When it comes to improving your eating habits, the first thing to do is to take a look at what your current habits look like.
As I mentioned earlier you’ll need to use your daily log to keep exact track of all the food that enters your mouth.
If you’re already eating reasonably well but want to take things the extra mile then you most likely won’t need to make too many drastic changes.
If you’re in the high carb and soda (yes even diet soda) category, it’s probably not going to be such a good idea to immediately make dramatic changes. If you try to go from eating large amounts of fat storing foods to suddenly eating a strict regimen of chicken breasts and broccoli, you’ll drive yourself crazy with cravings after a few days. This will make sticking to your diet and living a happy life almost impossible.
Making small adjustments to your eating routine is the best way to see long term results without depriving yourself.
The key is to make small changes; baby steps. Just like we’ve talked about in the precious chapters.
As the old adage goes, if you go on a diet you’re eventually going to have to come off of it, which is where a lot of dieters end up regaining the weight they’ve lost, and then some.
If you’re in this for the long-haul and want to make long-term improvements to your health, then begin by implementing small changes. Try buying wholegrain or Ezekiel bread instead of white, or swapping out the soda in your refrigerator in favor of water with a lemon. You can even add fruits to your water just as you would with a lemon.
Avoid fruit juices because they have been stripped of their fiber, meaning you’re drinking sugar water. The food industry is very clever by tricking everyone into thinking it’s healthy but in reality it’s not.
Eating too much sugar from fruit juices and sugary foods can lead to arterial scarring and heart disease.
Eliminating “Bad” Foods
The easiest way to eliminate the unhealthy foods from your diet is to replace them with healthy alternatives.
Remember, fill your stomach with lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and healthy fats, and you’ll propel your body into fat burning mode. Not to mention a reduced appetite for unhealthy and heavily processed carbohydrates.
Tips To Help You Clean Up Your Diet:
In the Supermarket
When you walk into most major supermarkets, the first thing you usually see is the fresh produce; fruits, vegetables, and fresh meats all sitting there in abundance.
The vast majority of your shopping cart should contain items from this part of the store, and by avoiding the inner isles of the store. You’ll be able to avoid the candy, soda, baked goods, and so on by staying on the perimeter.
In the Kitchen
If you’ve managed to avoid the ‘danger zones’ in the supermarket, your kitchen will be stocked with healthy foods, rather than their not-so-healthy counterparts.
Remember, if you’ve got junk food in your house, you’re eventually going to eat it, so avoid the temptation and just don’t buy it. Out of sight equals out of mind!
If you’re truly dedicated you could throw away any old or processed foods that you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. You’d be surprised how much food has probably expired anyway if you haven’t used it in a while.
At the Dinner Table
As previously mentioned, fill your stomach with green fibrous vegetables and you’ll feel much fuller due to the fiber and water content.
A meal comprising of lean protein, plenty of fiber, and a sensible amount of healthy fats will be digested at a slow and steady rate, keeping you fuller for longer and eliminating the cravings that can result from sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels.
Incorporating “Good” Foods
The best way to add increasing amounts of healthy foods to your diet is to think about how your meals are going to be structured.
Protein should form the basis of every meal as it has a higher thermic effect, meaning that your body needs to burn more calories to digest protein than it does to digest fats and carbohydrates. Furthermore, protein is very satiating and also slows digestion, meaning you will feel fuller for longer between meals.
Next comes vegetables; items such as leafy greens, broccoli, and asparagus. These foods are very high in fiber and contain essential vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients that your body thrives on. Again, vegetables will help to fill you up and you can eat as many as you like because many green vegetables actually require the body to burn just as many calories to digest them as they provide to the body.
Ensure that you’re eating meals consisting of protein, vegetables, and fat, as this will help to improve your insulin sensitivity and keep your blood sugar levels more stable.
There are countless dietary approaches being touted these days, and the topic of meal frequency is definitely a hot one.
Some people subscribe to the school of thought that eating once or twice a day is best while others have gone the opposite way, eating as much as eight or nine times in a day.
The best approach to take based on our client’s success has been eating 3 meals per day while incorporating a snack sometime during the day. Eating a balanced meal every 3 and a half hours will keep your metabolic rate elevated as well as keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
Furthermore, including a complete protein source in each meal will help to keep your blood amino acid levels steady, keeping stress hormones like cortisol suppressed.
This approach creates an environment in your body that favors shuttling nutrients to your muscle tissues rather than your fat cells, producing a leaner and more toned body.
Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Having set goals is fantastic but if you don’t have a plan you can stick to then you will be destined to fail.
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to take the time to write down a daily or weekly eating plan so you know exactly which foods you’re eating, how much you’re going to eat, and when you’re going to eat.
In the early stages you may not want to be so meticulous and fuss over the details, but as you learn more about how your body responds to various foods, you will be able to tweak certain areas of your diet. Click Here To Download and use the Daily Log.
Tips To Help You Meal Plan:
Go To Food
Having a small selection of go to items that form the foundation of your diet will make things a lot easier for you. This will provide consistency in your meal planning.
A varied diet is vital to ensuring your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, but having some staple foods such as chicken, salmon, grass-fed beef, extra virgin olive oil, and a selection of green vegetables will help you to keep things nice and simple.
When I look at the meals I’m eating every week, I’m only eating around 14 different meals. All my meals are usually the same and consistent. I like to keep things simple and you should have a process similar to mine.
The things I eat frequently include turkey chili, grass fed burgers, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, chicken quesadillas on Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas, chicken pesto, protein power smoothies, including a few other meals.
On the Go
If you know you’re going to be out for the day, or perhaps at work all day, pack your meals in individual containers and take them with you.
Not everyone wants to live out of tupperware containers every day and this can be a big commitment to make if you want to be consistent, so again, this can be part of your ‘baby steps’ approach to implementing gradual changes over time.
Cook in Bulk
This tip is a lifesaver, not to mention a time saver. If you’re eating several times a day, cooking can quickly become a massive chore and an even bigger drain on your time.
Having go to foods in your diet means you can cook them in bulk to last you over the coming few days. Not cooking in bulk forces you to have to cook multiple times a day which can get very demanding.
Just cook up your proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrate foods such as wild rice, and refrigerate them in air-tight containers.
Something that I like to do is make a double batch of turkey or vegetable chili and save the leftovers so I can just heat them up for breakfast, lunch, or dinner the next day.
Drink More Water!
No matter how much water you’re currently drinking, you could probably do with a little more.
Pretty much every bodily function requires water to run optimally, from detoxifying your liver, to keeping your skin clear and flushing out your fat cells, so it makes sense to drink plenty of fluids.
There are many contrasting recommendations when it comes to how much water you should drink each day, but a good way of telling if you’re adequately hydrated is to look at the color of your urine.
If you are sufficiently hydrated, your urine will either be clear or have a pale straw-like tint to it. Generally speaking, the darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are.
This obviously isn’t the most glamorous way of doing things but it will help you to build a rough understanding of how much water is right for you.
Also, ensure that your water intake is spread fairly evenly throughout the day. If you wake up at 7am, do not let it get to noon before realizing you’ve hardly had a drop all morning. Guzzling down all your water at once will not yield the same benefits either.
Typically when clients ask me how much water they should be drinking I tell them they should aim for half their body weight in ounces to keep their body hydrated.
Any one of these tweaks I’ve laid out in this chapter can be simple changes that you can incorporate. There is plenty to improve on but in time you’ll be able to accomplish all of your goals by slowing adding 1 change at a time!