You don’t have to look far in today’s world to find the latest fad diet; the real “it” thing right now. However, most fad diets are unhealthy and cause more harm to the body than good. Of course, you will lose weight if you do not consume enough calories in a day, but you also will starve your body of essential vitamins, minerals and energy. The problem with these diets is also that as soon as you start consuming real food (or even food at all) again, you gain all of the weight back that you just lost. They also make you irritable, put your health in jeopardy, and cause vitamin and mineral imbalances in your body. As such, one of the best first steps you can truly make to improve your diet is to simply add more whole foods to your day-to-day eating habits. Here are some simple ways that can help you accomplish that.
“One of the best first steps you can
truly make to improve your diet is to
simply add more whole foods to your
day-to-day eating habits.”
Use a Food Journal
Keep a food journal to keep track of what you are eating, so that you know if you’ve really taken important steps towards better eating habits and consuming more whole foods. A food journal can help you see what, when and why you eat throughout the day. Be specific in quantities and ingredients of the food you consume and be honest. No one will read the journal but you. You can track everything in a notebook, a calendar or even use an app like Calorific or The Eatery. The act of writing down what you eat makes you accountable to yourself for what you consume.
Start Making Small Changes
Dramatically changing your lifestyle overnight may last for a few days, but it will quickly make you feel discouraged. It will also have negative effects on your body as it is used to consuming calories in an unhealthy way. You almost have to retrain your body to eat healthy. Make one change per week. Start by substituting a few meals a week with healthier options, choose a salad instead of a burger when eating out, or choose to eat-in. Choose plant based foods instead of meats. Substitute whole wheat for white wheat and use less sugar when baking.
Buy More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain many essential vitamins and minerals and even protein and fat, and are the primary thing that most people talk about when they say “whole foods”. The first thing that you can do to start eating more is to simply make them available to yourself. So next time you’re at the store, stock up!
Vegetables like kale and other green vegetables can lower cholesterol levels at a rapid rate. Some of the best vegetables for weight loss are broccoli, spinach, peppers, romaine lettuce, and brussel sprouts. A few of the best fruits for weight loss are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and watermelon. Buy ready-to-eat foods that are pre-washed and pre-cut to decrease prep time and to make them easier to consume.
Supplement with Exercise
In order to lose weight and be healthy, exercise and dieting is necessary. One does not effectively work without the other. Health professionals recommend exercising at least 30 minutes per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Pick up a hobby like biking, running, volleyball, or even vigorous house cleaning. Be careful that you don’t binge eat after exercising and consume more calories than you just worked off.
Have a Cheat Day
Pick one day a week, or three meals during the week to give yourself the opportunity to “cheat” on your diet. Cheat days will help you feel more satisfied, and help curb cravings. It can also help to reward positive behavior throughout the week. Be careful to make it more of a “reward” rather than a “splurge” as if you binge during cheat days or have cheat days too frequently, you can actually do more harm than good.
Drink More Water
Water has amazing health benefits. It aids in digestion, helps muscles effectively function, and help fight off diseases. Drinking water before a meal also greatly increases weight loss. You should drink 8-12 cups of water a day, and you should be drinking water at least every two hours. If drinking straight water is too much for you, add electrolyte-flavored packets to your water (avoid artificial sugars though, as they tend to increase weight gain). Although it is better to consume water straight, you can get your water from fruit intake or in soups. Avoid soda as the sugar, artificial sweeteners, and calories can cause weight gain.
Guest post by Alek Sabin
What are your favorite tips for adding more whole foods to your diet?
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