We live in a world of excess, and this had led to an excess of calories, fat, and sugar in our diets. Hence why the diet industry is booming and expanding and very profitable these days.
New Years and summer bodies have become a marketing target and because body image is a priority for our self-esteem, we tend to be lured into the possibility of looking thinner and leaner in the very near future.
The trouble with dieting is that it is meant to be temporary, not a sustainable or long-term. Therefore, the term diet needs to be reconsidered as a lifestyle change, happening over time for a long time.
There are circumstances where you might want to do a diet because you need to shed some immediate weight or want to jump-start the process.
The key is recognizing that there’s a maintenance factor involved because when that diet ends, it doesn’t mean you go back to the eating style that contributed to the original weight gain.
Here are 15 tips to incorporate to make you diet healthier:
1. Eat The Rainbow
A plate with plenty of colors means that you are eating fruits and vegetables. We need the natural nutrients from these for cellular repair and our immunity. Let green become your favorite color as these leafy products pack the most value and we don’t have to portion control them too much. In general, one serving of fruit is about the size of your fist so don’t go completely overboard.
2. Shop On The Outside Aisles
Think about it, the outside aisles have the produce and fresh foods like eggs. The focus of healthy eating is fresh and not processed, so stick to the outside lanes when you are headed to the market.
3. Designate A Shopping Day
When you try to live off last week’s items or buy in bulk, you sometimes run into trouble because you don’t always check in with what you need to stay on track. This leads to last minute decisions and poor choices because you default to eating out instead due to lack of time or convenience. You though you had more, when in fact you had run out or the produce went bad before you even got to it.
4. Prepare For The Next 3 Days
When you have the next few days in order it really helps with time management. You know what you are having and when you are having it so instead of having to add time to your day with making it all, you are done with that and out the door. It also deters you from eating out because then you would be wasting what you already made.
5. Eat Less With Labels
Items out of the box need to become less and less of your eating habits. Nutrition labels are good for guidelines but when you can’t even pronounce ingredients because they are chemicals, well that doesn’t do right to your digestive system. Items unknown mean tying to figure out what to do with them to get them through your body.
6. Focus On Macro Nutrients Not Calories
Not all calories are created equally so if you were to eat a small snack size of potato chips or an apple, based on calories alone they are the same amount. However, your body doesn’t recognize them as the same, so you are fooling yourself into thinking you didn’t eat that many calories so you will be fine and lose weight.
7. Don’t Weigh Yourself Every Day:
This is a misleading mind-game for the majority of people, however, some people do use what the scale as motivation regardless if it is higher or lower than what they want to see. Others let that number dictate their entire day and that becomes a problem.
If it’s higher, it means you feel guilty or upset with yourself or you need to do more and work harder. If it’s lower, you might celebrate and then self-destruct or think that you can get away with certain things and still lose weight.
8. Drink Water Every Hour Of The Day
Water is your body’s fuel to efficiently function and get all the jobs done it needs to do for you. It acts as lubrication for your joints too. When you don’t drink it enough, you then deprive yourself of better performance mentally and physically. Forget all the juices and chemically filled beverages by keeping it very, very, simple and drinking water. Plain and simple.
9. Use Less Condiments And More Spices
Condiments have a long shelf life for a reason. They’re packed with preservatives and chemicals that give them these far out expiration dates. They are loaded with sugar and salt and when you go for the non-fat or reduced calorie options, they’re generally filled with chemicals instead.
Spices, on the other hand, are calorie free and actually very flavorful. Look for spices that are salt-free which means simple options like black pepper, oregano, or red-pepper.
10. Limit Eating Out
When you eat out, you don’t truly know what you are eating because you don’t know what was used when it was cooked. This is especially true in the oils that it was cooked and other ingredients like salt.
Not to mention portion distortion is very easy when food is placed in front of you in whatever quantity un-determined by you. Therefore, you are more likely to over-eat and you also can’t exactly pick what you are trying to stick to based on the available menu options.
11. Designate A One Time Cheat Meal Weekly
When you pre-set the day and meal, you don’t suddenly decide that you could make today your cheat meal instead of at the end of the week when you pre-determined it. You are letting your mind slip and making allowances or exceptions that many times lead to today being the cheat meal as well as the pre-determined one. This also gives you something to look forward to and plan around.
12. Use Tupperware and Ziploc Bags
This allows for grab and go and portion control. It also allows you to prepare and keep your food fresh in advance. Instead of trying to make every meal then packing it every time to take, when you put it in a bag or dish, all you have to do it take it or warm it up accordingly.
13. Eat Real Food
We here about vegan, reduced fat, and/or non-fat. The trouble is that eating chicken that isn’t really chicken means you are also eating mystery chemicals. Reduced or non-fat items keep their flavor with these unpronounceable chemicals.
There’s a false perception along the lines of these items, so keep it real instead of going by labels (which again you are trying to eat less foods with labels).
14. Get A Food Scale
Start weighing foods instead of yourself and suddenly you start to realize what an actual serving size is of different foods. Soon, you learn and can eye-ball items knowing that you understand the amount you really need versus what your cravings and grumbling stomach might be tricking you into.
15. Use The 2 Bite-Sip Rule
Life doesn’t stop because you are trying to improve your eating habits. Social occasions and holidays remain on the calendar and continue to be obligations you must attend. When put in these positions, such as being offered food that may not be ideal or alcohol, take 2 bites or 2 sips and be done.
You are not depriving yourself or making the situation uncomfortable by declining every offer. You also feel self-empowered that you can actually have something without going overboard.
Food is here, there, and everywhere. Some even call it a drug because we are addicted to it and how it makes us feel. These tips aren’t to say that eating is an art of perfection, rather, eating is a matter or nourishing your body and fueling your brain. You will have good days and bad days, but strive for overall having a good grade on your report card.
Check in with yourself each week and think about triggers or moments of winning the battle that you had. Just because breakfast was bad doesn’t mean that the rest of the day then is a wash and can just continue the downward spiral. Just get back on track the very next time you eat. You will learn over time what your strengths and weaknesses are, who, what, or where to avoid, as well as why you succumb to bad eating choices.