How to Have a Good Diet

Two Methods:What to DoWhat to Consume

No matter who you are, it's in your best interest to maintain a healthy diet and healthy weight. In today's society, it can be harder than it sounds. Use the following tips to start on a healthier path today.

Method 1
What to Do

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    Estimate your daily needed caloric intake. Depending on your age, weight, and activity level, you may need fewer or more calories for basic sustenance. Knowing how many calories you need can get you started on knowing how many calories to restrict.
    • Many resources can be found online or you can do the math yourself. As always, the best advice comes straight from a professional--your doctor can tell you just how many calories you need to eat for your weight goals.
    • If you limit yourself to 1,700 calories a day, don't forget to account for exercise. Though it may not burn as many calories as it seems it does, it does give you wiggle room for eating more. Note that this caloric restriction is only to get you on track--soon enough you won't be counting: good eating habits will be automatic.
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    Keep a food journal. Writing down everything you eat every day will bring to light your food habits and what food groups you may be missing out on. Don't forget to include drinks!
    • Part of what makes a food journal so useful is that it keeps you accountable and motivated. You'll be forced to take a look at what you're consuming which may be just the catalyst for change you needed. If your opinion of yourself isn't enough, have a friend be your guide. They'll go over your journal a few times a week to make sure you're on track. Knowing they'll be there to watch over you may keep you from straying off course.
      • As you keep this journal, note days where you made good trade-offs (a low-fat yogurt instead of those cookies) or particularly good decisions. What works for you? What doesn't? What patterns do you see emerging?
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    Reduce your portion sizes. If you enjoy sitting down to a big plate full of food, fill the gaps with a tasty salad or steamed vegetables instead, providing it does not affect your calorie control plan.
    • It's particularly hard to portion control at restaurants. While you certainly can order that basket of cheese fries and plate of fettuccine alfredo, eat only a serving size. For fruits, think of a tennis ball. For vegetables, a baseball. And carbs? A hockey puck.[1] WebMD offers a pretty great portion-sizing tool for a number of foods, including mixed dishes.[2] Whatever you order, box up the rest and take it home with you. It's softer on your budget, too!
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    Slow down. You have 20 minutes of chowing down before your brain realizes you're full. If you eat slowly, your calorie consumption is less when you stop. Eating leisurely literally keeps you from wanting more.[3]
    • Slowing down not only curbs your calorie intake, but it helps you appreciate your meal, giving you time to really concentrate on your sensory experience. Enjoy your food while you're eating it -- take efforts to savor each bite. You'll become more in tune with your satisfaction.
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    Keep motivated and practice positive thinking. A good diet isn't about concrete goals in this instance. This should be a lifelong change that becomes old habit after a few weeks. You don't want to spend your life counting calories and dreading the next weigh-in. Don't be daunted by this undertaking. Staying positive will last longer than any other motivator.
    • Find yourself non-food rewards. Reward yourself with a nice massage or bath instead of food or buy yourself some flowers for your home. Find ways to make exercise & dieting fun.

Method 2
What to Consume

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    Lose the junk. In general, processed food is higher in calories and higher in fat. Really, it's higher in just about everything. And it mops the floor when it comes to nitrates and toxins. So, in addition to it being bad for your waistline, it's pretty havoc-wreaking on your health.
    • And the truth is pretty gross. Refrigerated, not-from-concentrate citrus juices "languish in storage "tank farms" for months."[4] It's perfectly legal for companies to keep the FDA in the dark about new additives, and consequently there are some 1,000 ingredients the FDA has no knowledge of whatsoever, according to an estimate done by the Pew Research Center.[5] And, sadly enough, eating just a ham sandwich every day significantly raises the likelihood of obtaining heart disease because of the nitrates and other chemical preservatives in the meat.[6] If you're not convinced yet, nothing will do it.
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    Drink water, H2O, and whatever else you want to call it. Sodas, juices and all kinds of energy drinks often contain far more calories than you would need on low key exercise and thus can add to weight gain. Water, low sugar fruit drinks and teas are best. Avoid alcohol -- it just dehydrates you and adds calories you don't need. Drink two glasses of water before every meal to start feeling sated even before you sit down to eat.
    • You shouldn't drink water because it's the lesser of two evils: the benefits of water are astounding. It helps your muscles, clears your skin, reduces your appetite, works with your kidneys, and helps you poo.[7] Still not buying it? Drinking 17 ounces of cold water can up your metabolism 30% after just ten minutes.[8] In a completely separate study, participants who significantly upped their water intake lost just over 15 pounds in three months (they did watch their calories, too).[9] All in all, whatever you do, make carrying around a water bottle a habit.
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    Hoard the fruits and veggies. If you're not keen on the idea of drinking a ton of water, good alternative sources are fruits and vegetables. They're low-calorie dense foods that are made up of mostly water. And that comes in at a whopping 0 calories. But the best part? They're full of vitamins and nutrients, too.
    • Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health and lead to a slimmer waistline.[10]
    • If you're unsure how many fruits and veggies you should be piling on, use an online calculator.[11] As a general rule, everyone needs more.
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    Add on low-fat dairy and lean protein. A recent study showed that the more servings of dairy foods that adults consumed, the greater the percentage of their total calories that came from saturated fat (definitely not a good thing). And other studies have shown that a diet high in red meat leads to increased risk of heart disease and cancer. What's the answer? Go low-fat and lean.
    • Some dairy items have impressive levels of two things many of us need more of: calcium and protein. Low-fat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and reduced-fat cheese pack a protein and calcium punch in every serving. Just a cup of lite nonfat yogurt, for example, gives you a third of your daily recommended calcium intake, along with 17% of your estimated daily protein intake.[12]
    • Protein servings of meat, poultry, or fish, should be the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. But unlike animal protein, most plant-based proteins are "incomplete," meaning they lack some amino acid building blocks. By combining plant proteins, such as rice and beans or hummus on pita bread, they become "complete" with all the essential amino acids found in animal protein.[13]
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    Include the good carbs and fats. It's tempting to just cut out the "bad stuff" entirely--but carbs and fats aren't all that bad. In fact, we need fat to survive. They're super energizing, make our skin glow, and do come with certain vitamins.[14] And as for carbs, some are full of fiber. These are carbs that get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels and energizing us.
    • The unsaturated fats are the welcome ones. Switch to canola, walnut, and olive oils. Go for nuts, avocados, olives, and legumes.
    • Opt for complex carbs. Think brown, not white. Whole grains, oats, brown rice, and quinoa are all good options.


  • A healthy diet is a lifestyle and lifelong choice, not a month period. Improve your diet now to develop familiarity in reducing fat as that makes it easier in the future. In a year's time or less, you might not feel a high fat pizza is as attractive as its low fat, home made version.
  • See your doctor before you go about starting any extreme diet makeover.


  • Don't overwork yourself. Often we try to push ourselves harder to lose that weight now, but it is not healthy if you are not used to it.
  • Whatever you do, don't starve yourself.

Article Info

Categories: Maintaining Diets