An estimated 2 out of every 5 people on the planet are actively trying to lose weight. The methods they’re using range from extreme workout regimes that are hopelessly unsustainable in their lives to making simple modifications to their daily routines so they can eat a healthier diet. With weight loss being such a common goal, why do the odds always seem so heavily stacked against us when it comes to eating a healthier diet?
To answer that question, we need to look at the society we live in. Ours is a society that’s been conditioned to have every craving satisfied in the shortest amount of time. We approach dieting and fitness with same attitude. For example, we tend to think that if we heighten the intensity of our workouts, we can continue with having a poor diet and still achieve weight loss results. We sat down with a fitness professional from Canary Wharf (London) earlier this week who was very forthright in sharing a crucial bit of advice – we cannot out-exercise our bad diets.
If you are truly interested in losing extra pounds, fitness professionals and PTs will be the first to tell you that a healthy diet is the best way to lose weight. Remember, we choose what we eat. The responsibility for eating a healthy diet begins and ends with us. And, in this society, it isn’t easy. Ever since the pandemic, dining out has taken on a whole new meaning in our lives and we’re totally in need of some new and practical strategies for eating healthier in a world that’s rediscovered the joy of eating out.
Fortunately, we’ve discovered five modern strategies that make healthy eating an easier choice in our harried lives.
1 - Avoid Fast-Food
If it’s got a drive thru window, it’s to be avoided. Earlier we spoke about odds being stacked against us, and if there’s anything that will quickly sabotage our efforts it’s fast-food. Here’s a great article revealing some of the more frightening effects of fast-food on our bodies, but the gist is that fast-food offers little more than a tasty, convenient mechanism for destroying our bodies from within. Fast-food is often heavy in the sugar and sodium categories which can lead to all types of ailments from chronic headaches to obesity. Making fast-food even more of a liability is the fact that our bodies are wired to become quickly addicted to their ingredients. High fructose corn syrup and refined carbs are all ingredients that cause our bodies to develop those craving sensations that keep us coming back for more.
2 – Trust the Advice of Personal Trainers (PTs) and Fitness Professionals
The Internet is absolutely loaded with pseudo-dieticians, online fitness personalities, and health & lifestyle bloggers promoting their own versions of a healthy diet. With so much information out there, and so many opinions, it can be quite daunting to determine what dieting options fit best with your unique lifestyle.
Discouraged by all the information out there, many people are beginning to see the value of building a relationship with a fitness professional, personal trainer (PT), or dietician to help them embark on building a healthier lifestyle. If weight loss is one of your chief goals, there’s no denying the advantages of working one-on-one with an experienced, credentialed professional who can help you avoid the many common pitfalls that people run into. These professionals are adept at evaluating your lifestyle and can guide you through the wilderness of nutrition and lifestyle changes that will make the most significant contributions to your fitness goals.
3 – Please Be Realistic
Drastic, crash diets don’t have a huge success rate. We only need to look at the success rate of our New Year’s resolutions. The failure rate of these diets hovers around the 80% mark, and most of us completely abandon our resolutions by Valentine’s Day. If you’re transitioning from eating fast-food four nights a week to a diet that cuts back significantly on sugar and carbs, you can expect your body to go through shrieking withdrawals that can result in severe headaches which can easily derail your dieting efforts.
To make the successful transition to a healthy diet, you need to first be realistic about your chances of making sustainable changes in your life. You can make these gradual transitions to a healthy diet by slowly eliminating the salty snacks and those carb-loaded, sugar-infused “health” drinks and gradually adding in more whole grains, fresh water, and lean meat options.
Think in terms of small victories. Don’t shoot for a total diet makeover in one fell swoop – the failure rate is too high.
Remember, your body may need to acclimate to its new “fuel sources” so set smaller goals and be kind to yourself if you slip up every now and then. By reducing the pressure that you’re putting yourself under, you will enhance the chances of success and you will have better results burning fat!
4 – Stock Your Pantry with Healthy Options
More than 80% of our diets are deficient in vegetables, fruits, and dairy. We need to have these “go to” options immediately available for those moments when we find ourselves feeling extra hungry. Temptation will come so be prepared by shopping ahead and stocking your fridge and pantry with the right foods instead of running to the coffee shop for a “healthy” breakfast bagel sandwich that’s loaded with 50+ carbs. Once we begin our quest to eat healthier, those piercing hunger cravings will be your biggest challenge so plan ahead by having the right foods on-hand!
Snacks that are high in protein and fiber will help you to feel “fuller” along with a steady intake of ice-water instead of that triple-shot cappuccino.
Here are a few of the best items to add to your weekly shopping list:
Fresh fruits and veggies
Yogurt (a bag of granola to mix in)
Whole Grain Items (including snacks and crackers)
5 – Start Eating from a Smaller Plate
A common maxim amongst those who seem to know a thing or two about weight loss is “it’s not what you eat, it’s how much you eat…”
We don’t subscribe whole-heartedly to that statement, but portion control is undeniably one of the most effective fat loss strategies for today’s busy lifestyles. Here’s a new practice to adopt; try taking a smaller plate and focus on the quality of the food that you put on that plate. It’s easy to eat a whole box of sugar-loaded cereal, but not so much a dozen hard-boiled eggs. If we only eat just a bit smarter, portion control can become a natural habit in our diets and that can lead to considerable weight loss over time.
One of the lessons of the pandemic should have been to take better care of our bodies, but not everyone is doing this. Hopefully, the strategies we’ve shared are simple enough to help you begin to eat healthier without making it feel like a chore. For those who make eating healthy a priority in their lives, they will likely find a way to make those changes stick. For those who don’t make it a priority, there’s no shortage of fast-food alternatives. The choice is yours to make…