Eating healthy, getting fit and losing weight have been severely over-complicated in the last several years. It seems like every week we hear about a new diet or method to lose weight fast. Yet more people are struggling with weight loss than ever before. The media, our food industry and our own personal accountability are to blame for this, but getting healthy doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what you need to do. If you’re ready to make a change in your health or having trouble getting healthy, then start here for some basic information and build from there.
What exactly should I eat to get healthy?
- Fruits and veggies are at the top of the list, so don’t be afraid to fill most of your diet up with these. Leafy greens, avocados, and anything colorful are your best bets. You want to ensure you get a good combination of protein, fats and carbs from there. Lean meat, fish, eggs, whole grains, nuts, seeds, yogurt and cheese are all nutritious foods to nourish your body. Finally, just drink water and nix calorie-ridden beverages.
Do I have to eat Organic and/or Non-GMO foods to be healthy or lose weight?
- Nope, just focus on eating whole, real foods and avoid processed foods. I’m a big proponent of buying local when possible. It’s a great way to get really fresh ingredients and support the economy. Farmers markets are great for this.
I’m eating all healthy foods but still can’t lose weight. What am I doing wrong?
- Check your portion sizes, which is most often the culprit for weight gain. Try entering your daily meals into an app, like myfitnesspal, to ensure you’re not eating more than what your daily calorie allowance should be. I’ve heard a million excuses for why people claim they can’t lose weight, but 95% of the time it comes down to what you eat and how much of it you’re eating. Eat less, lose more!
I feel like I’m hungry all the time, even after I eat my regular meals.
- Are you eating nutrient-dense foods and getting enough protein? Empty calorie foods, especially those that contain a lot of sugar, will result in hunger pangs very soon after consumption. Eating your meals at consistent times each day will get you into a routine of healthy eating and less mindless snacking. If you get enough protein in your regular meals, you’ll feel fuller the rest of the day.
Will going on a low-carb, high-fiber, low-fat or fat-free diet help me lose weight?
- No, and stay far away from these diets and associated products. Your body needs a balance of protein, fat and carbs to function. Your best bet is to decrease your sugar intake, switch to real foods and monitor your daily calories. While you’re at it, stay away from every other weight loss marketing gimmick or fancy new diet. Diets as a whole are unrealistic for long-term success and immediately set you up for failure.
Eating healthy is expensive!
- That’s a common misconception, but in fact, buying healthy ingredients can actually be cheaper than your average fast food meal. Use store sales flyers and build meals around those sales each week. Some ingredients are naturally inexpensive, like rice and beans, so you can still create a great meal without breaking the bank (or your belt).
I don’t have time to cook three meals for myself every day. Eating out is much easier.
- You may have more time than you think. Smoothies and overnight oats are very quick breakfast options. Lunches can be as easy as a salad with protein or a quinoa bowl with veggies. A crock pot recipe can provide dinners for the whole week. You can even find pockets of time on the weekend and prepare all your meals for the week with a little Googling. Use your imagination!
Fine, but I don’t have any time to exercise!
- Sure you do. Do you have 10 minutes right when you wake up or before you go to bed? Do some crunches. Do you watch Netflix at night? Hold a plank for a couple of minutes while you watch, or commit to practicing yoga during one of your nightly shows. Do you have a lunch break at work? Go for a walk or do some stair climbing. Those spurts of exercise are better than nothing.
I’m exercising every day but not losing any weight. Why?
- While exercising is extremely important, it’s likely not going to result in significant weight loss on its own. Nutrition accounts for the majority of weight loss, so eating right is the best thing you can do for your health in this regard. Exercising provides a wealth of other benefits though, like stress-relief, weight maintenance, disease control and increased energy.
I failed! I cheated and ate something I shouldn’t have and then didn’t exercise one day. Am I doomed? Should I just give up?
- No way! You didn’t fail, we all have setbacks. Don’t beat yourself up over it, just accept it and get back on track. No need to abandon all health plans and “restart your diet on Monday.” If you didn’t get a chance to exercise one day, then be sure to exercise the next day. If you want a piece of cake, then eat a piece of cake and then eat healthier at your next meal…just don’t eat the whole damn cake.
How do I stay motivated to eat right and exercise?
- Setting small, reachable goals is the first step. The more goals you reach, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll want to keep going. Other ways to stay motivated include finding a health buddy, or at least someone who can help hold you accountable, using a nutrition & fitness app, like myfitnesspal, and knowing that your health is worth it and you owe it to yourself to be healthy.
There are a lot of misconceptions about health and weight loss, but getting healthy can be easy if you put in the time and effort. Keep it simple, stay on track, hold yourself accountable, eat right, move your body and you’ll find success. Above all else, stay positive!
What are your health and weight loss success stories? How do you stay healthy? Leave a comment!