Q:

What is the best way to kick start a healthy eating/diet plan?

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Answers (5)

EXPERT
Lisa Stollman, MA, RD, CDE, CDN (Registered Dietitian) answered
The best way to get started with a healthy diet, whether for weight loss or maintenance) is to develop a meal routine. If you aren't doing so now, start to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Eat every three to five hours to stay well-fueled and avoid extreme hunger. Choose foods that are nutrient-dense, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nonfat dairy or calcium-fortified dairy alternatives (such as soy or almond milk), lean proteins (such as fish, chicken, eggs, low fat cheese or red meat) or plant-based alternatives (including beans, nut butters, seitan and tofu). When you crave something sweet, go for a delicious fresh, frozen or dried fruit. The benefits of healthy eating will truly motivate you from the inside out!
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EXPERT
Dr. Ramani Durvasula (Licensed Clinical Psychologist) answered
GRADUALLY.  And start with you.  (blatant self pitch - here - read my new book You Are WHY You Eat -it will break it down for you).  I tell folks to use the Promise of One - one thing per day to get to your goal - one day may be your workout, another may be hydrating - and slowly these things become habits.  Don't fall for the fads - make this about lifetime. Some other easy fixes?

Buy smaller dishes - use bread plates for dinner, tea spoons and smaller cups, and little rice bowls (e.g. the kind you can get in Chinatown) for cereal.

Purge the house-and your desk and your purse and your car get ready by dumping most of the junk and filling up with fruits and vegies - if the good stuff is nearby - when you are hungry - you will eat it.

Figure out ways to SLOW down when you eat.  The slower you go, the less you eat.

Keep variety in your life - make sure you don't fall prey to the same things each day - the same old egg whites and grilled chicken - follow an edict often taught to children in Japan - strive to eat 30 healthy natural ingredients per day - by the end of the day it's fun to take stock and variety keeps things interesting and you feel less deprived.

Make a list of pleasures - anything from reading to exercising to watching TV to sex - whatever is your thing and try those instead of eating when you are reaching for food for comfort or distraction.  

Slow changes become habits and then a healthy life - all the best and definitely give the book a read - it will change the game for you!

Dr. Ramani

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EXPERT
Anita Mirchandani (Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist) answered
The best way to kick start is by either adding or eliminating one habit at a time. For example, if your goal is drink more water, you could start with saying something like 'I am going to drink 1 glass of water every morning when I wake up.' If you are eliminating something i.e chocolate then you could say something like 'I am going to have a small piece of dark chocolate instead of brownie today.' Going cold turkey only makes you want something more when you can't have it. In addition, it typically takes your body/mind 21 days to form a habit. Good Luck!!
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EXPERT
Christina Estrada (Certified Master Elite Trainer) answered
Kick-starting your diet plan can mean different things depending upon your current eating habits. My family and I revamped our entire diet, but it took a year of trial and error to get it right. The previous answers here by Dr. Durvasula, Lisa, and Anita are all really great answers and I'd like to offer up these suggestions as well:
  1. Meal plan. Begin planning your dinners for every night of the week. You'll notice a substantial cost savings and you won't have to "throw things together" in a rush. I bought a 30-minute meals cookbook that is great for nights when I know I'll be in a time crunch.
  2. Choose whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. These provide your body with the most amount of nutrition and they take the least amount of time to prepare...grab a peach, take a bite!
  3. Plan to accommodate your cravings. I know that I crave chocolate when I ovulate. So I always have cocoa powder in the pantry to put in my oatmeal or smoothies. If you have salty cravings, find a recipe for kale chips or roasted chick peas that will curb your craving in a healthier way than downing a bag of Lays.
It takes about 90 days to establish a new habit, whether it's a healthy habit or an unhealthy habit. So, choose one habit to tackle at a time! Good luck.
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Anonymous answered
I have something to add to the cravings. 
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/food-cravings?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-womenshealth-_-content-weightloss-_-DecodeYourCravings 

This tells you why you crave the things you do and how to fix it without ruining your diet. It really helps :) 

Craving sweets means your blood sugar levels are out of wack so eat low sugar fruits instead.

Chocolate means you need magnesium, spinach has a lot of magnesium i usually eat some of that.

Salty foods are because of stress, there are no foods to fix that BUT meditation and relaxing does help. (don't forget to drink some water)

Red meat is a need for iron, there are healthy veggies high in iron.

Cheese means you need omega-3 fatty acids some good sources are raw walnuts, samon and flaxseed oil.

Drinking water is also known to reduce cravings all together.
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