You might have heard the saying, “Abs are made 30% in the gym and 70% in the kitchen.” It’s not surprising, then, that what you eat is just as important, if not more important than exercise, in achieving your weight loss goals.
While physical activity is essential to any weight loss journey, the benefits of exercise can be limited if you’re not also mindful of your food choices.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with food, both in and out of the kitchen. If you’re ready to make some lifestyle changes and put an end to feeling like food is a constant battle, take note of these 16 tips from experienced nutritionists.
These simple strategies have been tried and tested, and they really do work.
1. Lose the mind-set that foods are off-limits.
According to New York based nutritionist to the stars Sandra Bellamy, “anytime you deprive yourself of food . . . all you want is what you can’t have!” Take your mind-set away from sacrifice, and allow yourself everything in moderation.
2. Keep it clean.
Replace processed foods with clean (whole and natural) items. Not only are natural options more nutritious, you’ll find that their flavors are more satisfying.
3. Opt for whole grains.
Refined and processed carbs weigh you down and muck up your progress. Fiber-rich whole grains keep hunger at bay, support healthy digestion, and are a crucial part of a long-term weight-loss success.
4. Forget the rest, Greek yogurt is the best.
Instead of sour cream, dollop this protein-rich yogurt on your burrito bowl. Make it into a creamy pasta sauce that satisfies any Italian cravings. Honestly, is there anything this protein-rich dairy option can’t sub for?
5. Make your snacks smarter.
Instead of a snack that includes just one food group, go for two — even three. The winning combination of protein, fiber, and carbs fuels workouts and keep you full.
6. Eat (don’t sip) your produce.
According to Bellamy, when you eat a whole piece of fruit with all the fiber intact, your body will release blood sugar slowly, and you’ll stay satisfied for longer. Enjoy the occasional fresh-pressed juice as a treat and learn to eat your produce!
7. Eat carbs in the morning.
Totally eliminating carbs from your life is not a long-term technique for success, but when you eat carbs earlier in the day, you have more time to burn them off.
8. Top your salad right.
Croutons and preservative-laden dressings have got to go. Dress your favorite salad in a lighter homemade recipe instead, and pile on the veggies, protein, and produce. If you’re craving crunch, add some nuts instead.
9. Give away your fryer (to someone you don’t like).
Bake, steam, or sauté, but please don’t fry! It packs on the calories and fat and can leave you in a serious food coma.
10. More herbs and spices, less sauces and creams.
Sugar- and cream-based sauces cover up the natural flavors of the foods you’re enjoying and add an extra layer of unnecessary calories. Go light and bright with a squeeze of citrus and experiment with fresh herbs.
11. Seriously, say no to soda.
The extra calories and chemicals that come from soda are just not worth it. If you love bubbles, sip sparkling water instead. In the beginning, it will be hard, but if soda is a part of your daily diet, this is 100 percent worth doing.
12. Always add something green.
When it comes to lunch and dinner, always add something green to your plate. Serve spinach with last night’s leftovers or order a salad at your favorite takeout spot. It ups the nutrition of every meal, every time.
13. Drink your coffee and tea without sugar.
Instead of squeezing honey and adding packets of sugar into your morning beverage, keep your blood sugar level by skipping these unnecessary additions.
14. Cook one serving.
If portion control is a problem, cook single-size servings of your favorite foods. Simply divide your favorite recipes accordingly and skip out on temptation.
15. A little bit of hunger isn’t bad.
According to Bellamy, “you should feel mild to moderate hunger three to four times a day at your scheduled mealtimes.” When your hunger returns, it’s a signal from your body that it’s time to refuel!
16. Move all the time.
Whatever you do, keep moving. Walk after you eat. Take the stairs/ Park at the furthest parking spot to the store. Carry a basket at the grocery store instead of using a pushcart. Every little bit helps to get you losing weight for good.