Do you make bad eating choices? Has your doctor told you to lose some extra weight?
Or maybe you just want to cut some fat and feel a little more confident at the beach. All our bodies are different, and we all have different goals, but eating healthy matters to everyone.
We also all make excuses from time to time when we make poor eating choices that don’t fuel activity in our bodies or brains. You’ll never hear me tell you that you have to eat perfect all the time. Instead, I’ll share a few key points that can help you win some healthy eating battles.
A few of the questions that some people get stuck on are:
- Do I have to count all my calories and track everything I eat?
- Do I have to permanently cut all the junk food 100%?
- Is eating healthy food going to bankrupt me?
- Is working out going to make me over-eat?
Don’t worry. I can help you learn how to eat healthier without having to go completely hardcore on tracking every single thing you eat. You can have cheat meals and still reach your goals. Buying all organic, farm raised and premier quality foods do cost more money—an unfortunate fact of life. However, when you offset the cost of high-quality food by the health impact of processed and artificial alternatives, your priorities may shift.
Our Diet Philosophy
As I’ve said, there’s no one solution for everybody and I don’t have ALL the answers, but I can tell you what works for me and the people I’ve trained. The best advice I can give when it comes to diet is not to set a million restrictions, but instead ADD positive principles to your diet. Does that sound odd?
Here’s the thing. We as humans are known for wanting what we can’t have. For some people, as soon as they know Twinkies are a no-fly zone, want a Twinkie twice as bad. Don’t set yourself up to fail by setting unreasonable standards.
Learning to eat healthy is about setting up pillars that are the foundation of your progress in the gym. The following is not a short term ‘diet’ for losing quick weight, these are some principles that can help you lead your healthiest, fullest life possible over the long term. Remember, the guide to healthy eating is a guide, not a set of laws. Here is an easy diet to follow.
#1 Real Food
The closer to the farm you can get your food, usually the better. Preservatives, frozen foods and heavily processed fast foods are NOT going to help you. Sure a Big Mac has protein, but at what cost to your overall health? We are what we eat and the quality of your food sources will determine the quality of your body.
#2 Balanced Meals
Every meal should consist of a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy natural fats. Maximize your energy levels and curb hunger cravings by having some of what your body needs in every meal. This will help you avoid overeating and veering away from your goals.
#3 Understand Caloric Deficit
You won’t hear me tell anyone to count every calorie, but it still is important to understand how calories and weight loss work. If you want to burn fat, you need to burn more calories in a day than you take on, this causes your body to use its fat stores for energy. However, if you are training for size and strength, you will have a hard time growing and also trying to burn fat at the same time. It costs your body calories to train hard in the gym.
#4 Win the War
Every time you open the fridge you make a choice, there is a little battle between what tastes good and what IS good for you. It’s ok to lose a battle, but don’t let this distract you from the big picture. It’s important not to beat yourself up for making a misstep in your diet from time to time. Don’t be discouraged because everyone does it. One of the things that helps me a great deal is to remind myself why I am eating, and think of my gym plan before a meal. This can help put your goals in focus.
One of the most common reasons for over-eating is actually dehydration. A lot of people mistake their bodies’ signals for hunger. Making sure you drink as much water as you can manage throughout the day will help you keep real hunger separate from dehydration. This study outlines just how important drinking water is for your health and especially if you workout.This only becomes more important as you train heavy because your appetite will increase as well. The more healthy natural foods and water you drink, the clearer your body’s messages will be about what it needs. It’s true; you can even develop a craving for veggies. If you train your mind to focus on what good food does for you and cut out the artificial flavors of other foods that train us to think vegetables are bland, you’re on your way.
#6 Sugar is Your Enemy
Refined sugars and processed starches like white bread are the biggest enemies to losing weight and are major causes of obesity. The less you can eat of these, the better you will look and feel.
Eating Healthy For Dummies
If you’re wondering how to start eating healthy, but have no clue about dieting, here are a few things to know about how to start a diet.
So, if you are looking to lose a pound of fat per week, you have to ensure that you cut down on 500 calories every day. As you create a deficit of 500 calories every day and you continue with the right set of exercises, you are sure to clinch your target goals. Sounds easy? It’s not. That’s why it’s very difficult to lose a pound of fat per week—and why this approach is not recommended.
The Quality Of Calories
Another key point to remember is that not all calories are created equal. When you consume 200 calories of vegetables, its effect on your body is very different than 200 calories of donuts (which is about one bite). There are different ways our body digests different types of foods as their varying chemical makeup requires. Here are a few handy details. David L. Katz studies the fact that the quality and quantity are both equally important.
- Proteins: every time you exercise, the muscles get broken down. They later use protein for rebuilding. Ideally, you should try to have 1 gram per pound of lean body weight. Beef, chicken eggs, pork, legumes are considered to be rich protein sources.
- Carbohydrates: every time you consume carbohydrates, they are changed to glucose in your body. It is then used for providing energy to your body. Complex carbohydrates like brown rice provide more sustained energy while starches cause a glucose spike and crash. Refined sugars are you worst enemy when it comes to eating healthy.
- Fat: you need to know that fat is critical for your body and there are different types of fat. Avoid heavily saturated and trans fats, and make sure to try avocado, fish oil and flax.
Two of the most common questions I hear from beginners and friends looking to make positive changes are: how to start eating healthy, and how to get healthy. As you probably know, the answers are related. You can’t optimize your health without taking a hard look at the foods you’re eating, regardless of your current condition or physical appearance. When people ask me how to start a diet, my answer is don’t, instead put in place the guiding principles you need to make smart, sustainable progress and live a happier, healthier life. Don’t waste every second counting calories or tracking every food, unless you feel you need to. Always go for quality food products and balance your meals with protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats and keep your portions in check. And remember, win the battles, win the war.
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