There are enough fad diets and bogus advice out there to make anybodies’ head spin. It is uninformative and confusing at best; downright harmful and a waste of time at worst. The scope of this article isn’t to make specific claims about what and when you should be eating. Each individual is different, which is why the best diet approaches come from dietitians who are able to talk 1-on-1 with a client. What this article aims to do, is share 8 successful principals that will get your health and body in order. These will help maxmimize weight loss, keep you motivated, and have your ready for beach season which is just around the corner.
1. Know Your Body
Whether you are in tune with it or not, your body responds to everything you do to it. Sometimes you feel great, happy, and healthy. Other times you feel lazy, slow, and de-motivated. Think how you feel after going out drinking all night, stuffing your face with late night burritos, and getting 5 hours of sleep. Now think how you feel after running 5 miles after work, having a healthy dinner, and getting a good night’s rest. It’s like night and day. Be attune to your body and it’s demands. Opt for the healthy choices far more often than the poor ones.
2. Eat more often
Starving yourself is the worst thing you can do for a metabolism and weight loss goals. By not eating all day, you will program your body to go into survival mode. Your body will actively seek out muscle to consume for energy. The goal is to eat 5-6 small meals a day. Consuming calories requires thermal activity in your body, which burns calories. You will keep hunger pangs at bay and maintain a high metabolism all day. Win, win.
3. Know your caloric intake needs
For just one week, write down everything you are eating in a journal. Write down the times that you eat as well, so you know if you need to include more meals into your diet. At the end of 6 weeks, plug all your food into a caloric calculator to see how many calories you are getting. Determine how many calories you need to reach your goals and aim for that every day. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t know what you have to do to reach them.
4. Portion Police
In theory, weighing every morsel of food is the best way to know exactly how many calories you are getting. For practicality purposes however, this is not possible. Follow the below list to properly portion your food.
- Cereal 1 cup = a baseball
- Salad Dressing 2 Tbsp. = a shot glass
- Cheese 1 oz. = a golf ball
- Nuts 1 oz. = 1 cupped palm
- Hamburger 3 oz = mayo jar lid
- Beef 3 oz. = deck of cards
- Rice 1/2 c = ice cream scoop
- Sweet Potato = computer mouse
- Butter 1 tsp = a waterbottle cap
- Pasta 1/2 cup = a tennis ball
It’s okay to give in to cravings….IF you give in only once in a while. You do not have to eat like a juiced up bodybuilder to get into great shape. Constantly avoiding temptations will only make them stronger, and your life more miserable. Once or twice a week, have the foods that you are really craving. By eating healthy the rest of the week, the bad meals will be more than compensated for.
6. Study Nutrition
You don’t need to get a PhD in the matter, but know the difference between brown rice and white rice, which fruits are best, what to eat after a workout, etc. Most often, the people who have a clear, conscise vision of nutrition are the ones who look best in a swimsuit. Know ing why and how to complete a task makes it much easier to be successful than simply following along to someone else’s instruction without a clue why. Read blogs, books, and talk to dietitians to really up your own personal knowledge.
7. Know what not to eat
Stay away from “foods” that aren’t on the food pyramid. We’re talking about high-fat, overly processed junk. Opt for a diet rich in vegetables and little red meat. Keep in mind, those who consume a lot of alcohol or caffeine will have a higher propotion of toxins in their blood. These toxins make your body hoard fat and leave you feeling bloated.
8. Keep a Journal
As mentioned above, keeping a journal for a week or so is a good way to get your average caloric intake and needs. Keeping a journal longtime however, will keep you honest and give you the best possible idea what you are putting in your body. Studies show that those who keep a diet journal make the greatest gains in terms of fat loss and muscular gains.