5 healthy eating tips to help golfers kickstart their 2022 weight loss

Get your new year started on the right foot.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help raise your golf IQ and play smarter, better golf.

If you’re anything like me, you probably spent the final days of 2021 eating unhealthy foods, and drinking a touch more than you probably should’ve. But that’s ok. It’s a new year now, and we’re ready to get it started on the right track.

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions — which, by extension, also makes it one of the of the most commonly-failed. But we’re not here for any of that negativity. Play Smart is here to help you succeed this year with a few simple tips that can help get you back to your goal weight in 2022.

1. More protein

In simplest terms possible, losing weight is a a matter of calories in, calories out. Eat fewer calories than you burn each day and you’ll lose weight. In theory that means you could eat 1,000 calories worth of cookies, then nothing else the rest of the day and shed pounds, but in reality it never works that way: Your body will burn through that sugar in a flash. That’ll leave you hungry — which means it’s only a matter of time before you go snacking.

Instead, opt for foods that are going to keep you full: Unsaturated fats (like avocados and almonds), and lean proteins (like chicken breast or turkey cold cuts). These are the kinds of calories that won’t leave you feeling hungry and ready to binge.

2. Weigh your food

Another tip in the spirit of calories in, calories out: Invest in an inexpensive kitchen scale, and get into a habit of weighing certain foods, like pasta, rice, and meat. This was a hugely helpful tip for me; try it yourself, and you may be shocked at how much more food you’re eating than you think.

3. Budget your sugar and carbs

One of the reasons people struggle to make their weight loss stick is because they adopt highly-restrictive diets. Much as I’d like to be a vegan, I know I couldn’t live my life without cheese or dairy.

Instead, meet halfway: Budget one sugary item and another carb (or less) per day. You’ll savor it more that way, and find the balance that you need for healthy eating.

4. Plan ahead

A lot of the above can be accomplished by doing one very simple thing: Planning ahead. Trying to decide what to eat when you’re hungry and busy is the worst time to do it. You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to eat for the day, or week, but if you have a rough idea of what you’ll eat for dinner, you’ll be able to balance your other meals accordingly.

5. Periodic fasts

On the more extreme end of the spectrum is the tip that Phil Mickelson credits with ending his yo-yo dieting: Periodic fasts. Phil says he’ll fast for 36 hours once a week. 

“It gives my body a chance to reset,” he said.

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.