1. Smaller Meals, Frequent Snacks. There’s nothing wrong with eating breakfast, lunch and dinner but making those three meals smaller and filling the time between meals with snacks will help your body use the calories you eat more efficiently. When you eat a large meal, your body either has to burn up all that energy quickly or it will be stored as fat for later use. When you eat smaller and more frequent meals, you’re only giving your body what it needs. It’s much less likely that it will store a big chunk of that meal as fat.
2. Stay Away From Liquid Calories. Liquid calories are generally bad and you should stay away from them to maintain a healthy diet. Drinks such as soda, fruit juices, energy drinks, sweet tea and coffee (with sugar) are all great examples of empty calories. They’re high in sugar but offer little in the way of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals or fibers. Foods or drinks that are high in empty calories tend to be digested very quickly which will lead to excessive fat storage if that energy isn’t used quickly.
3. Don’t Skip Meals. Those looking to lose weight quickly sometimes resort to skipping meals, particularly breakfast. While skipping meals can seem like a perfect fix to decrease your calorie intake, it can do the opposite. Studies have shown that people who skip breakfast tend to overeat during the rest of the day and end up eating more calories than those who eat breakfast. Skipping meals will leave you hungry. When you get hungry you get cravings and cravings are usually for high calorie junk foods (hamburgers, deep fried foods, pizza, candy bars…), not healthy salads or fruits. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, will also put your body into a catabolic state which can cause it to start breaking down muscle tissue for energy.
4. Take Advantage of Cheat Days. If you find yourself going crazy trying to eat healthy 24/7, consider implementing a cheat day into your week. Once a week (or every other week) ignore all of the dieting rules you’ve given yourself and enjoy your food. Go out, have some “junk food”, eat some ice cream and don’t count your calories. Don’t use a cheat day as an excuse to go crazy and eat 10,000 calories, use it instead to let go for awhile.
5. Learn How to Cook. If you’re going to ignore all of the other healthy eating habits, the one you should seriously consider is learning how to cook. The problem with eating out or buying processed, ready to eat meals from the grocery store is that they’re loaded with ingredients that aren’t good for you. These foods are loaded with sodium, saturated and trans fat, sugar and preservatives. On top of that they’re low in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Many of these nutrients have been shown to protect you from certain types of cancer and heart disease. When you learn how to cook delicious foods, you control what goes into your body. Preparing food with fresh ingredients will go a long way to improving your health and even saving you money.