If you have a hard time changing how you eat, try incorporating these strategies that make dieting easier.
We’re with you: Dieting feels like no picnic. But here’s a little secret—It’s not nearly as hard as most of us think. A fairly easy diet does actually exist. “A lot of women believe they need to change everything, but in reality small tweaks to your diet can make a huge difference,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and the author of The Flexitarian Diet.
We’ve got 20 absolutely painless and easy diet fixes, culled from the latest research and the country’s leading weight-loss experts, to make dropping those pounds as simple as 1, 2, 3, and beyond. Study up, then stock up on our easy diet shopping list to make this new meal plan strategy a cinch.
1. Give Up Soda
Every diet soft drink consumed each day could increase your risk of being overweight by 65 percent, according to a study presented at the American Dietetic Association. Other research suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually stimulate appetite, causing you to overeat. Instead, sip plain or sparkling water with lemon added for flavor.
2. Eat Every Few Hours
Women who eat erratically consume more calories and burn them less quickly than those who have six regular small meals each day, research has found. The easy diet solution: Don’t go more than three or four hours without eating something.
3. Drink More Tea
Green tea not only has about half the caffeine of coffee but also contains catechins, which may boost your metabolism. An Iranian study found that people who drank four cups daily for two months lost significantly more weight and inches across their midsections (and scored a lower blood pressure and BMI) than those who drank two cups daily—or no green tea. If you find green tea too bitter, consider one of the new green teas flavored with fruit essences. Most have no calories and just the right amount of sweetness, Blatner says.
4. Pack in the Protein
A University of Washington study found that doubling up on protein could help you eat less without feeling hungry. “Protein may make your brain more sensitive to leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full,” says study author Scott Weigle, M.D., a professor of endocrinology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. As you focus on these easy diet adjustments, make sure at least a third of each meal and snack is a source of lean protein (and check out what eating the *right* amount of protein each day looks like).
This easy diet tip might even save you time when you’re grocery shopping: Stick to the perimeter of the store. The center aisles of your local supermarket are loaded with highly processed, sugary, and fatty foods. “The first couple of outer aisles is where you’ll find all the fresh produce, dairy, and seafood,” explains Oz Garcia, Ph.D., a nutritionist in New York City and the author of Look and Feel Fabulous Forever.