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We’ve all heard the old saying ‘you are what you eat’, but have you ever stopped to think exactly how true that is? For a long time I’ve sabotaged my own health by consuming junk food which has no benefit or nutrients to my body. On the contrary, it made me feel sluggish and as a result of that behavior to extreme weight gain. Healthy eating is the key to our well being. Our bodies demand a constant supply of nutrients in order to function at its best! Food affects every aspect of our being: mood, energy levels, food cravings, thinking capacity, sex drive, sleeping habits and general health. If you feed your body junk and convenience foods it’ll simply lay down fat, lower your energy, even your brain power. Many of the diseases we see today are byproducts of the unhealthy and processed foods we eat. Not only that, but the foods you choose to eat each and every day have more of an effect on your body than you might realize.
Whether you’re looking to change a number of bad habits or only one or two, there are some basic principles to consider when it comes to navigating your way through the process. Here are some tips to improve your eating habits big time:
Start with the easy changes first. Once you tackle those and feel successful, you’ll feel empowered to take on more challenges. As each small change becomes permanent, they’ll start to add up, which can also add up to big health benefits.
Set your behavior goals and make them reasonable. Getting fit is not a goal, it’s an idea. Fitting into a certain dress size or running a marathon in two hours are specific goals. Specific fitness goals force you to think about why you want to get fit and what it is you truly desire. Do you want better abs, or do you want a ripped six-pack? Do you want to be able to play with your kids, or do you want to be able to run around the park for thirty minutes playing soccer with your kids? The more specific you can be about your goals, the more you can measure your success.
Don’t Think ‘Forever’
Many weight loss diets are so restrictive and complicated, you’re almost guaranteed to fail. Make small changes and take your time with weight loss. Give yourself time to change bad habits. If you are following a diet, choose one aspect of it to focus on until you’ve conquered it. For example: work on eating a healthy breakfast and leave the other meals alone. Then move onto the next.
Drink Enough Water
Your body needs water to function properly. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. If you feel hungry, you may actually be thirsty. The majority of us don’t drink as much as we should during the day. If you drink tea and coffee to keep you going these have a diuretic effect, so you should be drinking water to compensate. Studies have shown the amount of water you should consume each day depends on your weight. Doctors suggest drinking between half an ounce to one ounce of water for each pound that you weigh. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds you should drink between 100-200 ounces per day. (8 ounces = 1 cup)
Cut Out The Soda
Yes, that includes Diet sodas too! Most sodas are really high in calories. Diet sodas are low in calories, but high in sugar. Some studies show that artificial sweeteners can mess up your metabolism and trick your body into thinking it is hungry when it is not. This can lead to overeating and ultimately weight gain.
Add Some Color
Adding color to your food choices can help maintain balance in your diet. Try colors like red, yellow, green. The possibilities are endless. For most of us we have heard our whole life, “Eat your veggies!” It might be difficult at first, but meal planning can ensure you get a good balance of both fruits and veggies each day. Go for a salad instead of a burger. Instead of your bag of chips for a snack, try an apple or strawberries as a healthy snack between meals.
Meal planning is a great way to shop more effortlessly, eat better, and gives you a change to try some new healthier recipes. By planning your meals for the week in advance, you will challenge yourself to stay within the moderation you have measured for your specific weight loss program. As an added bonus, saving time may help with allowing you to exercise more frequently. Have some healthy stuff on hand so you can cook like a rock star!
Learn from experience. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and nutrition as you go, but expect to learn from your experiences, and don’t take everything so personally as to why certain things are such a struggle for you. It’s ok, it’s expected! See them as opportunities (not failures) to reflect on and learn from, versus stressing out about it and going off to eat what you shouldn’t. It’s all part of the process!
Adios Amigos Xoxo