Quick Diet Tweaks You Can Make in Minutes
Let’s start with the word ‘diet’ it conjures up so many negative meanings so I am going to attempt to write about food intake whilst not using the ‘D’ bomb again! Let's leave that word in the title and move on!
I find it fascinating when I meet a new client and we talk about food, we discuss what they believe to be healthy foods and what are not.
It often strikes me how widely we have been brainwashed by the food industry’s interpretation of what is healthy and what is not that we have all lost sight of what is actually FOOD and what we should be putting in our mouths.
Lets face it most of us only pay attention to what we eat for one reason – when we want to loose weight. The rest of the time we eat whatever takes our fancy.
How many of you actually pay close attention to your food intake on a daily basis? The rise of the fitness app and trackers has helped us to log our food but are we only interested in calories?
There is so much more to nutrition and looking good than just calories in and calories out so I thought I would explore some quick tweaks you can make right now. Some things you can actually change so that food becomes enjoyable and not a minefield every day!
There is just one rule though, all these tips stick closely to it. It’s a rule a very wise health guru is always reminding me…..JUST EAT REAL FOOD!
1. Eat Breakfast Every Day
One habit that's common to many people who have trimmed down and maintained their new figure is eating breakfast every day. Many people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but studies show that they usually end up eating more throughout the day.Go for something with a good protein content like eggs or full fat natural yoghurt this will help you feel fuller longer.
2. Drink more water
Often our bodies are so used to functioning without enough water we are less able to identify the difference between hunger and thirst. Drinking at least 8 glasses each day will help you regulate this and if you feel hungry you will know you need food not hydration.
3. Increase the balance of vegetables on your plate
Making at least half of your plate full of vegetables can mean that you don’t necessarily have to change what you are eating for dinner, just reduce the amount of carbohydrate (potatoes, rice, pasta) and replace it with more vegetables. The extra fibre will help you feel fuller and do more to keep your body functioning at its best, which in turn also helps it to shed those extra pounds.
4. Eat protein at every meal
Protein such as eggs, fish, meat, pulses and poultry will help you feel fuller for longer and will also make sure that carbohydrates and sugar get into your blood stream slower. Many studies have shown that making this small tweak can really help your nutritional efforts. Again you don’t have to change what you eat just make sure most of your plate is made up of vegetables a palm sized portion of protein and a small amount of carbohydrates.
5. Plan and shop ahead
Making sure you have the food in your fridge to prepare healthy meals is the first step in preventing you from reaching for an unhealthier alternative. Keeping healthy snacks with you at all times can also prevent reaching for a chocolate bar on the run when there is no alternative. I almost always have a Nakd bar in my bag for emergencies like this!
6. Avoid heavily processed food
Those microwave meals (especially the ones that claim to be ‘low fat’) contain high levels of salt and sugar which is really bad for your nutritional efforts. If the list of ingredients is long or includes lots of things that you can’t pronounce, try to stay away from it. Instead, make healthy homemade versions of your favourites, to save time you can make extra portions and freeze so you have quick meals to hand when you need them.
7. Reduce your sugar intake
Sugar has a really negative impact on hormone levels and if eaten in excess can inhibit how well your body functions and how well it is able to manage the storage of fat. The best way to avoid added sugar is to reduce processed foods like cereals, baked goods, fizzy drinks, even some yoghurts and low fat products which have extra added sugar. Instead choose good quality full fat natural yoghurt and add a tiny bit of honey if you need some sweetness!
8. Eat slowly
Ok I accept that this one isn’t necessarily a quick tip! It is however one quick easy change you can make right now! Whenever possible stop and eat slowly, your body will learn to recognise when it is full, you should also chew slowly so that your stomach is ready for the food that is coming, it’s an important part of the digestion process. Relax and enjoy, remember that it takes 15 – 20 minutes for your brain to register when you are full so take your time.
9. Eat plenty of good fats
Fats like coconut oil, avocado and small handfuls of nuts are what your body needs to function optimally and therefore to let go of the fat it’s hanging onto.
10. Follow the 80/20 rule
One of the main things that halts progress when we are trying to eat well is our mind telling us that one chocolate bar or packet of crisps is game over. One bad choice snowballs into a full week of bad choices. Be kind to yourself, allow 20% to simply eat what you want and feel good that the other 80% has been amazing. Focus on that instead of feeling guilty.
So there you have it, some really quick, easy tweaks, try just one at a time. Pick the one that has resonated with you the most and focus on that, then once mastered you can move onto the next.
Who needs diets anyway!!
p.s. Did you notice I also avoided the words lose weight too! Check out my blog on why you should ditch the scales if you want to know why!