A good workout plan and a well-balanced diet is all you need to relish a healthy life. There are tons of benefits of exercises despite age, gender or physical ability- it will boost your energy, help you control weight, combats health maladies, promotes better sleep, and thanks to the endorphins it releases which are also called “feel good “chemical and serve as a pain reliever and happiness booster. There are tons of them and we can’t snub them. Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better, boost your health and have fun. Even a small amount of physical activity can improve your health significantly and help you achieve your body goals. But, a bad diet can ruin all your efforts and will bring you straight to the starting point. Let’s check how can you build healthy eating habits?
Anyone can workout for an hour in a gym every day but if a person is not careful about what he is putting inside the body for the rest of 23 hours, then all that hard work goes in vain. So, you have to be conscious of what you’re eating throughout the day and how well you plan your meals. Thousands of diet plans are available online and you can easily access them. But, if you can’t follow them for the rest of your life, there’s no use.
Most of the people around the globe who are trying to lose weight to fit into their favorite dress or for that special occasion go for the fad diets for quick results. No doubt, those diet plans will help you achieve your body goals, but how sustainable they are. So, any transformation needs a sustainable diet plan and making small shifts daily will help you get your dream body and maintain it as well.
The key to a healthy diet is to devour the right amount of calories and balance the energy consumed and utilized. If you eat or drink more than what your body needs, you’ll gain weight because that extra energy will be stored as fat and if you consume less than you require, you lose weight.Sounds good, right? But you’ll need a little time to master the art of picking the right food and balancing the quantity and quality as well.
Add a wide range of food to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet and your body is acquiring all the nutrients it demands.
Start your journey to a healthy lifestyle with baby steps and don’t forget to praise yourself on taking those little-little steps. These small moves will create a tremendous difference.
BUILD HEALTHY EATING HABITS:
- EAT REAL,STAY REAL:
Swap the processed food with whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. They are rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and all sorts of essential micronutrients.Whereas processed food is directly opposite of whole food, as they have been modified from their natural state. Most processed items have lost some fiber and essential nutrients and gained sugar, chemicals, and harmful ingredients. They can result in inflammation and can cause many health problems.
So, avoid them at any cost because of their preservatives and lack of nutrients. Whole foods can nourish your body adequately. High fruit and vegetable intake lower the risk of heart disease and various health problems. Make your salads colorful, and add at least three different vegetables in addition to your greens. Make your desserts a lot healthier by adding your favorite fruits or nuts(to get some healthy fat). Get rid of all the “bad” carbs because they are low in nutrients and fiber and can make your cravings worse.
- SPEND MORE TIME IN GROCERY SHOPPING:
Read the nutrition labels at the back and see what it has to offer. Don’t get fooled by front claims, they can fool you easily(Marketing Industry plays that game very well). It’s important to know your food and make sure that they are free from preservatives, added sugar, or unhealthy fats. If the ingredient list sounds too complicated, drop it there. And, calories are not everything, it’s the nutrients that count.All calories are not designed equally– it is the quality of the calorie that has the most impact on health, not necessarily the quantity. Reading the nutrition label correctly can help you decide whether that product needs a place on your shelf or trash. You’ll need a little time to master the art of reading them and choosing the right one. Check the link to know more about nutrition labels and how to decode them effortlessly.
- STAY HYDRATED:
Water is the healthiest beverage you can drink and will help you achieve a healthy body, healthy skin, better digestion, higher metabolism, more energy, and a good mood. Water is one of the purest drink you can ever have, which is free from sugars, additives, artificial sweeteners, and other questionable ingredients. Whereas, sugary drinks or fruit juices are linked to various health problems because of their high sugar content. Try to swap them with water and fruits that are rich in water. Eating fruit as a whole is a much better pick over those sugary fruit drinks. Limit alcohol consumption because it is linked to serious health problems and should be shunned at any cost while practicing healthy eating. Alcohol can harm gains. Limit the consumption of alcohol and sip more water.
- GO NUTS FOR NUTS:
They are truly nutrition bombs and are packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They have everything that a healthy food demands. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds are also a nutritional powerhouse. All three of them are an outstanding source of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium, zinc, and magnesium. You can have them anyway you want and they are super easy to carry. Sprinkle them on your favorite dessert or cereal. Grab a handful of them to fight those hunger pangs instead of a sugar bomb(candy).
- KEEP HEALTHY FOOD READILY AVAILABLE:
When you get hungry, you’re more likely to eat anything you see, so plan your snacks beforehand. Keep healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, etc at eye level in your pantry. Your fridge should be filled with cooked whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Stock quick bites like almonds, pistachios and dried berries in a jar and place it on your desk, to avoid munching junk. Anything which is out of sight is out of mind.
- EXTRA IS NOT ALWAYS GOOD:
Added sugar is very common and even found in foods that are not particularly sweet like sauces and condiments. Most of us just can’t imagine french fries without ketchup. Condiments and spreads add that much-needed punch to many dishes, and you can’t snub the flavor it gives to your favorite dishes. But those minute additions aren’t going to do you any favors. Read the labels carefully and compare the products to make better choices. Pick products with the least added sugar. Shop smart and simply don’t go behind anything with false front claims.
- FATS LAST LONGER THAN FLAVOR:
Eating fats won’t make you fat, bad picks make you gain those extra pounds. Fats undoubtedly enhance the flavor of food but a surplus of it will add to those tyres(which none of us wants). Saturated and trans fats can inflate your bad cholesterol level and doubles the risk of heart diseases. But, you need some fat and trying to completely eliminate it from your diet has many other consequences. Swap those unhealthy fats with healthy ones like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados that essential for energy and cell growth. To add more good fats to your diet, snack on almonds instead of chips, cook with olive oil instead of butter and coat your sandwich with a slice of avocado instead of cheese. Add some fish (like salmon) that are high in good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids.
These are some dietary shifts you can make to start relishing a healthier life. These small changes every day will bring you a step closer to your body goals and give you sustainable results, unlike popular fad diets.
Moderation is the key! and you can’t blame your food if you’re not conscious about how much you’re eating. Quality over quantity is right but overindulgence of anything good or bad can put you into trouble. Here, self-discipline will help you and this will develop with lots of practice. You will need some time to master this. The following are some steps to master the art of self-discipline and mindful eating.
- KEEP YOUR MIND AND BODY IN SYNC:
Keeping them in sync can do lots of good to your body and will also help you prevent those hunger pangs. Eating rapidly past full and ignoring signs of fullness results in overeating. Slowing down can help them to get in sync and hear the signals to eat the right amount. So, give your body a chance to catch up with your brain. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and sit down while eating. Take small bites because it is easier to savor food when the mouth isn’t full. Live by the “Hara Hachi Bu” rule which guides to eat till you’re 80% full and this Japanese phrase renders to “Eat until you are eight parts (out of ten) full” or “belly 80 percent full”.
- DISCONNECT TO CONNECT:
Disconnect to connect more deeply with your food. Small activities like scrolling your Instagram feed, watching your favorite Netflix series, or even working on the screen to meet the deadline can distract yourself while dining. Appreciate your food and be grateful for the opportunity to relish delicious food. To be mindful is to be at present at the moment and you can’t do that while scrolling or browsing. Everything can pause for some time even that important call which you’re expecting or the deadline you have to meet. Respect your food and the role it plays to keep you going.
- BRING ALL YOUR SENSES ONBOARD:
When you’re cooking, serving or eating, pay attention to its color, texture, and aroma. Don’t just rely on taste, there’s much more than that. Give all your attention to the food and practicing this technique will help you enjoy it. Engaging all the six senses increases your pleasure of what you may once have perceived as “boring” health foods.
- WATER FIRST:
Your irresistible hunger pangs are thirst(maybe not always but mostly).There’s a thin line between hunger and thirst, and being able to tell that can make a huge difference in your diet. You’ll avoid those extra calories if you can make out the difference between them. So, when you feel those hunger pangs, sip some water and wait for 15 minutes. If it was thirst, you’ll no longer have those hunger pangs, but if it stays then grab something healthy. Keep yourself hydrated, it helps curb cravings, keeps you alert, and helps digestion as well.
- DON’T SKIP MEALS:
Skipping meals is a big no while practicing mindful eating.When the hunger strikes, we are likely to grab anything we see at first be it from a vending machine or your favorite restaurant. Grazing from one food to another.A few bites of this and that, without sitting for a full meal can also work against your body-goals. Because bites from plates of others also count. So, allow yourself to make mindful choices throughout the day and plan your meals with healthy snacks in between if you wish to. Skipping the meals will increases the probability of you choosing unhealthy food.
The size and color of the plate can have a great impact on your diet as well. Eating white sauce pasta on a white plate will lead to overindulgence. People eat more cramped when there’s a greater color contrast between food and plate and this will help you keep the portions in control. Moderation is an imperative element of mindful eating. Eating in a small dinner plate, no larger than 9 inches across, and filling it only once can help you eat more moderately.
- There are many blunders like equating healthy eating with expensive bland food and going crazy about unsustainable fad diets to get those abs, there are many other factors that make healthy eating a complex affair, even when it is not. Healthy foods are a perfect blend of flavor and nutrition.
- Weight loss shouldn’t be the only goal. Aim to build new eating habits that can be sustained for a lifetime. Take baby steps and make new diet changes every week. Stock up your cupboard and refrigerator with healthy food. You don’t eat what you can’t see. So, keep that junk out of your sight to keep it out of your mind.
- Don’t just aim to fit into those jeans, aim to build healthy sustainable habits every day. Slow and steady wins the race, this goes well with losing weight also. Losing weight fast can result in different health problems. Set realistic goals and don’t forget to reward yourself on reaching those mini goals in between. It will take some time to learn something new so, learn to embrace those slip-ups and keep going. Don’t be harsh on yourself, you’re doing great.
- Implement the Pareto Principle. This 80/20 rule can be applied almost everywhere like goal setting and diet. Restricting too many food classes in your diet will eventually build an unhealthy relationship with food and you might lose the motivation to eat healthily. This is not any weight-loss mantra, it’s an approach to eat healthily in balance, moderation and indulging without guilt. You don’t have to leave your favorite chocolate brownie to lose weight or eat healthily. Forget about eating 100% healthy whole day and make 80% healthy choices and rest 20%, you can keep for your favorites and indulge guilt-free. Keep some space from your daily calorie intake to indulge guilt-free.
- Don’t stick to the couch and get moving. Eating healthy food and keeping the calories in check will help you achieve your body goals but, getting a regular physical activity is a must. Try to include at least an hour of physical activity and keep your fitness first thing in the morning if you fear missing it out. A road to a healthy lifestyle will have some ups and downs, fight them with a good diet plan, workout routine, and a positive mindset.