Getting fit and staying slim doesn’t happen by accident. In my twenty years in the fitness industry, I’ve seen it all, and I’ve noticed what works! The people who are able to reach their healthy weight and happily maintain it have adopted a specific set of healthy eating habits. They don’t starve themselves or follow rigid diet plans for years and years. They live by a set of habits that consistently produce successful results. We can all learn, adopt and practice these same skills.
In Car Smart volume 12, I go into detail on the habits, but I wanted to share the basics now, so you can check them against your own routine and rituals.
1.) Stick to the same menu
Thin people don’t eat a huge variety of foods. Diet books give you tons of options hoping that you won’t get bored and that you’ll find something you love. But in real, every-day life, find choices that work, that you like and that you can look forward to. Don’t worry about having a stable of seventeen breakfasts. Find one or two you love.
2.) Start your day with fuel
You know how they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? The studies support it. People who maintain a healthy weight start off with lean protein. On top of this, working out first thing raises your energy for the day and eliminates afternoon excuses.
3.) Drink water
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. There is no alternative for pure, fresh clean water. Drinking enough water keeps your body functioning, your engine running and your skin glowing.
4.) Eat small and eat often
You have to keep yourself fueled. Don’t let hours and hours pass before meals. Change your metabolism by eating consistently, and keeping your energy levels balanced.
5.) Eat whole foods first
Aim for 80% of your calories to come from whole foods that are as close to nature as possible with minimal processing. Healthy eating is much easier with natural ingredients.
6.) Become a food expert
Invest a little time to know a lot. By reading labels and educating yourself, you’ll soon be able to estimate calories, serving size and other important data. Read up on nutrition and learn how your body responds to various nutritional choices.
7.) Be a careful eater vs. a dieter
Choose your food carefully, not obsessively.
Make room for treats by increasing exercise and planning them into your overall schedule. By eating carefully, you’ll feel good about your process and energized from eating well, instead of deprived due to rigid dieting.
8.) Fill your home with healthy food
If it’s not in your house, you won’t eat it. Remember this when you shop. You can change your habits almost as easily as restocking your refrigerator. When there are plenty of healthy options that support your goals readily available, you’re not going to miss the junk.
9.) The kitchen is closed
Set a time in the evening to end eating. Give your body the night to recharge and rest in lieu of digesting food. Close the kitchen, and stop eating a few hours before bedtime.
10.) Be a politely picky restaurant patron
You absolutely can adapt restaurant options to support your nutritional strategies. Be extra polite, and ask for a few adaptations that will make your meal work for you.
11.) Find something other than food to cope with your feelings
Much of our eating is not hunger-based. Learn the triggers that set you to snacking. By identifying the moments when you are most likely to nibble you can find alternative productive alternatives.
We are each a work in progress and we can learn from those who have already had success in the areas we struggle in. I hope that you’ll adopt these healthy eating habits and that they will become part of your routine for maintaining a healthy, happy weight.