This post is part of a series on weight loss – to see the post on fitness click here.
We are constantly bombarded by ads, models, actors and actresses about what the “ideal” body looks like, but the truth is there is no ideal body. Being confident and comfortable in your own skin is what matters, but we cannot ignore the fat that unhealthy habits can have negative effects on our health.
There are so many different diets out there that it is hard to know what the proper way to eat really is. While everybody is different in terms of cultural customs, allergies and sensitivities, there are some guidelines that can be easily followed. I am by no means a nutrition expert or dietician but I have learnt these tricks and tips from my studies as well as many fitness and nutrition experts!
These are main guidelines that will help you shed unwanted weight, increase your energy and have you feeling your best:
- No Alcohol
- Eliminate processed foods
- Only natural sugars
- Limit cheat meals/plan cheat meals
- Eat carbohydrates early in the day
- Eat Regularly
Alcohol is not only harmful to many organs in the body, but it definitely does not help with the waist line either! Alcohol is high in calories to being with, but the problems aren’t just the calories.
When people drink liquor, they tend to mix it with sugary sodas or juices that are high in sugar, adding to the caloric and sugar intake. Alcohol also affects our ability to reason and restrain ourselves from bad food choices, often leading to poor nutrition choices without any regard for your healthy lifestyle changes – until the next day when you feel crappy! On top of that – alcohol will get burned in the body before anything else because it sees the byproducts as harmful- this means that any carbs or fat you eat while drinking will likely get stored as fat while your body works to eliminate the alcohol from your system.
If you have to drink for an event or special occasion, stick to one drink of wine, light beer or one shot of alcohol with a no calorie mixer like club soda.
Eliminate Processed Foods
Processed foods (anything in a package, can or box essentially) are probably the single most harmful thing people do to their bodies on a regular basis and some people don’t even know it. Processed foods are loaded with chemicals that most of us cant even pronounce let alone know what they are but the worst part is they are sneaky! Processed foods are often high in refined carbohydrates – this means they get broken down super fast causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels causing you to crave carbs again soon after. These foods also trick the brain into feeling happy and “rewarded” causing us to overindulge in foods that have little to no nutritional value and are extremely high in sugar. This “rewarded” feeling can also be addictive which is why many people have trouble giving up their favourite junk food or soda.
Stick to the outside edges of the grocery store – veggies., fruits, dairy and meats!
Only Natural Sugars
First of all, anything that ends in -ose is sugar in some form, there are over 60 tricky names for sugar on packages so watch out for it in its many forms. The basic thing to understand here is that refined sugar or sugar removed from its original, natural state should be avoided. Sugar can either be used as energy or stored as fat. The goal is to get your sugar from sources that have fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body needs this comes from natural occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables. While there is a sugar content is is small compared to processed foods and drinks.
Limit Cheat Meals/Plan Them
Cheat meals cause many people to fall of the healthy wagon. Many people will go out for dinner or be at the grocery store and say “oh today will be my cheat day” because they are craving sugar or junk food. What ends up happening is that everyone can find some reason to have a “cheat day” every day and eventually your healthy lifestyle and all your hard work goes down the drain. Plan your cheat meals, if you have an event or birthday coming up, wait until them to cheat – give yourself something to look forward to and work towards. Only cheat on those days – restrain yourself and then enjoy the reward when cheat day comes around once every few weeks.
Eat Carbs Early
Many people think carbs are the enemy and try to avoid them completely but the truth is they arent so bad when used properly. Your body needs carbohydrates for fuel but when you eat them late in the day you dont have time to use them as fuel causing them to be stored as fat. Eat your healthy carbs (whole grains & natural) before 2pm so your body has time to use them up!
Eating regularly is hard for a lot of people – especially busy people but it is crucial to keep your metabolism working and your body burning! When you skip meals, your body goes into “starvation mode” it uses your stored fats as energy but it gets its guard up – its a smart machine! Your body will then start to take any food you consume and store it as fat because it does not know when it will get its next meal. You need to train your body to use the calories you consume and the way to do it is eat every few hours.
Small changes are the key to creating a lifestyle change versus a “diet”, the goal is to make changes that you can live with and implement into your daily life. Be kind to yourself and patient, change takes time and effort.
We would love to hear about your healthy eating journey or answer any questions you may have.
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