You’ve probably tried all sorts of diet craze out there like eating bananas for a month, taking cabbage soup for eight days, and even eating grapefruit before mealtimes. So what makes the LIFE diet plan by Joy Bauer so special? Bauer, bestselling author and nutritionist shared some of her secrets in an exclusive interview by Lifescript.

According to Joy Bauer, registered dietitian, author of LIFE Diet: Four Steps to Thin Forever, and nutrition expert at the “Today” show, people tend to lose weight but then gain it back gradually.

However, when you change your eating habits, re-educating and keeping yourself motivated, you will be able to prevent weight gain after going on a diet. Bauer believes that this plan actually works.

Here are Bauer’s 10 best tips to stay slim forever:

1. Be Passionate.
You need to keep your motivation centered on you in order to succeed. You’re not losing weight for your spouse, your mom, or even your best friend. Bauer said that you should figure out why you want to lose weight in the first place. It may be that you don’t want to be panting as you climb the stairs, or you want to wear a thin sheath to a wedding, or perhaps even go on bike rides with your kids and even be able to throw away all of your fat clothes. Bauer calls this tip in her book, “Passion for Action” and it is one of the reasons why many people have been able to keep their weight in check.

2. Feel the Success.
The more you lose weight the better your confidence will be. So how can you feel success in your diet? By taking note of even the smallest changes in your weight as well as achievements. According to Bauer, you’re already successful during your first day of diet just like when you reach day 301. Of course, there is a need to feel that sudden rush which is why the diet plan developed by Bauer includes a quick weight-loss diet for the first week. You’ll have to give up plenty of your favourite foods but you’ll be shaving off 7 pounds in the process so you can get going.

3. Reprogram Your Meals.
People who are thin don’t really skip meals so what’s their secret? They eat frequently or every five hours at least. This helps them avoid wolfing down on unhealthy snacks. Bauer suggests that you should keep your three full meals and snack. She also suggests that you start your meal with soup or salad to help you make you feel fuller faster. Don’t forget to stock on foods such as non-starchy vegetables, herbs, and extracts that can help you feel full without adding the calories. Finally, follow a curfew such as no eating beyond 9 p.m. since it can harm your weight loss goal.

4. Reality can Bites.
Technically, you can’t live without fats or starch for a long time since there will be family dinners, holiday indulgences, restaurant hopping, and even visiting friends. According to Bauer, you should lose weight while eating the same types of food. To start off, you should decrease your portions. You should also modify the recipes that you use so they will be healthier. For example, a client of Bauer who loved eating plantains figured that cooking them with Pam is much better compared to using butter. When you are in a restaurant, ask that your vegetables be steamed and your meat to be grilled, with condiments and dressings on the side. If you’re worried that you’re going to give in your cravings for wine, dark chocolate, and even frozen yogurt, you can indulge yourself once your weight loss is well on the way but make sure that you limit your consumption to 150 calories or lower.

5. Remember Your Dream.
There will be times when you feel like giving up and just heading to the nearest Krispy Kreme in your area but it is best to remind yourself of your goal, said Bauer in her diet book. While losing weight, put a photo of your goal whether it’s the mountain you want to hike, the wedding dress you want to fit into, even the beach that you want to go to in a bikini. If you’ve managed to reach your goal pin something you haven’t done before. Keep your motivation in front of you all the time. You can even join a community online where you can connect with likeminded people and give each other high-fives whenever you’ve achieved something.

6. Limiting Calories.
Most thin people aren’t really thin at the beginning but instead follow strategies where they won’t overindulge like calorie banking. For example, if you know that you’ll be eating a lot of calories in a party, reduce the amount of calories you’re going to consume days before the said event so you can spend the calories you get to save. Another technique is to limit your intake of foods that aren’t healthy for you. According to Bauer, most people who are thin don’t really think that the meal they’re eating will be their last. Regardless of how delicious the meal is, they usually stop when they feel full already. She further stated that thin people know when to put down their forks because they know it will be good for them. Staying slim isn’t just for the wealthy or even hard to attain. Bauer said that you don’t really need to have personal trainers or chefs just to remain thin. All you need to do is to keep your head focused on your goal.

7. Stay Away from Negativity.
Are you worried that you have a lot of weight to lose or that you’ve failed all kinds of diet programs? You need to forget all these and just start anew, according to Bauer. Those who have successfully lost weight are the ones who also tried following various weight loss diets. Bauer said that you can always start your diet regardless of your age and even the number of times you’ve tried following diets and failed.

8. Avoiding Foods that are X-Rated.
If you want to maintain a slim figure, you will need to put a cross on foods such as processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and sugar. However, this doesn’t mean that you should throw them all away since you can reintegrate them to your diet once you’ve lost weight. Bauer also suggest that in the first week, you shouldn’t eat starchy foods which means that you have to give up pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread. Although there are many starches that are good for your health, they can lead you to eat more. By staying away from them for the meantime, you can reprogram your body so it won’t be craving too much of it. You should also stay away from diet sodas since they can leave that sweet taste in your taste buds even when you’re not consuming too many calories. This can help reduce your sweet tooth. You can reintroduce these slowly in your diet until you know what your body can take.

9. Determine the Right Portions.
If you want to get the best results, you need to reprogram your perception in terms of portions. Although consuming Big Gulp and overloaded plate may sound like normal these days, they are not good for your health. Bauer suggests that you read the nutrition labels so you will know what portion is. You can also use a small scale for food so you will know how a 3 ounce of meat looks like. Other tips Bauer suggests include, asking your meat to be wrapped in 4 ounce packages, using measuring cups and spoons to get an accurate assessment of cereals, condiments, and dressings, and purchase 1-cup containers so you can easily measure your favourite foods like rice and cottage cheese.

10. Exercise is a Must.
Although exercising may sound a bit drag, it is necessary if you want to stay slim. Based on the report provided by the National Weight Control Registry, 94% of those who managed to maintain their weight for five years or more agreed that exercise is one of the keys to staying slim. There are plenty of benefits to be gained when you exercise such as strengthening the bones, enhance flow of blood as well as energy levels, and fight back diseases such as osteoporosis and type-2 diabetes. If you don’t have enough time to work out in the gym, make sure that you squeeze 5-10 minute exercises throughout your day. If you have spare time, you can do a full 30 minute workout. Bauer recommends that instead of thinking your work out as exercise, think of it as your own private time, time to reenergize, or even time to play. Semantics can actually make a world of difference.

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