Changing your habits is never easy. Changing the eating habits that led you to gain weight can seem downright impossible at first. But it is possible to train your body and mind to reach for the right foods and beverages more often, and learn how to make good choices. These are some of my favorite diet tweaks that can help you change your habits gradually and intentionally, so your body gets less of the stuff you don’t need (fat, sugar, and food additives) and more of the stuff you do need (fresh whole foods and fruits and vegetables). |
Cutting Out and Cutting Back on Soda
Sugary sodas and sports drinks are the worst. Diet sodas aren’t much better, as they have been proven to increase sugar cravings even if they don’t deliver the same amount of sugar as the original versions. We guzzle them to quench our thirst and take in loads of extra sugar in the process. If you regularly purchase sodas and sports drinks, re-learning how to hydrate your body is the number one way to boost a weight loss plan. It can be a challenging shift at first, but there are a lot of options that can help you with this. Things you can drink that are a thousand times healthier than soda: water, carbonated water, home-made sports drinks (one ounce of juice mixed with 7 ounces of water), metabolism-boosting home-made green tea, or home-made iced tea.
Buy More Frozen Vegetables and Fruits
Dieters often throw away produce before it gets eaten. Why? We forget it’s there or turn to other alternatives because we’re too tired to wash, chop, and cook it. The latest research has shown that frozen veggies are just as nutritious and healthful as fresh ones. The benefit to frozen veggies, however, is that they don’t go bad when you forget they are sitting in the refrigerator. Many people who are trying to lose weight make virtuous purchases in the grocery store, but wind up throwing away their fresh produce when it goes off after a week of neglect. They simply forget those plums are waiting for them in the fruit drawer. When you are trying to change your habits, it’s sometimes hard to shift your brain to keep up with your intentions. If forgotten produce is a bad habit of yours, don’t be afraid to go with the frozen options until you have integrated more fruits and veggies into your daily routines.
Mind Your Dressings
Did you know that a serving-size dipping cup of ranch style salad dressing can have as many calories and fat grams as a traditional dessert? If part of your diet plan involves raw veggies dipped in ranch dressing, you may want to pay attention to this. Fresh veggies, either dipped or tossed together in a salad are great for your body no matter what you dress them with—but if your goal is to lose weight, you can’t ignore the dressing. Should you buy low-fat salad dressing instead? Probably not, since it replaces all the lost fat with sugar or corn syrup. This translates to the same energy intake. Instead, try making your own dressing. Hear me out here: you can buy dry salad dressing mixes, which have very low caloric content. Mix them with low-fat sour cream or yogurt (for ranch) or heart-healthy olive oil and vinegar (for Italian or vinaigrette) and you’ll get the same taste you love with less added fat and sugar.
Replace Your Sugar with Stevia
Artificial sweeteners have become such a Trojan horse in food history that we are often rightly skeptical of them. In diet sodas, they’ve been shown to increase your sugar cravings, and some have even been linked to cancer. However, the one non-sugar sweetener that dieticians and dieters have been equally impressed with (thus far) is stevia. Like cane-sugar, stevia is plant-based, yet it contains significantly fewer calories than “real” sugar. If you are in the habit of sweetening your coffee and tea every day, give stevia a try and you may be surprised by how little you can taste a difference.
Can’t Cut Out Sweets? Try the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is simple. If you eat only healthful foods 80 percent of the time, you can let yourself have your sweets or fried potatoes in your 20 percent window. So, let’s say you used to eat something sweet for dessert after every lunch and dinner. This adds up to 14 desserts a week (assuming you ate only a single portion). With the 80/20 rule You can still have a portion of your favorite ice cream or pie two or three times a week. If you can “be good” for three days, reward yourself on the fourth day. You don’t have to wave goodbye to your favorite foods forever to eat healthy!
Try A Processed Meats Fast
Processed meats include: hot dogs, cold cuts, beef jerky, canned meat, bacon, and corned beef. These food products deliver an unhealthy dose of fat, additives, and salt, and have been linked to cancer and weight gain. If these foods are a staple in your diet, try to take a week without them. Replace your processed meats with meat that you season and cook yourself.
Look for more articles on Summer Fitness in Trophy Club from Dr. Cody Doyle. Visit Doyle Chiropractic and Acupuncture to learn more about alternative therapies for keeping your body active and functioning at optimal levels.
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