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So this year, you want to lose weight for good, but you're tired of the dieting merry-go-round. Maybe its time for a lifestyle overhaul.

What not to do

  • Don’t go on the temporary diets you read about in magazines and popular books, because they don’t work over the long term. Instead, change how you buy, prepare, eat, and think about food.
  • Don’t consume sugary drinks and alcohol. Your body cannot easily gauge liquid calories. Instead, swap them for water.
  • Don’t snack. Many people have six to nine snacks throughout the day— and the calories add up! Packaged snacks are especially dangerous. If you get hungry between meals, munch on a piece of fresh fruit. You have to consume eight apples in order to get the calories in one blueberry muffin!
  • Avoid fast food at all costs. It isn’t just calories that count; the quality of the food you eat influences the hormones that regulate weight.
  • Don’t compromise your sleep by staying up late to watch TV or read. Sleep deprivation is closely linked with obesity.
  • Don’t eat late. Several studies have shown that consuming your calories earlier in the day is one of the keys to healthy weight control. A large study of men also showed that people who eat late in the evening may be unknowingly increasing their risk of heart attack and stroke by 55 percent!

What you should do

  • Plan your meals in advance a week at a time. Make them as plant based as possible.
  • If you’re busy through the week, prepare two or three meals on the weekend and freeze them for when you won’t be able to cook during the week.
  • Drink water continuously between your main meals.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Set a realistic goal so you don’t set yourself up to fail. Studies have shown that significant health benefits are possible with even a 5 to 10 percent loss of your starting weight.
  • Make movement a natural and regular part of your life. If you go to the gym three times a week but remain sitting the rest of the time, you’re still leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Nutritionist Sue Radd is the award-winning author of The Breakfast Book and coauthor of Eat to Live, internationally acclaimed for showing how savvy eating can combat cancer and heart disease and improve wellbeing. See for more nutrition information

Food Matters: Dieting Dos and Don'ts

by Sue Radd
From the February 2014 Signs