Improving your diet doesn’t have to be a complicated time. You don’t necessarily need to calorie count or count your macros. A few easy ways to improve your diet is all about being mindful of what you’re eating & when you’re eating.
Absolute crash diets don’t work, and research has shown that more often than not, you’ll regain that weight after finishing that ludicrous diet.
Here are 6 simple steps to improving your diet:
1. Know What You Are Eating
For me, this is the most important rule. I like to know what I am putting in my food, so that means that I try to make as much food as I can from scratch. When you add a cup of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of salt to the chicken that you’re grilling, it’s a lot easier to see your unhealthy habits than when you are making a microwaveable meal.
From a fiscal standpoint, you’ll undoubtedly save yourself some money if you stop purchasing ready to eat meals. Undoubtedly it will take you more time to make the food yourself, but isn’t your health worth it?
2. Absolutely NO Absolutes
You can’t have absolute rules as a guide to your diet. Always saying no to candy, soda (or pop for you Midwesterners – hey, Wisconsin), grains, and processed foods is very difficult to do because of the diets that most of us grew up on.
Frankly, you’ll lose your sanity if you try to cut out unhealthy foods altogether. Minimal or moderate consumption of less-than-healthy foods is much better than reaching a breaking point and devastating an entire package of Oreos.
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3. Rethink The Food Pyramid
You just don’t need 12 daily servings of grain for a healthy diet. Carbs in the grain slow down your metabolism by causing your body to produce insulin when they are converted to sugar in the body.
Growing grains is an innovation of the agricultural revolution nine-thousand years ago that, at the time, was extremely effective for helping people avoid starvation. However, we’ve progressed past the point of eating to survive: now you’re eating to get fit, and filling up with grains does not help you satisfy that goal.
I don’t advocate taking grains out of your diet entirely, but make it more of a treat or pre/post-workout fuel, rather than a staple of your diet.
4. Plan Your Meals
If you sit down and plan your meals beforehand, instead of eating based on availability or the whims of your appetite, then you are will eat more healthily. Packing a lunch of carrots, a homemade sandwich, and fruits is much healthier than making a run to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger and fries.
5. Drink More Water
Often times when you think you are hungry, you’re actually just thirsty. Instead of filling up on food, fill up on water or low-calorie beverages. Fun fact: drinking 4 ounces of ice-cold water burns 20 calories due to the energy required to raise the temperature of that water to body temperature. Hydration is a good thing.
6. SMALL PORTIONS, CONTINUOUSLY.
Rather than waiting until you are so ravenous that you eat an entire pizza, you will consume less food if you have smaller meals throughout the day. Dietitians suggest 5-6 smaller meals.
Dieting isn’t about following another diet pushed by the media. It’s about understanding nutrition and making a lasting moderate diet that fits your goals and lifestyle. This usually means limiting highly processed food BUT not completely limiting them. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein, an adequate amount of healthy fat, and enough carbohydrates to function daily.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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