Switching to a clean diet that consists of real food, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat and whole grains will put you on the right track to a healthy weight. But there are a few things you can do to speed things up. This is particularly important if you have a lot of weight to lose or are pre-diabetic.
Watch The Sweeteners
Clean eating cuts out all white sugar and artificial sweeteners. Natural sweeteners like honey, agave syrup and maple syrup are usually allowed though. While they are fine to use in moderation, be careful about not going overboard. Replacing your sugary treats with “clean” versions that contain just as many natural sugars won’t help you lose the weight and isn’t good for your blood sugar.
Careful With Carbs
One of the best ways to lose excess weight is to curb carbohydrate consumption. Fill your plate with low carb, non-starchy vegetables, add a few berries and go easy on the potatoes.
Tracking carbohydrate consumption for a few days can help you get a feel for what clean foods are high in carbs and how lowering your carbohydrate intake makes you feel.
Plenty of Protein And Healthy Fat To Stay Full
With sugars and carbs out of the way, what should you eat? After all a big salad will only satisfy you for so long. Make it up with plenty of lean protein and healthy fats. Both take a longer time to digest and will help you stay full.
Include things like chicken, low fat cottage cheese, Greek Yogurt, ground turkey etc. with each meal or snack. Nuts are another great option full of healthy fats. Be careful of portion sizes though. The same holds true for healthy fats like cold-pressed olive oil or avocados.
Don’t Forget The Water
Often we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water first. Not only will it fill you up with zero calories, staying well hydrated also makes it easier for your body to process body fat into energy your body can use. In other words, drink your water and melt that fat right of your body.
Move Around More
Eating the right type of food in appropriate portions will make a huge difference when it comes to your weight. But so will moving around. We’re not talking about heading to the gym each day or gong for a 5 mile run. While those are great options, even moving around just a little more can have a positive impact.
Go for a short walk after dinner, park a little further away at the mall or dance around the kitchen to your favorite music. Not only will this burn extra calories, it also puts you in a better mood and kicks your metabolism into high gear.
You wake up early and rush to get ready for work. You sit in the car and drive through heavy traffic to get to work. You arrive already stressed and tired. Once at work you sit at your desk all day. You drink too much coffee to stay awake. The air in the office is stale. You feel sleepy and irritable.
You leave the office at the end of the day for the long commute through more busy traffic and many other stressed, tired drivers, all anxious to get home. Too tired to cook, you get take-out, or eat out. You barely have a chance to unwind and then you must fall back into bed. You wake up the next morning having had a bad night, only to have to repeat the routine all over again.
Does any of this sound familiar? Does your health suffer as a result? Of course it does. Even sitting on a daily basis for long periods affects our posture and can cause aches and pains we would not have with a more active lifestyle.
What You Can Do To Keep Healthy When You Think You Are Too Busy
Even though you might think you do not have the time, the truth is there is a lot you can do to maintain health and wellness, even in the crazy busy lives we lead these days.
One goal many of us have after the festive holidays is to lose weight. However, some of us approach weight loss the wrong way and either don’t lose or don’t lose the amount we want. Use these 5 tips to ensure you are successful:
Eat the right foods
During the festive holidays, different foods than what you normally stock were in your house. Hopefully those foods are gone and you have restocked with your normal fare. Most holiday foods are high in calories, saturated fat and sugar – all which can sabotage your weight loss attempts if kept in the house. Restock your pantry and frig with fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meats and fatty fish (like mackerel, halibut, salmon and tuna).
Don’t skip breakfast
One common mistake people make trying to lose weight make is skipping breakfast thinking that by not consuming those calories, it will help with their weight loss. Wrong! By not eating breakfast in the morning, your body goes into starvation mode which slows down your metabolism – the process that burns calories, so you end up burning fewer calories than if you had eaten breakfast. Your Mom was right – breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
The fiber in leafy greens help slow down the absorption of sugar from fruit, which means that eating a combination of fruit and leafy greens together is a match made in nutrition heaven. Spinach is the most mild tasting green (and the most popular green smoothie ingredient), which makes it a great leaf for beginners to add to smoothies. But we don’t want you to miss out on all the additional nutrients found in other leafy greens, so it’s time to change it up! Some benefits of rotating your leafy greens:
The problem with the concept of simply counting calories is, calories can be deceiving and are not the basis for determining what’s healthy. Counting calories isn’t a practice that means we are actually eating healthy foods. For instance, an apple with almond butter may have more calories than a 100-calorie snack pack from a factory, but which snack is going to keep your body fueled and satisfied longer? Which one will provide your body with more nutrients?
Don't get me wrong, if you consistently overeat, whether it is good food or bad food, you will gain weight. So, calories do matter but it's the quality that matters most!
I’ve adopted the concept of ‘Healthy L.E.A.N. (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition) Habits for life’. I’ve found that when I focus on fueling my body with more nutrient-rich whole foods, and eat mindfully, listening to my body and being respectful of when it is full, not only does my body naturally settle into a more comfortable weight, I also feel better physically, emotionally and psychologically. It’s important to focus on nutrients, appreciating the delicious flavors you can consume in fresh, natural foods.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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