It’s common sense that if you want to lose weight, good nutrition will have to be part of the process. Unfortunately, this realization brings feelings of confusion and uneasiness for many — but the truth is that healthy eating is not as confusing or restrictive as some may think. In fact, all it takes is a few important basics to start running in the right direction.
There are tons of tips and guidelines out there for managing your weight, so we’ve compiled a few of them to give you some basic advice. Remember, the key is to be easy on yourself, develop behaviors that will turn into healthy habits and have FUN with the process.
Keys to “Healthy” Nutrition and Weight-loss
Consume a Variety of Foods
Eating the same healthy foods time and time again can get incredibly boring. Willpower is only so effective! If you’re not careful, boredom can sometimes lead to overindulgence later on. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods to keep things fresh and expose yourself to different nutrients.
Be Mindful of Your Portion Sizes
Whether you’re preparing your food at home or ordering from a menu, portion size is easy to distort. More food than your body needs usually equates with weight gain. Consider the serving size recommendations for your meal and try using that as a guideline.
Eat More Whole Foods
Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and legumes have building block nutrients that help your body function at its best — including your metabolism. You’ll want to moderate your consumption of processed and packaged foods as much as you can, as these options are generally readily available, energy-dense and filled with empty calories.
Learn to “Hear” Your Body
Your body can tell you a lot about your food habits and health status. Feeling thirsty or a little lethargic? Grab some water. If you’re feeling weak and hungry, consider a healthy snack. On the flip side, your body’s fullness signals should also alert you to when you don’t need food at all, such as when you’re feeling full. Learn to rely on these signals to guide your eating behavior.
Keep Your Plate Balanced
It’s important to maintain balance between the types of foods you eat. That way, you can be sure you’re getting all your nutrients such as protein, vitamins and fiber. Similarly, balance can also help you develop a healthier eating strategy. If you prefer lunch at a set time each day, but you’re still full from breakfast, you may want to eat less in the morning to balance it out.
Be Intentional with Your Food Environment
Environment can not only affect what you eat, but also how you eat and how often. Try sitting down more often with your family during meals or eliminating distractions like television or video games when you eat. Learn what types of environmental factors are more likely to steer you off course when you eat, and adjust your mealtime routine from there.
Take it Slow
Sometimes it takes your body a while to tell you that it’s full. When you slow down while eating, you can give it enough time to send fullness signals to your brain.
Eat Your Calories vs. Drinking Them
Keep an eye out for the calories you’re consuming through drinks. Beverages such as juices, sodas, coffee beverages and even alcohol can have lots of added sugar and calories.
Making small changes to develop healthier food habits may take some work, but with time, you’ll be rewarded with improvements to your health. Keep in mind that you don’t have to make all of these changes at once. Take your time and do what’s best for your body.