To be happy, one has to live a healthy lifestyle. As the famous saying goes, health is wealth. Without proper physical and mental health, all else feels dull and lifeless. One significant component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is monitoring your eating habits.
If you haven’t been paying attention to your food consumption so far, it might seem like a daunting challenge to bring immediate change. Fear not. Take it one step at a time, and you will see progress soon. Switching to a healthy lifestyle goes beyond an instant but short-lived change; take your time and work on it, one aspect at a time.
You will soon see a significant impact with minor changes to your regular diet. The primary goal should be to balance your calorie intake and consumption while also ensuring that you get sufficient vitamins, minerals, and water. Eating more than needed causes obesity, while eating less than your body requires will result in unhealthy weight loss.
Strive to maintain a balance. For instance, the recommended daily calorie intake is around 2,500 for men and about 2,000 for women. It would be best if you kept this goal in mind and incorporated the following practices into your routine to achieve the best results:
- Monitor your daily calorie intake
The first step to balancing calorie intake and usage is monitoring your intake. Nutritionists recommend using daily diaries with intermittent goals to make the best progress. Self-monitoring in this way will let you track, explore, and adjust your habits and generate self-accountability. Research has proven that participants who monitored their daily food intake lost twice as many pounds as those who didn’t.
You can access the number of calories in different foods from the Calorie Details food database. At caloriedetails.com, you can find calorie counts for more than 350,000 foods.
Use these, together with food labels on food packages, to keep track of the number of calories you take and compare it with the amount you should ideally consume. Such self-monitoring will help you work more passionately towards attaining your goal.
- Opt for fiber-rich foods
Ideally, one-third of your food intake should include starchy carbohydrates like rice, pasta, bread, or potatoes. It is best to go for starchy foods rich in fiber, like whole wheat pasta and unpeeled potatoes.
Contrary to popular belief, eating starchy foods does not cause weight gain. Instead, it makes you feel fuller and provides less than half the calories compared to fat. Ensure one starchy food in every meal and avoid supplementing it with fats like oil, french fries, or butter.
- Eat slower
As surprising as it may sound, eating slower often allows you to consume less food while losing weight. Research has shown that slow eaters eat less and have less body mass index than fast eaters.
Your body’s hunger response is controlled by hunger and fullness hormones. Research shows that it takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal that it is full. When you eat slowly, your brain gets time to process this impulse, and you eat less. Eating too quickly results in overeating because your brain hasn’t yet received the fullness signal.
Another way slow eating helps is by promoting more thorough chewing. When you eat slowly, you chew for longer, and your calorie intake decreases by as much as 9.5%!
- Aim for protein-rich foods
Of all macronutrients, protein is the most filling because of its ability to impact the levels of satiety and hunger hormones. More protein in your daily diet makes you less likely to crave unhealthy and untimely foods.
Another reason to include more protein in your diet is to maintain muscle mass. It is common to lose muscle mass, which is unhealthy when aiming toward weight loss. Common protein sources that you can consider including in your diet are dairy products, eggs, lean meat, peanut butter, and nuts.
- Take vitamin D and omega-3 supplements
Vitamin D deficiency is a significant cause of concern for around 1 billion people worldwide. This fat-soluble vitamin is key to bone growth and immune system functioning. Each cell in your body receives vitamin D, emphasizing its importance.
Similarly, Omega-3 fatty acids are equally crucial. They are vital in minimizing inflammation, ensuring good heart health, and improving brain function.
Fatty sea foods have these essential elements, and if you aren’t a seafood fan, you must take Omega-3 as a supplement. There are many other sources of vitamin D, like eggs, cheese, and beef liver.
- Drink plenty of water
The necessity and advantages of water in your diet cannot be stressed enough. The list goes on to prevent dehydration, maintain body temperature, remove waste, facilitate bowel movements, protect your spinal cord, and promote brain functioning.
In addition to that, water also plays a role in weight loss. Drinking water before eating lowers your appetite and decreases the amount of food you eat afterward. Also, water should be a replacement for other beverages like juices or soft drinks; they have a lot more calories and sugar.
- Control your desire for fast food
It isn’t easy to say no to fast food; effortless and flavourful, fast food is a common go-to, especially if you have a busy routine and find it challenging to prepare a meal. However, most fast food choices are unhealthy, fatty, and rich in calories.
Change your fast food preferences to healthier food choices. You can also think of alternate fast food restaurants that offer healthier alternatives to pizzas or burgers.
- Cut down on fried food
There are alternate and much healthier cooking options you can go for. One very tempting and, unfortunately, unhealthy category of meals is fried food; their consumption must be controlled. However, to cut down on the amount of oil you take, you don’t have to abandon these foods entirely.
Anything you deep-fry or grill can be roasted, broiled, poached, simmered, stewed, or baked. Grilling, frying, or deep frying are all known to release harmful chemicals like polycyclic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines.
Your dietary choices have a very significant, if not the most, impact on your health and well-being. You are what you eat, and if you incorporate healthy eating habits into your lifestyle, you will see a tremendous positive change.
Monitor your daily calorie intake, eat slower, increase protein intake, take vitamin D and Omega-3 supplements if necessary, and drink plenty of water. All these minor changes together will bring a huge impact.