11 Tips for Losing Weight Without Giving Up Your Favourite Foods
Health food expert Daphne Oz shares her wellness tricks for feeling good and eating well.
The secret to losing weight without giving up your favourite foods
There’s this funny thing that can happen when we try to enjoy a comfort food. See, the experience starts quite well: We get a sort of high from the setting—there’s the warmth of the cozy atmosphere, the delight of sharing the experience with others, and the anticipation of the dish landing in front of our eyes. Then, we have the satisfaction of inhaling the food’s aroma, followed by our teeth sinking into the first bite, and the food filling up our bellies. And then the mood changes. The food is gone, our stomachs are full, and the hangover begins. Feelings of regret, shame, and maybe even an upset stomach rain on our food-fueled parade. We wonder: Is it possible to enjoy our favourite foods without the adverse side effects?
According to Daphne Oz, natural foods chef, New York Times Bestselling author, and host of ABC’s The Chew, all we have to do is adopt the right mindset and wellness practices to avoid negative feelings associated with food. “It’s about taking care of your mind as much as your body,” she says. The mom of four (and the daughter of Dr. Oz) has built her career around finding the best ways to feel good, enjoy life, and have freedom over restriction. And she uses food—that’s not plain and boring but tasty and satisfying—to do so. “We have to keep it fun and easy if we’re going to stick with anything in real life,” she says.
Oz recently partnered with WW (formerly Weight Watchers) as an ambassador and appreciates the program for taking the guess work out of what to eat for a well-rounded diet and offering the liberty to eat what’s desired. Here, she shares the wellness rituals that help her feel good, lose weight, and enjoy life.
Squeeze short wellness practices that help you feel good into each and every day.
“I try to make time to work out first thing, even if it’s just 20 minutes with a streaming class on my computer,” says Oz. “If I don’t work out first thing, unfortunately, I probably wont get to it.” She believes any type and amount of daily exercise is better than nothing. “Little investments go a long way towards forming great habits that support you every day.”
After her morning workouts, Oz takes advantage of being able to make a fresh meal at home by whipping up breakfast with her health food-focused pantry. “Breakfast is oatmeal, or whole grain toast with some almond butter or a little mashed avocado, or scrambled eggs with veggies.”
While her day is spent running from job to job, and after kid to kid, she takes time before bed for herself to wind down. “I power down all my electronics and take a hot shower or bath, do my skincare routine, and then I’ll journal for 10 minutes,” says Oz. “It lets me decompress from the day and think about tomorrow so I’m not trying to give myself mental to-do lists while I’m falling asleep later.” She finds it makes her more productive the following day as well.
(See more ways journal writing can make you healthier.)
Make all meals delicious.
“If it’s not delicious,” says Oz, “I don’t care if it’s healthy.” To make each dish enticing, Oz plays around with healthy recipes to amp up their taste factor, which can be done by the simple addition of a few herbs, spices, and nuts.
(Here are the health benefits of fresh herbs.)
Save time on Sundays for meal prep.
“Meal planning and batch cooking on Sundays is absolutely critical if you don’t want to leave healthy eating up to chance,” says Oz. We tend to make unhealthy decisions when hungry, so by being prepared, we can help ourselves make better food choices that’ll help us feel good. “I set myself up for success by making big batches of the things that take a while to cook (grains, legumes, roasts) on the weekend and using them throughout the week on grain bowls, salads, in soups or sandwiches, etc.”
(Here’s how to meal prep like a pro.)
Pay attention to your daily step count, and you’ll end up walking more.
“I always walk when I’m on calls, ideally outside, but I’ll pace around if I’m inside, too,” says Oz. Walking is an easy way to burn calories, give your brain a break, and get some fresh air. Oz recommends using a smartphone to keep track of the number of steps you take every day, and setting a goal—you’ll end up walking more.
If you miss your workout, make up for it in other ways.
“My whole day feels more productive when I start with a good workout, but I’ve stopped holding myself to unrealistic standards of 60 uninterrupted minutes of workout for it to ‘count,’” says Oz. When a workout isn’t feasible, try to move more in other ways throughout the day.”I find myself doing little reps of leg lifts while I’m waiting for things,” says Oz, “and I’ve started doing squats for the two minutes while I brush my teeth, which gets me at least 50-100 extra squats in a day.”
(Here’s how many squats you need to do to see results.)
Stop stressing about being mindful.
“If being mindful or seeking wellness is stressing you out, it’s not working,” says Oz. Instead, take a few deep breaths, recognize what’s going on in your mind and body, and observe your surroundings—you’ll still reap the benefits of mindfulness, she says. “In that state, you can make the best decisions for yourself and untangle a bit from the tons of competing inputs, priorities, and influences that muddle our thinking sometimes.”
Learn the balancing act and eat what you want.
The beauty and lure of WW is nothing is off limits, says Oz. Whether you’re interested in a points-based diet, or simply being mindful of what you’re eating, the key to weight loss without restriction is to practice balance—balance out your favourite comfort foods with healthier options. Oz gives an example: “I was in New Jersey last weekend and wanted a truly epic classic NJ bagel, so I had one. It was 10 points and I loved every second of it. I was meant to keep both my other meals light, but ended up going out to dinner with friends and wanted to try a new dish I’d never tasted before—so I did! I went over for my day that day, but I had weekly points to use so it wasn’t a big deal. It all balanced out over a couple days. That’s really what the balancing act teaches you—to make your choices count.”
(Check out the superfoods you can turn into healthy comfort foods.)
Pay attention to proportions of healthy food.
WW’s point system taught Oz to be more careful with the amount of avocado, olive oil, and cheese she eats. She learnt little habits, even healthy ones, can hold you back from reaching your goals. “I would eat a whole avocado without even thinking about it,” says Oz, “and while a small amount is really healthy and has great, healthy fats etc, eating the whole thing without thinking about it packs a punch.”
(See what happens when you eat an avocado every single day.)
Keep at least one of these five healthy snacks stocked.
- Low or nonfat plain greek yogurt with blueberries and a tablespoon of hemp seeds, unsweetened granola (here are other yogurt toppings)
- Hummus with cut vegetables (“Or you can dip them in an herby-garlic nonfat yogurt dip,” says Oz.)
- Fruits of all kinds
- Plain popcorn
- Roasted sweet potato or cauliflower cubes (“I spice them up with Chile flake and cumin,” says Oz.)
Eat before getting hangry.
You’re more likely to make an unhealthy decision when you’re really hungry—so don’t let yourself get to that level of hunger. “Try to have a small bag of almonds or a banana or apple with you to tide you over,” says Oz. “I often will eat a salad of just arugula dressed simply with lemon juice, a teaspoon of olive oil and salt or an apple before I go out to a meal, so I’m not starving when I put my order in.” This simple act can help you be more mindful, as you won’t be starving, and feel rushed, to decide what to eat.
Show appreciation for your body.
“My goal is just to feel strong in my skin,” says Oz. “I’ve had four babies in 5 years, and I’m constantly in awe of what our bodies are capable of and how they rebuild and recover.” If you can recognize and be grateful for what your body does, you’ll end up adopting a more positive mindset and a happier life.
Next, see the simple ways you can clean up your diet and lose weight.