Get your diet (lifestyle) right
I had a friend ask me today for some diet tips to lose some elle-Bs with a special focus on foods to eat at a desk job. I would emphasize that a healthy diet is truly a lifestyle and not a temporary endeavor. Eating healthy involves prior planning, time and effort. The extra effort becomes immediately rewarding though as you start to feel and look better. You feel better not just by looking better, but also by fueling your body with quality foods. These quality foods give you energy, prevent lethargy and keep you light on your feet. Results come quickly when paired with exercise, especially if you have some ground to make up.
Here goes it:
- Don’t eat out. Eat only food you purchase and prepare. Meals that appear healthy are often loaded with hidden diet pitfalls. Eating only what you purchase and prepare for yourself is the only way you can truly know what you’re putting in your body. I’m talking all meals and all snacks. Make breakfast in the morning. Bring your lunch to work. Bring your dinner to work if you must. Use the company fridge or bring a mini cooler each day.
- Prepare healthy food in large batches on Sunday. You have time on Sunday. Spend it going to the market, getting healthy food and then cooking all of it for the week so that you merely have to re-heat during the week. Buy a week’s worth of fruits and veggies so you always have them on hand.
- Have healthy food with you at all times. I keep Garden of Life Raw Meal, bottled water and a shaker in my car because I sometimes get stuck running around town and find myself starving. I’d rather make a quick shake than stop in 7-11.
- Get rid of all junk in your kitchen and pantry. If it’s in your house, you’ll inevitably get a craving and you’ll eat it.
- Use balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or low fat or no fat, all natural salad dressings. High calorie salad dressings ruin healthy salads.
- Eat lunches and dinners consisting of lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, buffalo, wild boar, venison, elk, eggs or egg whites, and vegetables. Eat lots of vegetables.
- Stop eating processed food. That means cereal, bread, rice, taco shells, pizza, cold cuts, chips, granola bars, wraps, protein bars filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- If you must eat processed food, look at the label. Are you familiar with and can you pronounce each ingredient?
- Wheat bread and brown rice are not good for you. Carbs are fine. Get them before 6 PM. Get them from fruit, greek yogurt and oatmeal.
- Diet soda is bullshit. Diet soda is delicious, but it is many people’s diet pitfall. The fake sugar confuses your body and bad things happen. Google it if you want the science. You lose the craving for it once you cut it out for a month. Trust me- I crushed diet coke in my early 20s when fridges at work were stocked with unlimited supplies.
- Drink brewed tea, water with lemon or naturally flavored sparkling water when you’re looking for flavor.
- Have some fruit when you have a sweet tooth craving. Grapes, apples, watermelon and cherries are great options, as are many other fruits.
- Don’t eat carbs after 6 PM. Eat as many all-natural carbs as you want prior to 6 PM, but try to balance carb consumption with some protein consumption as well.
- Nuts and hummus are dangerous. Many people serve this stuff at gatherings and eat it on their own, but both are high in calories and don’t fill you up all that well. Moderation is fine, but how successful are you at moderation? Carrots and hummus can turn into a high calorie meal. Why not just carrots?
- Bring the following into work for snacks: hard-boiled eggs, fruit, carrot sticks, celery sticks, snap peas, oatmeal, protein powder. Bring a blender to work for delicious smoothies.
- Eat as much organic as you can. Do you want to fill your body with genetically modified organisms or pesticides? Sounds terrible.
- Put protein powder in your oatmeal or really anything else. There are delicious, all-natural protein powders out there such as Stronger Faster Healthier.
- Don’t drink alcohol or any other drinks that have calories in them. You just burned 500 calories in your workout? Awesome. Care to wipe all of that effort (and money) away with 4 beers or cocktails? That blows.
- If you must drink: A common myth is that it’s better to drink cocktails with a no calorie mixer such as club soda, diet coke or water. It’s true that one serving of hard alcohol has fewer calories than a serving of beer or wine, but how many servings of hard alcohol are in that martini or cocktail? A night of drinking hard alcohol probably results in double the alcohol consumption than if you were consuming beer or wine at a reasonable, moderate, adult pace. Try it. Most drink meet-ups can be accomplished with one or two beers or glasses of wine. Then think about the extra drunkenness and hangovers that come from hard alcohol. Extra drunkenness and hangovers typically result in more and lower quality food consumption.
- Drink almond milk rather than cow’s milk or soy milk.
- Drink smoothies made of fruits and vegetables mixed with water. Add protein powder
- Add hot peppers such as jalapenos to egg dishes, sautees, salads, etc. as often as possible.
- Marinate chicken for a day for great flavor and bake it in the oven or put it on the grill.
- Read about it. Read the frequently updated Men’s Health and Women’s Health websites. Read this blog, even.