As the New Year approaches, lots of people will be making resolutions to lose weight and get in shape.
But, how many times have you started a diet only to end up feeling defeated and unable to achieve your goals? Rest assured that you can reach the desired outcome if you’re willing to be consistent.
There are several simple and inexpensive ways to find a healthier you, and here are some steps to help get you started.
Don’t Call It a Diet
It’s common to hear someone say “I have to go on a diet” and the phrase is typically followed by the sound of a deep sigh.
The truth is that fad diets don’t work for long term goals. In order to become healthier, you have to change your viewpoint and adopt a healthy lifestyle. And, it may seem silly to call this a “healthy eating plan” instead of a “diet”, but it is far more accurate.
If you want to lose weight and feel better, then you have to accept the fact that you are making a life choice. In the Bible, we are reminded that we should treat our bodies like a temple.
Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. —1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV
When starting on the path to a healthier you, one of the first things to focus on is controlling the amount of food you consume each day. Some people increase their food intake when they are stressed or upset. Others eat until they feel stuffed.
Instead, you only need to eat until you no longer feel hungry. When you overeat, you are inviting additional pounds to take hold of your life. Instead, limit the quantity of food you eat daily. This can also be accomplished by something as simple as using a smaller plate during a meal. Since we typically eat with our eyes first, you’ll feel satisfied with a full plate and a smaller portion.
Lower Your Calories
Some diet plans want you to slash your calorie intake, but this sends a starvation message to your body and it will actually begin trying to preserve calories for future use.
Instead, lower your calories in moderation and combine this with good healthy eating patterns. You can also visit www.caloriecalculator.net for an online calorie calculator. Simply enter your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level, and it will calculate the number of calories you should consume daily to lose, maintain, or gain weight depending upon your goal.
Adjust Your Carbohydrates
Eating lower carbs is a healthier option, so be sure to read the labels on all processed food options you purchase. A healthy alternative is to buy more whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.
Lower Your Sugar Intake
Steer clear of artificially sweetened drinks such as soft drinks and juices. Also read the ingredients on food labels and avoid items that state they are high in sugar related ingredients. Taking time to read labels will allow you lessen your sugar intake and your body with thank you for it.
Increase Your Fiber
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “14 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume each day”. To achieve this, add more fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains to your meals.
Increase Your Protein
Take the total amount of calories you consume per day, and plan for 10-15 percent to be derived from protein. Some foods that provide good sources of protein are: lean meats, seafood, beans, eggs, and dairy products.
Increase Your Water Intake
How much water do you need per day? According to the Institute of Medicine’s guidelines for fluids: “2.7 liters (91 ounces; about 11 cups) for women; and 3.7 liters (125 ounces, about 15 cups), for men, per day”. This amount may vary depending upon the amount of exercise you do, the climate that you live in, etc. At the bare minimum, a good rule of thumb is to drink a full glass of water when you first wake up, then one prior to each meal, and one in the later evening.
Incorporating regular exercise and good sleep patterns are also necessary building blocks for keeping you physically fit. Combining these elements with healthy eating habits will help you feel better and achieve your weight goals.