The Healthy Diet Guaranteed to Make You Lose Weight!
When people talk about their diets, the notion of a quick fix comes to mind, something that’s only temporary. Whether it’s restricting calories or carbs or only eating beige colored foods, a diet is a temporary solution that’s supposed to leave a lasting result. Too often that’s not the case though. When a weight loss goal is reached and a diet ends, old habits are picked back up. These habits are most likely led to weight gain in the first place, so it’s not surprising when all that weight is gained right back. It’s time to start thinking of a diet as something else. It’s not a quick fix or a one-time deal. Your diet is the total food you consume on a day to day basis, not the restriction of that food.
Eat breakfast Breakfast is the meal of champions and the most important meal of the day. Whatever your preferred clichéd phrase is, there’s no denying that breakfast is important1. For one thing, it reduces your hunger later in the day. Skipping breakfast will leave you ravenous by lunch, that is, if you manage to make it til then without binging on a convenient vending machine snack or office donuts. Eating a well-rounded, healthy breakfast also sets the tone for eating well the rest of day. Breakfast also fuels your body for the day to come, replenishing glycogen that provides your muscles with energy.
Eat dinner at an early hour It doesn’t necessarily have to be early, but it should be several hours before you lie down to go to bed, without any snacking afterwards. This helps you feel hungry for breakfast in the morning, reinforcing a healthy eating schedule. Though the science on this is incomplete, research suggests that our various internal clocks get thrown out of whack when our eating schedule doesn’t coincide with our sleep schedule. One study involving mice even concluded that timing of eating2 can have more of an impact on weight loss than caloric intake.
Stick with the same daily menu Eating the same cycle of three or four meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner makes it easier to keep track of nutritional info. It also guarantees you’ll be fueled for the day and makes grocery shopping a breeze. Plus, once you’ve gotten into the habit of eating these meals, you won’t really want anything else, anyway.
Indulge – occasionally Making healthy choices doesn’t mean there’s a concrete binary that separates foods you can eat and foods you can't. Maintaining this sort of lifestyle means that because you generally consume foods that benefit your body, there’s no harm in indulging once in a while. Unlike those who follow strict diets and have “cheat days,” there’s no pressure or desire to eat as much as possible. Instead, you’re able to enjoy a piece of cheesecake at a restaurant and feel both satisfied and guilt free.
Drink water With no calories and no sugar, it’s your best bet if you’re looking for a healthy beverage. Not only that, but it fills you up and prevents you from eating too much. Drinking water also keeps you hydrated, and since our bodies are composed of about 60 percent water, this is important for your health.
Eat small portions The schedule of breakfast, lunch, and dinner has been drilled into our minds for generations but it turns out three square meals a day might not be the way to go. For one thing, that may lead us to eat when we aren’t hungry, only leaving our stomachs rumbling an hour later, leading to binging when it’s finally time for another meal. While a substantial breakfast and lunch are important to fulfill nutritional requirements to keep our bodies fueled, eating small portions3 throughout the day keep your metabolism running well, burning more calories faster.
Skimp on the processed foods It’s not always easy to know if food is healthy, and even too much good food can be bad for you. That being said, many processed foods have added sugar, trans fats, and preservatives, none of which do your body any favors. Some food like milk and oil require processing to make them safe to eat, but many other foods, like brand name cookies and chips, are full of unpronounceable ingredients and are best avoided.
Don’t keep junk food in the house If you don’t keep it around, you can’t eat it. If you don’t eat it, eventually you stop craving it. Sounds like a pretty solid system, right? There’s a distinct difference between how junk food makes your body feel and healthy food does. That line becomes much clearer as you cut that unhealthy food out of your system. Eventually, just remembering how crappy that food made your body feel is enough to staunch any craving that may occur.
Understand nutritional value and eat accordingly Knowing the nutritional value of any food – pre-packaged or organic – is an important skill in maintaining a healthy diet. With smartphones it’s easy to look up the calorie count or ingredients of most foods, but it takes time to understand how carbs and fiber work together, or how much sugar you can eat before it gets stored as fat. Understand how these nutrients4 work together and how much you should be consuming, based on your age, weight, height, and daily level of physical activity. The more you read these labels, the better you’ll become at accurately guessing the nutritional content. Soon it’ll become second nature. At the end of the day, whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, maintain, or just be healthy, what matters most is developing healthy habits regarding your diet. Some diets are successful because they create and reinforce those habits, but most focus solely on limiting what you eat and prove ineffective in the long run.