There are times when you feel like you’re eating right, but your fitness goals still seem to be out of reach. Eating the right foods is a good first step on the journey toward better personal nutrition, but it can’t be the only step that you take.
Here are some additional ways that you can create personal habits that will support your long-term nutritional goals.
1. Double the number of meals that you are eating. Instead of forcing your body to take on all the nutrients it needs in 2-3 large meals throughout the day, expand the number of meals that you eat. Shoot for eating six smaller meals per day instead of 3 larger meals. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels under better control and maintain your metabolism at the same time. Avoid snacking between meals and make sure that you’re not eating too many calories by reducing portion or serving sizes for each meal.
2. Eliminate the processed foods. If you’re eating food that comes out of a box, a bag, or a carton, then you need to get rid of it. Foods that support personal nutrition do not generally come with a brand-name or a label on them. Shop in your produce section, then move to the butcher counter, and you’ll find that it is much easier to meet your nutritional needs. Boxed foods tend to be high in calories, poor in nutrients, and that causes the waist line to expand in a way that is not desired.
3. Drink enough water every day. The amount of water that a person needs every day depends on the amount of activities that they perform. A general rule of thumb is to drink about half of your weight in total ounces, so a 200-pound person would need to drink 100 ounces of water over the course of a day. Hotter environments or people who are highly active may need to have higher water consumption levels, while those who are inactive or living in colder areas may require lower consumption levels.
4. Avoid drinks that have high amounts of added sugar. This type of beverage is one of the biggest contributors to poor health in the developed world right now. Not only does it provide empty calories, but it can also reduce the immune system’s defense networks and destroy antioxidants that may be available.
5. Eat lean proteins on a regular basis. You should include a small amount of lean protein with every meal throughout the day. Poultry and fish are the best options, while legumes and lean beef can provide benefits as well. This will give your body the protein it needs to focus on muscle growth while encouraging the hormones that help to burn fat to begin production so you can lose weight if necessary.
6. Be smart about your carbohydrates. Going “cold turkey” on carbohydrates can encourage fast weight loss, but it can also cause cravings that may result in binge eating. Avoid non-starch carbohydrates to limit cravings, such as high-fiber vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products. Limit the amount of processed starch that you consume, such as pasta and bread, so you can have sustained energy levels throughout the day. If you do need to eat starchy carbs, do so as early as you can to avoid fat storage.