Anything worth having is never easy, but when it comes to weight loss, having some good information really makes the journey a whole lot easier. Are you focusing purely on exercises and not so much on your diet? Follow these simple tips to improve your chances of achieving your weight loss goals. This way, you will easily avoid some of the stumbling blocks that dieters inevitably face along the way. Tip 1: Eat right Counting calories to lose weight? Don’t replace sugar with honey when choosing a sweetener. Teaspoon for teaspoon, honey actually has more calories than sugar. A teaspoon of honey contains 21 calories, whereas a teaspoon of sugar contains 15. Honey has slightly more nutrients, but in the amounts that people use, it’s not significant enough to make it worth the extra calories. Don’t be under the impression that margarine contains less fat than butter – they contain exactly the same amount: 11 grams per tablespoon. Although margarine has less saturated fat than butter and contains no cholesterol, it contains trans fatty acids that have been linked to heart disease. For fewer calories, choose a diet or reduced-fat margarine. Enjoy the occasional serving of avocado. When dieting, most people tend to avoid avocados, due to their fat content, but feel free to enjoy an occasional serving. Avocados are a great source of beta-carotene, potassium, folacin and Vitamin C. Also, the primary fat in avocados is the good’ fat: monounsaturated. That being said, if you are watching your weight, don’t go overboard. Half an avocado contains up to 15 grams of fat. Don’t be fooled that all chicken has less fat than other meat. It’s not the animal that matters, it’s where the meat comes from on that animal. Every animal has areas where it stores more fat – even chicken. Dark chicken meat contains more fat than beef rump roast or top round, and twice the fat of pork tenderloin. The best part of the chicken to eat is the breast meat with the skin removed. Even better, eat turkey breast, as it has fewer calories. Watch out for those fad diets that could cause more harm than good. Tip 2: Exercise at the right time The best time of day to exercise is in the morning, before breakfast. When you exercise before your breakfast meal, you are burning stored fat, instead of the energy from your breakfast. This helps you have energy throughout the day, so you do not feel depleted of energy before lunchtime. Exercising in the evenings, closer to your bed time can keep your body alert well into the night. This could disturb your sleep or make it difficult to fall asleep. Tip 3: Drink right Avoid empty calories. A simple way to help your diet is by avoiding food that contains empty calories. These foods include candy, soda, chips, french fries and alcohol. Your body needs the correct fuel for optimal function, and this is achieved by consuming foods that are rich in nutrients. Drink plenty of water. Drinking lots of water throughout the day will help to fill you up. Water has a lot of volume but no calories. The problem that most people encounter is the fact that water has no taste, so it’s more of a chore to drink it. Try flavoring it with lemon or lime. Another option is to purchase one of the many flavored waters that are available. Try to drink between 8 and 12 glasses a day. Replace whole milk with nonfat or 1% milk. They both contain the same essential vitamins and minerals that you find in whole milk. The only thing missing is the fat. A cup of non-fat or 1% milk contains 5 to 7 grams less fat than a cup of whole milk. It also has 30 to 50 fewer calories. Over the space of a year, this can really add up. Which can lead to greater weight loss. Tip 4: Your dining area Designate a particular area of your house for eating. Whether it’s the dining or kitchen table, it should be used solely for eating. This way you will only associate a certain location in your house with food, and won’t be tempted to eat when you are in other areas of the home, such as in front of the television, or in bed. Serve meals straight from the stove. If you put the food in serving dishes before placing it on the table, it can be way too tempting to reach for a second or third serving. Put the desired amount of food on your plate, and when you are done, remind yourself that you are going to avoid the temptation of going back for seconds. Tip 5: Cook for weight loss Use less fat in cooking. Hidden fat is everywhere in food, so if you cook at home, you can reduce the amount of fat in your meals. When using meat, try to trim as much fat away as possible and avoid frying. Remove the skin from chicken or turkey before eating. When preparing sauces or dressings, use low-fat ingredients. Use herbs and spices to add extra flavor. If you have a recipe that won’t work unless you use a high fat ingredient, try to use less of it. Tip 6: Mental preparation The challenge with weight loss is that it is as much of a physical challenge, as it is a mental challenge. If you ignore the portion size, you will fail. Similarly, if you neglect the mental portion, you will fail. It requires your complete physical and mental attention, in order for you to see any type of benefits, for all of your efforts. Don’t expect to be perfect. When on a diet, everyone slips up now and then, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the guilt that you will probably feel about slipping up is actually a great motivator. It means that you are truly serious about your diet, and it should be pretty easy to get back into your weight loss routine. Stay positive, and remember to get back on track immediately. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and use the information you learned here to start your weight-loss journey armed and raring to go. Knowing is half the battle, and now that you know what you should and should not do, you are better equipped to get your weight under control once and for all. Weight loss is such a challenge because it doesn’t just require you to stay focused. In the same note, it doesn’t just require that you only go to the gym. Rather, it requires your undivided attention to both of these things, at all times. However, after having read this article you should be prepared and focused enough, so that you can get started on your weight loss plan.