The food industry does not make dieting easy. If you head to any grocery store, you'll see lots of "fat-free" items claiming to be high in fiber and to reduce cholesterol. In his book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan calls these "Frankenstein foods."
Although they sound perfect, monster foods tend to be heavily processed, generally not the best option for anyone. A diet itself is easy; the difficulty lies in the execution. For success, you need to change your lifestyle, not just what you put in your shopping cart. (Learn how to navigate those tricky product labels.) Keep your goals in mind and align your diet with them.
Stop stressing, enjoy your food and lose weight with this foolproof "Easy Diet" from Pollan's book.
The "Easy Diet"
The "easy diet" is based on three guidelines: eat whole foods, not too much, and consume mostly plants. They may seem obvious, but remember, the diet itself is not difficult, just the execution.
Eat Whole Foods
Everyone claims they eat real food, but many are eating "Frankenstein foods." Even when you go out to eat and attempt to eat healthy, most salad dressings contain sugar, and many food ingredients are unrecognizable. It's important to know what's in the food. A good rule of thumb: if your grandmother (or maybe your great-grandmother) would not recognize it, don't eat it.
Some suggest shopping only around the perimeter of the grocery store, where you find fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, nuts and whole grains—and no foods with fortified compounds. Don't have an aneurysm counting calories or macronutrients. Just eat plain food. (Here's a simple, healthy grocery list that won't break the bank.)
Not Too Much
This general volume guideline is person-specific, since a 200-pound man must eat more than a 90-pound woman. However, it's important not to overeat. I'm not saying starve yourself. But take smaller portions and leave more time before going for seconds. This helps, because specific hunger hormones (e.g., ghrelin) take about 30 minutes to stimulate. Remember, you don't have to leave the table stuffed!
Consume Mostly Plants
Vegetable intake in the current Western diet is dismal. Yet high volume plant consumption (especially leafy green vegetables) is necessary for almost everyone. Many think three servings a day is adequate, but you should have more. Fill most of your meals with plants! Don't worry, you can accompany them with other foods (as long as they are real foods), but if your goal is moderate weight loss, eating mostly plants is beneficial.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock