Four Weeks to Fitness
Eating healthy takes some effort. The average American is hit with hundreds of ads and dozens of opportunities every day to purchase "fat food." Vending machines, fast food restaurants and handy microwaveable meals have helped us put on more weight than ever in human history. They're convenient, you're hungry, and the next thing you know, you've just eaten another 1,000 calories loaded with fat.
If you want to get in shape, that sort of eating has to stop. In week three of our four-week program, we've got five more things you can do to cut calories (and two things you should do to keep your sanity.)
Buy your nuts in a shell. If you have to crack open the shell to eat each one, you'll probably eat less. You also avoid the salt and other toppings many companies dump on top of nuts to make them more tempting. But do the opposite for healthy foods. Get prepared salads and vegetables already cut. Make it as easy as possible to eat what's good for you.
Day Two - Carry a Toothbrush
If you can't stop nibbling once a meal is over, get up and brush your teeth. It helps fight cavities as well as reminding you that it's time to stop eating. Besides, who wants to eat more food once their breath is minty fresh?
Day Three - Make Dinner Civilized
Every time you eat, turn off the TV, get out of the car and sit down at a table. We tend to underestimate the amount of food we eat when standing, driving or mindlessly watching the television. When you eat at a table, you're more likely to pay attention to what's on your plate. As a bonus, if you start having conversations during dinner, you might get to know the people you live with better.
Then SLOW DOWN. It takes 15-20 minutes for the food in your stomach to tell your brain you've had enough. Thoroughly chew your food and spend time savoring it. Give your body a chance to say it's full and you'll end up eating less.
Day Four - Use Smaller Plates
When we prepare a meal, we tend to fill the plate without giving much thought to how large the plate is.
Research has shown that if you use smaller plates, you won't put so much food on it and you'll ultimately eat less. Replace your plates and do the same for your bowls too.
Day Five - Don't Drink Calories
It's easy to say, "drink more water," but if you want more taste, that won't work. What you need to do is replace your high-calorie drinks with low or no-calorie drinks. Water by itself won't help you lose weight. Drink water, diet soda or diet flavored drinks like Crystal Light instead of orange juice, soda or cream-filled coffee.
If you want the vitamins that fruit juices offer, eat the whole fruit instead of just the juice. An 8 oz. glass of orange juice has 112 calories, but a California Naval orange only has 69, plus more than 3 grams of fiber. When you need something nutritious, eat it instead of drinking it.
Day Six - Ignore Fads and Untrained Friends
Some diet plans will suggest that you "avoid white foods" because they're bad for you. In fact, the color of food has nothing to do with its nutritional value. Cauliflower, bananas, and garlic are all naturally white and they're all nutritionally rich foods. Just because it's in a diet book doesn't mean it's true. Use your head and read the nutritional label to decide what's healthy and what's not.
The same goes for advice from friends. There's a lot of bad information floating around. If you want to know what's what, ask your doctor, nutritionist, certified trainer or other licensed professional for help. Friends may mean well, but when you're dealing with your health, you should rely on the experts.
(If you're taking advice from your personal trainer, make sure they're certified by a legitimate organization and that their certification is current. Click Here for an article that tells you what to look for.)
Day Seven - Enjoy Your Food
When you want to eat cheat foods, go ahead! Just make sure it's a food you love or crave and don't come up with excuses to cheat every day. Junk food should be memorable. Don't order a dessert simply because it's on the menu; order it because it's one of those foods that make eating worthwhile. When it arrives, split it among your friends so you don't eat it all yourself and then savor the flavor.
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beginning any diet or exercise program.