Stop Drinking Your Calories
Soda, juice, coffee with cream, flavored water, gatorade, powerade, energy drinks are all LOADED with SUGAR. If you've read my posts previously, then you know my feelings for sugar are about as fond as my feelings for girl friend's ex husband who left her for another woman. Sugar leads to many metabolic diseases and is the leading cause for rising obesity levels. It's time to break-up with sugar and leave it behind us just like ex-husband. This includes diet, no sugar drink labels as well... which substitute other cancer-causing carcinogens for sugar. If your goal is health, weight loss or maintenance then you need to think seriously about how important it is for you to have that soda.
Here are some healthier options I'd suggest drinking instead:
- Water infused with fruit, cucumbers, lemon, etc.
- Coffee (no cream or sugar)- limit to 3x per day
- Tea (unsweetened)
Be aware that coffee and tea should not take place of your water consumption. Water is an extremely important part of all metabolic processes going on inside your body! To ensure optimal functioning, try to drink 1/2 your weight in ounces per day! Let me know how you do!
Cut Out The Condiments
But what's the point of Steak without A1 sauce? Or fries without ketchup or ranch? Or salad without DRESSING?!?! Calories and more importantly, sugar, are hiding in so many condiments! I won't continue on my sugar hiatus, but I do hope by now you understand the importance of cutting it out. There are plenty of ways to "dress" foods up without smothering it in sugar.
Make a few changes at a time until you're comfortable eating your favorite foods without their destructive counterpart!
Make your own dressing at home. Substitute with lemon and herbs for flavoring. Give mustard a chance. Focus on delicious recipes that are boasting with flavor. Ketchup, ranch, A1, teriyaki sauce will all be a thing of the past! Head over to Recipes for more ideas!
Pay Attention To Macronutrients
What exactly are macronutrients? Simply put, they are nutrients that provide energy (calories). They are nutrients that the body needs in large amounts, hence, macro. They breakdown into three categories: Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats. You need all of these nutrients for optimal functioning. How much you need of each macronutrient depends largely on your activities and goals. For the average american (and what I strive for) a 40:30:30 ratio of Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins (respectively) is recommended.
Each macronutrient does different things for our body.
Our body's use carbohydrates for many functions.
- Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.
- Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
- All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
- Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
- Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
- Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.
Our body's rely on protein for:
- Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
- Tissue repair
- Immune function
- Making essential hormones and enzymes
- Energy when carbohydrate is not available
- Preserving lean muscle mass
Fats are more important than most people know or think:
- Normal growth and development
- Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
- Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
- Providing cushioning for the organs
- Maintaining cell membranes
- Building block to hormones
Ideally, you want to make sure your plate it filled with carbohydrate (mostly from non-starchy vegetables), protein and fats.
Example: Vegetable Omlette: Eggs (protein + fat), veggies (non-starchy carbohydrate) = perfect breakfast!
Example: Oatmeal with Blueberries: Oatmeal (carbohydrate), blueberries (carbohydrate) = high sugar breakfast!
Stop Counting Calories
This may seem contradicting but trust me on this one. Counting calories comes from fear of over eating and thus gaining weight. However, if you are eating a "clean" diet that consists of ample amounts of fresh vegetables, plenty of protein, adequate amounts of fats and limited carbohydrate, then you don't have to worry about over eating. Your body will use the nutrients you are giving it and there won't be extra macronutrients to store for later!
Also, simply eat when you are hungry and only eat until 80% full.. which leads us to the next topic!
Listen To Your Body
This one is quite simple.
- Eat when you're hungry.
- Drink when you think you might be hungry. If you're still hungry, then eat.
- Don't eat when you aren't hungry.
- Slow down while eating and ask yourself whether you're still hungry. If no, don't eat. If yes, do eat.
- Eat until 80% full (first you have to slow down in order to know what 80% full feels like).
- If you can go 6+ hours without food (without getting hungry), then you probably over ate at your last meal.
- Do you really NEED seconds?
You might think it is silly and ridiculous that I even put this section on here. However, sometimes you have to go back to the basics. And, everyone needs a little reminder every now and then :)