When attempting to lose fat or adopt a healthy lifestyle, the following nutrition habits are essential in getting to your goals. Try to master each of these habits and you will be that much closer to your ideal body composition and optimum health.
With kids and work and multiple obligations on our plates, everyone is in a big rush these days to get from one place to another. Many of our meals are eaten on the go, on a quick lunch hour, or in between appointments. It’s understandable that we have conditioned ourselves to eat quickly. However, shoving a plate of food in our mouths is a big reason why so many of us are overweight and unhealthy.
We have learned to ignore our own hunger cues and therefore eat way more than we really need. At each meal, try to take the extra time to really slow down, and enjoy each bite. Don’t eat mindlessly, like in front of the TV. Savor your food and stop when you feel 80% full. Why? Because it actually takes your brain 15-20 minutes to realize that you are full. Some experts even estimate that eating until you’re stuffed translates into up to an additional 1500 calories. Even better, portion your food out ahead of time so you can’t overeat.
Eat Veggies With Every Single Meal
Every time you sit down to eat, make sure you have vegetables somewhere on your plate, and aim for 1-2 cups each time. Try to eat your vegetables first before anything else on your plate. They are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to maintain good health and function, and they’re very low in calories. For example, a cup of spinach provides you with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, antioxidants, and contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties….for only 7 calories.
Eat the Right Fats
Healthy fats are needed each day to maintain a healthy body composition. Fats are highly satiating, and not only provide vital nutrition to our bodies, but help maintain hunger control. It’s important to get in a healthy mix of fats from many different sources, like avocado, almonds, fish oil, walnuts, coconut oil, flax seed, etc.
The average western diet is too high in omega 6 fats and too low in omega 3′s, which can cause all sorts of body inflammation and other problems. Make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of Omega 3′s by taking a fish oil supplement, adding flax seed to your smoothies, and/or eating walnuts.
Earn Your Carbohydrates
To gain a healthy body composition and achieve fat loss, it’s an important habit to not only cut out processed and refined carbohydrates, but to control the total amount that you eat. The best rule of thumb is to eat carbohydrates based on the amount of activity you do. Carbohydrates provide energy, and any additional grams of carbs ingested are stored for later use, either as glycogen in the muscles/liver, or as fat.
An athlete or highly active individual will need a higher amount of carbohydrates in their diet. However, for those of us aiming to lose fat, it’s best to keep those carbs within 2-3 hours of a workout, and/or before 3pm, when insulin sensitivity is at it’s highest. It’s important to note that I’m not describing fruits and vegetables, but rather starchier carbs like oats, whole grains, rice, potatoes, etc (because fruits are high in sugar, some people aiming to lose fat may keep these in the “earned carbs” category as well).
Eat Plenty of Protein
Protein-dense foods are an essential part of maintaining good health and fat loss. Protein is needed for just about every function of the body, and you need more than you might think. Each day, aim for at least .8-1g of protein per pound of lean body weight. Getting adequate amounts of protein will stimulate your metabolism and help reduce your body fat. Without it, your muscles will begin to break down, which will lower your metabolism. Eating plenty of protein also helps you feel full for longer periods of time, so you’re less likely to grab unhealthy snacks in between meals.MUST READ: The Definitive Guide for How to Lose Weight
FREE EBOOK: The 10 Forgotten Rules of Weight Loss