Happy New Years! It’s that time of year again, where everyone is making their lists of what to change in the coming year. Weight loss and aesthetic goals top of the list of goals across the nation, but the trick to fat loss isn’t more exercise and less calories. If you want to see real changes, try these 5 steps to a healthier diet.
1. Ditch the sugar – Seriously, how many times have we all heard this? But instead of thinking as sugar as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup think of it this way; sugar is a carbohydrate and while you’re body does need carbohydrates in order to function (by NO means am I slamming carbs here) our bodies need significantly less carbs than the average American eats on a daily basis. Ditch sugar and all sugar substitutes (think stevia, xylitol, truvia, aspartame, etc) and think about natural sugars (honey, agave, dates) as a treat, not a daily addition to your diet.
2. Eat more protein – This doesn’t mean adding more peanut butter to your toast in the morning. Protein should come from high quality sources, beef, fish, game, eggs and poultry. Try to incorporate a little bit of protein into each meal throughout the day.
3. Eat high-quality fats – The national tone towards fat is definitely changing, but after decades of low-fat diet-fads, we’re still living in a fat-phobic land. But here’s the thing, fat is actually good for you, keeps you satiated, and provides an effective source of energy for your muscles and brain. Your muscles can only store up to 100 g of carbohydrate, which is equal to about two bagels. But your muscles can store substantially more fat as a usable energy. High quality facts include coconut products (oil, shredded unsweetened coconut, and milk) olive oil, fish, nuts, and olives.
4. Get some sleep – Seriously, make sleep a priority! Go to bed earlier, you’re probably not missing out on that much anyway. If you need more advice other than the fact that sleep deprivation will you make you crazy, check out our previous blog on why sleep matters.
5. Make time to relax – We live in a world that is go, go, go; a world where our value is dependent on our productivity and a world where taking vacation is something many feel is a luxury they have to vehemently defend. How many people do you know who fail to use all of their PTO in a year? How stressed, sleep-deprived, and annoyed are we as a nation? Take the time each day to carve out a little you time. Maybe that’s the time you work out, read a book, take a long walk, or catch up with a friend. But here’s the catch – this isn’t part of your to-do list, or something you stress out about finding the time to fit in. This is the time you take a big, deep, breath, and find a little inner peace.
Happy New Year! See everyone in 2014!