Diet Detective: Embrace Healthy Habits to Drop Weight

If joining a gym is still too intimidating, you can always start at home with a workout video. There are thousands of workouts to choose from online and on DVDs you can rent or purchase. Check out www.collagevideo.com, which offers more than 700 online video previews to help you find the one that's right for you. Take a look atthe American Council on Exercise, which offers a free 12-week online fitness program. See: www.acefitness.org/article/3159/

More: 15 No-Sweat Workouts You Can Do at Home

At Restaurants

The most important message here is to not be shy about asking questions or making special requests. If you didn't like a particular food—say the Gorgonzola on a Cobb salad—you'd have no problem asking your server to leave it off, so don't be shy about requesting healthy substitutions. Restaurants want you to be satisfied, because your business is important to them. Mentally rehearse your questions in advance! Don't wait until you get there. Do it in front of the mirror, or call ahead.

More: 8 Tips for Eating Out More Healthfully

Make sure to ask:

  • "How is this prepared?" even if it's called "light" on the menu.
  • "Is this fried? Can you make it baked, grilled, steamed or broiled without using much oil?"
  • "Can you prepare this without the cheese/sauce and/or can you serve the sauce on the side?"
  • "How many ounces is this dish?"
  • "Can you make this without soy sauce or MSG?"
I look at the menu online (most are available) and call to see how certain dishes are prepared. I might also ask in advance if they can do a dish a certain way. I've even paid for the dish ahead of time with a credit card over the phone (especially if it's not on the menu). And I've asked if they can avoid making a fuss about my special request when I arrive. This may seem like a lot of effort—and it is—but acknowledging that this is what it took for me to succeed made it that much easier and rewarding.

More: How to Avoid Hidden Calories When Dining Out

Another strategy I use is to keep going back to the four or so restaurants in the area that will make several dishes I deem healthy. That way, the restaurant staff gets to know me and to expect my requests. Sticking to healthy behaviors often comes down to making them the norm ­ what you're comfortable with ­ not oddball choices, and that can take some time.

Family and Friends

Family members can influence your behavior and really hamper your diet. If your spouse doesn't eat healthy, that can make it difficult for you to eat right.

More: 5 Ways to Eat Healthier as a Family

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM