One of the biggest cream puffs ever, made by my grandmother on Easter. I inhaled it.
I never "diet", because they do not work unless you have the discipline of an army drill sergeant. Instead, I've learned that making healthier substitutions for foods is an easy, and manageable, way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while keeping you from going completely insane or just starving to death.
Here are some suggestions for healthy substitutions that I make as often as I can and that you can make that will improve your health without causing food cravings or symptoms of sheer starvation:
1. Whole grain everything. Bread. Pasta. Pizza. You name it. You can find virtually all of your favorite carb-loaded foods in whole wheat now. Why substitute these delicious foods for whole grain options? Whole grains protect against heart disease and diabetes, and also prevent fat from accumulating in your stomach. They also keep you fuller for longer so that you don't want to eat as much. I don't believe in carb-free diets, such as Atkins, because you need carbohydrates to replace the glycogen stores in your muscles and liver which are depleted when you exercise. Repeat after me: CARBS ARE MY FRIEND. Choosing the RIGHT carbs is really the key here.
3. Skim and low-fat dairy products. Dairy products are so important for women's health. They have a ton of protein to help you build muscle and burn fat, but more importantly, they are rich in calcium, a vitamin critical for building strong bones to protect against osteoporosis, a common problem for women. Since they also contain a lot of fat which can wreck your healthy eating habits (can we say, Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey?), it's important to use low fat and skim versions, such as low- or non-fat cheeses and skim milk options.
4. Lower calorie cocktail options. I preach this practically every other post. Check out my tips for smarter drinking and also some of my favorite lower calorie cocktail recipes. Obviously, the less alcohol, the better, but if you want to drink, this is the way to go. There's a reason why college students gain the "Freshman 15" after all. :-)
These are just a couple tricks I use everyday to help myself eat healthy without restricting my favorite foods from my diet, and there are more to come, as this is only Part I. Moderation is always key, and small modifications help tremendously in this process.