People who are struggling to lose weight are always given the same advice: “You need to eat better.” But what does better mean? How do you know what is already good and what needs changing? Is it really that simple?
Well, when you put the numbers down on a paper it looks simple, but it doesn't mean it's easy. It depends on the current relationship you have with food, how you were brought up around meals and many other aspects.
It might seem obvious to some people but while the answer may be simple the process is anything but. It can actually be difficult to eat well for some people, particularly when you’re being bombarded with contradicting info. For instance, you might have heard that drinking smoothies is good for you, but who can tell which ones are good for you versus some that are worse than a chocolate bar in terms of calories.
Here are six simple things you can start doing today to get you on the right track and don’t worry, you don’t suddenly need to become an expert chef to make these work!
1) Plan ahead
You’re more likely to opt for fast food, the takeout or the ready to eat meal if you don't have a plan in place, to begin with. Have you ever heard the saying "If you fail to plan, plan to fail." I have probably mentioned this a few times before, but only because it's that simple.
When you dedicate some time every week to think through where each of your meals will come from, you're less likely to reach for the quick or convenient solution.
You don't have to cook all your meals at home, but as long as you know what's available in the area you'll be in any given day, you'll be confident in resisting temptation and stick to your plan. Planning your perfect meal is not as hard as it may seem, so long as you have the knowledge and the understanding of what your body needs.
2) Use your hands
Do you find calorie counting or macronutrient logging stressful or just don't have the tools and resources to measure everything you eat simply because you eat out often or just don't want your life to be revolving around calories all the time?
I am with you. No normal people need to be that meticulous unless it's for a very specific reason. However if you struggle to keep your portion sizes at bay, you will need a system to help you with that. Using your hand as a measure based on the Precision Nutrition principles will be the best solution to stay in control.
3) Don’t vacuum your food up
Take your time with your food, enjoy it, savor it. Why? It takes about 15-20 minutes for your body to realize it's full. Imagine you inhale your food like there was no tomorrow and stop when you feel full. Guess what will happen half an hour later? You will feel like there is a massive stone in your stomach simply because you ate much more than you needed.
Eating slowly will not only stop you from overeating but will also allow you to enjoy the flavors and textures of your meals better. You may have heard the advice of stopping eating when you feel about 80% full and wait a little. You'll be surprised how in most cases the sensation of hunger disappears.
4) Dessert is great but not all day
If you've been following me for a while, you know that I am a real foodie and love my dessert. It's not about cutting sweets out completely, it's about keeping measure.
If you eat something sugary with each of your meals plus snack on sweets all the time, it's no surprise you are not able to lose weight. Most treats and sweets don't only contain sugar, but fat too. The two together are an evil combination that will make you want more and add a significant amount to your daily calories.
5) Careful Of The Smoothies
We’ve already established that smoothies aren’t that healthy and can actually cause a glucose hit so what is the right answer? Eating the whole fruit instead is a better idea because this will slow down the digestion thanks to the fiber in fruit like pears, apples, and oranges.
Not to mention some smoothies that have many ingredients and only fruit juices may actually be much higher in calories than a simple chocolate bar. Always check the labels before making a purchase.
6) Wonders Of Water
Take a hard look at your liquid intake and be fully honest with yourself. How many soda, fluffy coffees and other sugary drinks do you have a day? Now look up how much calories each contain and add them together. 2 cans of Coke can cover about 25% of your daily calories easily.
Instead replace your liquid with water, light soups or tea and see what happens. Even if you are not a big soda fan, but your water intake is low I'd recommend adding more to your diet. Sometimes when we have those nasty cravings, our body is just trying to tell us that we're thirsty/dehydrated.
Next time you have a craving or feel hungry with no apparent reason, have a glass of water. Wait 10 minutes and see if you are still hungry after. You may be surprised.
If you need help with putting your meals together, download the Perfect Meal Guide and start making changes that will result in long lasting weight loss results. Any questions, feel free toget in touch!
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.