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A Day in the Life of a Successful Dieter

Eating Well - January 21, 2015

A day in the life of a successful dieter.

I’m often asked for tips on boosting weight-loss success. While there’s no single answer that works for everyone, focusing on your diet and tuning up your exercise are two key elements for weight loss. Another? Having a plan. Start out the week by planning what healthy meals and exercise you can fit in during the upcoming days. There are also some things you can eat and do at certain times throughout the day to maximize your weight-loss success. Here’s a sample day in the life of a successful dieter:

8 a.m. Eat a Bowl of Oatmeal With Banana and Walnuts.

Science shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and that dieters are more successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—when they eat breakfast. But choosing the right breakfast can give an extra boost to your weight loss. Eating “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Here’s why: slow-release carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat.

10 a.m. Grab a Small Nonfat Latte and an Apple.

If having a snack between meals helps to tide you over, make your choices count. Snacks are a great place to fill nutritional gaps. Choose foods that provide calcium and fiber—two nutrients that people often skimp on. The latte and apple do the trick.

11 a.m. Take a Brisk 40-Minute Walk.

Although the recommendation is to get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who exercised an extra 10 minutes five days a week were more successful at warding off weight gain as they moved from their twenties and thirties into middle age.

1 p.m. Eat a Big Veggie Salad Topped With Grilled Chicken and a Slice of Whole-Grain Bread.

The formula for a get-skinny lunch that will power you through the afternoon (and banish the need for extra munching) is simple: vegetables, whole-grain bread and lean protein (like chicken, fish, tofu or beans). Why does it work? Making veggies the biggest portion of your lunch will give you a satisfying dose of fiber, the stay-full nutrient, while delivering healthy phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. The whole grains also add fiber and may help bust belly fat, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition. The lean protein helps keep you feeling full throughout the afternoon–gram for gram, protein will keep you feeling fuller longer compared to carbohydrates and fat.

4 p.m. Snack On Fresh-Cut Veggies With Hummus…Or Not.

Before having a mid-afternoon snack, take a minute to see if you’re really hungry. If not, forgo the extra calories and wait until dinner. If you are, follow the fiber-plus-protein combo for a snack that will really kick your hunger. Carrots and hummus are a classic combo.

6 p.m. Start Your Meal With a Soup or Salad.

Filling up on fiber- and water-rich foods first can help prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later. Research out of Penn State shows that eating a first-course salad can reduce overall calorie intake at a meal by up to 12 percent. And in a study in Appetite, people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup. Try these Soups and Salads to Help You Lose Weight. Whatever you choose for your main meal, try eating it off a smaller plate—it may help you to eat less while not feeling deprived.

8 p.m. Indulge in a Few Squares of Dark Chocolate.

Believe it or not, giving yourself little treats may be the secret to losing weight—for good. Aiming to be “too good” sets you up to fail. Chocolate is a good choice (if you like it!) because chocolate delivers extra health benefits—it contains antioxidants called flavanols that are good for your heart.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission


7 Comments so far
  1. Sandy Orr - January 26, 2015 at 10:49 am

    The above are all great hints, but the key for me was logging what I ate. There are a number of apps that you can use, and I only started losing weight (and keeping it off) when I tracked my calories along with my exercise.

  2. Mary Alice Roche - January 26, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I like finding I am already doinng a lot that you recommend. And it always bears improvement. I am not walking 40 minutes 5 days a week.

  3. Teresa Fazio - January 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Glad to see the advice that you should snack ONLY if you feel hungry. Too many “diets” REQUIRE snacks, which basically is telling people not to listen to their bodies for signals of true, biological hunger. Being hungry is nothing to be afraid of or to avoid; it’s how our ancestors (who were not fat!) knew when to eat. A healthy, non-diabetic person should not force themselves to snack.

  4. Catherine Hernandez - January 26, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I have learned that women have greater difficulty in metabolizing carbs and can undermine Weightloss. I do not eat any grains whether whole or not. Carrots are not a good vegetable to eat because of high sugar content. There are many things that women are told do that does not promote Weightloss but instead makes it more difficult.

  5. janice degraw - January 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Sandy Orr, what program do you use to track food you eat?

  6. Susan Lori - January 26, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    The advice is good. I also am following these suggestions. Still need to get more exercise in. It has been helpful for me also to write down everything I eat each day. But I do not count calories. And thank goodness you added dark chocolate. One piece of good dark chocolate is satisfying. I also have a desert on the weekend. We can do this!

  7. B G Kellam - January 30, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I am doing 40 minutes on treadmill.i start off my day with Quaker oatmeal and a slice of turkey bacon.before I go to the gym. Then after I go I have a egg white omelet with spinach(tomatoes,mushroom,red,green,orange,yellow peppers with cheese(reduced fat if I am at home..I love broccoli,cauliflower,spinach,tomatoes.i am normally have that everyday..and I love apples,kiwi,cuties,banana and. pears.i also have incorporate yogurt(yo plait lite Greek and walnuts or almonds every day. .my meats of choice is tuna,salmon,chicken,ground turkey.i like crystal lite. I like to start my day and end my day with a bottle of water.i find that when I eat a lots of fiber and fruit it keeps you from being Hungary. Now if I eat bread it is whole grain. I donot cook with or buy salt. I use olive oil. I like smoothies with spinach, any fruit I may have, any nuts I put yogurt (protein) and I like that (50-50 minute maid orange juice that I pour into the nutra bullet and I treat that as a meal. But my problem is my belly . So I need to incorporate strength training

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