It is obvious today that the art of eating well has gone by the wayside. Walk through any supermarket and you’ll soon discover that finding the right foods to eat are usually buried behind an entire host of processed, preserved, and chemically-laced foods that are usually much more affordable than your healthier options. Still, when it comes to weight loss you don’t want to be stuck eating the same old staples day in and day out. Just like everything in life, you want a little diversity to make your new changes interesting. According to HelpGuide.org,
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and stabilizing your mood.
So, if you’re feeling bored with the same old diet fare and you don’t know how to spice it up, here are a few things to think about.
Start With Changing Your Shopping Style
If you’re like most people, your approach in the grocery store is pretty much grab your cart, start at one end of the store and go through each aisle one at a time until your basket is full. By doing this it covers all of your major food groups plus all the non-food items you might also need; it is very thorough. However, for those who are looking for healthier eating choices it may not be the best choice for your nutrition. Most grocery stores keep the healthier food choices on the outer sections of the store and the less healthier, processed foods on the inner aisles. Make it a part of your homework to learn the layout of your store and avoid those areas with unhealthy choices. You’ll not only find better options for foods to eat but you’ll also avoid the temptations that come with the territory.
Keep It Simple
Another dreaded feature of weight loss nutrition plans is the complicated issue of counting calories, grams of fat, and portion sizes. It is probably the most unnatural approach to eating there is. Many generations before, people didn’t count calories and they didn’t have the weight issues many people are now facing. The true secret to weight loss has to do with how you see the food you eat. Instead of making food choices some kind of a math lesson, consider making your choices based on color, variety, and freshness. When you buy colorful foods that are fresh you’ll avoid the artificial sweeteners, dyes, and other ingredients that can damage your health and interfere with your weight loss efforts.
Don’t Try It All at Once
Drastic changes in life rarely yield positive results. They may work for a certain period of time but they are too far from what you’re accustomed to and you’ll eventually return to your unwanted habits. The best approach to developing an independent meal plan that you won’t tend to break is to make the changes gradually. As the CDC explains,
Habits take time to develop. It doesn’t happen overnight. When you do find yourself engaging in an unhealthy habit, stop as quickly as possible and ask yourself: Why do I do this? When did I start doing this? What changes do I need to make?
Once you’ve identified the triggers that lead to your unhealthy eating habits you can devise a plan to deal with them. In time, with consistency, those habits will become less and less difficult to break and you’ll find that you’re enjoying your healthier lifestyle more and more. One thing you don’t want to do is beat yourself up each time you move away from your plan. Just take it one day at a time.
Think Eat, Not Drink
When it comes to fruits today, the trend has been to simply drink them. The idea that drinking fruit juice is the same as eating fruit is erroneous. While fruit juice does have definite benefits, it lacks the essential heart-healthy fibers that you need for weight loss. For example, a glass of apple juice contains about .5 grams of dietary fiber while eating an apple will give you 3.5 grams of fiber. Another reason you want to eat rather than drink is that liquid foods do not have the same staying power as solid foods. The reason for this is simple. When you chew foods your body will generate more saliva, which stimulates the stomach to prepare for digestion. But when you drink, your brain doesn’t get the same message. The end result is that your body will not process the food in the same way and you’re more likely to feel hungry sooner than when you eat solid foods.
Think Old School
Part of the challenge that many people have in losing weight is that new foods and drinks are available on the market. Even household staples, such as coffee and tea, have been embellished with additives that can easily pack on the pounds. Try going back to the old school trends and you’ll see a noticeable difference. Consider the results of a recent study reported on in Prevention Magazine,
One recent study of about 3,000 purchases from 115 coffee shops…found that servings of brewed coffee or tea averaged about 63 calories (including milk and sugar), while the fancier drinks averaged nearly four times more, with 239 calories. A daily habit can translate to an 18-pound gain over a year.
No one will doubt the fact that weight loss requires a lot of time, money, and effort to make it a success. For some it’s like running into the wind to reach your goal. But the entire process does not have to be so complicated. With a few simple strategic steps that can gradually change your perception of nutrition and exercise, consistent efforts, and learning how to make smart choices you will be able to shed those pounds and get started on creating a whole new you. If your plan is to start a new healthier lifestyle, forget those restrictive all-or-nothing plans that are all the craze. By making small changes one at a time, you’ll find that the road to health is not as difficult as many people believe it to be.