People are constantly talking about dieting. What should I eat? How much should I eat? How do I keep it up? The list of questions seems endless. But dieting is one of the more complex parts of a healthy lifestyle, and it can be intimidating to figure everything out on your own. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
The first thing you need to start working on is your mindset. The term dieting usually comes with negative connotations. You’ve probably frequently heard a friend say “I’m starting this new diet”, “I hate my diet”, or “I would, but I’m dieting”. This is a negative mindset and won’t help you keep going.
Instead of looking at it as a diet, think of it as more of a lifestyle change. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference you’ll feel if you’re eating the right foods. This isn’t a negative diet, it’s a positive change to your life that’ll get you closer to your goals. You’re trying to treat your body the way it deserves — and that’s a huge step.
Start simple. It’s a bit extreme to go from eating only sugary foods to salad for every meal. What’s more, that’s hard to maintain. If you’re struggling with a strict food program, try to just cut out just one or two things. Start with small goals, such as no soda for a week. See how it goes, then take out another unhealthy food. Continue cutting back on foods that aren’t helping your fitness goals.
Remember though, you don’t have to completely stop eating the foods you love. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t have a bowl of ice cream once in a while. It’s all about moderation. Don’t go eating an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting, but you should be able to eat a regular sized portion without it having a huge effect on your weight.
The amount you eat matters, but you shouldn’t starve yourself. Never start a diet program that recommends eating less than 1500 calories a day. Our bodies need a number of calories to function and survive, so eating less than that number will leave you feeling sluggish and hangry. That’s no fun for anyone, and it won’t help your motivation to keep going. Our bodies must be in a caloric deficit to lose weight. In other words, the amount of calories you take in (by eating or drinking) needs to be less than the amount of calories you burn (through exercise and daily functions). Because everyone’s body is different, it’s hard to get an exact number to follow. However, there are Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculators available online that can inform you how many calories your body needs to function. From there, set your intake for the day approximately 300–500 calories higher. Include a workout in there and you’ll be in the perfect range to burn fat without feeling terrible.
When it comes to eating habits, you’ll have to use a little self control. Remember, being in a caloric deficit is the most important thing. For example, if you only ate cheeseburgers but stayed within your calorie limit, you’d still lose weight (but that’s not a healthy way to do it!).
On the other hand, there are foods that cause the body to bloat, making it look like you’ve gained weight. While it’s actually only water retention, do you really want to appear bigger if you’re trying to slim down? Let’s keep it simple. Avoid the following foods:
-Refined carbs (such as bread)
-Lard and oily processed foods (like margarine)
-Processed meats (including fast food)
Start incorporating these foods into your meal plans:
-Fatty meats (including fish)
Slowly reduce your intake of products on the first list and eat more of what’s on the second list. Making small adjustments to your diet like this will not only help you lose weight, but will also make you feel more energized and fuller for longer! It’s a long process, but we all start somewhere. Good luck!
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
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