You work out regularly but aren’t losing weight like you thought you would. A common complaint among gym goers. Here’s the bottom line, if you want to lose weight, you have to change your diet – diet meaning what you eat and drink. While exercise is the single most important thing you can do for your health, weight management is 80% DIET. You’ve probably heard the saying that you can’t outrun a bad diet… Well, sadly it’s true. The good news is that small changes in what you eat and drink can lead to big results in your health and waistline. Here are 5 tips to help you reach your goals.
- Record what you eat and drink. The first thing I advise all my clients to do is start recording everything they eat. I recommend using the free app myfitnesspal.com. It’s been around a long time and has great features like barcode scanners and an enormous database of foods (the ones with the green checkmark are verified as accurate) and you can add your own foods or meals as well. It’s the Wikipedia of food databases.
- Don’t drink your calories. Calories = energy = the fuel our body needs to function. Beverages like soda, juices, sweet tea, coffee drinks, even fruit smoothies often have as many calories as a meal, but without the nutritional value. These types of drinks also don’t keep us feeling full, which leads to consuming more calories/fuel than we need or can use, which gets stored as fat.
- Drink more water. Thirst can often be confused as hunger. Before eating anything drink a glass of water then wait a few minutes. Try to drink a gallon (128 fluid ounces) a day. If you’re not already a water drinker, this simple change could make a huge difference.
- Eat simple, clean foods – Ingredients matter. Try to only eat foods that were once alive, like fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds, etc. Don’t ruin them with unhealthy dressings and sauces that are full of fat, sugar and excess salt. Think steamed broccoli (about 50 calories per cup) not broccoli cheddar soup (about 300 calories per cup). One of my favorite quotes is “If it didn’t have a mother or come out of the ground, don’t eat it”. This is easier said than done, I know, but once you start being more mindful about what you eat, where it came from and what’s in it, you start making better choices, and that is when you will start getting results. www.eatthis.com is another good resource for making healthy food swaps.
- Slow down and enjoy. Eating slowly is scientifically proven to help us eat less. It takes a little while for our brain to get the signals from our stomach that we’re full. That is why eating really fast often leads to overeating, indigestion and being in pain later. One simple tip is to put the fork down or drink a sip of water between bites. Slowing down while we eat is not only good for our digestion but good for our waistline too.