A healthy diet is really less about “good” and “bad” food choices and more about when and how much. Typically diets are bad-tasting foods or avoiding food altogether. Neither is essential or necessary to have healthy diet habits. The key to healthy nutrition is really becoming more aware of what you’re eating and when you’re eating it. You’re favorite pizza shop doesn’t have to be eliminated from your diet, but there is a time and place for cheating and you should by all means plan it and enjoy it!
Here is a list of 3 simple things to help you turn your current nutrition habits around and increase energy, fat loss, and productivity throughout your day.
- Count the amount of calorie filled beverages you have daily
In the United States, 35.7% of our total calories come from sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks. All of these have one thing in common, added sugar. These are empty calories and an empty calorie is essentially a food or drink that contains no nutritional value but still has calories in it. Drinks are easy, convenient, and are often marketed in a way to make you think you’re actually choosing a healthy option by drinking them -- fruit juices included.
First, figure out how many empty calorie drinks you have throughout the day and start by replacing just one with water or green tea. If you drink 3-4 empty calorie drinks a day, then start by replacing one each week until you’ve completely switched to drinking water and/or green tea. This alone could have a dramatic effect on your diet and weight loss.
- Remember what you had to eat last
A good rule of thumb is the “eat and eat again rule”. When you think about what this, it’s really a genius concept. Unless you feel you can eat, both content and portion size, the same thing you’re eating now in another 2-3 hours, you shouldn’t have it. That means if you’re about to indulge in a Fat Burger and fries, you need to be able to eat that same Fat Burger and fries again in just 2-3 hours. The though alone doesn’t sound too appetizing! This is a great way to control how much you eat without actually measuring portions, counting a single calorie or taking an in depth look at what is actually on your plate. Just ask yourself, “Could I eat this again 2-3 hours from now?” If you can, great; if you can’t then reconsider what you’re eating, the amount you’re eating, or both. It’s that simple.
- Monitor yourself
Give yourself a “cheating allowance.” Assuming you’re eating 4-6 meals a day, with snacks counting as a meal, you’re goal is to adhere to your nutrition habits 90% of the time. That means out of 28-42 meals, you need to stick to the plan 26-38 times. This allows you roughly 2-4 meals a week to “cheat” on.
Try to avoid pigging out on a random treat or meal, instead plan it ahead of time. If you love pizza, order a pizza. If you love pasta, treat yourself to a nice Italian dinner. You’ll be surprised once you start eating healthy -- you may not want or even need what you used to crave.
Chris Abbott is a personal trainer and owner of Total Fitness and Health. For more information, visit www.TotalfitnessandHealth.net “Like” personal trainer la on Facebook, or follow me @chris_abbott1.
Move Better. Feel Better. Look Better!
 PEAK Performance Diet and Training Manual, Roussell and Dowdell pg. 39