The Best Diet is a Lifestyle Change

Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Help You Lose Weight

Tenafly, New Jersey US
Cultura/yellowdog/Riser/Getty Images

The best diet for you is the one that you can follow for the rest of your life. Most diets can get you to your goal if you do exactly what they say, but once the weight is lost and you start to eat the way you used to, the weight can come back on with lightening speed.

The best diet may be no diet at all, but rather a lifestyle change. If you make positive changes that you can live with, then the weight will come off and stay off.

The first thing to do is to look at what you're doing now. If it's easier for you to see where you're going wrong by writing down what you eat for the next week, then do that. Write down everything, even those little nibbles and tastes that are hardly a blip on your radar. Seeing it all on paper can be very illuminating.

When you become familiar with the foods you choose to eat every day, it's easy to start to substitute healthier alternatives and make better choices. Let's take a look at some common lifestyle choices that could use an overhaul.

Got a soda habit?

Drink a lot of soda or high fructose fruit juices? Substitute water and herbal teas instead. Studies show that just this one substitution can help you drop 20 pounds in a year.

Eating a lot of snacks that come in cellophane bags?

Substitute fruit and vegetables for your snacks.

Need a crunch? Make popcorn*, but hold the butter.

Spending a lot of time talking into clown heads at the drive-thru fast food joint?

Avoid anything that you can get through a drive-thru window. Bring your lunch instead. Home cooking almost automatically guarantees a meal that's lower in fat and calories than anything you could get through a window.

Never finish a meal without grease on your hands?

Deep-fried foods are loaded with calories and fat. Sauté, broil, grill, or pan-fry in a little olive oil, instead.

Always load up on sauces?

Hold the mayo and anything else that's creamy. If you're ordering sandwiches with special sauce, mayonnaise, or anything else that's gloppy and drippy, then you're eating a lot more calories and fat grams than you think you are. Some sauces can add more than 20 grams of fat, and hundreds of calories to your lunch. (That grilled chicken sandwich suddenly doesn't sound so healthy, does it?) Mustard is a good alternative. It's flavorful, and has virtually no calories or fat.

The best diet for 2009 is the one you will stick with for the rest of your life. Take a look at what you're doing, and make changes you can live with.

*Watch out for carbs like popcorn to see how they affect your blood sugar. Test 1 to 2 hours after a high-carb snack to see what your blood glucose is. If it's high, then look for snack alternatives that don't spike your blood sugar.

Continue Reading