Getting fit and losing body fat is a hard task, but if you make several minor adjustments to your diet, those simple little changes can add up to a big number of lost pounds. Below are some simple changes that can help you arrive at your weight loss goal faster.
Sugar Hides Out Where You Would Never Think To Look
Breakfast cereals, fruit flavored yogurt, flavored oatmeal and fruit bars can be loaded with sugar. You may think you are being healthy by eating some breakfast cereal, drinking juice, or having a fruit-flavored yogurt, but these food items can be loaded with sugar. Starting your day with a meal that is loaded with sugar may bring on the cravings for even more sugar later on in the day. I should also mention that even the “healthy” smoothies that we order with the thought that we are making the better choice, are loaded with sugar. Always be careful and read the labels or look up the nutritional values online before you head out to enjoy your favorite smoothy. Most places will list, at the very least, the calorie amount. Think ahead and do your research. You could easily be getting 20 teaspoons of sugar each day and not even know it.
Cut Out Fast Food
Even items like salads are loaded with salt and fat and some of the other so called moderate-calorie items have more than five times the amount of trans fats, the worst kind of fat for your heart. Fast food is also loaded with sodium, another thing we should avoid high amounts of. And the preservatives? Even the healthy items at fast food places aren’t really healthy. A salad can easily have 1,200 calories in it. This always shocks me. If you make a salad at home, you may get up to 500 calories, granted you fill your salad bowl with healthy produce that has not been messed with in a factory. But in some of these restaurants I have seen caloric values over 1,200! It makes me wonder if they are soaking the greens in lard. I don’t understand what they could have done to make produce and maybe a chicken breast equal over 1,200 calories. INSANE!
Frozen meals are really convenient but are loaded with salt and sometimes even deadly trans fats. So go for fresh. They also are loaded with preservatives. Preservatives are foreign chemicals to our natural system. Our system may not know how to metabolize these chemicals. This confusion can throw your system off. There is an easy way to decipher whether something is healthy to ingest? If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
Salad Dressings and Sides
You may be think that you are being healthy by making a salad and picking your favorite dressing, not even knowing that the dressing you have chosen can have anywhere from 25-30 grams of fat in it. Assuming you eat anywhere from 3-5 salads a week, you are taking in the equivalent of a stick butter in terms of calories. This amounts to over 52 sticks per year. Consuming fat at that level not only increases your risk for heart disease and higher levels of cholesterol, it can also add an easy 15 pounds to your waistline in a year. Read the labels. Go for the lower fat dressing that does not have a long list of ingredients and preservatives you cannot pronounce. Pick the simple dressing, and maybe put your dressing in a mist bottle. Misting your salad with dressing will cut down on the amount you use.
Skip The Mayo and Cheese
These two items may not seem like they can make that much of a difference, but just one tablespoon of mayonnaise along with a slice of cheese and eating this four times a week can add up to 10 pounds a year in weight gain. Reach for the mustard, or even hummus if you want to add flavor to your sandwich.
Nuts used to be considered a “no-no” on the diet list, but they are a great food to include if you are trying to lose weight and get healthy. They can help you lose weight, reduce cholesterol and reduce your risk of diabetes. Just make sure to keep portions under control. The fact that they are bite size can be a disadvantage. You could easily eat more than your body needs. A small handful at a time is good enough, and for some nuts that are higher in fat, that can still be too much. Look up the nutritional values of the nuts you are adding into your diet. For example 1 ounce of almonds (about 23 pieces) totals approximately 162 calories and 14 grams of fat. If you are trying to watch your calorie intake, you may not want to over indulge on almonds. Only 10 almonds totals about 60 calories, and 5 grams of fat. That is enough for a small snack and just enough to take the edge off of biting hunger.
Fiber is great for dieters because it fills you up with fewer calories. In addition, it can decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes, so increase your fiber intake with foods like whole-grain bread, oatmeal, beans, lentils, quinoa, and sweet potatoes (just to name a few). Increase your fiber intake gradually if your current diet is on the low end. Increasing your fiber intake too quickly can cause adverse reactions, like constipation, diarrhea and bloating. Aim for a minimum of 25 grams. 35 to 40 grams is a better number, but remember, get to that number slowly.
Eat Low-Fat Protein
Low-fat protein is a must for a healthy diet for several reasons. It controls hunger better than carbohydrates or fat. It can help keep blood sugar levels stable when combined with carbs. Balancing your sugar levels will help with your energy. Also, protein takes more calories to digest, thus increasing your metabolism slightly. Also, the fat burning hormone glucagon, the opposing hormone to insulin, is produced and circulates when you feed yourself small amounts of protein throughout the day. Manipulating your system to produce more circulation of this hormone through your bloodstream can increase fat loss.
Skip Your Cocktails and Latte
Eliminating just these two drinks from your diet can shave off at least 250 calories a day from your diet. This simple change can help you lose (or not gain) as much as 26 pounds a year. If you have a weight loss goal in mind, you really want to skip these drinks. They have zero nutritional value and are just a waste of calories.
All of these simple nutritional adjustments are not that hard and may make your goal of eating a healthier diet attainable. Sometimes if we break things down into little steps, as a whole, these steps add up to major leaps. It takes determination and discipline to achieve complete fitness and maintain a healthy lifestyle but if you start with just a few small steps, then the change is gradual and not so overwhelming.