Diet and Exercise.
There are many things you can do to learn how to diet.
If you are like 60% of America, overweight, or just want to turn your diet into a healthy one you are probably wondering what and how to diet to lose weight and keep it off.
Of course we know that there are many diets out there, we have the popular fade ones, the restrictive ones, the ones that ban entire groups of foods, pills, all kinds of exercise equipment, food programs that provide you every meal and probably every tip under the sun.
After trying many things over 20 years and doing extensive research I think that you will agree with me that the theory is simple, eating healthy and exercising is the key and foundation of most anything out there that works.
Now, how do you go about it, specially when we are at a point in our lives where we are not eating so well and we do not exercise as much as we would like to.
It seems to me that there isn’t a simple answer, how to diet was certainly not an easy answer for me, no magic trick sorry, however I learned that the constant on successful, long lasting and even life-long success relies in acquiring or incorporating healthy habits into our lives.
Again here, how do we do that?
And the answer to this question seems to be in finding what works for each and every one of us.
This answer seems simple, and how to diet is not, but if you think about it a bit, it is very powerful, we can only try so much of anything if it is against what we like or what we can practically or realistically do, so you have to find it in you what is it that you can do to master your habits, change them, modify them or acquire new ones.
While learning how to diet I realize that you can either try small, moderate changes or that sometime a cut-off approach works best.
However, a combination of both may be the best answer, I took a cut-off approach some times and others a more gradual -little by little- approach.
One element that I found powerful while learning how to diet was acquire a set of principles to guide me, principles like nutrition, understanding for example what your body needs, on that I learned that our bodies need different nutrients from all groups of foods, it needs proteins, carbs, fiber, sugar, vitamins and yes, it needs fat too!
Learning how to diet was also about knowing the amounts of nutrients our body requires every day, I learned that those amounts are satisfied with very small portions, for example, all the proteins our body needs come in one small skinless breast of chicken, all the sugar, the equivalent of 8 teaspoons, comes in one single powerbar, and one astonishing piece of information for me was that all the salt our body needs per day is contained in one single olive!
To learn how to diet I had to dig into exercising, on that subject I learned for example to change my perception from one of ‘exercising’ to ‘calorie burning’, and that is because our bodies burn calories doing anything, even while we sleep, so burning calories does not have to be about rigorous aerobic exercising, nothing wrong with it but we can find many other ways to burn calories as well.
The Role Of Water.
While searching how to diet I also came across one important piece of knowledge and that is the role of water. I knew like you probably know as well that water is essential to our bodies, what I learned that helped me is that keeping our bodies hydrated through the day helps with the sensation of hunger, that iced water for example cannot be processed by our bodies and it has to warm it up, burning calories in the process.
I also learned that we sometimes misunderstand messages of hunger from our body that are really a message of thirst, one tip I used was that if I felt hungry I would drink water first and then assess my real hunger afterwards.
So here is an example to answer how to diet when thinking about habit breaking, let’s take the role of water as an example:
We can see how a habit of drinking our daily dose of water, 6 to 8 glasses, may not be in our daily routines, so here is one habit change to master, if you are not drinking enough water today then you have a mini project here, you can start right away thinking what is the best way for you to accomplish that, some people carry their water bottles all day, for others that cannot even taste it plain, adding flavors or a piece of lime might work, or having it next to every meal and so forth.
The Right Approach For You.
So learning the principles and then personalizing how to get to the healthy habit is what I will recommend the most.
Now, there will be many tips to assist you that may work for you, how to diet and losing weight at the end of the day is about the net calorie balance between taken and burned calories and you may find it useful to track what you eat everyday and count those calories, and for that you can assist yourself with a calorie table for foods, there are many on the internet, just Google ‘calorie tables’.
You can get most principles on how to diet just by searching the web, nutrition, what our body needs and in what amounts, from which foods they come from, meal plans so you can prepare in advance, templates for calorie counting, multiple tips on the role of water, portion control, 5 or 6 smaller meals instead of three, what to do for events or like going to restaurants, a family barbeque, weddings and so for and from all that information ‘master’ a plan that works for you.
You may also find it useful to find a weight loss plan that groups together all or most of that information for you, I did that, there are some that are not expensive, they usually provide a meal generator, recipes, practical tips, expert support and many other useful tools.