This article is for you if you are serious about starting to eat better food, maintaining your balanced, healthy diet plan and looking your best.
Eating better & losing weight can seem like an overwhelming task that takes years to accomplish. This is especially true if you’re not even sure where to begin. If you’re looking for ways to eat healthier and lose weight, then this article will help you get started. It outlines a simple plan that is guaranteed to make you feel better and look better while doing so.
The key to getting yourself to eat better food is not just following a diet but making changes to the food that you eat.
1. Set a Realistic Weight Goal
Trying to lose weight or simply need to get in better shape? Having a goal can motivate you to achieve your fitness targets. It’s also a good way to monitor and measure your progress. Once you’ve decided on a weight loss number, set a realistic timetable for reaching it.
Set yourself a 6-month timeline – you can’t undo years of steady gains overnight. Having a longer-term vision will help you change your lifestyle, rather than quick fixes which tend to fail.
One study from the Mayo Clinic found that people who have a health goal are more likely to succeed. Your goals can be large accomplishments or smaller-scale. Smaller, incremental targets are always likelier to succeed than drastic revolutions. If you want to lose weight, set a goal of losing half a kilogram to 1 kilogram per week.
2. Define Your Nutritional Requirements – Your Calorie Intake and your Macronutrient Split
This is a simple but often overlooked nutritional guideline. Before you start following any healthy meal plan, you need to understand how many calories your body needs. Your daily calorie intake is based on your current measurements and activity level. You can then determine the protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need daily to stay within your desired calorie range.
You can discover this by using the easy to use free nutrition calculator on the Plan H website.
You can discover much more than just your calorie requirements. Based on your gender, measurements, activity levels and desired goal (maintain your weight, lose weight, extreme weight loss, weight gain and fast weight gain), the nutrition calculator will return your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), your Body Mass Index (BMI), the Target Calorie Intake per day and the macro balance, helping you understand how many fats, carbs and protein you should be eating every day to hit your weight and fitness target.
3. Understand the Science of Nutrition
Most of us are familiar with the basic science behind food and eating. We pile on weight when we eat more than what we burn and lose weight when in a calorie deficit. However, how often are we actually able to apply it?
The first thing that you should know is that your body needs fats to function properly. If you don’t get enough dietary fats, you will feel sluggish, tired, irritable, and you could even gain weight.
Eating healthy food is not about deprivation. You can eat whatever you want to eat as long as it is not too much. If you want to lose weight, you can eat more vegetables. The other thing you need to consider is what your lifestyle is like. If you are very active and work out all the time, you should eat more fats and carbohydrates.
When following a diet, the most common mistake is to starve or go on a drastic calorie deficit. This has been demonstrated over and over to be counterproductive. Severe calorie restriction is unsustainable and any weight loss will primarily come from muscle loss rather than fat loss. In turn, when you give in to temptation, you’ll pile on the weight faster – adding primarily body fat.
We need to think in terms of fat loss rather than weight loss. And it may be surprising that the healthiest way to lose fat is to NOT omit fats from your diet.
The science of nutrition is complex and can be bewildering. At its simplest, your body gets its energy intake primarily from either the fats or carbohydrates you eat.
Excess intake of carbs will spike your insulin levels, provoke a temporary boost of energy, which will crash quickly. This spike and crash will make you feel hungry faster, and prompting you to overeat. Excess insulin in your body will in turn have the effect of storing those extra calories as body fat.
Having the right balance of dietary fats will typically also mean the reliance on sugars for energy is significantly reduced. Additionally, it generally also translates into a sufficiently high protein intake. Protein is fundamental to keep your muscles nourished, and you will feel fuller for longer.
At Plan H, understanding nutrition is our specialty. You needn’t feel lost or overwhelmed. Get in touch with our experts who will help guide you according to your needs and your fitness goals.
4. Find YOUR Right Diet Plan
To begin with, you have to decide what you want out of your diet. If you are an athlete, then you need to think about how to eat to maintain peak performance while training. This means you will need to choose a diet higher in protein and carbs when pushing your endurance limits.
Conversely, when cutting – losing the extra fat and excess fluids, low-carb diets are the only way to go. If you are pregnant, then you may have to focus on reducing the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Finally, if you are overweight, then you will need to cut back on the amount of sugar you consume.
Next, it is important to understand the role that food plays in your life. For many people, food is a source of comfort. It can provide a sense of security and stability when times are tough. For others, food is just a routine part of life, like brushing their teeth or taking a shower. While some people like the taste of certain foods, others dislike it and don’t want to eat it. To make the most out of your diet, you have to be prepared to be flexible.
The first step towards making dietary changes is to become more conscious about what you are eating. If you eat the same things every day, then you probably aren’t getting much variety in your diet. However, if you eat the same thing all the time, you will not likely get the nutrition you need.
Instead, try to eat a variety of different foods throughout the week. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or complicated plan. You can just pick up something new every week, or try a different meal every night.
Your diet should include a variety of nutritious foods that will keep you healthy. Avoid drinks that are high in sugars (or sweeteners) and processed foods. Your diet should also include enough water. You should drink around 8 glasses of water every day – that’s 2 litres. However, drinking too much at one go can cause you to feel bloated and full. If you’re thirsty, drink a glass of water. Aim at drinking 4 half-litre bottles a day.
Check out the range of healthy eating meal plans delivered daily by Plan H.
Our meal plans are designed by nutrition experts for all different body types and sizes, activity levels and weight goals.
5. Be Consistent
It may seem obvious, but worth stressing – your diet will work only if you’re consistent. The reason why consistency works is because it helps us make sense of our lives. Our brains are designed to understand the world around us by looking at patterns. If we see a familiar pattern, it’s easier to understand it.
So what does consistency have to do with dieting? If we’re always eating healthy and avoiding unhealthy foods, it becomes easier to understand and manage our diets. We can also see the benefits of a consistent diet. The more consistently we eat a certain way, the easier it will be to stick to it. Healthy foods help us to maintain a consistent diet. Consistent diets are easier to stick to and can lead to healthier lifestyles.
Also, by forcing yourself to sticking to your diet, you will not give in to temptations as easily. Giving in to that sweet treat or a second helping can make the whole difference in meeting your goals.
Consistency is easy when you have a clearly defined plan to eat right. This healthy meal plan should include what to eat in what situations, when to eat, and what to avoid. We’re all busy, and not all of us have the time, skills or energy to cook up the right foods. And that is primarily why we fail at our healthy eating resolutions. Plan H is here to help you succeed. Check out this week’s menus across our most popular meal plans to preview what you could be enjoying tomorrow!
6. Keep a Journal
We all know the feeling. It’s like the time we ate the whole bag of M&M’s… or that extra piece of pizza. After all the work we put into planning our diets, the next day we feel tired and bloated from overeating.
There’s a very simple way to deal with cravings: Keeping a diet journal. If you know what you’re craving and why you want it, you can control yourself better in the long term. Plus, keeping a diet journal is an easy way to make sure you’re sticking to your plan.
You may be thinking, “Why is this on this list?”. First off, it’s very easy to start monitoring what you eat. Simply write down everything you eat and drink each day in a little notebook or a mobile tracking app. That way, you can see how much you are eating over time and what changes need to be made. This is also a great way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy. It can also be a fun way to keep a diary of your daily activities.
If you have any health problems, a good diet journal can provide insight into what might be going on. The food diary is a great way to figure out what foods are triggering you to gain weight. What if your diary shows that certain foods are triggering you to gain weight and you’re not eating them? The answer could be simple: Eat fewer calories.
7. Manage Your Stress Levels
If you’re serious about losing weight, you need to understand how stress impacts your relationship with food and physical activity.
Stress changes your brain and body and can alter both your behavior and metabolism. That’s why many dieters have had success with eating programs that focus on a reduction in stress levels. In fact, there’s a strong link between a person’s level of stress and the amount of weight they’ll shed. Stress leads to lower serotonin levels and may also make us eat more or eat less than we normally would. In the meantime, chronic stress can interfere with our ability to exercise, sleep, relax, and in our daily relationships.
Stress, unfortunately, does not make us thin. But it can help cause weight gain. And as we all know, stress-induced weight gain can be quite dramatic. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, stress management must be on top of your to-do list. And here are a few simple things you can do to manage stress: Breathe! Exercise! Get a hobby! Be in nature! Have a positive attitude! These five things alone will help to lower your stress level.
8. Cut Back on Alcohol
In his book The New Science of Weight Loss, David Katz, MD, explains, “The fact is that alcohol is a highly calorific substance, and calories are the fuel for everything else in your body”. Alcohol is also a depressant, lowering levels of leptin and increasing levels of cortisol. The lower levels of leptin may explain why those who drink alcohol tend to gain more weight than others. Cortisol can also disrupt your metabolism.
It turns out, not only does cutting back on alcohol help you lose weight, it’s actually quite easy to do. In fact, one study found that people who consumed no more than 2 drinks a week lost about 20% more weight than those who had at least 4 drinks a week.
If you want to lose weight, cut back on alcohol and other drinks with sugar or corn syrup. Cutting out added sugars will lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease, boosting energy and help you lose weight.
9. Get Moving and Use a Fitness Tracker
If you’re planning to lose weight, you need to get moving. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym every single day. You can make small changes to your lifestyle to start losing weight, and these don’t have to be dramatic. Try replacing the soft drinks for a water bottle. You can walk that 5-10 minute distance to the shops rather than driving there. Get in the habit of standing up when you’re sitting down. These changes in your life are easy to implement and will help you achieve your goal of losing weight.
One way to get moving and lose weight is to start walking. A report in the Journal of American College Health found that people who took 30 minutes a day walking were 10 kilograms lighter after five years than those who didn’t. If you don’t like to walk, try running for 10 minutes and see how that feels. You might find it to be far easier than you think.
Use a fitness tracker to get you motivated and stay on track. The Apple Watch and the whole range of Android watches feature a slew of health and fitness-related features. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can count calories and the steps you walk each day. The more expensive devices will track your heart rate, sleep patterns and other vitals. All of this information can be accessed right from your wrist. There are also a whole variety of cheaper devices, like the Fitbit that also offer the option to track progress on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
10. Stay Focused
So, you’ve decided to make a big change in your life. It might be a diet, a new career, a new relationship. Whatever it is, losing weight is part of the journey. There’s a reason that diets are difficult and weight loss is hard – the human brain is wired to resist change. That’s why it takes willpower, discipline, and the support of others to actually stick to something for the long haul.
If you need more motivation, there are some techniques that can help you stay on track. First, make sure that your goals are specific and measurable. This way, you’re more likely to get what you want out of them. Second, think about how you’d like to feel in the future. Imagine yourself a few weeks from now, feeling the way you want to feel. Once you have this vision of yourself, write it down.
It’s always easier to lose weight when we have a friend on the same journey with us. So when you see someone you know struggling to lose weight, share your own experiences and offer support to that person. You may not have the weight-loss magic in your arsenal, but you do have access to a lot of the things that can help people reach their goals. And even if it’s not going well for you right now, there is always next week and next month to start again.
The best time to eat healthier and start losing weight is right now! While it might be overwhelming to make drastic lifestyle changes at once, always start by making small changes. Set yourself realistic weight goals and time frames. Choose the right eating plan that fits in with your lifestyle. Be consistent and keep motivated. Track your progress and your food. And above all, while there are no shortcuts, you can achieve all the above by getting advice from the healthy food experts at Plan H.