You’ve been dieting for a while now, and you’re horrified to admit that you’re getting bored, tempted to quit, and you haven’t lost an ounce in what feels like forever. Ah, you’ve hit a plateau! But no worries, my dear. It’s not permanent, and as long as you work out a few ways to amp up your diet, you’ll be back on track, losing pounds and inches, in no time. Here are 19 simple ways to amp up a diet… your diet!
1. Skip the Soda
Whether you’re drinking diet or regular soda, you need to ditch it as one of the best ways to amp up your diet. Why? If you’re drinking regular soda, you need to know every tiny serving is loaded with empty calories and calcium-leaching chemicals. If you’re drinking diet soda, there’s a recent study by the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio that just proved something shocking. Yes, diet soda is zero-calorie, but people who drink diet soda actually GAIN more weight than people who don’t. And not just a little weight — the average weight gain is 43% more than people who are dieting that cut soda out altogether. Wow!
2. Boycott Fast Food
Did you know that one fast food value meal, with a cheeseburger, medium fries, and a medium soda has almost as many calories as you’re supposed to eat in an entire day? And most of those calories are from fat… yuck! One of the best ways to amp up your diet is to boycott fast food, and cook at home instead.
3. Cut the Condiments
Can’t give up your tasty burger? At least but out the condiments, then, like cheese, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Just eliminating these little condiments will cut out quite a few calories, most from sugar and fat.
4. Switch to Five Meals a Day
Another simple way to amp up a diet is to kick up your metabolism by switching from eating three large meals a day to five small meals a day. These small meals will keep your metabolism kicking all day long, and the constant supply of healthy food ill keep you from feeling famished.
5. Swap for Whole Grains
White bread is tasteless, flimsy, and loaded with chemicals, and ditching the nasty stuff is actually another way to amp up a diet. Give up Wonder Bread and make your peanut butter sandwiches on whole grain bread, which contains fiber (to keep you feeling fuller, longer) and antioxidants (to help with healthy cell regeneration). Hooray for whole grains!
6. Swap the Dairy
We women need calcium, and dairy’s got it… but it’s also got a lot of fat. What’s a girl to do? Switch from whole-fat dairy to low-fat or skim dairy. A fantastically tasty low-fat dairy option is Greek yoghurt, which contains a lot of protein and calcium, and very little fat. Be sure to switch your cheese and milk, too!
A good body cleanse is another way to amp up your diet, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are lots of great books, websites, and even apps that can help you along, detoxifying your digestive system and helping you shed pounds (and poisons).
8. Add Exercise
If you’re not already using regular exercise to make you fit and gorgeous, this is another way to amp up your diet. You ought to be getting 40 minutes of strenuous exercise four days a week. What’s considered “strenuous,” you ask? Something that gets your heart thumping and your brow sweaty. It can be weights at the gym, jogging, the elliptical, a yoga class, Zumba… anything!
9. Try Something New
If you’ve already been exercising, maybe it’s time to amp up your diet by trying something new and exciting. I highly recommend yoga, or Pilates, or Zumba, or, if you’re truly daring, the P90X workout DVDs. I firmly believe that Tony Horton (the irrepressibly cheerful narrator of the series) is trying to kill me. If I don’t die, I’ll be fitter than I’ve ever been.
10. Go Vegetarian
You don’t have to give up meat for good, but another way to amp up your diet is to go vegetarian a few times a week. Check out a new vegetarian cookbook from the library, or ask a vegetarian friend for a favorite recipe… and get to cooking! You’ll quickly see that the veggie way of dining menas far less fat and far fewer calories.
11. Count Your Drinks, Too
This is especially true during the fall and winter, when Starbucks and Caribou Coffee beckon. Pumpkin Spice Latte? Chocolate Chip Mint Cocoa? With whipped cream? Yes please! If you’re dieting, though, you have to make sure to count these calories too, which, amazingly, can add up to the number of calories in a hamburger! Maybe a plain skim latte is a better idea…
12. Add More Water
Most of us ought to be drinking about 64 ounces of water each day, but how many of us actually do it? Not enough. Another way to amp up your diet, then, is to drink your 64 ounces, no less, every day. You’ll be amazed how much fuller and energetic you feel… just by drinking water!
13. Stop Weigh-ins… for Now…
If you’re truly at a plateau in your diet, this is the time to stop weighing yourself every day, or even every week. You’ll just get discouraged, so stay off the scale. Rest assured, you’re not losing pounds because you’re building lean, sexy muscle, which weighs more than unsightly muffin top. You’ll start losing again soon… until then, keep up the good work!
14. Start Running
If you’re healthy enough for it, running is marvelous exercise, and adding a few days of running per week is another marvelous way to amp up a diet. You’ll burn calories, tone your legs and core, and get great cardio exercise all at the same time. You might even meet a fellow running hottie!
15. Go Shopping!
It’s totally okay to tighten your belt as you go from a size 14 to a size 12, but now that you’re in a size 10, it’s not working anymore. It’s time to amp up your diet by rewarding yourself with a pair of jeans that FIT! If jeans aren’t your thing, maybe a new oxblood red lipstick, or a new pair of boots, is in order.
16. Schedule a Special Event
Once you’ve successfully amped up your diet, it won’t be long before you’re losing pounds and inches again. Why not motivate yourself more with another reward, a special event? Schedule a girl’s night in six or eight weeks, and buy a hot red dress one size too small. Make a date with your sweetheart in two month’s time, and make sure you’re sizzling by then. You will be!
17. Get out the Tape Measure
Remember when I said it’s time to stop weighing yourself? I’m still firm on that — stay away from the scale! But I do think it’s a good idea to break out the “before” measurements and use the tape measure to get some more current numbers. The scale may not be friendly right now, but the tape measure doesn’t lie.
18. Set a Specific Goal
Another way to amp up your diet is to get motivated — very motivated — by setting a specific goal. It doesn’t have to be a big goal. It can be something small, like to lose five pounds in the next five weeks. But make a specific goal, and work as hard as you can toward it.
19. Hire a Pro
If you’ve read this list and you’re still intimidated or uninspired, there’s another sure-fire way to amp up your diet: hire a pro. That’s right, a professional, a personal trainer and/or a nutritionist. These professionals will be able to get you back on track, and stay there. This is their livelihood, and they’re knowledgeable and efficient. If you can afford it, hiring a pro might be the best money you’ve spent all year.
Amping up your diet can be simple (staying off the scale? I can do that!), and maybe even fun (shopping trip!)… every one of these ways to amp up a diet has worked for me. Which of these tips do you think you’ll find helpful? Or do you have another idea to share? Please do!
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