Nutrition can feel like a bit of a minefield. With the amount of information out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Plus, with everything else you have to worry about, eating healthily can just feel like a hassle. But it doesn’t need to be. Put these 5 simple tips into practice, and you’re sure to make progress.
Make Gradual Changes
When you decide to make a positive change in your life, it’s natural to be excited. Often, that leads to people attempting a total overhaul. It’s great to be enthusiastic, but be wary of setting yourself up for failure by trying to do too much at once. Once that initial enthusiasm fades, you may find yourself struggling to stick to habits that are drastically different to what you’re used to. If you can pick one or two things to tackle at a time and before you know it you’ll have established a whole host of positive habits that add up to a healthy lifestyle. Below are a few things you might want to start with.
Not sure which diet you should be following? Should you be eating less fat and more protein? More fat and fewer carbs? Less of everything? More of everything? Ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of complex (and often conflicting) nutrition advice that’s out there?
Don’t worry, we’re here to reveal, once and for all, that the undisputed BEST diet is…
The one you can stick to.
When it comes to nutrition, consistency is key and it’s a lot less complex than some people would have you believe. If intermittent fasting, keto, paleo, 5:2 or whatever else you might try produces consistent results for you, then great! Stick with it.
However, for many, restrictive diets can often show awesome results in the short term. However, if you can’t stick to them in the long run then chances are you’ll fall back into old habits pretty quickly and any progress you make isn’t likely to last.
Living a healthy life is a marathon, not a sprint. Establish good habits that you can stick to long term and you’ll set yourself up for success in the long run.
Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail
It’s your lunch hour (or maybe your lunch 15-minutes-to-grab-something-and-race-back-to-work)… You’re hungry, you’re busy and you don’t have the time to seek out a meal that matches your nutrition goals. You grab the first thing that seems appealing and end up overspending and over consuming calories.
Sound familiar? It can feel like watching what you eat turns food into another thing to take up mental energy in your already hectic day.
That’s where meal prepping becomes key. If you can take an hour over the weekend to prepare lunches and snacks for the week ahead, then you give yourself a far better chance of staying on track. There’s a wealth of batch cooking recipes readily available online, so you can still keep things fresh and exciting while enjoying healthy, balanced meals every day.
After you’ve got your recipes, all you’ll really need is a set of tupperware and some scales (if you can get hold of one, slow cookers are also great for nutritious, delicious batch cooking.)
Everyone is susceptible to making poor choices when time and options are limited, so get yourself prepped and you’ll have the tools you need to stay on track!
Plan For Pitfalls
Even with the best of intentions, sometimes life gets in the way. When it comes to nutrition, this is particularly true. The way we socialise is so often built around food and drink, whether it be a birthday meal at a restaurant, a catch up over coffee or drinks after work, it can feel like you have to make a choice between isolating yourself from friends and family and sticking to your diet. But that’s not the case. With a little forward planning you can have your cake and eat it too (if you’ll pardon the pun…)
If you know you’re going to be in a situation where healthy options are limited, or if you’re celebrating and want to make the most of it, factor that into the way you eat for the rest of the day. If you know you’re going to enjoy a slice of birthday cake in the evening, have a lighter lunch or skip your afternoon snack, to balance out your calorie consumption.
Where possible, try and steer gatherings towards restaurants that have healthy options and, ideally, have their nutritional information readily available online. That way at least you know exactly what you’re consuming and can plan accordingly.
Sometimes, straying from your plan is inevitable but if you can plan ahead to minimise the impact you’re unlikely to hurt your long term progress.
Accept That You’ll Slip Up Sometimes
The path to your goals is never straightforward, there will always be twists and turns, roadblocks and pitfalls along the way. When it comes to nutrition, just like every other area of your life, understand and accept that you’re only human and you will slip up sometimes.
If you do fall off the wagon, it’s not the end of the world. One mistake won’t undo the progress you’ve made so far, nor will it stop you making progress in the future. The best thing you can do is pick yourself up and get back to normal. In the grand scheme of things, it’s unlikely that one off-plan meal is going to stop you reaching your goals. However, if you start to think of that one slip up as the thing that ‘ruined’ your progress, the temptation may be to give up all together. When these thoughts start to creep in, that’s where a cheat meal can turn into a cheat day which turns into a cheat week and that’s where the real damage starts to be done.
There’s also no sense in trying to ‘punish’ yourself with a day of starving yourself to try and make up for it. Nutrition is all about consistency so establishing a ‘yo yo’ dieting pattern isn’t going to help in the long run.
Accept you slipped up, take a look at why it happened and see if you can come up with some strategies to avoid slipping up in the future.
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