Are you someone that wants to start eating healthy? Maybe your doctor told you that you’re overweight or maybe you just want to make a change in your lifestyle. It’s not easy we all know. The thing about dieting is that it’s not a one-day thing. You do not want a diet, instead, you want a healthy lifestyle that you can stick with in the long-term.
The problem with diets
The problem with diets is that most diets are unstainable. Most people try too hard to stick with a diet which ends up leading them to overeat afterward and gaining all their weight back. You don’t want to throw all that hard work into the trash and that is why you should start with simple life changes and then move your way up to making it a lifestyle that you can actually adapt to.
When it comes to dieting, people always come up with excuses to not diet and not eat healthily:
- I don’t know how to start..
- I don’t have much time.
- It’s too hard.
- I can’t do it because I don’t know anything about nutrition.
No worries, I’ll do my best to cover all the steps necessary for you to start eating healthy in a way that you can slowly build up and stick with. Remember, your bad eating habits didn’t develop in a month. It developed over time. This is the same thing with eating healthy. It doesn’t happen in one month, but it takes time.
Start with making basic changes
Eating healthy requires a commitment, but it starts with making basic changes in your bad habits.
Cut out the sugar
Yes, we hear this a lot. Excessive sugar is not good for you and it can be hard for someone to cut out sugar especially if they have a sweet tooth. There are tricks that can help with this. If you look at how most of the Asian’s eat, they tend to have fruits after their main meals. Why? The main reason is because that is their dessert.
Instead of reaching for snicker bars or cookies, try some fruits. In the beginning, this might be hard, but as it becomes a habit, you will find that fruits actually taste great and you won’t have your sugar cravings anymore.
Instead of having ice cream after dinner or instead of having a cheesecake, go for some sweet oranges or strawberries. Both are low in calorie and provides a strong amount of vitamins which is necessary to keep your body running!
Hold back on the junks
Chips, popcorn, candy all sounds so tempting, but there are also healthy alternatives that work just as well. Instead of chips and popcorn, reach for some almonds and nuts.
¼ cup of almonds nutrition provides about:
- 207 calories
- 5 grams of protein
- 5 grams fiber
- 7 grams of carbohydrates
- 5 grams of sugar
- 16 milligrams vitamin E (61 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligrams riboflavin (44 percent DV)
- 0.8 milligrams manganese (44 percent DV)
- 97 milligrams magnesium (36 percent DV)
- 172 milligrams phosphorus (29 percent DV)
- 96 milligrams calcium (9.5 percent DV)
- 33 milligrams iron (4 percent DV)
Look at all the nutrients that just 1/4 cup of almonds can provide. A bag of chips…pretty much nothing. We don’t want empty calories! Almonds can also keep you full due to its healthy fat so you won’t be craving for more, whereas you might be snacking endlessly with popcorn.
Get off that couch!
Most of us are too used to driving and having easy commutes. People in Asia walk and bike everywhere, which is also why their obsiety rate isn’t as high as the states. It might be hard to tell someone to hop on the treadmill or run outdoors for 30 minutes a day. Doing it everyday might get you a burnout, but that’s okay we can start small. How about a minor walk around the block after a meal? How about walking to the grocery store to do shopping instead of driving? Making a minor change is a great way to start living a healthy lifestyle. This goes hand to hand with eating healthy.
Remove the sauce
Many people complain that they eat salads all day, but still gain weight. That is because the dressing on the salad has more calories than the salad itself. Try having a salad without dressing or go for a liter version of dressing as a start. This will help you with eating healthy and getting the correct nutrients that you need.
Instead of splashing that baked chicken with barbecue sauce which is packed with calories, try putting on some herbs. Herbs are super beneficial for your health and can make the chicken taste delicious. Most herbs are not only high in nutrients, but they’re also super low in calories. You can almost always find salt and pepper at any restaurant. If you need more taste, spice it up with some hot sauce which is usually low in calories as well.
Drop the fried and battered foods
The thing about fried foods is that it’s packed with calories and sodium. It’s not good for your health and definitely not good for your waistline. Make mindful choices, by eliminating these as much as possible. If you love potatoes, you don’t have to get fries, you can go for a baked potato or even a pan-fried version.
Make smart and mindful decisions at restaurants
We eat out a lot. Most people are too busy to cook. I understand that, but in the beginning, it’s all about making mindful decisions at restaurants and being smart about what you pick. That’s the best way to start eating healthy. Start off by noticing words in food to avoid:
- Sweet and source
Picking an alternative to those words is a great way to start eating healthy without being too harsh on yourself. Go for these words instead:
- Pan fried
With these habits, you should be able to start making a lifestyle change. You will start eating healthy and feeling better about yourself.
Ignore fast food
When choosing to eat out, be mindful on the restaurants that you choose. You don’t always have to eat Mcdonalds. Dennys and Ihop can be good options to eat clean. You can always order something healthy like omelete or salads over a burger and fries.
It’s not always easy to work towards something, but results will pay off. When it comes to eating healthy and changing a lifestyle, you have to make sure that you celebrate your wins! This doesn’t matter if it’s a small win or a big win, celebrate it and reward yourself! This will give you more motivation to continue onto the next week.
For example, my friend Sarah uses a calendar to mark down every day she ate healthily. After 20 days, she felt that she was so committed that she didn’t want to break the chain and kept moving forward. She then promised herself that once she reaches 60 days, she’ll treat herself to a vacation! Guess what? She accomplished this goal and just came back from Iceland!
Ask a buddy to join your journey
You don’t have to necessary have the goal of losing weight to start eating healthy. It can be a lifestyle change. Ask a friend that join you along the journey. Why is this important? Because that way you will have someone that you can share your progress with and hold you accountable for your results. It’s much easier to accomplish a task if you are doing it with someone or else it will be a lonely and tough journey.
Start learning about nutrition
Knowledge is the first step to greatness! Equipping yourself with knowledge will help you understand what type of foods are good for you and what types of foods will pack on extra weight. Understanding nutrition will allow you to make better decisions on how to cook your food and what actually makes you fat. There are too many nutrition myths out there, so gaining knowledge will give you the upper hand to start eating healthy and staying healthy.
If you don’t know where to start you can check out our previous article here for an ultimate list of resources to start learning nutrition.
What about counting calories? Don’t I need to do that in order to start eating healthy?
Yes and no. Yes because 3500 calories = 1 pound. If you are looking to gain a pound a week then you would need 500 calories worth of surplus per day whereas if you’re looking to lose a pound per week then you want to cut back 500 calories per day. It’s pretty straight forward. Of course, other stuff comes into play, but that’s a general rule of thumb.
If you’re just starting off and just starting to eat healthy in your life, then you shouldn’t need to start counting calories or macros right away. Just making those lifestyle changes and being more mindful about what you eat/cook will already put you on a deflect in calories. Usually,, the things that add extra calories to food are sauces, oils, and junk. Once you cut those out of your diet, you will begin to drop off weight.
By the time you start feeling better about yourself and slowly developing better habits, then you will be automatically proud of yourself and start looking more into nutrition to keep up the healthy eating lifestyle. At that point, you will want to look into macros and calorie tracking, but you wouldn’t need to do so starting off.
Won’t I always feel hungry? :/
The good thing about cutting out sugary foods is that you’ll be actually less hungry and that you’ll lose your cravings for sweets after a while. The second good thing about eating healthy is that you’ll be able to eat a lot more of clean foods because they are packed with fewer calories than junk food. You’ll be able to eat more and feel fuller for longer periods of time.
I hope this helps everyone! Don’t jump into a hardcore diet right away, instead start slow and start taking baby steps to change the lifestyle. You’re not in this for a sprint, but in it for a marathon!