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Overcoming Dieting Slumps

Dieting can be a drag but it doesn't have to with these energy-boosting tips.
(continued)

Combine Foods Thoughtfully continued...

"People are opportunistic carnivores," Hart explains. "We don't eat all grass or all meat, like some animals do. We attack almost anything and eat it. There is really no science to support various ways of combining [as diet aids].

"But," Hart explains, "there is an advantage to mixing food groups." Different types of foods are absorbed at different rates and can feed brain cells continuously, keeping us alert and energetic.

A quick energy boost may come from a carb (banana), but if lunch is going to be late, you can add protein or a bit of fat (a tablespoon of peanut butter) to sustain your energy through that droning meeting before the midday meal.

Keep Fueling Your Body -- and Mind -- Regularly

Some experts recommend eating snacks between meals or eating six times a day instead of three. "This takes discipline," Hart says. "People tend not to keep them small." The need for this also has not been proven, he says, although eating small meals thorough the day may help regulate the secretion of insulin better. Excess insulin has been associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

"I can recommend a diet, but people need discipline," he says. "If you are the type to run around starving and then throw in anything you can find, a diet may not be for you."

Both nutritionists say that eating breakfast is necessary for any successful eating plan. Many researchers believe that eating breakfast helps the body burn more calories by revving the metabolism into action.

"I am a firm believer," Hart says, "but you need something more substantial than pure carbs like a bagel or toast. Otherwise your body will be ready for more food at 10:00 a.m. How about yogurt on your cereal? Or peanut butter on toast?" Adding proteins and fibers can help you stay full longer and staves off hunger.

Don't Overeat

"Don't overeat" may seem like moronic advice to dieters. Duh! But Hart says the biggest obstacle to feeling energetic is to not eat too much -- no matter how healthy the food. "Water makes up a big part of blood -- and water is needed to push food through the gut," he says. "If your stomach is constantly working on digesting food, your brain is not getting all the fuel it needs." Voila -- a slump.

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