Six Simple Steps to Your Healthier Diet: An 80/20 Rule
You can’t outwork a bad diet! No matter how hard you work in the gym during the week, if you are fueling your body with excessive calories and unhealthy foods, you will never see success. Weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% gym time. Unfortunately, mastering a healthy diet is not as simple as swapping out cheesecake for more vegetables. Adopting healthy eating habits is the driving force that will promote weight loss, increase your metabolism, and provide your body with the fuel necessary to enhance your energy and performance – both in and out of the gym. The changes may feel hard at first, but one day you’ll wake up and realize that you have truly adapted to a healthier diet!
Ready to get started?! Here are the six simple tips that you can begin to incorporate into your daily routine:
If you are one of the many people that skip breakfast, please STOP! Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, especially on mornings that you are working out. Try and avoid simple-carbohydrate breakfasts like processed cereals or bagels, as these are quickly digested and will not make you feel full for very long. Focus on a protein-rich and high-fiber breakfast such as oatmeal and hardboiled eggs, nonfat greek yogurt with chia seeds and berries, or a whole-grain protein pancake topped with peanut butter instead of syrup.
Measure Your Food
Portion control is one of the hardest challenges when tackling healthier eating habits. Many of us don’t realize that most restaurant portions are double or even triple what we should actually be eating! When cooking at home, use a kitchen scale for your meat and grains. Use measuring cups and spoons when preparing your meal or snacks and read the serving size on all packaged foods. It may take your stomach some time to adjust to the new portion sizes, but trust me: over time your body will get used to the changes!
Carbohydrates are Your Friend!
Carbohydrates have a bad rap, but in reality, your body uses carbs as its main source of energy. Your diet should consist of 45-65% carbohydrates each day. But not all carbs are fit for a healthy diet; avoid processed, high-sugar foods and incorporate more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans into your diet. If you are unsure of where to start when taking the first steps towards a healthier diet, begin with simple swaps such as purchasing whole grain breads, pastas, and rice instead of white. Try making your own granola or muesli at home instead of purchasing processed cereals. Substitute fruit when craving something sweet and pair with a small piece of dark chocolate. It sounds impossible at first, but over time your body will stop craving sugar like it does now!
Eat the Right Amount of Protein
While everybody is different when it comes to exact amounts of protein intake, the baseline for adults is about 0.8 grams of protein per day per kilogram of bodyweight (about 0.4g per pound of bodyweight). Most Americans eat much more protein than needed. Typically, a serving size for females should be around 3 ounces and males around 5 ounces. Focus on eating lean meats such as turkey and chicken, eat more fish, and limit red meat to 1-2 times per week.
Taste The Rainbow!
Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can! Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals that our bodies require to function daily. Try to eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables of all colors; literally taste the rainbow! Avoid dried fruits as much as possible (especially those with added sugars) and pair fruit with a protein or fat such as nuts or cheese to slow the digestion process down.
It’s All About Balance!
Remember when I mentioned that weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% gym? This 80/20 rule also applies to lifestyle. Make mindful, health-conscious decisions 80% of the time and live it up for the rest! Life is meant to be enjoyed! Have that piece of cake on your birthday, drink that glass of rosé wine (or three!), enjoy a hot dog at the Padres game! Just be aware of those choices and be ready to get back to proper nutrition and exercise the following day.
Need more guidance and motivation to start your healthier diet?
Contact me at Iron Orr Fitness and let’s take the first steps together towards healthier eating, healthier lifestyle, and a healthier you!
by Tess Harper