Keeping yourself motivated throughout the weight loss process is often times challenging.
Always remember why you want to lose weight, write it down, post it where you will see it,
read it when you want to quit. Never give up on something you think about every single day!
Knowing what to eat and how much to eat can get pretty complicated, especially when
you are trying to lose weight and feed a family. Here are some nutrition basics to help
you get started.
Trying to reduce belly fat? Pay attention to your carbohydrate intake and avoid artificial sweeteners. Sugary snacks and other refined carbs spike blood sugar and cause pounds to settle in your midsection. Choose whole grains, beans, and vegetables instead.
Good nutrition is a Marathon, not a sprint.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to change everything overnight. It took your entire life to adopt your current nutrition habits, expect it to take some time to change them. After two weeks of a consistent change, you have made it a habit. Pick two or three of the tips in LivingFit to start. Each week review how you have done and evaluate the areas that need improvement. You have this! One step at a time is all it takes.
Keep It Simple
With all the new diet trends that seem to spring up daily, it's not uncommon to be confused about what to eat. Most diets that promise optimal health and weight loss have their good points. But at the end of the day, all diets use a gimmick or trick to make you focus on how to change your eating habits to be healthier. They're each based on ideas like eating certain foods at a certain time or cutting out certain foods.
What works best is really very simple: eating real food, cutting out junk, sugar, and processed food, and eating sensible portions. If you look at the science of metabolism and weight, it says these basic things:
- We should stop the SAD diet (or Standard American Diet, which is heavy in processed foods, meat, dairy, flour, and sugar)
- We should eat more whole plant foods (veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains -- not whole grain flour)
Adopt the motto "after 8 is too late" for snacks after dinner.
Evenings tend to be a challenging time for most people to control unwanted calorie intake. We all know the pattern of a few chips or a ‘little’ bowl of ice cream while watching TV that often turns into a LOT of chips or a BIG bowl of ice cream.
Adopt the motto "after 8 is too late" for snacks after dinner. There is no magic to this other than you are cutting out the unwanted (and usually unhealthy) food that are typically eaten at that time.
Get plenty of sleep. Scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain.
That's the average number of calories Americans drink on a daily basis, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which showed that around 37 percent of our total daily liquid calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. So where are all of these calories coming from? Here is a sampling of the calories hiding in your cup.
Be aware as soda and fruit-flavored drinks can rack up to 250 calories per 12 ounces.
"Juice" drinks (flavored, sugar-sweetened juice)
These can rack up more calories per ounce than soda! Orange, grape and cranberry juice drinks have about 216 calories per 12 ounces. Always check the labels before filing up your glass.
Be it orange, apple, grape, pomegranate, cranberry or another flavor, can contribute calories to your diet. It’s great that all the sugar in fruit juice is natural and direct from the fruit, but unlike a whole piece of fruit, fruit juice is very concentrated in sugar, which makes it high in calories. Juice can also count as a serving of fruit if you’re getting about 6 ounces, but if you’re filling a big 24 ounce cup, you could be pouring about 320 calories of OJ with your breakfast.
If you’re worried about getting in your vitamins, grab a whole piece of fruit for a snack or add some berries or sliced fruit to your yogurt or cereal in the morning. Anytime you can eat fruit or vegetables rather than drinking them, you are way be better off.
Reduce ‘Empty Calorie’ Foods
Currently, many of the foods and beverages Americans eat and drink contain empty calories – calories from solid fats and/or added sugars. Solid fats and added sugars add calories to the food but few or no nutrients. For this reason, the calories from solid fats and added sugars in a food are often called empty calories.
In some foods, like most candies and sodas, all the calories are empty calories. Solid fats and added sugars can make a food or beverage more appealing, but they also can add a lot of calories. The foods and beverages that provide the most empty calories and should be limited are:
• Cakes, cookies, pastries, and donuts
(contain both solid fat and added sugars)
• Sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks
(contain added sugars)
• Cheese (contains solid fat)
• Pizza (contains solid fat)
• Ice cream (contains both solid fat and added sugars)
• Sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs
(contain solid fat)
The ‘Quick’ on Oats
Oatmeal takes very little time to cook; so buying instant oatmeal may not be the best investment of time or money. A serving of oatmeal is 1/2 cup dry. Generally, instant oatmeal packets give you about half of that.
Buy plain oats, add a cup of milk or water, and you can still get a very similar product to the instant packets, but cheaper and without additives.
If you have a sweet tooth and crave something sweet and crunchy with your oatmeal, top the cooked oatmeal with fresh fruit (grated apple, sliced bananas, or frozen berries) and nuts or seeds. You can also make refrigerator oatmeal, where you mix rolled oats with milk or yogurt and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning, enjoy this cold or warm, topped with fruits and nuts.
Veg up your meals!
It is easy to do this and it adds nutrients and color, improves taste, lowers the fat and even saves you money by making your meal go further.
Here are some ideas on how to ‘up the veggies’ in your meals:
• Add a side salad to foods like lasagna, pizza,
sandwiches or burgers
• Microwave frozen vegetables as a side
• Grate vegetables into main dishes or pasta sauce
• Add broccoli or cauliflower to pasta dishes
• Make vegetable soup
• Use leftover vegetables in foods like omelets and quiches
• Add a handful of greens to your smoothie
• Add a can of beans or lentils to main dishes
Watching Cals IN and Cals OUT
Sorry folks, there are no magic pills, no magic diets, and no ab blasters will help you and your body lose fat. It's hard to accept sometimes isn't it?
Fat loss is about the ratio of calories in vs. calories out. Plain and simple. But what most magazines and infomercials do not tell us is that in order to achieve our fitness goals the ratio is actually 70% nutrition and 30 % exercise. But that does not mean starve yourself and do as little exercise as possible. It means eat sensibly, have 5-6 smaller meals per day to balance the blood sugars, that will also keep the metabolism charged, and exercise on a regular basis, which should include strength training to maintain and develop lean muscle mass. This too helps boost your metabolism.
Once you know your Calories IN number…
Be careful when reading nutrition labels to check how many servings are in a package. Sometimes it looks like a package would be one serving, but it ends up being two or more servings. If there are two servings in a package and you eat the whole thing, you need to double the calories and fiber listed on the wrapper when you do your food logging.
Know your diet pitfalls
To improve your eating habits, you first have to know what's wrong with them. Write down everything you eat for three days. Then look for any patterns or ‘triggers’ that may have sparked eating too much or eating foods you want to cut down on. Do you add a lot of butter, creamy sauces or salad dressings? Rather than eliminating these foods, just cut back your portions. Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables? If not, you may be missing out on vital nutrients.
Remember, foods are not good or bad. Select foods based on your total eating patterns, not whether any individual food is "good" or "bad” in your mind. Don't feel guilty if you love foods such as apple pie, potato chips, candy bars or ice cream. Eat them in moderation, and choose other foods to provide the balance and variety that are vital to good health and weight management.
Healthy eating is about more than the food on your plate—it is also about how you think about food. Healthy eating habits can be learned and it is important to slow down and think about food as nourishment rather than just something to gulp down in between meetings or on the way to pick up the kids.
• Eat with others whenever possible. Eating with other people has numerous social and emotional benefits—particularly for children—and allows you to model healthy eating habits. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating.
• Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes. Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of our food. Reconnect with the joy of eating.
• Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
Grocery stores are designed to keep you in the store as long as possible. All 'essential' items (milk, bread, produce) are located on the extreme corners of the store, so you have to pass by lots of other tempting merchandise even if you're just running in for a quart of milk. The most expensive products are placed at eye level (except for kid's products, which are placed at their eye level). Products on display at the end of aisles are usually not on sale or a special buy. Once you know these details you can plan your shopping list according to store layout, and save time and money by avoiding impulse buys.
Choose a Healthy Snack to Nibble
Instead of eating fruit with your meal, snack on an apple while preparing dinner. That way you will not be tempted to nibble on unhealthful choices.
Drink more water
Make it your goal to drink more water throughout the day. Not only will you feel more energetic but also you will tend to drink a lot less of sweetened, higher calorie drinks. So, skip the soda in favor of water. It saves money and calories. Why pay for sugar and water?
Avoid crash diets.
They are bad for health and most often, you will end-up regaining what you have lost once you stop the diet. Crash diets are not a solution to weight loss. It might seem as if you have lost a few pounds but the moment you give up on the crash diet every thing will bounce back
with a vengeance.
Lighten the Foods You Already Love
One of the easiest ways to cut back without feeling denied is to switch to lower-calorie versions of the foods you crave. A pizza tastes just as good with reduced-fat cheese, and when you garnish low-fat ice cream with your favorite toppers, who notices those missing calories?
And while you're trimming fat calories, keep an eye on boosting fiber. It helps you feel satisfied longer, so while you lighten family favorites, you can easily amp up the fiber by adding a cup of whole wheat flour to your pizza dough, or toss a handful of red bell peppers on the pie.
Don't forget to lighten the drinks going with that meal. Try switching from high-calorie favorites to diet soda or light beer.
Hate low-cal drinks? Mix your preferred drinks with a splash of the low-cal option, and then increase the ratio as your taste buds adjust. And don't forget to keep pouring that ultimate beverage: water!
Eat breakfast every day.
People who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat later in the day. Breakfast also gives you energy and helps you think and learn.
Drink Fewer Calories
Drinking beverages such as soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, alcohol, specialty coffees and teas can add up to many "empty calories". Nutritionally speaking, these calories contribute little more nutrition to our diets except for plain, old calories. This means that it can account for putting on weight. Many times drinking extra calories is not compensated for by consuming fewer calories from other foods.
Since it is important to drink fluids throughout the day, select them wisely. Drink skim milk, fruit juices and just plain, old water.
Why is healthy eating important?
Calories IN plays a very big role in our overall health. If we over-consume calories, we will gain weight. If we consume the wrong types of foods based on our genetics, we may be at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Therefore, it is extremely important that we pay attention to the types of foods we eat AND the amount of food we take IN. Research shows that people who exercise and lose 5% to 10% of their body weight can cut their risk of diabetes by nearly 60%.
Why are activities important?
Calories OUT are important for multiple reasons. The #1 reason to be active is to keep your heart healthy. When we move, we increase the blood flow in our body and help the heart become more efficient. This will help us live a longer more productive life. This program will help you find the right balance of
The #2 reason for increasing activity is so we can keep a healthy weight. When we are active, we burn calories. The balance of calories IN vs. calories OUT is how we will maintain or lose weight. The more activities we do, and the higher intensity we can do them, the more calories we burn.
Calories IN and Calories OUT based on your specific goal.
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To lose 1 pound of body fat per week, you need to burn 3500 calories.
If we break it down, you will need to CUT OUT or BURN an extra
500 calories per day.
Identify foods/food combos AND activities that equal 500 calories.
Multipy these times 7 for the week and you’ve lost one pound!
Here are some high calorie foods to be aware of and/or cut out to get your 500 calorie deficit for the day
Large French Fries
Pizza Hut Breadstick
Slice Pepperoni Pizza
Grande Mocha Frappucino
88 cals/ Tbsp
90 cals/1 can
224 cals/16 oz
Activity examples equivalent to burning 500 calories in one hour
Pull ups / Push ups
Stair Step Machine