You may have heard the saying, “Abs are made 30% in the gym and 70% in the kitchen.” This statement emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition in achieving weight loss, which is just as crucial, if not more so, than exercise. While exercise is an integral part of any weight-loss journey, it won’t yield optimal results if you’re not mindful of what you eat.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, it’s time to assess your relationship with food, both in and outside of your home.
If you’re willing to make lifestyle changes and move away from the constant struggle with food, here are 16 tips that nutritionists swear by – straightforward tips that have been proven to 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. Leave space for smart indulgences
Plan ahead, and keep your diet extra clean leading up to your special indulgence. It will make the whole experience that much sweeter.