s normal range, people with lousy diets would be falling into comas and dropping dead left and right,” says nutritionist Tamara Duker Freuman, a registered dietician. Alkaline diets can be nutritionally sound but often lack many of the nutrients that vegan diets do. That’s not to say the alkaline diet hasn’t been praised by vegans on TikTok, since the diet focuses on raw foods, like cucumber noodles.

    Plus, while your pH in urine can be influenced by food, your blood should stay in a normal pH range, which is already slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36–7.44. Your stomach, on the other hand, should be acidic, which is key for digesting food. It could be fatal if your blood’s pH goes out of balance. This happens when you drink too much alcohol, are diabetic or during starvation.

    The Conclusion

    While the alkaline diet encourages you to focus on whole foods, leading to a healthier body overall, studies can’t guarantee specific health benefits. Any weight loss would result from cutting out whole food groups, leading to a calorie deficit. Since the science isn’t up to scratch, you’re better off focusing on whole, healthy foods, rather than trying to alkalise your body.

    This article was originally published on  More

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    11 Reasons You Just Can’t Lose Weight, No Matter What You Try

    So you’re eating well and working out but that number on the scale still won’t budge. If you can’t lose weight, know this: a caloric deficit is the only way the number on the scale can drop. But sneaky lifestyle habits could be what’s getting between yourself and creating fewer calories in than calories out. We’ve rounded up a few of the ways you could be sabotaging your weight loss without knowing it.

    1. You eat with your hands

    A new study suggests that people who use tongs to serve themselves food actually eat about 30 per cent less of it. Even if you’re eating with cutlery, you may be eating too quickly for your body to slowly register satiety. Try eating with chopsticks – experts say it slows down your eating, allowing you to register fullness faster – before you wolf down all those noodles.

    2. You’re drinking too much

    Most people overlook liquid kilojoules entirely, says Felicia Stoler, registered dietician and author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes. So don’t expect to notice when a seemingly single-sized juice can or bottle actually contains two or three servings – and two to three times more kilojoules. Your best bet: Replace juice with water, and eat your kilojoules instead of drinking them, she says.

    3. You eat fruity yoghurt

    Most fruit-flavoured yoghurts – and plenty of other healthy-sounding foods – are sweetened with fructose. But unlike other sweeteners, this one doesn’t tell your brain you’re full, according to a new study. The result: You end up eating way more kilojoules than your body actually needs.

    4. You hit up happy hour – A LOT

    People don’t realise just how many kilojoules they drink, says Stoler. What’s more, the alcohol in your cocktail can reduce your inhibitions, so you hit the happy hour menu (hello, nachos!) even harder. To imbibe without overdoing it, switch to water after drinking one or two of them.

    5. You’re overdoing it at breakfast

    While the standard serving size for cereal is about two-thirds of a cup, breakfast bowls can hold much, much more. So when you fill yours to the brim with cereal and top it off with milk, you could be eating twice as many kilojoules as you think – or more, leading you to think you’re being conscious even though you feel you can’t lose weight.

    6. You treat yourself a little TOO often

    When you indulge in sweet or fatty foods like ice cream regularly, you end up craving larger portions to feel satisfied, says Stoler. Need a sweet treat every day? A new study published in the journal Food Quality and Preference found that a few bites really will satisfy you just as much as a larger serving.

    7. You’re guzzling fizzy drinks

    Drinking kilojoule-free sweeteners is like dumping water in your gas tank instead of petrol, says Stoler. (For non-mechanics: It fills you up, but doesn’t keep your motor running.) When hunger strikes, drink water instead, and fill up on wholesome foods to drive off hunger pangs later.

    8. You’re depriving yourself

    Often when we think we can’t lose weight, we tend to cut out whole food groups (like carbs or fat, for instance). When you do that, you set yourself up to binge eat them the next time you let yourself splurge. So instead of crossing them off your grocery list, entirely, learn how to manage your cravings.

    9. You order the “regular” size

    Think you’re in the clear because you downsized your large order of chips? Turns out, people actually consume more kilojoules when they order regular-sized menu items than when they order portions advertised as “double-sized”, according to a new study.

    10. You’re staying up too late

    People who hit the sack on the late side tend to eat more high-fat and high-kilojoule foods than those who tuck in earlier, according to a recent study. No wonder they also gain more weight.

    11. You think working out gives you a “pass”

    Exercising can make you want to eat more – but that doesn’t mean you should, says Stoler. And it doesn’t help that most people grossly overestimate the number of kilojoules they torch at the gym. The good news: picking up the pace might actually decrease food cravings, according to a new study. More

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    So… What Is The Keto Diet Exactly?

    The second my never-tried-a-diet-in-his-life friend said he was doing keto (as mine recently did), I knew the eating plan had surpassed trend status.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that, if said not-into-wellness-at-all friend has heard of (and is trying!) the keto diet, you most certainly have. Still, you may be a little hazy on the details. Well, no more!

    Short for “ketogenic diet,” this eating plan is all about minimizing your carbs and upping your fats to get your body to use fat as a form of energy, says Scott Keatley, registered dietician, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. While everyone’s body and needs are slightly different, that typically translates to: 60-75% of your kilojoules from fat, 15-30% of your kilojoules from protein, and 5-10% of your kilojoules from carbs.

    After about two to seven days of following this eating routine, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn’t have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. Then it starts making ketones, or organic compounds that your bod then uses in place of those missing carbs—and oh, it also burns fat for more energy, says Beth Warren, registered dietician, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food.

    READ MORE: ‘Keto Crotch’ Might Be A Surprising Side Effect Of A Low-Carb Diet

    Why Did The Keto Diet Become So Trendy For Weight Loss?

    Believe it or not, keto was designed to help people who suffer from seizure disorders—not to help people lose weight. That’s because both ketones and another chemical produced by the diet, called decanoic acid, may help minimise seizures.
    Jessica Cording, New York-based registered dietician

    But people who started following the keto diet noticed weight loss for a few reasons: When you eat carbs, your body retains fluid in order to store carbs for energy (you know, in case it needs it). But when you’re not having much in the carb department, you lose this water weight, says Warren. Also, it’s easy to go overboard on carbohydrates—but if you’re loading up on fat, it may help curb cravings since it keeps you satisfied.

    That, plus the fact that ketosis encourages your body to burn fat, means you can end up with pretty dramatic weight loss.

    “The keto diet took off because its ‘rules’ make sense to most people,” Keatley says. “Almost all of us want to lose some fat from somewhere on our body, and this diet focuses on fat as fuel.”

    Celebs who’ve done the keto diet didn’t exactly hurt its rep, either. (We’re looking at you, Vanessa Hudgens, Halle Berry and Kim Kardashian.)

    What Can You Expect On The Keto Diet?

    It usually takes three to four days for your body to go into ketosis because you have to use up your body’s stores of glucose, i.e., sugar first, Keatley says. Any major diet change can give you some, uh, issues, and Keatley says he often sees patients who complain of IBS-like symptoms and feel wiped out at the beginning of the diet. (The tiredness happens because you have less access to carbs, which give you quick energy, he explains.)

    Those issues are part of what’s known as the “keto flu,” Warren says. Other side effects of the keto diet, all of which are tied to carb withdrawal, can include lightheadedness, nausea, mental fog, cramps, and headaches, in addition to diarrhoea and tiredness. Luckily, the keto flu doesn’t usually last more than a week—which is coincidentally about when people start to see the number on the scale go down, says Warren.

    Some people on the keto diet also experience ‘keto crotch‘, a strange-smelling odour down there as a result of the diet.

    READ MORE: Is When You Eat More Important Than What You Eat?

    Okay, But Will It Actually Help *You* Lose Weight?

    Probably, and there are a few reasons why, Keatley says. For starters, people usually reduce their daily kilojoule intake to about 6,276 kilojoules a day because healthy fats and lean proteins make you feel fuller sooner—and for a longer period of time. And then there’s the fact that it takes more energy to process and burn fat and protein than carbs, so you’re burning slightly more kilojoules than you did before. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.

    Everyone is different, and how much you weigh when you start the diet matters, but you could safely lose around half to one kilogram a week on keto, Keatley says. “It’s sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the individual’s caloric needs,” he adds.

    Worth noting: The keto diet isn’t a “miracle fat burner,” says Keatley. “The kilojoules in the fat must are still kilojoules, so working out and keeping total intake at a reasonable level is the only way it works,” he says. “Being on a keto diet but eating more kilojoules than you need will still add fat to your frame.”

    Who Does It Work Best For?

    Cording says the keto diet is really ideal for people who suffer from seizure disorders. If that’s not you, she doesn’t recommend it as a long-term approach because it’s so hard to stick with.

    That said, a keto diet will work for someone who really loves meat and heart-healthy oils like olive oil and safflower oil, Keatley says. However, he and Warren also stress that it’s not easy—or necessarily healthy—to follow over time (certain types of carbs are good for you!).

    If you’re interested in following keto for a short period of time, Cording says it’s important to set yourself up for success by making sure you have the right ingredients and tools to make it happen.

    Although if you just love carbs way too much to entertain the idea of doing the keto diet, well, that makes two of us.

    This article was published on More

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    Fibre For Weight Loss: How Much Should You Eat? What Nutritionists Recommend

    If the phrase “fibre in your diet” calls to mind images of your mom popping Metamucil tablets, we don’t blame you — fibre is basically the Golden Girls of the nutrient world. However, it’s also essential for weight loss.

    Fibre is about as close to a magic weight loss ingredient as you can get, says Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t getting enough of it, she says. Here’s everything to know about fibre intake for weight loss.

    How much fibre should you eat per day?

    The average woman should be getting 25 grams of fibre per day, according to the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines. That’s the amount in seven apples, or 12 cups of broccoli, or seven and a half cups of oatmeal. But we’re going to take a wild guess that you’re not eating that many apples.

    How does fibre help you lose weight?

    Getting an adequate amount of that nutrient through whole foods (not fibre supplements, more on that later) keeps you fuller longer because fibre digests much slower than simple carbs. And the more full and satisfied you feel after eating healthy, fibre-filled foods, the less tempting those cookies in the break room will be after lunch, explains Gans.

    READ MORE: Finally, A Medical Aid Is Offering DNA Tests To All Members

    Another bonus that comes with packing fibre into your diet is that healthy, weight-loss-friendly foods, like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, are already full of the stuff, says Gans. So by aiming to meet your fibre quota, rather than counting calories, you’ll likely end up making better food choices overall, she says.

    What are the other health benefits of eating enough fibre?

    Fibre is an essential nutrient for health, says Katie Hake, a nutritionist at Indiana University Health. “Fibre can help to reduce cholesterol, which helps prevent heart disease. It can also help control blood sugar by slowing down the breakdown of food, particularly for those who live with diabetes,” she says.

    On top of that, this essential part of your diet keeps your digestive system trucking along, so you won’t be bloated or constipated. (*Insert poop emoji here.*) How exactly does fibre do that? It depends on the kind you’re consuming.

    There are three kinds of fibre: soluble, insoluble, and fermented. The first two aid digestion, but each type has a different role. “Soluble fibre, from oats, nuts, and seeds, acts as a broom to ‘sweep’ things along,” says Hake. Insoluble fibre, from things like cabbage, brown rice, and some dark leafy vegetables, on the other hand, promotes bowel movement by making your stool easier to pass. “[It’s] non-digestible and adds bulk to the stool, which can aid in moving things along,” says Hake.

    Then, there’s fermentable fibre, which you can get from foods like beans and garlic. “Fermentable” means the fibre holds an ability to promote growth of good bacteria in the gut, similar to probiotics, says Hake.

    How can I eat 25 grams of fibre a day?

    Since pounding six apples at the end of your day to meet your fibre goal isn’t appetizing, the best strategy is to spread your servings out across all your meals and snacks for the day, says Gans.

    “All of your meals should include at least eight grams of fibre,” she says. To hit the 25 grams per day goal, snack on a medium pear or half an avocado, which has about six grams of fibre each, says Gans.

    READ MORE: Tracey-Lee Lusty Opens Up About Her Bariatric Surgery And What Being Body Positive Means To Her Now

    To ramp up your fibre intake at each meal, start including oatmeal, which has four grams per cup, quinoa (five grams per cup), and barley (eight grams per 1/4 cup) into your menu. To up the ante even further, get friendly with fibre-filled mix-ins like chia seeds (10 grams per ounce), and chickpeas (about nine grams per 1/4 cup). Above all, remember that fibre is your friend.

    What foods are highest in fibre?

    If you need more ideas of high-fibre foods you can add to your daily diet, there are plenty of other options. Here’s a list of foods you can try, according to Hake.

    Lentils (7.8 g of fibre per half cup): “Lentils can be a great source of protein for lentil tacos, chilli, or stuffed in cooked peppers,” she says.

    High-fibre bran cereal (9.1 grams of fibre per half cup): “It’s an easy food to add to yoghurt or eat for breakfast to help keep you full for a busy day ahead,” Hake says.

    White beans (9.6 grams of fibre per half cup, cooked): Hake notes that white beans are easy to add to a soup or salad for an added fibre boost.

    Black beans (7.7 grams of fibre per half cup, cooked): “These make a great base for all kinds of meals and add additional fibre,” she says.

    Artichokes (7.2 grams of fibre per half cup, cooked): Try adding artichokes to a salad or on top of homemade pizza for a twist.

    READ MORE: Will Eating Less Really Help You Shrink Your Stomach?

    Can you eat too much fibre — and what happens if you do?

    It is possible to have too much fibre, especially if you’re incorporating supplements into your diet or if you consume in excess of the dietary guideline limit of 25 grams a day. If you’ve had too much, you’ll feel it. “Consuming an excess of the dietary guidelines can cause gas, bloating, discomfort, nausea, and even constipation,” says Hake.

    Again, the best way to avoid going overboard is to avoid fibre supplements. (Tip: It’s also better to get fibre from natural foods because it encourages you to eat more nutritious options, which you might not if you rely on supps — not ideal for weight loss.)

    If you’re just beginning to monitor and up your fibre intake, Hake suggests increasing gradually to allow your body time to adjust and minimize symptoms. Drinking plenty of water can also help reduce any likelihood of stomach aches from upping your daily fibre.

    The bottom line: Fibre is a crucial nutrient for weight loss, and the average woman needs 25 grams per day, which can be spread out across your meals and snacks.

    This article was originally published on More

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    What Exactly Is The OMAD Diet?

    What’s your favourite meal of the day? Maybe it’s breakfast when you can have a hearty plate of eggs and bacon, or dinner when you can finally have that salmon you’ve been thinking about all day.

    Now, imagine that’s the only meal you can eat each day. That’s the premise behind the OMAD diet, which stands for “one meal a day,” which is essentially a form of fasting.

    While fasting can be good for you (just ask Vanessa Hudgens or Jenna Jameson), some experts believe certain methods like the OMAD diet aren’t a healthy, sustainable solution for weight loss. Here’s what you need to know.

    What exactly is the OMAD diet?

    “Think of OMAD as intermittent fasting on steroids,” says Dena Champion, registered dietician of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “OMAD is literally when someone eats one meal daily during one hour of the day and then fasts the other 23 hours.” You are allowed to drink black coffee or other non-calorie drinks during that fasting time—but nothing else.

    On top of that, you’re instructed to eat that one meal during the same four-hour window every day, says Jen Oikarinen, a clinical dietitian with Banner University Medical Center Phoenix. “Consistency is emphasised in the OMAD diet,” she says. And while it is recommended that you make healthy food choices, it’s more about when you eat than what you eat, says Champion.

    READ MORE: Will Eating Less Really Help You Shrink Your Stomach?

    OMAD dieters are supposed to adhere to a set of rules known as the “4 ones,” says Oikarinen. So if you’re on the OMAD diet:

    You should only be eating one meal per day

    You can only eat within one hour of your four-hour eating window

    You must eat off an 11-inch (27cm) diameter plate

    Your meal shouldn’t be more than seven centimetres high on your plate (so…a mountain of french fries is definitely off-limits)

    Worth noting: While the OMAD diet is technically a fasting diet, it’s quite different from other intermittent fasting diets like the 16:8 diet, which instructs you to fast for 16 hours and eat three (or four!) meals during the remaining eight hours.

    READ MORE: This Vegetarian Recipe Makes The Perfect Movie Night Snack

    So, can the OMAD diet help me lose weight?

    Yes, but again, some experts say it’s neither healthy nor sustainable weight loss.

    OMAD is basically a starvation diet if you follow all the stipulations, says Rebecca Elbaum, a clinical administrative dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. That’s because you’re not consuming enough calories with just one meal as you would by eating three or four times a day, so weight loss will occur.

    Also, because you’re eating so little (and so sparingly), you’d also likely go into ketosis (the state during which your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs) from this diet—not because you’re upping your fat content and decreasing your carbs, but because you’re eating very little in general, says Elbaum.

    Aside from the weight loss, a fasting programme like OMAD can also result in mood swings, muscle loss, hormone disturbances, and even changes in your menstrual cycle (like having it stop completely), says Oikarinen. “Another major concern is the increased risk for nutrient deficiencies; decreased intake of food also means decreased intake of beneficial vitamins and minerals,” Oikarinen says.

    One study showed that compared with people who ate three meals a day, the risk of death increases by 30%, and goes up even more for cardiovascular-related deaths. And, skipping meals is closely related to having an unhealthy diet, a higher intake of alcohol and taking in less energy overall.

    READ MORE: Want To Manifest Your Goal? Don’t Make These Manifesting Mistakes

    Should I try the OMAD diet?

    While plenty of people sing the OMAD diet’s praises online, and some experts certainly endorse various forms of intermittent fasting, Elbaum believes not even healthy people should try the OMAD diet. And that goes doubly for anyone who’s pregnant, breastfeeding, recovering from past disordered eating, has diabetes, or even regularly exercises or lifts weights, she says.

    “Healthy weight loss will be whatever is the most sustainable over a lifetime,” she says. “This includes a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.”

    Interested in some type of fasting? A less intense form (like the 16:8 diet) might be your best bet. Even then, it’s wise to talk to a registered dietician about your options and how best to work an intermittent fasting diet into your lifestyle, says Oikarinen.

    The bottom line: Definitely steer clear of the OMAD diet—it won’t promote healthy or sustainable weight loss.

    This article was originally published on  More

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    Will Eating Less Really Help You Shrink Your Stomach?

    We’ve all heard that ‘old wives-tales’ about how cutting kilojoules will cause your appetite to reset. That eventually, your stomach will actually shrinks, so tinier portions will fill you up.

    READ MORE: Exactly How To Lose 2kg, 5kg Or 10kg, According To A Dietician

    Ok, yes, your stomach does shrink… temporarily

    If it sounds like a bit of a stretch, that’s because it kind of is, according to experts. Yes, your stomach does boast rubber band-like properties that allow it to change size. This elasticity makes it easier to get your feast on when presented with an epic spread, and it also helps us avoid starving in times of famine. (Something most modern humans don’t have to worry about. But back in our cave-people days, it was rather useful.)

    As for shrinking? Your stomach can quickly snap back to normal size after a huge meal. But, FYI, it’s not going to continue to get smaller—even if you start eating less.

    How the stomach really works

    Think about it, if eating less was all it took to shrink the size of your stomach, it would follow that normal-weight people have smaller food pouches than people who are overweight or obese. But it’s not true, according to findings published in the journal Gastroenterology. Everyone’s stomach is pretty much the same size, regardless of how much they weigh.

    READ MORE: 5 Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes When They Start New Year’s Resolution Diets

    If you’re still not convinced, consider this: Your body was designed to take in enough kilojoules to keep it going, even during times when there’s no food to be had. So you better believe that it’s not going to make your stomach smaller when you start rationing portions.

    Shrink your portions

    Let’s face it, most of us tend to feel hungrier when we slash our kilojoule intake (your body thinks it’s starving). Your system gets flooded with the hunger hormone ghrelin, making food even harder to resist. At the same time, your body temperature and metabolic rate slow down in an attempt to conserve precious energy.

    It’s the science-y way of basically saying: Drastically cutting your portions not only won’t shrink your stomach—it’ll probably backfire. And if you actually managed to drop weight, you’ll probably just regain it and then some.

    READ MORE: 6 Weight Loss Strategies That’ll Get You Closer To Your #BodyGoals

    Losing weight is not impossible, and research has found that your body can adjust to less food and register fullness from it, over time. But in order to do it (and be successful), you need to cut back on food slowly—so your body doesn’t suddenly freak out and think that it’s starving. That means instead of embarking on a crash diet, try cutting back by just 418 or 836 kilojoules a day. It’s enough to help you lose weight slowly and sustainably, but not so much that your body mistakenly thinks that you’re depriving it of nourishment. More

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    Exactly How To Lose 2kg, 5kg Or 10kg, According To A Dietician

    Whether you’re trying to lose 2kg, 5kg or 10kg, there are simple tips to follow that’ll shift your mindset and get you on the path to success.
    Enhance your weight-loss efforts by following these diet tips from dietician Leslie Bonci, the co-author of Run Your Butt Off!
    Losing 2kg
    Eat often. Eat small amounts every few hours. It can help your body burn kilojoules instead of holding on to them.
    Pick protein. Protein keeps you feeling full longer, burns kilojoules and helps your muscles recover. Include it at every meal.
    Beat bloat. Avoid excess salt, limit food like broccoli and beans and add lemon to your water (it acts as a natural diuretic).
    READ MORE: 6 Weight Loss Strategies That’ll Get You Closer To Your #BodyGoals

    Losing 5kg
    Scale back. Serve dinner on a salad plate and pour cereal into a mug rather than a bowl. Experts say you’ll think you’re eating more than you actually are.
    Slow down. Sip water and set your fork down after every few bites. There’s lag time between your stomach feeling full and your brain getting the message.
    Slurp your starters. Opt for a broth-based soup as your appetiser. It can curb cravings and also help prevent overeating during your meal.
    READ MORE: This 17-Day Slimdown Plan Will Help Get You Back In Shape

    Losing 10kg
    Take note. A study found that those who kept daily food logs lost twice as much as those who didn’t. Many people underestimate how much they eat – seeing it all in black-and white can be a reality check.
    Find balance. Experts say that people with a lot of kilos to lose get overwhelmed by counting kilojoules and give up. Keep it simple by divvying your plate into thirds: one-third protein, one-third veg and one-third whole-grains.
    Swap smart. Restricting food can increase your cravings and lead to off-the-wagon binges. Craving a biscuit? Have it, but swap it for your afternoon hot chocolate or pretzels.
    READ MORE: 28 Easy Food Swaps That’ll Help You Lose Weight More

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    5 Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes When They Start New Year’s Resolution Diets

    A New Year’s resolution diet comes but once a year, offering you a fresh start to get it right, get it tight, and finally reach your weight loss goals (if that’s what you’re working on). It also arrives right after you’ve inhaled your grandma’s famous (at least in your house) Christmas cake. Also, those Christmas cookies that your boss makes. Oh, and the latkes at your Chrismukkah party… and the list goes on.
    Needless to say, it’s understandable that you’re toying with the idea of starting a restrictive New Year’s Resolution Diet for the year – and until kingdom come.
    But we’re going to be real with you here, a super-restrictive New Year’s resolution diet can actually be a recipe for failure — no matter how much you ate over the holidays, says registered dietician Brooke Alpert. “Following a diet that cuts out food groups and allows for zero wiggle room puts you in a worse situation that you started in,” she says. Alpert says that yo-yo dieting will damage your metabolism, putting you on track to rebound binge and then start yo-yo-ing again. “That means you’ll get stuck in that vicious dieting cycle,” she says.
    That being said, if you want to lose weight, there’s no shame in cleaning up your diet in hopes of a healthier 2020. But to successfully transition from two weeks of cocktails to 30 days of kale smoothies, make sure you’re not making these mistakes:
    1. Eating foods you don’t actually like
    If you think you’re suddenly going to become a fan of Brussels sprouts because it’s January 2nd and you haven’t eaten anything green in the past three months weeks, you’re setting yourself up to fail. “One reason why diets don’t work is that they force people to eat things they don’t like,” says registered dietician Cassandra Suarez. “So if the kale smoothie isn’t working out for you, try sautéed kale, kale chips, or better yet, ditch the kale and try spinach, Swiss chard, or another vegetable.” Another key to eating healthy without hating life is to experiment with spices. “Don’t be afraid to try different seasonings or ways of cooking,” says Suarez. For example, pick up a Cajun spice blend or Chinese five-spice and sprinkle it on top of your veggies or chicken.
    READ MORE: “Here’s How I Got My Fitness Back After The Pandemic”
    2. Expecting immediate results
    The celebrating you did over the holidays is not going to be undone after a week — or even a month of getting your sh*t together (i.e. healthy eating). “The surest way to fall short of your goal or resolution is to make it unattainable,” says registered dietician Rene Ficek, lead nutrition expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. “For instance, resolving to never eat your favourite takeout food again or aiming to lose 5 kilos in one month will backfire,” says Ficek. That’s because not allowing yourself the foods you enjoy leads to eventually bingeing on them when you can’t take the torture anymore. And trying to lose too much weight too fast will certainly lead to disappointment and a rebound bag of Dorritos.
    The key is to set smaller goals that build up to your end goal, he says. That means you can try to avoid that takeout joint more often than you do now or aim to lose one to 500g to 1 kilo per week — until you eventually reach your goal, she says.
    3. Not making your meals ahead of time
    One of the reasons why we overeat around the holidays is that there’s an abundance of food out that’s easy to grab. When the celebrating is over, make it easy to stick to your New Year’s Resolution diet and choose healthy options by preparing healthy food ahead of time. That way you can get to it when you’re hungry, instead of making a game-time decision when you’re ravenous. “Meal preparation is key to eating a balanced diet,” says registered dietician Lily Chen. “Cut up vegetables and make extra servings of a meal for the week ahead. This way, you can quickly put together dinner on a busy week night.”
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    4. Not checking labels at the supermarket
    Being a bit more particular about the foods you buy at the store can help you get back on track after eating everything without question. Read the food labels on the ingredients you’re using to make a more informed decision about whether or not it belongs in your diet. Chen says it especially important to pay close attention to serving sizes. “A bottle of juice may actually contain two servings,” she says. That means it contains twice the sugar and calories as what’s listed on the label. And since you’re probably not in the habit of only drinking half of a juice, that could keep you from losing weight, says Chen. Other important factors to consider are the amount of fibre and protein in your meals. Shoot for eight grams of fibre and 20 grams of protein in every meal to stay full and satisfied.
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    5. Not having a backup plan
    Putting a plan in place to change your diet is great. But you’ve also got to plan for roadblocks, says Ficek. Take stress eating during a particularly annoying day, for example. If you know you’re tempted to make yourself feel better with the help of ice cream, find a backup plan, says Ficek. Maybe you decide to get a 20 minute massage at a spa, or blow off some steam in that yoga class. “Both would be welcome changes to a healthy new lifestyle, and you will feel much better in the long run.”
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