How many times have you told yourself that you’re going to “eat better?”
You’re not going to eat any carbs or treats. You’re going to do nothing but drink water and eat kale for the next month?
And how often have you been successful following that “all or nothing” mentality?
My guess is never. Maybe that’s because it’s never worked for me but studies prove that when you make sweeping proclamations denying yourself whole food groups, you increase your weight loss failure rate exponentially.
Baby steps. There’s my secret to success. I’m living proof that small changes can add up to a whole new lifestyle.
Starting can be as simple as looking at your favorite foods and choosing a healthy sub. I am NOT suggesting that you give up everything you like to eat. I’m saying 80% of the time, make the healthy choice and that other 20% won’t kill you.
Let’s begin with Six Simple Suggestions to improve your diet by eating this and not that:
Starting with the big guns because who doesn’t love carbs? The issue here is that many carbs will spike your blood sugar, increase your appetite, provide little nutrition, and derail your good efforts to eat better.
Why do you think restaurants bring you that basket of bread before dinner? Because they like you? They think you’re cute? Oh no my friend. It’s marketing 101: bump the blood sugar and increase the sales. You ARE cute but limit your portions and try these swaps.
- Instead of bread, go for a shrimp cocktail or salad before dinner
- Instead of pasta, ask for the dish served over spinach
- Instead of rice or noodles, go for cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash
- Instead of a bun, go for a lettuce wrap or slices of sweet potato
- Instead of the candy bowl, go for a fruit bowl or a protein bar
Protein is the magic fairy dust for losing weight. It fills you up, sustains energy levels, helps build and maintain muscle, and will keep you on track. The problem with some proteins is that they are too high in fat, carbs, and sodium. Make sure you are eating enough protein and choose your leanest options to catapult your somewhat ample bootie into weight loss nirvana.
- Instead of a rib-eye have a flank steak or filet mignon
- Instead of 80/20 ground beef have some ground turkey
- Instead of a pork chop, enjoy a leaner pork tenderloin
- Instead of anything fried, go for grilled, roasted or baked
Fruit truly is “nature’s candy” and it lives up to to the title with all the pros and cons you might expect. It’s sweet, delicious, succulent, and packed full of natural sugars and calories. So enjoy fruit in moderation and try to choose lower sugar options eight times out of ten. See that? There’s that 80/20 rule again.
- Enjoy berries for high fiber, low sugar options
- Instead of dried fruit, stick with fresh fruit
If protein is dietary fairy dust then vegetables are the superheroes of better nutrition. Almost every vegetable is worth eating but alas, not all vegetables are created equal. Load up on organic dark leafy greens, nutrient dense, and cruciferous veggies to get the most out of your plant food! Think in terms of eating the rainbow for a variety of phytonutrients and don’t feel like you need to limit your vegetables at all.
- Red bell peppers
- Orange carrots
- Yellow squash (it’s practically a vegetable!)
- Green spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans…
- Purple potatoes anyone?
Fats are your friend. We have trained ourselves to fear fat but it’s essential to a healthy diet. When you see the words “fat free” you’ll usually see a whole slew of chemicals plus higher sugar and sodium to compensate for the missing ingredient.
Stop trying to avoid fat! Fat isn’t what makes you fat (sugar is…but I digress). Choose small portions of healthy fats that add nutrition to your diet, improve flavor, and keep your skin and hair supple and moist. As a rule, your best bets are fats that are liquid at room temperature and or found in a single ingredient food. Simple right?
- Instead of meat and cheese think avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds
Life without dessert is not a life I want to live. That’s why my dietary philosophy includes the planned indulgence concept and I truly believe that the best diets incorporate treats. But how about we choose treats that contribute to better eating rather than sabotage it!
- Instead of cheats think treats that you love and are special to you
The truth is that if you want to improve your diet and eat better, you’re probably going to need to make some changes. The good news is that if you weren’t ready to do that, you wouldn’t be reading this. Does change have to be painful? NO!
Start simple. Make it easy on yourself. You got this!