Living a healthy lifestyle is not always easy — especially when there are tantalizing treats everywhere tempting you to take a bite. While it’s hard to get in the habit of eating healthily, the benefits of doing so are well worth it.
First-time dieters may have a difficult time sifting through the latest fad diet, contradictory advice, and nonsensical weight loss plans. By revolving your diet around your body’s needs, setting realistic goals, and focusing on living a healthy lifestyle rather than just losing weight, you can be successful.
Weight Loss VS Healthy Weight Maintenance
For a long time, going on a diet meant eating very little or completely avoiding foods that were considered fattening, like carbs and fat. Usually, it meant only eating salads and fruit for a period of time, while you were “on your diet,” then going back to bad habits and gaining back any weight that was lost. Such unstable and restrictive diets, however, are terrible for your body and don’t always help you lose weight.
Obesity is now a national epidemic, so we need to make diets less about just losing weight and more about health. Fortunately, diets are now evolving to encompass your daily eating habits. Instead of eating a small category of potentially-unappetizing foods, diets are meant to improve your eating habits. This way, your body gets the nutrition it needs, while at the same time limiting the amount of unhealthy meals you eat.
Maintaining an ideal weight for your body is more than being skinny, it’s about being healthy. Weight doesn’t need to be a focus or measure of your diet. Don’t focus on trying to look like movie star; focus on the needs and shape of your own body. You can talk to your doctor about a healthy weight goal for yourself and ways to reach it as a starting point.
Likely, your doctor will tell you that in addition to eating a healthy diet, you need to make sure you are getting enough physical activity every day. This may mean finding ways to be active during your work day, going to the gym before or after work, or taking fitness classes. Your goal should be to workout five times a week, ideally incorporating cardio and strength training.
Which Diet is Best for Me?
When weight loss isn’t the focus of your diet, it allows you to learn about the needs of your body. This way, you can research what you are feeding yourself, which will help you avoid unhealthy fad diets that might get you to lose weight at first, but are unsustainable or take a toll on your body.
Make sure you choose a diet you can stick to and even enjoy. For students, this might mean learning to say no to 3 AM pizza and finding ways to eat healthily on campus. For those with full-time jobs, it means making sure they have enough time to prepare healthy meals and take prepared lunches to work with them.
Calories are essentially the foundational basis for any diet. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories in a day than you eat to maintain a calorie deficit. Calorie counting focuses on this and doesn’t necessarily consider other factors. However, it is a good starting point when learning the values of the food you eat. In this diet, you will combine counting the caloric value of the food you eat with physical activity to end up with a caloric deficit. The amount of calories you should eat depends on how active you are and on your Basal Metabolic Weight, which you can figure out with a BMR calculator.
Counting your macros involves setting a certain amount of each macronutrient to eat per day: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. By keeping track and limiting the number of macros that you eat each day, you can make sure that your body can burn off the types of calories that you eat. Of course, you should also be setting aside time each day to exercise in some capacity.
Intuitive eating is a diet where you listen to your instincts. You eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. You focus on eating healthy meals with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
This prioritizes a nutrient-rich diet that properly supplements your body in order to maintain a healthy weight. Instead of depriving yourself of good food, you learn to incorporate healthy superfoods that taste great into your daily diet.
This diet involves initial research to know what kind of foods you should be eating. It’s ideal for those who have more self-control and don’t like to be too restricted. It’s highly sustainable, and if you commit to this plan — and exercise — you can have success with it.
Tips to Stick to Your Diet
Once you have chosen your diet and have started eating healthier, you may start to notice your strengths and weaknesses on a diet. Making healthy eating part of your lifestyle is a process that will take time. Don’t be hard on yourself if you have trouble staying to your diet at first, just try to look for ways to stick to your goals. Also, falling off your plan is likely to happen. If it does, don’t get discouraged. Just try to find new ways to get back on your plan and modify it to your needs.
Treats in Moderation
When you start your diet, you may think that treats of any kind are off the table. This is not true. You can still enjoy dessert when you are celebrating special occasions, you can have some wine when you go out to eat, you can treat yourself on occasion. The key is moderation. While you should be careful not to overindulge in sweets, you can still enjoy treats less frequently and in small quantities.
Cooking in bulk and preparing your meals out a few days in advance can help you stick to your goals. When you already know what you are going to eat, you can avoid the temptation of unhealthy meals. Plus, meal prepping can be less of a hassle as you won’t need to be cooking every single day. There are also many meal prep delivery options that you can choose from that include a recipe and ready-to-use ingredients for your convenience.
Look for Healthy Snacks
A common mistake people make when they first start out dieting is forgetting to count their snacks when counting what they ate on a certain day. By finding healthy snacks that you like, you can replace tempting snacks that can hinder your progress and still enjoy munching on something while you watch TV.
Find Fun Ways to Get Active
Lastly, finding ways to get physically active that you actually enjoy can make or break your goals. If you force yourself to go to the gym, it can feel like a chore and you might be less likely to go as often as you need to. However, if you find an activity that you actually enjoy, you will be more likely to put more effort in it and go regularly. Exercising doesn’t have to mean getting on the treadmill, you can take a pilates class or get your yoga on to get your body moving and burning more calories.
Writing down your goals and why you want to reach them will also help. Remember that you don’t just want to lose weight, but you want to be healthy and strong. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle can help you live a longer, happier life.