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Nutrition, there is nothing harder than mastering what you put in your body.
In this article I am going to share with you some easy tips that will not only help manage your nutrition, see past the diet plans, and lose weight fast diets, and help you establish some long lasting habits!
So here are our 5 steps to lose weight:
1. Identify Weakness – Understanding your cravings
2. Track Daily eating
3. Avoid Temptation – How to stop making bad food choices – Variety, eat before shopping
4. Healthy Choices
5. Making it Stick – How Education plays a role in healthy habits – Understand yourself
The Best Way to Lose Weight
Possibly the hardest thing to do when getting on track with our healthy lifestyle, nutrition is at the top of the list for mountains to climb.
The meal plans, diet plans, and promises of how to lose weight fast is thrown around by marketing companies, which can often make it confusing to know what the right answer is.
What we truly need is some understanding, and awareness of what it is that we, and more importantly “YOU” need when tackling getting your nutrition under control.
1. UNDERSTANDING YOUR WHY
When come to nutrition and healthy eating habits, understanding your habits is the biggest factor to making a lasting change.
Often when setting out on changing our eating habits, we jump straight in without consider “WHY” it is we do the things we do.
The more we understand our “WHY”, the better we will be able to tackle the issue.
For myself, I am a massive comfort eater. Whether its long work hours, emotional stress or rewarding myself for a achieving a goal, my mind automatically thinks of food, more specifically, pizza or burgers.
For many years I would just eat and not thing about the why, however with age and some weight gain I decided that it was important for me understand my body, educate myself on basic nutrition and monitor my habits.
The idea of identifying your “WHY” may be easier for some more than others, but the key is to just understand the choices you make, “WHY” you are making them.
So, I’m going to break it down for you.
STEP 1: Reflection: Look back on what you ate last night for dinner.
STEP 2: Was your choice healthy or unhealthy
STEP 3: What was your process for deciding that specific food – this maybe you ate well after exercises or chose fast food because you had a late night at the office.
STEP 4: Recognize the patterns: Often not a one-off, food choices are habitual and usually tied into how we are feeling mentally, emotionally or what we have done throughout the day.
STEP 5: Repeat Process: Repeat when making choices, think “WHY” you have chosen this meal today
Now this is by no mean trying to shame you into submissions when it comes to understanding your eating habits, rather understanding yourself and “WHY” you developed these habits.
For there is no actual “GOOD” food or “BAD” food, rather the choices that we make when it comes to the foods, such as how often we have them, why we have them, and the portions we have them in.
2. IDENTIFY WEAKNESSES
Probably the easiest thing for many of us to do, identifying your poor eating habits is as simple as looking what you eat daily.
Some of you might already know what it is you are doing and for others it might take some reflection and some note taking to understand what is good and what is bad.
So, this is how we do it:
STEP 1: Track daily eating – writing down what you eat is a great way to understanding what goes into your body. Often, we think we are doing well, however, upon reflection we can identify patterns or habits.
STEP 2: Look in the cupboard (Or wherever you keep the junk food) – Looking in your pantry is one of the fastest ways to identify what kind of food weakness you have. By looking at what we buy, we can identify the habits we tend to have when eating.
STEP 3: Look closely – Some items may present as healthy options, but are often loaded with sugar, and fats making them poor choices.
STEP 4: Remove these food – now because we often have a very emotional connection with food, I might suggest that you choose one or two items to finish, and the remaining to throw out.
3. AVOID TEMPTATION
One of the best ways to keep you healthy meal plan on track is to avoid temptation.
Now that we have identified “WHY” it is that we make poor choices and “WHAT” those poor choices are, we now can plan how to avoid the foods themselves or the situations related to those foods.
Now this may sound difficult, so let me break it down.
Years ago, when I started this same journey, I was confronted by one of my major temptations, sugars
At the time, my weakness was packets of biscuits, blocks of chocolates, or donuts after dinner so I decided to cut them out.
After a week or so of cutting the sugar I entered a bakery to get myself a sandwich for lunch. As soon as I entered the building the smell of sugar hit my nostrils and like any addict I began to shake and crave what was rows of cakes and pastries sitting in the display case.
What did I do? I walked straight out of there.
Now, this has happened since, but nowhere near as bad. For at that moment I was only beginning my no sugar journey, and my addiction to sugar was still very much present.
This was a ‘light-bulb’ moment for me as I then realized that my craving for sugar was more than just a craving.
Since then I have been able to manage the desire to eat sugar and clearly identify that I should stop the nightly cravings before the keep growing.
So, Here are the best way to avoid cravings:
STEP 1: Eat before you leave the house: Often we are in a rush and we resort to eating out or on the run. When we are busy, we either look for easy options, and when we are hungry we look for unhealthier options, these being our comfort foods.
By eating before we leave, we reduce hunger, fatigue, and we put ourselves in a position to make better eating choices, or better yet don’t eat out at all.
STEP 2: Variety: Nothing kills healthy habits like boring food. One of the best ways to eat healthy and keep eating healthy is to mix up your options.
To do this start exploring new foods and food types, recipes, or new aisles at the supermarket.
STEP 3: Plan your eating: Planning when you eat is one of the best ways to avoid temptation.
We often make poor choices when we are bored or have not got the right options in the house. It’s when healthy alternative is not available that we get hungry and look for our favorite less healthy options.
Eating in a routine and making healthy choices can reduce temptation.
4. HEALTHY CHOICES
This step is about as simple as it gets.
Using the previously mentioned steps, “CHOOSE” the healthy option.
When it comes to food and shopping it is important to give yourself healthy and easy snack as well as meals.
Easy to prepare healthy snacks will allow you to squash those poor choice cravings. Item that have low prep times and are easy to just pick up and eat are lifesavers when avoiding temptation.
Try these steps for making healthier choices:
STEP 1: Choose simple and low prep time foods – Fruits and vegetables are great for that easy quick snack that can be picked up and eat straight away. Like chocolates, chips and sugar, we often pick up these more convenient foods as they take little effort.
By giving yourself healthy snack options, you will be able to beat your hunger or boredom, before the craving beats you
STEP 2: Plan/Keep full – we are often busy and forget to eat, and then find ourselves hungry when we get a moment to ourselves.
So, my solution, plan eating times, and have healthy foods.
Often, we reach for poor choices when we realize how hungry we are.
Having a routine set of when you are going to eat and having those healthy options on hand will stop those cravings creeping in.
STEP 3: Water – One of the best ways to drop a craving is by having water. The hunger and craving we sometimes feel is often just the lack of water intake rather and actual hunger.
By drinking water regularly, we will feed that habit of consuming something, but do it without making that something a poor food choice.
5. CONSISTENCY – MAKING IT STICK!
Like any habit or plan, the longer you stick to it the better the results will be, and the key to keep it going are these 4 things:
STEP 1: KNOW YOUR “WHY” – understanding your relationship with food is key.
Majority of our struggles with nutrition are mental and emotional. The way we see food, how we grew up with it and our experiences are the direct link to why we make the choices we do.
Understanding yourself, how you feel, and why it is you are choosing those foods at any given time will help you override the craving for bad choices.
The more you know about your situations and yourself, the easier it’ll be to break the cycle
STEP: 2 ALLOW FOR SLIP UPS – We can all be hard on ourselves when we are setting out to achieve something, and with something as big as your eating habits, you better believe there will be slip ups and setbacks.
The key, however, is to not beat yourself up, but reflect on the poor choices and move on.
Too often we slip up once and let it snowball. That one bad meal tends to develop into bad days, weeks, and years.
Allow yourself to slip up, but once it’s done, just get back to your healthy routine and refocus your efforts.
STEP 3: ALLOW FOR POOR CHOICES: Life isn’t meant to be hamburger free (or pizza, chocolate or whatever your craving is)
Allowing for a meal a week, whether it be a night out for dinner, or just take away in front of the TV will keep you sane.
Nutrition is the hardest part of the healthy lifestyle journey.
Our attachment to food, emotional and mentally is often so strong that it is hard to break the cycle, however by planning ahead, avoiding temptation and avoid poor options we can slowly make our way towards not only a physically healthy self but for a healthier relationship with food in general.
So give these steps a try, be patient, and allow for mistakes, as its when we experience the ups and downs of our wellness journey that we learn more about what to do, how to do it, and how to approach it again in the future.
So, did you find this article helpful, or have some tips of your own? Why not let us know in the comments below?