4 Small Changes That Will Make a BIG Difference In Your Diet
It was the very small changes I started implementing into my daily routine that made all the difference. Those little changes became habits, ultimately kick-starting my drive to live a cleaner and healthier life. Maybe you will read some of the tips ahead and make up a million and one excuses in your head as to why they cannot be done. These simple changes can make a huge difference if you take the time to dial in on your goals.
Tip #1: Stick to 1-2 ingredient foods
Start to change the way you look at food. Does what you choose to put into your body fuel you? Or was it made in a lab in the hopes of hitting every single taste bud and satiating every craving? I would suggest looking at the ingredient list on your foods over the nutrition label sometimes. Sticking to 1-2 ingredient foods usually means what you are picking is more “from the Earth,” nutrient dense, and has not gone through a chemical analysis. An almond is an almond, an avocado is avocado, an egg is an egg.
As an example, let’s compare Kraft Peanut Butter to All Natural Peanut Butter. The ingredients in Kraft Peanut Butter are: select roasted peanuts, corn maltodextrin, sugar, soybean oil, salt, hydrogenated vegetable oil (cotton seed and rapeseed oil), mono- and diglycerides. Now let’s compare all of that to natural peanut butter: In a jar of Adam’s 100% All Natural Peanut Butter, the ingredients are: peanuts and salt. The end.
It’s interesting that it is easy to crush a jar of Kraft Peanut Butter, spoonful after spoonful, but I cannot do the same with all natural peanut butter. This is one small example of how chemically packaged and processed foods work, and unfortunately our world is loaded with them. Cut down on the amount of packaged foods you eat, and stick to one-ingredient, nutrient-dense foods that mother nature intended for us to eat.
Tip #2: Weigh your food
Most people are probably cringing at this, but it really is not as daunting as it seems. Do not get scared off by weighing your food; it is a very small and minute thing you can do that will honestly make a massive difference to your waist line. For example, if you are making a pot of rice or pasta, what real difference does it make to just spoon it onto your scale for a sec before putting it onto your plate? Using a scale is 30 seconds of extra work. Scooping aimlessly onto your plate will likely give you a blown out portion that you will polish off, as people do not like to leave food on their plate. On top of this, if you are trying to lean out, it becomes difficult to track your progress and make changes if you do not know how many calories you are actually taking in.
Tip #3: Be prepared
Having healthy options on hand for those times when you are starving can make a world of difference. It deters you from a vicious cycle of going hours without food, frantically searching for something to eat, and then devouring a bag of Smartfood. Of course, when you get to that level of hunger, 9 times out of 10 the last thing you are going to grab is something healthy and portioned out. Instead, it will likely be a humungous portion of something very high in calories and carbs, which will blow your diet. Taking 1-2 hours to plan out your entire week of eating, make a big pot of rice, extra lean ground beef, salmon, shrimp, green veggies, or even little snacks like a spoonful of all natural peanut butter with a scoop of protein is a little thing that will make a big difference on your health. If you care about making a change, take the time to plan the change out and do not approach it blindly. Don’t treat your gut like a food court; plan out your foods and give yourself easy access to healthy options.
Tip #4: Eat Breakfast
I’m not talking about making extra time to wait in a Tim Hortons drive-thru for a breakfast sandwich (refer back to tip #1 if you think that is okay). I mean actually fuelling your body for the day since you have been fasting for 6-8 hours during sleep. I’m sure a lot of people are going to read this tip and say, “Well I get sick when I eat in the morning.” I am not doubting the fact you feel sick. In fact, I also felt sick when I started implementing this, too. Does a smoker feel fantastic while trying to break their addiction? No. Does it feel fantastic to begin exercising again when you haven’t in a long time? No. If you haven’t eaten in the A.M. for the past few years, then obviously your body isn’t going to have the nicest time digesting your newfound breakfast routine. It will not feel nice at first, but you will get used to it. And soon, your body will begin to crave breakfast. For now, just get it in you. Even if you cannot eat it all on day one, you have to start somewhere—and just know that it will eventually get easier. (On a side note, don’t give the excuse you have no time, get up earlier or find a quick and nutrient dense option. No excuses.)
If you just read all of the above and said to yourself, “let me live my life” or, “well I don’t care that much,” then that is completely fine. However, don’t cry, complain, or look for a quick fix when that special event comes and you are not ready. Maybe in a few months from now, you will look back and wish you’d treated your body with more respect. But for now, be honest, look at your current lifestyle and eating patterns and ask yourself if this will lead you on the path to success or if you need help getting there. Do you actually want to achieve it? Or are you putting in the minimum effort so you can hop on the “clean eating” band wagon and take selfies with #Gymlife. Try to make these changes week by week to get you into a healthier routine. Your body will thank you, and your future self will thank your past self.
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