15 Changes You Can Make to Your Diet Today

(Editor’s note: Rebecca Moonitz is a digital marketing specialist and a recent graduate of the University of Florida. She’s an avid hiker and loves being outdoors.)

Recently, the FDA passed a new regulation requiring some restaurants to advertise the number of calories in their menu items. In many ways, this clarity can be really helpful.

In other ways, it can be mortifying.

Milkshakes are my comfort food. As a teenager, I once thought I completely bombed a chemistry test. I had visions of my high school career and college prospects going down the drain. I was devastated (and a little dramatic).

When I relayed my utter failure and mounting despair to my mom, she immediately turned the car around and we landed in the Steak n Shake drive-thru. From then on, whenever I was feeling down, my mom and I would get two chocolate milkshakes with whipped cream, no cherries.

Recently, I found myself in need of a pick-me-up. As I stood in line to order my chocolate milkshake, no cherry, I noticed the calorie count listed next to it on the menu.

I was horrified. 630 calories in one milkshake!

Could I justify drinking this milkshake by vowing to exercise-off the calories? How many miles would I have to suffer through on the treadmill?

Weight loss and weight maintenance can be simplified down to calories in versus calories out. In reality, however, there’s nothing simple about that.

It’s difficult to know how many calories we actually consume in a day, how many we should consume, and how much of a role exercise can really play.

It turns out, research shows that what you eat has the biggest impact on your weight loss. If you’ve ever eaten a sweet and told yourself you’ll burn off those calories at the gym, consider how much exercise you’d really need to do:

Exercise vs. Diet: 15 Best Weight Loss Tips
As you can see, changing your diet can have a much larger impact on weight control than sweating it out on the stair climber.

If these calorie counts seem daunting, don’t be discouraged.

The journey to losing weight is a long one, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and painful. There are a number of small, simple steps that you can take today that will significantly lower your caloric intake and help you meet your health goals.

Wouldn’t Diet Pills be the Quickest Fix to Losing Weight?

The idea of a quick-fix to all weight loss problems contained in one little pill is appealing beyond all else.

I just said weight loss can be simple — what’s more simple than taking a pill?

Diet drugs have been on the market for decades, and some people can say they’ve found great success in taking them.

These drugs usually promote weight loss in one of three ways:

  1. By reducing your appetite
  2. By reducing your absorption of nutrients (so you take in fewer calories)
  3. By increasing fat burning

Sounds like the weight should just melt right off!

However, when you start to look into the risks of these drugs and their potential side effects, the moderate results may not be worth it.

For example, garcinia cambogia extract (as seen on Dr. Oz) has been shown to cause only modest weight loss — about 2 pounds on average over several weeks. Coupled with a side effect of mild digestive problems, the results may not even be noticeable.

Another example is Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA, a popular fat loss supplement. CLA is more effective for weight loss, but the side effects are also much more serious. It can cause digestive problems, as well as contribute to fatty liver, increased inflammation, and insulin resistance in the long-term.

Diet medication may initially seem like the way to go for an easy solution, but the dangerous side effects often outweigh the positive results.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other simple solutions out there. There are ways to change your diet naturally and achieve weight loss without serious side effects.

Dieting doesn’t have to be a huge, overnight lifestyle change, either. I’ve learned that making small changes one at a time is more sustainable, and therefore more likely to be successful, in the long-term.

Eating Snacks Can Help You Eat Less

Consuming fewer calories doesn’t necessarily mean eating less often. It’s actually quite the opposite — you can and you should eat all day long!

Consuming huge meals is a significant source of excess calories. Frequent snacking can help stave off hunger and prevent overeating at meals. If you choose healthy snacks on top of that, the benefit is compounded.

Here are four steps you can take to achieve successful snacking:

  1. Identify 3-4 healthy, satisfying snacks (ex: almonds, celery, Greek yogurt…more on good food choices here)
  2. Make a grocery list with your snacks on it
    • How many times have I returned from the grocery store with only half the things I needed? Too many times. If you’re committed to monitoring your diet, and you’ve already put in the effort of identifying your snacks, make sure to stay organized so that you don’t default to to old habits.
  3. Every morning, measure out the correct portion of each snack and store in plastic bags or Tupperware.
    • Remember, the goal is to not overeat. To do this you need to make sure you’re eating the correct portion of everything, even your snacks. Putting it in ready-to-go containers makes it easy to grab when you’re hungry throughout the day.
  4. Eat one of the snacks only when you’re hungry between meals throughout the day
    • Eating between meals will prevent that tummy-rumbling, starving feeling that causes you to devour everything in sight at the next meal. Without the distraction of hunger pangs, you can make smart choices about what you eat.

Make Snacking Easy with Ready-To-Go Fruits & Veggies

Now that you’re thinking of snack ideas, you should be considering fruits and vegetables. After all, it’s good to snack, but it’s better to snack healthy.

Every time I go to the grocery store I try to pick up a few vegetables and one or two kinds of fruit. How often do I end up throwing out extra produce that has gone bad? Every week. The only reason? Laziness.

I love snacking on fruits and veggies, but it’s so much easier to just grab some chips than to go through the process of washing and cutting fresh produce.

That’s why this tip is all about making it easy on yourself. You’re much more likely to pass over the cookies and grab some celery if it’s ready to be eaten right away.

If you can’t find packages of pre-cut, pre-washed fruits and veggies in your grocery store, or if you just prefer fresh produce, here are five steps that will make snacking healthy as easy as opening a bag of chips.

  1. Again, make a grocery list with 3-4 types of fruits and veggies on it — stay organized!
  2. At the beginning of each day, wash and cut a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables
  3. Place each serving in a container to keep it fresh
  4. Put the containers in an easily accessible location (e.g. the front of your fridge, in a lunchbox at your desk, etc.)
    • It’s all about making it easy on yourself. If the fruits and veggies are not only pre-cut and washed, but also in an easy-to-grab location, there’s no doubt you’ll make smart snacking choices.
  5. Eat throughout the day when you’re hungry between meals

Use Smaller Plates

This may seem silly and way too simple. But the thing is, portion distortion is rampant in our society, and simply changing your perspective of what you eat could make a big difference.

Portion distortion occurs as restaurants increase their portion sizes bigger and bigger, which leads us to believe that those sizes are normal. We begin to think that these portions, which are really enough for two people in some cases, are actually appropriate for one. In turn, our stomachs start to believe they should be getting that amount of food at every meal, so when we eat a portion that is actually appropriate, we are left feeling hungry and dissatisfied.

Along the same lines, when we eat a meal, completely filling up our plate with an entree and sides feels like the right thing to do because we are accustomed to huge portions. If we were to measure out an accurate portion, there would be so much empty room on the plate that our mind would tell us we’re not getting enough food.

Using a smaller plate tricks your mind, and in turn, your stomach, into believing that you’ve had enough food. You will feel full and satisfied without overeating.

The next time you’re sitting down for a meal, grab a lunch or dessert plate instead of a full-sized dinner plate. For reference, dinner plates are generally 10-12 inches and lunch/dessert plates are about 9 inches. A few less inches on your plate can lead to a few less inches on your waist!

Eat Smart While Eating Out

Restaurants are infamous for providing huge portions. When you’re out to eat, remind yourself that it’s okay to leave some food on your plate and declare yourself to be done.

Don’t feel obligated to finish everything on your plate just because you’re paying for it — leftovers are nothing to be afraid of! You can be economical without overeating, and your body will thank you.

Here are four steps to avoid the temptation of overeating:

  1. Before you get your food, ask for a to-go box and a smaller plate (appetizer- or dessert-sized)
  2. Nowadays, a lot of restaurants have some nutrition facts listed next to the menu items
    • Try to order with calories in mind. If you’ve had a relatively high caloric intake already that day, maybe opt for a salad or protein-centered meal. If you haven’t come close to your daily calorie goal, go ahead and treat yourself!
  3. Once you get your meal, fill up the small plate
  4. Put whatever food that did not fit on the small plate (probably a significant amount) directly in the to-go box and close the lid.
    • This way you know you will only eat the proper amount of food — the rest of it is out of sight, out of mind. As a bonus, you’ll probably have enough leftovers for a second, perfectly proportioned meal!

Don’t Drink Your Calories

If you’re committed to monitoring your caloric intake, it’s important to make each calorie count. You may not realize that you’re wasting away valuable calories on things that don’t even fill you up — drinks.

It’s no secret that soda is bad for you, but you may not realize that a lot of other beverages are as well — even some that are marketed as healthy!

The excessive amounts of sugar in these soft drinks can trigger an appetite for sweets, and can even contribute to serious health problems like diabetes.

Here are some drinks that you should consider cutting out of your diet, and some ideas for alternatives:

Fruit juice

We are led to believe that drinks like orange juice and apple juice are healthy options. In reality, however, a lot of brands load these drinks with sugar and calories. Here are some better alternatives that still provide a delicious, thirst-quenching drink:

  • Watered down juice — You can avoid a lot of the unhealthy aspects of fruit juice simply by watering it down. This way, you still get the flavor of your favorite drinks, plus water to keep you hydrated, and minus the excessive calories and sugar.
  • Water with whole pieces of fruit — Adding whole berries or slices of citrus fruit to a glass of water can add a nice, fresh flavor, without all the sugar and calories.
  • Vegetable juice — Tomato juice, beet juice, and even products like V8 juice are better options than most fruit juices. They tend to be more filling, as some contain a good amount of protein, and contain far less sugar and calories than fruit juices.

Soda

The health concerns surrounding soda like Coca Cola and Mountain Dew are well-known, and yet it’s still hard to give up the caffeine, carbonation, and refreshing taste.

Club soda is a great alternative to these high-calorie drinks. It can still satisfy that craving for carbonation, and if you add natural flavoring, you can still get a great taste. Try flavoring club soda with:

  • Fresh-squeezed fruit juice
  • Whole or sliced pieces of fruit
  • Water-flavoring products like Crystal Light or MiO
  • You can even add a small amount of your favorite diet soda to seltzer water and get that same great taste, but healthier.

Even trading out just one or two sodas a week for one of the above alternatives can make a difference.

Sweet coffee drinks

As you saw above, one Starbucks Caramel Macchiato requires five miles of biking to burn off the calories. Most sweet coffee drinks, like Macchiatos, Frappuccinos, and flavored iced coffees contain high amounts of sugars and calories.

Is a minor caffeine kick worth the calories? Consider these alternatives instead:

  • Regular coffee — Regular coffee with a small amount of cream and sugar will give you that morning boost with a similar flavor and less calories. You can even brew your coffee the night before and put it in the fridge if you prefer iced coffee in the morning.
  • Tea — Go natural with fresh-brewed tea. There’s still a decent amount of caffeine in tea and even fewer calories.

Here are some other fun, healthy alternatives and step-by-step instructions on how to make them:

Speed Up Your Metabolism Just by Drinking Water

Drinking water has a lot of health benefits, but add lemon to it and you’ve got a game-changer.

Water with lemon is beneficial for so many reasons:

  • If you are averse to drinking plain water, the slight lemon flavor might make you more inclined to drink it. Staying hydrated is essential in achieving overall well-being.
  • Drinking a good amount of water can also keep you full between meals, and therefore prevent overeating.
  • As mentioned in the previous tip, flavored water provides a great alternative for sugary beverages, like lemonade or soda. And best of all…
  • Did you know that adding lemon to water helps to detoxify the liver and metabolizes fat?? According to expert Jackie Warner, this can speed up metabolism by about 33 percent, which burns about 100 extra calories per day! That’s a lot of extra room to work with when you’re counting calories.

Here are some steps to take to make sure water with lemon is as accessible as a bottle of Coke:

  1. Always keep 1-2 lemons on your grocery list.
  2. At the start of each day, cut enough lemon slices (depending on your taste) for about 3 liters of water.
  3. Keep the lemon slices easily accessible in a sealed container.
  4. Make sure you always carry a water bottle with you — you may not realize how thirsty you get throughout the day, so when you have water on hand, you’ll drink more than you’d expect.
  5. Every time you fill up your water bottle add several lemon slices.

Track Your Calories and Stay Accountable with a Food Diary

It is extremely difficult to monitor your caloric intake if you can’t remember exactly what you’ve eaten throughout the day.

If you’re trying to decide whether you can treat yourself to a bread roll with dinner, you need to know your calorie intake for the day.

Trying to lose weight and eat right is difficult enough, don’t make it harder on yourself! Log what you’re eating, and know what it takes, in terms of exercise, to burn off those calories. For example:

Calorie Intake: Top 15 Diet Tips

A food diary can be more than just a log, too. It can be a way of keeping yourself accountable. It’s easier to disregard a splurge or slip-up if you just put it out of your mind; once it’s written down, however, there’s concrete evidence that you can’t ignore.

It’s also a great opportunity to see your progress! You can flip through your food diary and literally watch your habits and choices become healthier over time. It’s a great way to celebrate your accomplishments, and it will also provide motivation to continue on.

In fact, a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that simply keeping a diary of food intake doubled total weight loss during a five-month study.

If you’re more inclined toward a pen-and-paper kind of food diary, so here’s what we suggest to stay on track:

  1. Keep with you at all times a pen and a notebook small enough to fit in your purse, backpack, or pocket
  2. After each meal and snack, write down exactly what you ate along with the accurate calorie count
  3. Check your calorie totals throughout the day so you can see where you stand in regards to your calorie goal for the day
  4. Plan your future meals and snacks accordingly

If you want to take calorie counting into the digital age, read on to our next tip about great health and wellness apps!

Use Your Phone to Lose Weight

Using an app is a great way to make something extremely difficult, like losing weight, just a little bit easier.

Apps can help you calculate how many calories are in your food, and they can keep track of how much you’ve consumed throughout the day. Using pen and paper to quickly scribble down calorie counts can easily become disorganized.

Staying organized is the best way to make this process easier on yourself, and by using an app, everything you need to stay on track is right there on your phone.

And let’s face it, when was the last time you were without your phone?

But the question remains — how do I know which apps are actually the best? There are tons of apps out there that claim to provide the most accurate calorie counts and the best plans to facilitate weight loss.

We’ve sifted through them all to give our recommendations for the best apps to help you achieve your health goals.

The first step in any weight loss journey is to create a goal. For calorie counting, that means figuring out how many calories you should be consuming each day in order to achieve your ideal weight. There are a lot of tools that can help you determine this baseline and then track your daily progress.

  • Lose It! — This app really sees you through the entirety of your weight loss journey. It starts by calculating a personalized calorie budget and weight loss plan for you, and then each day you can track your meals and activity levels to determine where you stand in relation to your daily goal.
    • The really cool thing about this app is that they make it insanely easy for you to figure out your calorie consumption. There are 3 ways to enter each meal or snack you eat: you can search a food item and choose the option that most accurately reflects what you ate; if your food is packaged or pre-made, you can scan the barcode to get exact nutritional information; and best of all, you can simply snap a picture of the food you are about to eat and the app will estimate its nutritional information!
    • The basic features of this app cost nothing, and premium features cost $3.33 a month. The free version of the app gives you everything you’ll need at the basic level — calorie and exercise tracking, and access to the app’s weight loss community. The best add-on that comes with the premium version, in our opinion, is the meal planning feature. That being said, we’ll discuss some other meal planning apps, too.
  • MyFitnessPal — This is one of the most popular fitness apps.
    • Their food database has over 5 million items, and you can easily enter the foods you eat through a search or a barcode scan.
    • The app remembers foods, or even whole meals, you eat often, and you can add multiple foods at once.
    • You can also save your own recipes to a personal food database. If you got your recipe from the Internet, you can import it directly into the app!
    • You can personalize your profile to your specific goals, including nutrient tracking, and the app is flexible enough to accommodate any diet, like Atkins or South Beach.
    • If you’re an active person you can monitor your exercise as well. The app automatically tracks your steps if you have an iPhone, and it also easily syncs up with fitness trackers like FitBits.
    • The app is free, but there are premium features you can purchase that give you a more in-depth look at your health and your habits.
  • Fooducate — This app has similar basic features to Lose It! including a personalized weight loss/calorie intake goal, food tracking and exercise tracking.
    • The app knows, however, that it’s not all about numbers — it also takes into consideration the quality of your calories, not just the quantity, and allows you to track your sleep, mood, and hunger levels.
    • Another interesting feature is that if you scan the barcode of your food items, it will tell you if there are any surprising nutrition facts you should note, such as added sugars or MSG.
    • The app is free, but contains some in-app purchases if you’re looking for premium features, like items specific to a low-carb or Paleo diet.
  • Noom Coach — This free app takes weight loss a step further by building habits that will sustain long-term weight maintenance and health.
    • It still has a calorie counting feature where you can enter your meals and snacks and receive nutrition feedback.
    • But the unique feature is that the app determines what behavioral problems — like sugar cravings or lack of motivation — have been keeping you from losing weight. Then it develops a “custom habit plan” that tackles all of those problems with easy-to-follow daily tasks. By giving you something to focus on each day, the app breaks down the complicated process of getting healthy into manageable parts that don’t feel overwhelming.
    • The app also pairs you up with “coaches” that help you stay motivated until your habit plan becomes second nature. Once healthy habits are integrated completely into your life, you won’t have to obsess over each meal or the next fad diet — taking care of your body will come naturally.

If you’ve read all these tips and you’re ready to make changes in your life, but you’re still a little unsure about how to put them into practice, consider meal planning.

Meal planning is great because it gives you the time to really think about what you’re eating and figure out ways to incorporate your health goals into every snack and meal. If you plan everything out ahead of time you’re less likely to be scrambling for ideas come dinner time. And let’s face it, an unplanned dinner is more likely to end up as frozen waffles than anything healthy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to invest in expensive meal planning services. There are apps that help you find recipes and make suggestions for foods that incorporate your goals.

  • Athleats — This free app contains its own database of recipes that you can search from and save your favorites, or you can add your own and calculate the nutritional value. There is also a feature that helps you create personalized meal plans based on your goals. Combining your recipes and meal plans, you can create a shopping list to stay organized.
  • ShopWell — This free app takes meal planning to another level and works to change your food choices. You can connect the app to your specific grocery store, and it will find nutritional information on the products there. You can also personalize it by inputting your specific health goals, and the app will rate your food choices and make suggestions based on those goals.
  • SideChef — This app is ideal for your inner chef. You can search for step-by-step recipes, based on a certain ingredient, keyword, or diet, and then you can save the ones you like. The instructional videos, voice commands, and integrated timers make meal prep easy, even for the most kitchen-challenged of us. You can also email yourself a shopping list based on your selected recipes. This app is free, but there is an option for meal-kit delivery.

Figuring out what to cook for myself has always been the hardest thing about eating well (and being an adult, to be honest). If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate these apps because they do all the legwork for you!

Don’t Eat Out of the Container

This may seem like a pretty obvious tip, but it is still so important to keep in mind!

We’ve talked a lot about portion control as the root of limiting caloric intake. Eating directly out of a jar or container is the easiest way to overeat and throw all of that out the window!

When you take a spoon directly to a carton of ice cream, there’s nothing signalling you to stop. You can eat and eat and not even realize how much. Before you know it, you hit the bottom of the container and you’ve downed 4 serving sizes of Rocky Road in one sitting.

If you first scoop some ice cream into a bowl, however, once it’s empty, you know you’ve finished the appropriate portion and you stop.

Eating from the container also makes it impossible for you to accurately record how many calories you consumed during that meal or snack. You can’t calculate how many calories are in an unknown amount of food!

Even though it might take a little more time, measuring out proper portions before you eat is what will keep you on track and make your health goals possible. In this tip we outline some methods for measuring portions correctly.

Eat Slowly to Fight Overeating and Consume Fewer Calories

It’s important to not just be mindful about what you eat, but also what you do while you eat.

Even if you have the appropriate proportion completely measured out, and especially if you don’t, you need to listen to your body.

If you feel full, that’s a sign to stop eating, no matter how much food is left on your plate. But to really know when you’re full, you have to give yourself the chance to notice the signs.

Here are a few ways to learn to listen to your body:

  • Take breaks — When you take breaks every few bites, you give your stomach the chance to catch up. It takes some time for food to travel through your body and signal feelings of a full stomach. Literally put your fork down on your plate every now and then, and wait a minute or two before picking it back up. That way, you’ll know exactly when you’re full and should stop eating. Another great way to prevent overeating!
  • Never eat while watching TV — As we all know, TV is a great form of distraction, which is not so great during meals. If you’re focused on the television, you can’t also be thinking about what you’re eating. You could continue eating past the point of being full without even realizing it, and end up taking in excessive, unnecessary calories.

Measure Portions Correctly

The easiest way to control overeating and take in less calories is to abide by serving size recommendations. It can be difficult to know what one portion of food looks like, however, when restaurants are “supersizing” every meal we eat.

Here are 3 ways to determine portion sizes:

  1. Weigh your food — Keeping a food scale in your kitchen is the most accurate way to determine portion size.
  2. Use measuring cups — If you don’t want to add to your kitchen clutter with a scale, you can use tools you probably already have. Measuring cups are a great, quicker method for measuring portions, and can even be used on the go if need be.
  3. Comparisons to everyday objects — If you want a less formal way to determine portion sizes, there are several eyeball-comparisons you can make with everyday objects. Although it is less accurate than the other two methods, it’s easy and fast to do on the go:
ObjectPortion SizeFood Item
Baseball1 cup1 serving of leafy green vegetables, cereal, yogurt
Computer mouse1/2 cup1 serving of rice, fresh fruit, vegetables
Check book/deck of cards3 ounces1 serving of meat, fish
Your thumb1.5 ounces1 serving of cheese
Ping pong ball2 tablespoons1 serving of peanut butter

Identify Your Cravings

Cravings are natural; we all get them. And you don’t have to fight or deny them to lose weight!

It is essential, however, to know what you’re craving.

If we’re not exactly sure what food we’re looking for, we usually just start to grab things in an effort to satisfy the craving. And when it’s not satisfied right away, we’ll keep eating until it is.

As a result, cravings often lead to overeating. They don’t have to, though! Learn to listen to your body using these few steps:

  1. When you feel a craving coming on, before you reach for any food ask yourself this question: Do I want salty, sweet, smooth, or crunchy?
  2. You’re craving might hit two or even three of those characteristics, but the important thing is: Identify a snack that will completely satisfy all of them.
  3. Measure out an appropriate serving of that snack, and enjoy!

If you don’t feel completely satisfied by your snack, you most likely didn’t identify the right snack in step 2. That’s okay, though! It might take some time to learn your cravings, and to make sure you have appropriate snacks on hand.

Make Smarter Food Choices

When you’re trying to lose weight, every calorie counts.

While you don’t have to deprive yourself of the foods you love, it is difficult to maintain bad eating habits and still limit caloric intake.

When you choose healthier alternatives, you’re getting more bang for your buck, so to speak.

Some alternatives to your favorites contain fewer calories per gram. Some keep you full longer. And some need more energy to digest, so by eating them, you gain calories back.

If you find that counting calories leads to portions that are too small and constant hunger throughout the day, consider the foods you’re consuming. By choosing to eat better foods, you could eat more and still lose weight.

Consider some items that are found in a typical diet, and then consider their healthier alternatives:

“Bad” FoodCaloriesPortion Size“Good” FoodCaloriesPortion Size
White Bread791 sliceWheat Bread691 slice
Mayo941 tablespoonBrown Mustard91 tablespoon
Potato Chips1521 ounceVeggie Chips1341 ounce
Candy (M&M’s)10231 cupFrozen Grapes621 cup
Ice Cream1371/2 cupFrozen Yogurt1141/2 cup
Milk Chocolate11201 cup (chocolate chips)Dark Chocolate2801 cup (chocolate chips)
French Fries365117 gramsSweet Potato Fries90100 grams

Some other things to keep in mind when making better food choices:

  • Fiber — Foods that are high in fiber will keep you feeling full longer, which can prevent taking in extra calories throughout the day.
  • Calories per gram — Carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram, whereas fats have 9 per gram. Eating high-in-fat foods could cover half the day’s entire calorie allotment in one meal. Eating carbs and proteins leaves more to spare so you won’t feel hungry throughout the rest of the day. Vegetables also have a low calorie density.
  • Foods that use calories — As mentioned above, some foods require more energy than others to digest. For example, a slice of bread contains about 4 calories per gram. White bread digests very easily, but wheat bread uses up part of the 4 calories per gram during the digestion process. The calories regained by choosing foods that take extra work to digest is small, about 12 to 15 calories per day, but it could be valuable if you have a sedentary job or can’t be as active throughout the day.

Brush Your Teeth After Meals

Like many of our tips, this may seem overly simple, but that’s the beauty of it! Contrary to popular belief, losing weight doesn’t always have to be complicated.

If you think about it, the feeling of freshly brushed teeth signals to your body that you’re done eating.

I know there have been many times when I’ve brushed my teeth for the night and someone offers me a snack (that I normally would’ve eaten without hesitation), but I turn it down because I don’t want to have to re-brush.

Snacking is a good thing, but only if you’re hungry. You probably won’t be hungry for a while after eating a full meal, so brushing your teeth afterwards is a really simple, easy way to prevent yourself from reaching for snacks when you don’t need them.

  1. Keep a small, travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste with you at all times. You could leave them in your purse or backpack, or in a desk drawer at work.
  2. Alternatively, a travel-sized mouthwash should do the trick as well.
  3. After a big meal, generally lunch or dinner, immediately brush your teeth. This feeling should signal to your body that you’re full and done eating, and by the time you’re ready for a snack, the toothpaste-taste will have faded.

Treat Yourself

The great thing about making small changes in your diet naturally is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of the foods you love.

A diet can only be effective if it is sustainable long-term.

If you love chocolate milkshakes more than anything in the world, a diet that prevents you from having a shake now and then will never work.

You need to treat yourself once in a while to keep yourself going!

When you’re counting calories, you can easily adjust your other meals throughout the day to compensate for a treat now and then. You’ll have that flexibility, and the apps we mentioned above will be really helpful in determining when and how much to treat yourself so that you stay on track with your goals.

After all, do you want to live a life that doesn’t include chocolate milkshakes?? I know I don’t.

How Do I Start Losing Weight Now?

It’s difficult to adopt a new diet and completely change your lifestyle all at once, but it’s not difficult to make one or two small, concrete changes.

Start to transform your life one step at a time.

Adopt one of our tips today. Adopt another one next week.

Be sure to consult a dietitian or physician if you have any questions or concerns about your health.

Once you start to take control of what you put in your body, you’ll start to see real changes. But, to be successful, you have to start somewhere!

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View Sources

  1. Experts Reveal: 15 Small Diet Changes for Weight Loss – Shape Magazine
  2. 21 Ways to Make Your Diet 100% Easier – Fitness Magazine
  3. 3 Calorie-Counting Rules for Weight Loss – Everyday Health
  4. Counting Calories 101: How to Count Calories to Lose Weight – Authority Nutrition 
  5. The Dos and Don’ts of Counting Calories – WebMD
  6. 9 Soda Alternatives – Everyday Health
  7. 12 Popular Weight Loss Pills and Supplements Reviewed – Authority Nutrition

References

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  • Wansink, Brian, Koert Van Ittersum, and James E. Painter. “Ice cream illusions: bowls, spoons, and self-served portion sizes.” American journal of preventive medicine 31.3 (2006): 240-243.
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