With the over abundance of money snatching, misleading, gimmicky and sometimes outright rediculous diets that are flooding the market today, it’s no wonder we are all confused.
Our ancient ancestors who had to fight and kill just to put food on their plate would be rolling in their grave at today’s over-abundance society, where instead of having to worry where our next meal is coming from, we are trying to figure out what to do to stop everybody eating so much.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases almost 75% of the US population are either overweight or obese.
Seventy. Five. Percent!
Isn’t this mind-boggling to you? It certainly is for me! Considering being overweight or obese significantly increases your chances of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and an array of cancers, how are we allowing this snowballing statistic to continue to rise?
Very few people are prepared to take responsibility for their current health and we are all quick to blame the government, our environment and our up-bringing for our overgrown bellies. Isn’t it time we stood up and attacked this problem head on? I know many people are trying every day to get their health on the right track, and I commend you for that. Maybe we all need a little help to cut through all the confusion and educate ourselves so that we can make smart dietary choices?
For those that do want to take responsibility for their health, here are 6 things you can do to shave a few digits of the scales.
1. Switch the soft drink, fruit juice and smoothie for good old-fashioned water
Did you know that a regular 375ml can of coke contains almost 40g of sugar. The equivalent of nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar and close to 200 calories? Throw in 2 or 3 cans per day and you’re not even giving yourself a fighting chance.
There is also a common belief that fresh or bottled fruit juice can be a better alternative, and although juice can contain a host of beneficial nutrients, they are still riddled with sugar, and with similar and sometimes greater amounts than a can of coke!
One simple and effective dietary change you can make is to switch up these sugar-laden beverages for a cool and refreshing glass of water. Water is beneficial in so many ways and the reduction in calories will have a drastic effect on your weight loss efforts.
2. Steer clear of highly processed, ‘simple’ sugars
You’ve probably heard this before, but all carbohydrates aren’t created equal. You have your highly processed and refined varieties such as white sugar, honey, ice creams, chocolate bars and so on; you have your minimally processed varieties such as white pasta and rice, bagels and white potatoes; and you have your complex, un-refined carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potato, steel-cut oats, nuts, muesli and barley.
The more processed the carbohydrate is, the quicker it is going to get broken down and released into your blood stream for energy. If, for example, you eat a teaspoon of sugar, that sugar is going to be shuttled into your blood ready for immediate use. The problem is when we don’t have a use for this available energy then our bodies stores it as fat. I’m sure you’re starting to get the picture and understand why we need to limit our consumption of these nasty highly processed carbs!
On the flip side, when we consume complex carbs, they are broken down at a much slower rate, supplying us with sustained energy and allowing us to use it as we need it, keeping us fuller for longer and reducing our fat storage. Of course, just by switching to eating predominantly complex carbs, we aren’t guaranteed to lose weight if we are still consuming too much food throughout the day, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction!
3. Include fibre in most of your meals
Fibre is a form of carbohydrate that can be found in fruits and vegetables, grains such as brown rice and oats, nuts, beans and legumes. For more high fibre foods check out this high fibre chart.
Fibre in your diet is important for a number of reasons including it’s ability to reduce cholesterol and your risk of colon cancer, improve your digestion and help control your blood sugar levels, but specific to your weight loss goals it will help keep you full.
By including foods high in fibre in as many meals as possible will help keep you full throughout the day, which is going to drastically reduce your likelihood of overeating and craving too many of those foods you know you shouldn’t be eating.
4. Eat slow, until 80% full
We all know that eating ‘too much’ of anything is going to lead to unwanted weight gain, but how are we meant to know how much is too much? If you’re anything like me smashing down a large burger and fries in record time is a simple task, so this next tip, when applied, can be a handy weapon to have in your weight loss arsenal.
With every meal aim to eat slowly, chewing your food into smaller pieces before swallowing. By slowing down how quickly we eat, we are giving the food a chance to reach our stomaches and notify our brains as we begin to become more full. When you get close to being 80% full aim to stop eating and throw out or store the leftovers for later.
A note to remember is just because the food is there doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
The time our food takes to reach our stomachs can effect our perception of being full, so eating only until before you feel stuffed is a smart strategy to implement.
5. Self educate
The majority, not all, of the fad diets you see out there are designed for one purpose – to take your money! They want you to keep on subscribing and keep buying their products over the longest period possible, and care very little for your long-term results.
That’s why it’s so important to strive to educate yourself on nutrition and healthy living practices, as best that you can, so that you can make smart choices and build independence. Google is your best friends here and although you shouldn’t believe everything you read, if you come across the same information a number of times, across a range of trustworthy sites, then you can be pretty confident you’re getting sound advice.
6. Hire a nutrition coach
If you’re someone who has tried all the cookie cutter diets and meal plans our there, or if you have trouble creating positive nutritional habits such as those listed above, it might be time to consider hiring a nutrition coach. A good nutrition coach won’t just provide you with a copy and paste meal plan or diet that you’re not going to stick to, they should not only provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to reach your goals, but will be able to support, encourage and motivate you to keep on the right track. If accountability isn’t your strong suit, then nutrition coaching could be what you’ve been searching for.
Eating well, losing weight and achieving your health and fitness goals shouldn’t be as difficult as it is, so I hope that this post has helped you in some way. If you know someone who you think might benefit from this advice feel free to forward it onto them or share it to your favourite social media channel!
I am well aware of the difficulties that are associated with trying to lose weight and improve your health, and I am excited to announce that Evolve Online Nutritional Coaching will be launching very soon. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, click on the ‘COMING SOON’ tab at the top of the page and sign up to stay updated and go in the draw to win an online coaching package valued at almost $200!