Dietitians Dish: 2 for 2 Diet Challenge
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By Anne Farris
Ever notice that the first three letters in the word "diet" are "die?"
Don't you just feel like you're going to die when you're on a diet? Having those terrible hunger pangs and the desire to eat all the things you know you're not supposed to?
Another word that starts with the "die" sound is "diabetes."
A client once told me that when he was diagnosed with diabetes as a boy, he was terrified when the doctor gave him and his family the news, because when he heard the word "diabetes" spoken, he heard the first sound of that word - "die" - and he thought he was going to die. Not so! Neither diet, nor diabetes are things that have to make you feel like dying or fear dying because you can start off with small healthy changes I know you can do. If you'd like to lose a little weight or prevent getting diabetes or eat better if you have diabetes, then I have the diet for you. It's the 2 for 2 diet challenge.
You do two things for two weeks. You can do anything for two weeks, right? You won't feel like dying. It may take a little courage, but I know you can do it. On Thanksgiving Day, you're forgiven for not adhering to these two things, but still try.
THING 1: WELCOME THE WATER
Replace your sodas and sugary drinks like Gatorade or sweet tea with water (add a squeeze of lemon or lime). If you don't like water, try unsweetened tea or use diet sweeteners like Sweet-N-Low, Equal, Splenda or stevia. If you insist on drinking sodas, always drink diet soda, but try your best to avoid sodas altogether.
Every time you have a sugar-free drink instead of a super-sugary one, you are doing something wonderful for your body. Fewer calories and fewer carbs mean potential weight loss and better blood sugar control.
Choose water or unsweet drinks as your beverages most of the time. You're improving, you're not a saint.
THING 2: SKIP SWEETS, SALTY SNACKS
So long, Snickers. Bye-bye, brownies. Cancel the cookies. Skip dessert, if only for two weeks. Say no to potato chips, corn chips and other salty snacks. Do this most of the time or at least some of the time. I'm not asking for perfection.
That's it, just those two things. Keep everything else the same. It's OK that the rest of your eating habits aren't perfect. Now, I could go on to recommend other changes you could make, but when you try to change too many things at once, you may start feeling those nagging hunger pangs and start to feel the "die" of diet. So, for now, just do the 2 for 2. I bet after the two weeks, you'll be OK with continuing for a third week and a fourth week. Pretty soon, you'll be ready to adopt another healthy diet change.
Anne Farris is a registered and licensed dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.