What are your health and fitness goals right now? Do you have a strong motivation to improve your lifestyle, but still finding it difficult to begin? You might be so confused right now just by checking numerous diets available online. So let me share the most effective strategies that really worked for me and my weight management clients (backed up by research) since I started my fitness career in 2000.
I always tell my clients to primarily focus on building healthy lifestyle habits to achieve lasting weight loss success. Always approach everything in moderation to achieve a balanced and sustainable lifestyle. I believe that the goal is how to find the ultimate healthy eating game plan based on your current lifestyle, food preference, activity level, and healths goals without feeling deprived.
Eat healthy and satisfying foods
To achieve that feeling of fullness (7/10, 10 being the highest) and satisfaction (9-10/10), you need to eat flavorful meals consisting of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats filled with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals like brown rice, lean meat, seafood, chicken, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Always have healthier alternatives so you won’t feel deprived. Instead of high-sodium seasonings and sauces, put some herbs and spices to your main meals like basil, thyme, cilantro, cumin, chili peppers, and turmeric. If you love desserts, instead of eating cakes and pastries, you can try to make your own sweets like plain yogurt with fruits, seeds, and nuts or a banana with almond butter. Give more time in creating delicious meals. Now is the best time to be resourceful and creative. There are so many healthy recipes that you can check online.
Eat in one place like your dining area so you can focus on eating slowly and mindfully while enjoying your foods well. Of course, being with your loved ones can always make your eating experience a pleasurable one.
Strategically distribute the meals during the day
Caloric restriction and skipping meals can negatively affect exercise performance and recovery. Proper spacing of meals (with the right amount and quantity) based on your activities can effectively regulate your eating throughout the day. If you wake up early, you can have a light breakfast, like a piece of toast with egg, 45 minutes to one hour before your morning workout. Or you can eat your late breakfast/post-workout meal 30 to 45 minutes after your exercise class so you don’t experience intense hunger pangs during lunch.
You can also have a light, pre-workout snack like a sweet potato three hours after lunch or 30 to 60 minutes before your afternoon workout that starts at 4 or 5 pm. If dinner is usually served late, you can have fruit and veggie smoothie with nut milk. Or you can just enjoy your dinner 30 to 45 minutes after your late afternoon or evening workout.
Understand your reasons for eating
One of the most effective ways to start your journey is to write down your daily food intake to increase your awareness about your food choices and eating behavior. You need to eat the most nutritious available foods on time and when hungry so you can mentally and function well. However, you might be eating some foods that can slow down your weight control goals like craving, habit, availability, current emotions, or social influence and pressure. Journaling can help you analyze the main reasons for eating some unplanned high-calorie meals like chips, sweets, and alcohol.
Apply effective weight control strategies to avoid eating high-calorie foods for the wrong reasons.
CRAVING – Always prepare healthier alternatives like fruit shakes or yogurt with cacao nibs to avoid sweet cravings. For crunchy food, you can eat healthy nuts like baked sweet potato chips, pistachios, or almonds
HABIT -Break the habit of late-night eating by making sure that you always have a healthy and satisfying dinner. You can also modify your sleeping routine by going to bed early and avoiding late-night television watching.
AVAILABILITY -Replace high-calorie foods available at home like chips and sodas with healthy unprocessed crackers and coconut water.
EMOTIONS – Express your emotions through movement or by opening up with your loved ones, instead of eating high-calorie foods like cakes and cookies.
SOCIAL INFLUENCE – Assert yourself and learn how to say NO to people who can sabotage your health and weight control goals. Learn how to ask for support from your loved ones or like-minded friends who can genuinely support you in your journey.