Small changes can make a major difference in your life. Just think about the person who gives up their two-a-day soda habit; they can lose up to 29 lbs in one year without doing anything else. But maybe you are that person with commitment phobia. No problem.
You can still transform your life without making major changes by following these manageable, practical steps to totally transform your life one week at a time.
Low Fat Milk
Switch from 2% milk to 1% milk or skim milk. If you think it tastes watered-down, try organic milk, which is typically a little thicker. Savings (2% to skim): 50 calories and 5 grams of fat per 8 oz cup.
No Hydrogenated Oils
Toss all foods with partially hydrogenated oils in them. These oils raise your bad cholesterol and decrease your good cholesterol - a double whammy. Savings - your heart health.
Switch from regular soda to diet. If the change seems tough at first, mix the two in your fountain soda. Savings: 140 calories per 12 oz can.
No White Bread
Buy a pedometer or accelerometer (there are versions through iPod) and aim for at least 5,000 steps at first and then work your way up to 10,000. Walking more will help you trim your waistline with little effort.
Fruits And Vegetables
Add a fruit or vegetable at every single meal and snack. Aim for about 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily.
Avoid Vending Machines
Walk around the vending machine at your office so it isn't in sight. Better yet, talk to someone there about adding healthy choices in your machines.
Meals A Day
Plan your meals ahead of time. Planning will save you time, money, and calories on junk food.
Pack snacks and carry them with you no matter where you are. You never know when you'll need your emergency food stash.
Always carry water or some type of no or low-calorie fluid with you (except through the airport scanner).
Take a multivitamin daily. Few people can meet all of their vitamin and mineral needs through food alone.
Get at least 1.2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. You can easily do this if you incorporate a good source of protein at every meal and snack.
Eat fatty fish or take fish oil supplements daily. Mackerel, herring, halibut, lake trout, salmon and tuna steaks are rich in heart healthy omega 3s (which may also help decrease inflammation, ward off depression, and enhance your joint health).
Add blue, red and purple berries to your diet. They are loaded with antioxidants that can fight inflammation and aging. Toss frozen berries in your blender with your protein powder, eat fresh ones alone or on top of your oatmeal.
Resolve to stop eating when you are full.
Start switching to tea in the afternoon in place of coffee. Tea is loaded with antioxidant flavonoids that inhibit the oxidation of your bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease inflammation. The more tea you drink the more you lower these heart disease risk factors. Skip the sugar sweetened tea.
Throw out your full fat butter for light butter. Savings: 50 calories and 6 grams of fat per Tablespoon.
Get your daily dose of vitamin D. If you aren't drinking milk 3-4 times a day, opt for a supplement with at least 400 IU vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone health and it may play a role in the prevention of some types of cancer and chronic pain.
Try new foods. Most people eat the same 20-30 foods each week meaning they get the same nutrients and same antioxidants. Vary things up a bit and you'll please your taste buds and your body.
Snack on nuts. You only need about a shot glass full to keep you satisfied and benefit from the heart healthy monounsaturated fat in nuts. Opt for nuts without added sugar or candy coating.
Blend that shake. Blended shakes fill you up more than those that are mixed with a spoon. This is a great trick for weight loss.
Use a slow cooker. The slower you cook your meats, the fewer heterocyclic amines are produced (cancer causing compounds). Plus you get the added benefit of smelling your food before it is ready.
Trade in bread and pasta sometimes for rice. Rice is a great option for people who are gluten sensitive or intolerant and there are many varieties you can choose from including short, medium, long grain, jasmine, basmati, Arborio, red aromatic, black japonica, wild and brown.
No Fried Food
Spice It Up
Spice things up. When you use herbs and spices for flavoring food you will find that you can skip the butter and fatty sauces. And, adding garlic, parsley, or oregano to your grilled hamburger meat will decrease the production of cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines.
Add a little supplemental health insurance. Invest in the supplements you need for good health and you may ward off problems later. Bad knees? Try glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Avoiding dairy? Pick up a calcium + vitamin D supplement.
Make the most of your workouts by fueling your body right. If you want to gain muscle mass and/or strength, add a whey shake before or after your workout or essential amino acids (try 6 grams) prior to resistance training (mix these into a sports drink).
Read the food ingredients list. Though we have food labels they don't provide the full picture of what is in your food. High fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils may be lurking somewhere on the ingredients list.
Change Your Mindset
Everybody throws in the towel sometimes and binges on chips at their favorite restaurant or an ice cream sundae at the beach. Get over it. Beating yourself up over one mishap or a month's absence at the gym certainly won't help you achieve your goals.
Skip the sauces. Most sauces add calories, sugar and fat. Skip them and you'll save yourself some calories and actually taste your food versus processed sauce.
Get the dressing on the side and dip your fork into it and into your salad versus bathing your leafy greens in calorie-laden dressing.
Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry and let the grease run off the meat as it cooks so it stays off your body.
Watch your salt intake. Many Americans consume 5,000 - 6,000 mg sodium per day though we should stick with 2,400 mg per day and the CDC lowered that even more to 1,500 mg per day. Opt for low or no sodium versions of your favorite foods.
Cook In Bulk
When making your favorite turkey meatloaf or bean burritos, cook them in bulk and freeze individual portions. By doing this you'll rely less on pre-packaged junk when you are in a rush.
Ignorance Isn't Bliss
Scout out restaurants ahead of time by using this website: http://www.goodfoodnearyou.com/. If you have an iPhone or blackberry with GPS, it will automatically detect where you are and give you the healthiest choices near you.
Water, low calorie beverages etc. Did you know that fatigue may mean you are mildly dehydrated? And, dehydration can impair athletic performance as well.
If you are eating out, skip the buffets. Buffets encourage people to over-consume rolls, fatty muffins, vegetables soaked in butter and other not so waistline-friendly foods.
Bring food with you to a party. Ask the host ahead of time if you can bring a vegetable or fruit platter. This will cure your munchies during the 4th quarter when your team is down and you are tempted to dig into the fried food.
Hold The Butter
If you have a craving, get the small size. French fries, ice cream and tater tots all come in small versions. If you have a hankering, at least go for the small version so you can satisfy your desire but minimize the damage.
Tell your friends what your goal is. Studies show that if you tell people around you about your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. This means you have an army of support for losing weight or staying motivated to hit the gym.
Choose Fit Friends
Unfortunately studies show that we pick up the habits of those around us and that if you hang out with people who are overweight and over-consuming food, you are likely to do the same thing around them - eat too much. Choose friends that are more likely to get you in the gym and encourage you to dine at healthy restaurants. Surround yourself with people you want to be like.
Keep Up With The Times
Like style, nutrition is always changing because scientists are uncovering healthy and unhealthy aspects of our food supply. Keep reading and you will be able to incorporate these the latest research into your daily life.