Dieting is tough, but learning to live a healthy lifestyle can be even tougher. We’re creatures of habit and change doesn’t come easily.
However, when it comes to your health, it’s the little everyday decisions that can add up over time. Here are a few simple diet “hacks” that can get you on the right track:
1. Implement One New Positive Lifestyle Change per Week
I know it can be tempting to think that you can change every facet of your health and performance overnight, but the truth is, if you throw too much at yourself initially then nothing will stick.
Start with something simple like eating vegetables at 2 or 3 meals per day instead of 1. Do it for a week and then add another goal such as dropping sugar sweetened beverages for water or club soda.
2. Improve Your Sleep
Ensuring a healthy sleep environment can lead to rich dividends when it comes to your health and fitness goals.
Believe it or not, your sleep plays an incredibly important role in your nutritional habits and lifestyle. Not only that, your diet functions synergistically to enhance your sleep quality and quantity.1
Research has consistently shown that skimping on your time between the sheets can lead to a host of metabolic and hormonal issues.2, 3
3. Include Vegetables with Every Meal
Besides the satiety and digestion benefits, vegetables offer a myriad of antioxidants leading to a reduction in both cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The vast majority of folks aren’t consuming many micronutrients through food so simply increasing the overall frequency of vegetable containing meals is an easy, effective way to improve your diet without spending money on expensive supplements.
4. Consistency > Fads
Many “diets” in the health and fitness industry fail in terms of long term weight loss and overall adherence.
Fad diets are incredibly tough to maintain both mentally and physically. Therefore, when folks are given the option to return to their normal lifestyle, they aren’t able to maintain the results.
Learn to change your lifestyle, rather than forcing yourself to comply with ridiculous dieting standards.
5. Prioritize Protein
In a recent study, participants were fed 5 times the RDA on protein intake and surprisingly there was no change to body weight or lean body mass when coupled with a resistance training program.5
Some of this may be explained due to the fact that protein overfeeding increases energy expenditure and its thermic effect in general.6
When planning or ordering your meals, make sure that they’re based around protein as the centerpiece with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
6. Recognize and Adapt to Social Environments Leading to Overeating
Have you ever noticed that it’s much easier to eat larger quantities of food at social events such as birthday parties, holidays, and other celebrations?
Turns out that our environment can have a larger role on nutritional intake than we realize. Electronics, packaging, plate size, and food diversity all influence your caloric intake.7, 8
Being aware of strategies used by food marketers is one of the easiest ways to combat this issue, but also learning to eat off smaller plates in an electronic-free environment can also help.
7. Stop Eating When Your 80% Full
The best skill you can develop in the long run is the ability to interpret and react to signals from your own body.
Learning to stop eating when you’re comfortably full is a learned skill. Most overeat simply because they aren’t listening to the intrinsic signals being sent from their brain to their stomach.
Your body doesn’t know calories, but it does understand stretch responses from the stomach and hormonal signals from the endocrine system.
However, it takes roughly 20 minutes for those signals to be conveyed effectively – chew slowly, savor your food, and put your fork down in between bites.
Don’t fall for a fad diet, learn how to manipulate your lifestyle in order to match your goals and you’ll find the greatest success both in and out of the gym.
- Diet promotes sleep duration and quality.
- Sleep and Metabolism: An Overview
- A single night of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy subjects.
- Fruit, vegetable, and antioxidant intake and all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality in a community-dwelling population in Washington County, Maryland.