We’re continuing Get Physical Week with this look at how small eating changes can have a big impact on your fitness and health plans. Often it’s the simple and small things, repeated on a consistent basis, that will help you make incremental progress toward your small, medium, and long term goals.
Are you at your wit’s end with eating plans (I do NOT like the word ‘diet’) that haven’t produced the results you want, and the results you are getting are not worth talking about? You might find one that lets you lose a couple of pounds, but then they come right back. So where has that gotten you? Unfortunately, right back where you started.
The good news is that you can very easily make some changes that will let you get off that weight loss roller coaster for good!
Try these four small eating & nutrition changes that pack a lot of punch:
- Make H2O your beverage of choice. Even the beverages that claim to have zero sugar are often loaded with calories or unhealthy chemicals! Replace those beverages with pure water and you’ll start to notice changes in how you feel and look almost instantly!
Give your water a kick by squeezing some fresh lime juice into each glass you drink.
Try not to quit sugared drinks cold turkey or you may end up feeling deprived. Instead, treat yourself to a soda or fruit beverage at the end of each week – but only if you met your daily water consumption targets.
Drinking a glass of water before meals also helps you to feel full quicker so you don’t eat as much food.
- Cut down your portions. It’s possible to cut portion sizes without leaving the table feeling hungry. Sometimes, timing makes all the difference:
A plan that may work well for you is to eat five times a day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks in between. Have small portions so your total daily consumption still falls within your recommended caloric intake.
When you eat so often, your body never has a chance to feel really hungry, so you’re not as tempted to eat large portions.
Prioritize protein in your eating plan – protein stays with you longer and may increase the sense of satiety (the feeling you’ve had enough to eat). It’s also important for maintaining and adding muscle mass, which makes you burn more calories overall and may help with weight loss if that’s your goal.
- Switch snacks. While it’s important to indulge in comfort from time to time, you may want to assess whether the snacks you’re eating are the healthiest options.
For example, if you like candy bars, try replacing them with cereal bars, fruit or fruit salad, yogurt, Jell-O with fruit, frozen fruit bars, and other snacks with less sugar and fat. Fruit is nature’s candy – you’ll still get to satisfy your craving for sweets, but in a healthier way.
If you prefer crunchy snacks like chips, opt for crunchy raw veggies or nuts.
One trick that works is to prepare snacks ahead of time so they’re ready whenever you’re hungry for a quick snack. Cut up celery, carrots, and broccoli into easy “grab and eat” portions. Cut up several kinds of fruits, make tasty fruit salads with melons, grapes, berries and more, and store in portion-sized sealed containers.
- Skip the sides. Sides like potato salad, macaroni and cheese and stuffing could be your downfall. While you’re allowed to indulge a little, remember that these have the highest caloric values. Eat only small amounts of these sides while you fill up on the meats, vegetables, and fruits for dessert.
If you adapt these simple diet changes, it will just be a matter of time before you see remarkable changes in your fitness, strength and overall health. Your body will respond automatically because you’ll be treating it to the things it loves – healthy alternatives!
So instead of jumping from one faddish eating plan to the other in search of the best fitness and weight loss results, try making some simple changes to how and what you eat. Not only will you look better and get the results you’re looking for, but you’ll also feel better throughout the course of each day. Give it a try and see for yourself!